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Steps' comeback album is exactly what this depressing world needs right now.

Nineties pop supergroup Steps are back and their new album Tears on The Dancefloor is A-MAZING. That’s right. Their shiny, happy-go-lucky Europop almost toppled Ed Sheeran’s Divide from number one in the UK on the weekend.

With spangly-titled tracks like ‘Glitter & Gold’ and ‘Neon Blue’, Tears on The Dancefloor is exactly the sugary escapism today’s uncertain world needs right now. Who’d have thought I’d be writing these words in 2017?

Steps
The pop album of 2017? Tears on The Dancefloor by Steps. YES, STEPS. Image: Steps Music LLP.

You remember Steps: the unapologetically cheesy British five-piece boy-girl group who paired high-camp ABBA-meets-Max Martin tunes with dance routines you could learn from their CD singles (remember those, millennials?) and music videos.

I have fond, awkward memories of closing my bedroom door and unfolding their single covers on the bed so I could learn the moves to songs like 'Tragedy', 'Last Thing on My Mind' and their country'n'western twanger/banger '5, 6,7,8'.

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It just seemed like they would be left in the late '90s/early '00s time capsule as some quaint relic of 20th century pre-social media cheer – a group that didn't care about being cool or current. I mean, covering The Bee Gees and singing about bootscootin' babies was never going to be "cool". Everyone else at school was getting cool cred listening to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers…while I secretly put Steps on repeat.

I was obsessed. I even met three of the members at a meet and greet after the Australian premiere of Melissa Joan Hart's teen rom-com Drive Me Crazy, which featured about 20 seconds of the US remix of Steps' 'One For Sorrow'.

Steps
Steps' debut album in 1998. BEST. COVER. EVER. Image: Jive.

Now, 20 years after they hit the big time and stayed there for a good five years before their 2001 split, they're back together and the time is right. All five members, all looking like they haven't aged at all.

Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee, Faye Tozer, Lee Latchford-Evans and Ian "H" Watkins have reformed before, actually. In 2011 and 2012, they starred in a Sky Living docu-series called Steps: Reunion. They released a Greatest Hits album and took it on tour in the UK. In 2012, they released a Christmas album called Light Up The World.

But Tears on The Dancefloor is their first album of original material since 2001. It debuted at number two in the UK on the weekend (and number 46 in Australia – come on, people!), pipped at the post only by Ed Sheeran. Yes, Steps are occupying the same breathing space as Ed Sheeran.

Steps
Party like it's 1999...with Prince Charles. Image: Getty.
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There's a good reason why: Tears on The Dancefloor doesn't try to be cool. It's a shameless throwback to a time when a good dance song didn't need a guest rapper or chopped-up EDM effects to be a hit (oh god, now I sound really old).

Their album's mission is simple: Dance. Sing a long. Sparkle. 'Firefly' is Eurovision-winning quality. One track, 'Story of A Heart', is actually a cover of a 2009 song written by Benny Andersson and Björn Kristian Ulvaeus of ABBA – a direct nod to the group Steps have often been accused of trying to copy.

Darren Hayes from Savage Garden is a co-writer on the disco-fab 'No More Tears on The Dancefloor'. The chorus implores us to "dance away the heartbreak" – a theme that appears in various guises across the album.

Steps
How good do they all look? Image: Getty.

On 'Neon Blue', they sing of dance being a 'remedy' because 'all we need is me and you, in neon blue'. It's cheesy. It's old-school. It's just what we need to pick us up when the daily news cycle gets us down.

Ironically, the least cheerful song on the album is called 'Happy', with the lead lyric 'I used to be happy/We used to be happy'. Yep, dance through those tears!

Now, I know you have one more burning question to ask: Are they still doing those choreographed dance routines?The answer is YES. Watch the video for their lead single 'Scared of The Dark' (and don't shut your bedroom door).

Tears on The Dancefloor is out now. Steps are touring the UK again later this year. #StepsTourAustralia, pls?

Twitter: @TheAdamBub

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