Danity Kane’s DK3 has a lot going against it.
It had the bad luck to be released the same week as Taylor Swift’s zeitgeist-devouring 1989. The group, which broke up during its recording nearly three months ago, aren’t around to promote it. Its Clipse-sampling lead single “Lemonade” didn’t make as much of a splash on radio as it may have deserved. And at a time where R&B is overrun with insurgent post-Weeknd artists who are crazy about grimy sounds, ennui, and ambiguous eroticism, Danity Kane remains steadfastly straightforward and high-polish.
So it’s not surprising that the record’s kind of falling through the cracks. What’s surprising is that that’s kind of a shame.
The album may not be self-consciously avant-garde, but it has a deep eccentric streak that works considerably in its favor. It’s full of odd songwriting and production choices, and the quirkly Clipse sample on “Lemonade” is only the tip of the iceberg. “All In a Day’s Work” puts muddily distorted guitar riffs and Disney-ish pizzicato strings over a twerky strip club beat. “Rage” boasts an intro with the unwieldy mouthful of a line, “We shall pledge to be highly upset if you turn us down.” “Two Sides” has a neat guitar part that flickers across the stereo spectrum on the verses but on the choruses gets deeply detuned and placed next to an unidentifiable bit of distorted electronic noise; if you stripped out the vocals, it could easily pass as the work of some Ariel Pink-ish contemporary pop weirdo.
With no big single, no group to promote it, and not many people outside of Danity Kane’s big and passionate fandom even really aware that it exists, DK3 could very well get lost among the fall’s marquee album releases. But if it doesn’t have the same overwhelming presence of a 1989, it might have enough outlandish charm to make up for it.