During the 00s pop boom there was much talk of “blankness” as a vocal quality – the kind of competent, unaffected but largely inexpressive singing women like Rachel Stevens do on their records. This was making a virtue of necessity to some extent – Stevens, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Girls Aloud en masse simply didn’t have barnstorming voices. But also I guess a subset of pop fans don’t really like singing all that much, they don’t want it to get in the way of the hooks or the ‘production ideas’, and certainly Rachel Stevens’ voice never did.

There’s one emotional area where the blank style really works as singing and that’s the kind of calm, unreadable, half-out-of-love territory Rachel’s in here. (You also hear it on Girls Aloud tracks like “Call The Shots”, also written by Brian Higgins of course). What makes “Nothing Good” work are two things – the lushness of the electropop arrangement, which is welcoming in a way Stevens’ detached vocal can’t be; and the fit of her placid vocals to the song’s confusing sentiments – this parting is final, or is it, yes it is, but she’ll miss him, sort of, a bit. With a more expressive voice there’s a danger that you could mistake the expression for an intentional ambiguity – that there’s a chance the singer actually is sad about this break-up. Or happy about it. The blankness, though, puts the song somewhere more precise: the sadness, like the relationship, is already history, her thoughts are off somewhere else and what looks like dithering or second thoughts is simply a sort of distracted attempt to be kind.