The Pussycat Dolls

    {grate 2/4}

    A s the second installment of the Pussycat Dolls’ pop repertoire, Doll Domination arrives on the heels of lead singer Nicole Scherzinger’s planned solo debut, and overflows with such a variety of party tricks that it feels like an as-seen-on-TV “Top Pops” album, stuffed with B-sides and all sorts of other obscurities.

    First single “When I Grow Up” was unleashed on the world in advance, and if artistic success could be determined based solely on the number of high school girls shouting along and gettin’ dirty on the dance floor — or by drunk 30-somethings doing the same — then Domination might have real promise.

    While most of the songs drown in overproduction, hit-maker Timbaland immaculately conceives four tracks, including the funky, jazzed-up “In Person” and “Whatchamacallit” — complete with laser-show beats reminiscent of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”

    The R. Kelly-produced “Out of This Club” pounds a piano track off a kid’s follow-along keyboard — and, although the soft duet of Scherzinger and Kelly almost paint a scene of two clubgoers having a genuine moment mid-freak, the track gets buried in a Lil’ Jon impersonator’s hey-heys and the moans of a bored porn star too tired to fake passion.

    In “Bottle Pop,” Snoop Dogg lends smoky smooth vocals that embody a chill only possible after a lifetime of doobies. But either the Dolls’ management couldn’t pay enough or he had to run off for a smoke, because Snoop’s presence comes and goes quicker than a dimebag. The rest is, essentially, three minutes of filler.

    A bonus disc for the album, which delivers seven extra tracks to Domination’s bulging 16, includes “If I Were A Man” — a hardly remixed version of an obscure Jane Child song — and a cabaret tune in burlesque fashion that fits like a corset, highlighting what the Dolls do best: put a little back into it.

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