There are two kinds of girl groups: those anchored by a superstar (the Supremes, Destiny’s Child), and those made up of charismatic personalities ?endowed with limited individual gifts (Spice Girls, TLC). The Pussycat Dolls are ?neither — they’re a brand, not a band. This follow-up to 2005’s multiplatinum PCD finds lead Doll Nicole Scherzinger in the spotlight, and she’s no Beyoncé.
So much effort is spent because so much effort is needed: without a scorecard it is impossible to tell who is singing lead in the Pussycat Dolls. That just happened to be an unintentional joke on PCD -- no wonder it sounded like the work of one vocalist, as it was pretty much all Nicole -- where it also emphasized that the brand name was more important than the individuals, but here on an album designed to give all five Pussycats personalities, the parade of pretty, sculpted, generic R&B voices is maddening. If the album was designed as proud, faceless product -- like, oh, the first Pussycat Dolls album -- this interchangeability wouldn't matter, but when the whole idea for the album is turning the group into superstars, it's a bit of a problem.
You can't help but think that had lead Doll Nicole Scherzinger's recent solo attempt not totally tanked, we wouldn't be subjected to another record from the former burlesque troupe. As it turns out, Scherzinger's not interesting enough on her own, so she's padding out her shtick with four glorified backup singers in tow. Domination is a collection of ultra-vapid R&B-laced pop that shows just how little personality the Dolls really have.