"There ain't no party like an S Club Party"
1. Bring It All Back
2. You're My Number One
3. Two In A Million
4. S Club Party
5. Everybody Wants Ya
6. Viva La Fiesta
7. Gonna Change The World
8. I Really Miss You
9. Friday Night
10. It's A Feel Good Thing
11. Hope For The Future
"Don't you know our time has come?"
Released: 4 October 1999
Label: Polydor Records/Interscope
Photographer: Tom Munro
Tracks 1 written by Eliot Kennedy, Tim Lever, Mike Percy and S Club 7; Track 2 by Mike Rose and Nick Foster; Track 3 by Cathy Dennis and Simon Ellis; Track 4 by Mikkel Storler Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Hallegir Rustan; Track 5 by Andy Watkins, Paul Wilson, Tracy Ackerman; Track 6 by Mikkel Storler Eriksen, Erik Hermansen, Halliger Rustan and Cathy Dennis; Track 7 by Simon Franglen, Angela Lupino; Track 8 by Cathy Dennis, Eliot Kennedy and Patrick Linkoln; Track 9 by Simon Emanuel and Tim Laws; Track 10 by Mike Rose, Nick Foster and Kim Fuller; And Track 11 by Cathy Dennis and Danny Poku.
The album entered the Top 10 of nine different countries on its first year.
It has reportedly sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.
They were also the biggest-selling singles artists of 1999 with 1.9 million sales, ahead of the Vengaboys' 1.5 million.
"To our families and friends, without your love and support this album would never have happened"
Almost everybody would think that S Club 7’s first album was recorded almost straightaway; the truth is that while they indeed had most of the job done, the creation process of their debut album was one of the longest of their whole career.
Let’s start from the beginning. Artist manager and television producer, Simon Fuller, came to prominence when he started to manage British pop group sensation, the Spice Girls, who had a string of international hits from 1994 to 2000. Fuller was credited by the media as the real mastermind behind the success of the girl group; therefore when the Spice Girls decided to fire Fuller in order to “take over the running of the group themselves” the first reaction would be of surprise. This event happened in 1997, the same year when the idea of creating S Club 7 started to float in the head of Simon.
Popjustice analyzed Simon Fuller determination with S Club in 2014: “With S Club, Simon Fuller had a look at his success with the Spice Girls and perfected the formula. That’s not to say S Club were a better act than the Spice Girls, that’s up to subjectivity, but they were a more efficient and well-rounded pop entity. Most importantly, while the Spice Girls were simply a pop group that ended up being a brand, S Club was a brand with a pop group at its heart. Over the years that followed, this allowed S Club to become a range of merchandise, a TV programme… And of course, a pop group”.
Fuller was determined to create a new concept and format for how music was sold to the public. “A totally new concept for youth culture, combining the best in music, dance, television and fashion in one explosive package”. This is how the group would be introduced to the world. Seven members would be selected from auditions involving tens of thousands of young hopefuls from all over Europe at the beginning of 1998.
In Britain the auditions were advertised on the British weekly newspaper, The Stage. Eventually, Rachel Stevens, Jo O’Meara, Paul Cattermole, Bradley Mcintosh, Hannah Spearritt, Jon Lee and Tina Barrett would be chosen to be the members of the new mixed pop group, S Club 7.
Rachel who was working for a fashion company at the time, was the only member who did not audition for her part in the group; instead she was approached by two producers from 19 Management (Simon Fuller’s company). Apparently it was Rachel’s brother who auditioned to be part of S Club 7 when the producers asked her to go into the studio to record a demo tape for Fuller. Bradley who was currently working at Pizza Hut was also asked to record a demo when he auditioned.
Paul who studied performing arts was working in a nightclub and Jo was working as a country singer in a restaurant when they were spotted by 19 Management producers and asked to audition.
Performing artist Hannah; Jon who studied drama, dance and singing; and Tina who was a dancer, auditioned normally after seeing The Stage’s advertisement.
After a six month waiting period since the first day of auditions and some final adjustments, including the removal of three original members that reached the final selection process, S Club 7 was formed as we know it.
Once the band was officially formed they were sent a couple of weeks to Italy to get to know each other properly before the recording of the album started. Paul and Hannah were the only members that knew each other already as they both had previously worked for the National Youth Music Theatre. Back in England the recording sessions took place immediately and the whole period was also the perfect chance for the group to know each other even more, have a laugh and deepen their relationships. “We straightaway felt comfortable with each other” said Rachel in the ‘It’s An S Club Thing’ 1999 documentary. Playing bowling, arcade games and dinners would be the common things that the group would do in between each recording session.
The group recorded the album after their arrival from Italy until early 1999 and between Sheffield, Norway, London and even Miami; this last city was the one chosen to be the set of the band’s first TV Series ‘Miami 7’.
It is believed that S Club 7 recorded from 30 to 40 songs for their first album. Some of the songs went through several modifications over the months prior to the release of the album like ‘It’s A Feel Good Thing’ (the first song they ever recorded), the B-Side ‘So Right’ or ‘S Club Party’.
INFLUENCES AND THEME
Musically and lyrically ‘S Club’ was very influenced by groups like The Jackson 5 or The Monkees and their contemporaries the Spice Girls and The Backstreet Boys. Despite being released in 1999 ‘S Club’ showcased perfectly the sound of the 90s. The style of their debut album would be well described under the term of what it is known as “bubblegum pop”: catchy hooks, uplifting messages and lively melodies, all very common in the 90s. But the album would also present the new trends of the late 90s, the influence of latin sounds (See Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Let’s Get Loud’ or Christina Aguilera’s Spanish songs).
Thematically the album explores themes that can be divided in three groups: partying, self-empowerment and love. Good choices because the album was targeted to a young audience. Songs that belong to the first group would be ‘S Club Party’, Friday Night or ‘Viva La Fiesta’; this last song features sentences like “come and join the party where the music never stops”, S Club 7 is making it clear that in the multifaceted world of S Club, the music will always be at its core. Songs like ‘Bring It All Back’ or ‘Hope For The Future’ with sentences like “don’t stop, never give up” or “now we could do anything” belong to the second group. Love would be the third theme that we find in the album, typical of any pop music album really, ‘You’re My Number One’ described being in love for the first time and ‘I Really Miss You’ described a long-distance relationship; this last situation is one the band would constantly experience during their time in S Club.
After the success of ‘Bring It All Back’ and ‘S Club Party during and after the summer of 1999, S Club 7’s debut album was released on October 4 In England where it reached number two. The album was released worldwide in the year 2000 and it reached the Top 10 of New Zealand, Ireland, Hungary, Canada and Switzerland; but it also entered the Top 40 of Austria, Australia, Finland, France, Germany and Sweden. In the United States the album failed to impact the US Billboard 200 but it managed to sell over a half million copies. Reportedly it sold more than two million copies worldwide and was awarded with nine Platinum certifications.
First promotional picture of the group.
First ever picture taken of S Club 7.
S Club 7’s first album was their debut into the music industry, it received favorable reviews from the audience and critics alike and it was a big success in the UK and overseas. It proved S Club 7 had many things to offer and that their pop sound was here to stay.
But as always, first albums are not completely perfect and over time it became one of the fans’ less favourite.
The highlights from ‘S Club’ are the singles that spawned from the album. The great ‘S Club Party’, the number one ‘Bring It All Back’, the ballad ‘Two In A Million’ and the more forgetful ‘You’re My Number One’ showcased perfectly what the album from the then UK’s hottest new pop band sounded like.
Other great tracks within the selection are: ‘It’s A Feel Good Thing’ and ‘Viva La Fiesta’, the songs were the band experimented with Latin sounds. The emotional ballad with Rachel on lead vocals, ‘I Really Miss You’ and the mid-tempo sung by the boys ‘Gonna Change The World’ are also two of S Club 7’s pure gems although nowadays they are not very recognizable by the general public.
Fans back in the day argued that ‘You’re My Number One’ could have been replaced by ‘Friday Night’. Nowadays, in SClubility’s opinion both songs could have been relegated to be mere B-Sides. ‘Viva La Fiesta’ remains today as a bigger S Club classic than ‘You’re My Number One’ or ‘Friday Night’, this last song being the weakest from the album.
The fact that there wasn’t a proper solo song featuring Hannah neither Tina on lead vocals is the final fact to give this album an 8 instead of a higher note.