Steps are one of the greatest bands to ever exist, and I say this without a trace of irony. You hear? Not a trace. I invite anyone who disputes this claim to fight me, as I am willing to go to quite irrational lengths to defend and prove my dedication to Steps, one of the greatest bands to ever exist.
Last month, Steps unveiled their comeback single, ‘Scared Of The Dark’, a track that is so, so good, it makes you momentarily forget that we’re all about to be nuked by North Korea. Now, Steps have released their follow-up single, dance anthem ‘You Make Me Whole’.
I will admit that I was a little worried, sceptical even, the first time I heard this track. What’s immediately striking is that, unlike ‘Scared Of The Dark’, this definitely doesn’t sound like a Steps song. And we warned them about doing this. While ‘Scared Of The Dark’ relies on the classic Steps formula of a big, camp, catchy chorus led by belter-in-chief Claire alongside an unabashed pop sound that echoes the hits of ABBA, ‘You Make Me Whole’ turns its back on the Steps blueprint, instead opting for something far more current, unlike anything Steps have ever done before. This is a risky move, and were I to put money on it, I’d have bet heavily that this would result in a steptacular flop.
But, remarkably, it hasn’t. Because Steps are a remarkable band capable of doing remarkable things, and this is just the latest triumph in what is shaping up to be a monster of a comeback.
There is so much to love here. The boys doing the “We don’t need no one to tell us” backing vocals, the repetition of ‘whole’ in the refrain just waiting to be yelled at gay clubs up and down the UK, the beautiful, muted intro that bubbles into the euphoric dance chorus. Like all the best Steps tracks, ‘You Make Me Whole’ comes packed with powerful emotion that suckerpunches you right in the gut, something that is very rare on dance tracks that so often sound robotic and emotionless. But this has always been something of a Steps speciality, and thank goodness it still is.
‘You Make Me Whole’ proves beyond doubt that Steps are more than a nostalgia act, capable of not just standing alongside their contemporaries but standing above them. There are very few bands that can reemerge twenty years after their debut and still sound as current and exciting as this – but this is Steps, and Steps do remarkable things.