When Aubrey O’Day and Shannon Bex began to formally introduce their new duo, dumblonde, O’Day did not dance around the truth that despite spending a decade together in Danity Kane, the two were not particularly close.
Speaking with Breathe Heavy, O’Day explained: “It’s interesting because we never disliked each other. We just never understood each other fully, and I think we gravitated towards people we thought were similar to us, so we never made that connection. It took 10 years of growing and becoming women in so many ways.”
Even from an outsider’s perspective, it reads completely plausible. O’Day is by far the most outspoken member of Danity Kane, not to mention the most attention seeking. It’s not a jab; after all, the group was assembled on a reality show. O’Day always more keenly aware of this than her band mates, which is how she managed to maintain her fame and pop cultural currency by way of her own show on Oxygen in addition to stints on Celebrity Apprentice and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars.
It’s merely that by contrast, Bex has always came across as more about the music than fame. She’s quieter, but no less a force. Bex may have pursued country music as a solo artist, but she’s the consummate dancer and while O’Day and Dawn Richard may have stood outfront whenever Danity Kane was on stage, but Shannon Bex was just impressive if not more.
So it’s unsurprising to see in that same interview, O’Day went on to say that she has always found Bex to be “an exemplary woman” as she proceeded to run off a list of her positive characteristics – patience, understanding, compassion – before declaring her “a match made in heaven for me.”
You can’t help but agree upon listening to their self-titled debut album. dumblonde, crafted by a team of O’Day and Bex alongside producers R8DIO, Dem Jointz and songwriter Candice Pillay is a cohesive and impressive collection of alternative dance tunes.
For those who preordered the album in July, the duo released five tracks: “White Lightning“, “Eyes On Horizon“, “Tender Green Life“, “Remember Me” and “Dreamsicle.” Those, plus the six others that complete the album, are somewhat of an amalgamation of ’70s and ’80s dance music with teases her and there of dance music of the day.
When I turn on my favorite track from the album, “you got me,” I feel like I’m in West Hollywood – The Abbey to be exact – on a night where the music is good, not repetitive to the point where I have to take solace in the iPod I keep in my car for emergencies. Trust me: This is a compliment. I swear.
The songs are fun. They’re airy. It plays to each of their respective strengths. They’re a gorgeously arranged— an important Danity Kane constant the two were smart to carry with their new endeavor. Quite honestly, the album is as strong as anything Danity Kane has ever released. It’s certainly more imaginative— a testament to the full creative control O’Day and Bex have each professed to enjoy having with the project.
What’s also admirable about the album is its accompanying visuals, which, like the album, were created without the assistance of a major recording label. O’Day and Bex took advantage of various editing tricks to make interesting and eye catching videos without them coming across as cheap, or worse, corny. The album cover itself is so skillfully done that I hope other acts with far more access to bigger industry pockets are taking note.
Their project reminds me that now more than ever does quality not have to suffer as a result of going it alone.
When I found out O’Day and Bex would be creating a new duo, I immediately christened them as a “white Changing Faces.” Part of that was merely me being a smart ass, but the other was rooted in me not being able to think of any other memorable musical duo. Now I can because though it may have taken them a decade to see it, O’Day and Bex are very much indeed perfect for each other.
This is the first post-Danity Kane breakup (editions one and two) musical effort that doesn’t make me long for a Danity Kane comeback record. dumblonde is truly its own thing. Here’s hoping the last remaining members of the fallen group won’t have to look back anymore.
This album offers plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t have to.