Steps

I actually loved the whole H & Claire era, they had some great songs.

All Out of Love>Half A Heart>DJ >>>>>>>>>>>>>Beauty and the Beast

Buried in the mess of this album is a really strong EP of sorts:
  • All out of Love
  • DJ
  • Another You, Another Me
  • Half a Heart
  • All I Want is You
  • Centre of my Heart
  • Don’t Give Up (Don’t Let Go)
  • Nothing at All
  • Too Close to Tears
These are the only songs I listen/stream and would fit perfectly onto a Steps album.

What was the point of them leaving Steps and going as a duo? Going solo, I’d get it but as a duo?

Money? Further exposure without the rest of the group? H’s relationship with their manager?

H&Claire were already gaining more popularity what with presenting SMTV, the fact that their manager was ‘boning’ H on the side and continued to push him, and by coupling with Claire, meant that he could ride on the coat tails of success.

The whole project felt incredibly shady and seemed to benefit H more than anyone really. However it is good to see them all back together and showing such love and respect for one another.
 
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It's actually quite a decent list! (I'd throw in Over You in all it's 'wannabe It's The Way You Make Me Feel'-glory too) There's just one ballad too many on the album but otherwise it's not all that bad

They just needed another ‘DJ’ and ‘Half a Heart’ style track on the album, because when these two songs initially came out, I was perched. The album however didn’t exactly (at the time) reflect these for me, especially the latter.
 
H&Claire were already gaining more popularity what with presenting SMTV, the fact that their manager was ‘boning’ H on the side and continued to push him, and by coupling with Claire, meant that he could ride on the coat tails of success.

I find this fairly degrading of H, particularly as we don't know much about his relationship with Ian Byrne, and it also overlooks the fact that H was popular and had the biggest personality out of the group. A narrative seems to have developed over the years that fans found him annoying but that's not really how I remember it at the time.
 
I find this fairly degrading of H, particularly as we don't know much about his relationship with Ian Byrne, and it also overlooks the fact that H was popular and had the biggest personality out of the group. A narrative seems to have developed over the years that fans found him annoying but that's not really how I remember it at the time.

Its not meant as a degrading post, however it has been stated by himself that he was in a relationship, and no matter how matters played out, because of such relationship, he was going to be favoured.

Coupled with the fact that other events such as flying with Britney whilst others stayed on the tour bus during their trip to the USA, being pushed for leads over Lee, and taking centre stage during interviews, there is a degree of favouritism, whether he wanted it or not.

To then be presented with a deal where he could record basically a 50:50 solo album with Claire, sounds like a no brainer so they took it.
 
I find this fairly degrading of H, particularly as we don't know much about his relationship with Ian Byrne, and it also overlooks the fact that H was popular and had the biggest personality out of the group. A narrative seems to have developed over the years that fans found him annoying but that's not really how I remember it at the time.

As someone who only became a fan in 2017, I simply cannot fathom how he was so popular. I can't stand their older concert footage because I want to hear the music, not hear him constantly yapping his mouth. Granted, he has definitely loosened up and become way more confident in his own stage presence as he's grown older but that old footage... Whew.
 
He/Him
I find this fairly degrading of H, particularly as we don't know much about his relationship with Ian Byrne, and it also overlooks the fact that H was popular and had the biggest personality out of the group. A narrative seems to have developed over the years that fans found him annoying but that's not really how I remember it at the time.
H always got the biggest cheers on tour.

Don’t forget HandClaire only started SMTV after they left Steps. They did have Steps to the Stars though. It was interesting that they had Faye present for SMTV Gold which makes me wonder if H and Claire leaving (SMTV) wasn’t very amicable.
 
he/him
Their heads were definitely turned in some way. You don't leave the biggest group at their peak because you 'wanted your life back' only to be starting a duo within three months. I think whispers came to them saying they could go it alone and carry on, get more lucrative TV stuff and all that would be extra promo for the music too. Introducing more H&Claire-led Steps songs was to get the fans more used to the idea and then bang, they just carry on without the others. Obviously, this massively backfired and they were left with egg on their faces.
 
Knowing Claire she was maybe too scared to go solo at that time anyway and liked still having the comfort of another member. And DJ is a certified BOP as is All Out of Love. I wish they were steps songs just to hear them live again. Claire did a nice slower version of the latter on her solo tour which was nice.
 
Buried in the mess of this album is a really strong EP of sorts:
  • All out of Love
  • DJ
  • Another You, Another Me
  • Half a Heart
  • All I Want is You
  • Centre of my Heart
  • Don’t Give Up (Don’t Let Go)
  • Nothing at All
  • Too Close to Tears

I’m sure I’m completely alone in this but No Turning Back is one of my favourites off the album

You don't leave the biggest group at their peak because you 'wanted your life back' only to be starting a duo within three months.
Or solo career a’la
Geri Halliwell (just under a year) and Jesy Nelson (8 months)

I definitely understand the situation more after reading Claire’s book. I’ve had it for years but actually read it for the first time in February. Tim screwed her over multiple times and manipulated relationships within the group. He seems like a nasty piece of work.

We will never know if H was trying to better his career or he really did love him because he was miserable keeping his sexuality a secret. A lot of what we know from Claire’s book and the The Reunion is only what they want us to know.

It definitely seems like H & Claire was planned before hand and that it was a way for them to get back some of the control in order to be happier.
It’s a shame it happened the way it did but I wouldn’t change a thing because I doubt we’d have them now if they just slowly fizzled out.

The messy break up and subsequent fiery reunion helped generate interest
 
It does seem weird and a head-scratcher now but back then it was the era of big Robbie and Geri campaigns fresh outta their 'kiddy' pop bands. It was the smart (by then standards) thing to do, leave the successful pop band while on a high for a solo, more credible career. Of course this was all Q magazine, Radio 1, suits and boring 50 year olds thinking that and of course it rarely worked.

It does feel like Steps were on a high back then but the truth is the latest album wasn't the best seller the earlier ones were, the singles didn't reach the Top 2 like earlier, they weren't massive sellers, radio was still snubbing them, manufactured pop was going out of fashion fast, the regional Buzz re-releases didn't really break them outside of the UK... it did feel like they were fizzling out.
 
It does seem weird and a head-scratcher now but back then it was the era of big Robbie and Geri campaigns fresh outta their 'kiddy' pop bands. It was the smart (by then standards) thing to do, leave the successful pop band while on a high for a solo, more credible career. Of course this was all suits and boring 50 year olds thinking that and of course it rarely worked.
I think it’s cos they all want to immediately change their sound and it alienates their fans.

For example Boyz is not my style at all - sorry Jesy
 
D

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It does seem weird and a head-scratcher now but back then it was the era of big Robbie and Geri campaigns fresh outta their 'kiddy' pop bands. It was the smart (by then standards) thing to do, leave the successful pop band while on a high for a solo, more credible career. Of course this was all Q magazine, Radio 1, suits and boring 50 year olds thinking that and of course it rarely worked.

It does feel like Steps were on a high back then but the truth is the latest album wasn't the best seller the earlier ones were, the singles didn't reach the Top 2 like earlier, they weren't massive sellers, radio was still snubbing them, manufactured pop was going out of fashion fast, the regional Buzz re-releases didn't really break them outside of the UK... it did feel like they were fizzling out.

For me, it felt like Buzz was their ‘Chemistry’ moment in that the sound had evolved, the die-hard fans were happy, but it didn’t connect in quite the same way, sales wise as the earlier albums. With ‘Gold’ then being a real return to sales form in the same way The Sound Of was for Girls Aloud.

It would be interesting to think, what could have happened with another album. But I’m not sure if they would have kept up that momentum and the touring schedule was so insane it was inevitable they’d burn out.

All worked out in the end!
 

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