You know it’s an extremely poptastic time in music when an artist spends 6 months working with the world’s best r&b producers and comes up with something Rachel Stevens could have released. Apart from Shayne’s If That’s OK With You, Bad Boys is the first pure pop song released by an X Factor winner. I’m sure most people would consider The X Factor to be a show which produces pop stars, but calling acts like Leon Jackson and Steve Brookstein pop stars would be a complete insult to anyone who defines themself as a pop fan. Leona has managed to release some excellent pop songs but I’d categorise them primarily as r&b. It’s very exciting to finally see an X Factor winner whose first proper single could not in any way be described as a ballad.
Personally, I really like Bad Boys, and I definitely think it will be a UK hit, but I’m not 100% confident that it can make her an international megastar. It all depends on how this song goes down in America, because now there are expectations for Alexandra to replicate Leona’s US success, and if she doesn’t she will be considered a disappointment. With Leona as a precedent, US radio stations will be open to giving Alexandra a chance, but I’m not sure that a song so undeniably poppy will appeal to the listeners.
If there ever was a time for a pure pop song to be a US hit, it’s now, with major acts like Rihanna going in a poppier direction and songs such as Goodbye by Kristinia DeBarge doing well in the charts. However, those artists succeeded because they can still be considered r&b, and the presence of hugely popular Flo Rida on Bad Boys may allow Alexandra the same treatment, but anyone who pays attention will see through any pretences of this being urban music. It’s even poppier than what Kylie and Britney are doing these days! Still, I think the song stands a good chance of being a hit, especially in the rest of Europe, and with the list of producers and writers who’ve worked on her album I’ll definitely be buying it as soon as it’s released.