With a new (can you believe seventh?) Sugababes album looming, the ‘Babes are in a make or break situation. Their last album, despite being more than listenable, tanked without a trace. Worringly, new single Get Sexy is so desperate in its ‘nowness’, it sounds like Lady Gaga fronting the Black Eyed Peas – The result, while still tolerable, is their worst lead single to date.
The Sugababes are definitely a band taken for granted. When they emerged as fresh faced under-age poppets, the public had their 15 minutes set on the clock. What we weren’t ready for was Overload; a dark, moody and mature semi-ballad with a killer chorus. A decent debut album filled with potential followed and since then the girls have flippantly crossed genres, substituted ‘Babes and birthed some amazing pop tunes to become arguably one of the finest pop bands of the last decade. A band which most people unknowingly like their songs, but can’t name them.
In life-threating anticipation of whether their newest album will cement them as icons or have them in the next edition of Where Are They Now? columns, I wish to revisit the finest five moments of The Sugababes…
5. About You Now (From: Change)
How good was About You Now? So good that they renamed it My Life Would Suck Without You and gave it to Kelly Clarkson. Classic Sugababes vocal harmonies, rocking synth guitars and a chorus that could inspire a pandemic all came together to keep this song at no.1 on the British charts for a full month – A feat rarely achieved.
4. Round Round (From: Angels With Dirty Faces)
Round Round wasn’t a great song, it was three great songs in one. A repetitively catchy chorus that could make a grown man chant along like a teenage girl, minimalist electro, softly sung verses and a ballady bridge so out of place that it somehow works for it. If you have no reaction to this song, chances are you are dead.
3. Overload (From: One Touch)
How is it possible that one of (if not) the best songs of 2000 was co-written by a group of teenage girls?! Overload managed to differenciate itself from almost every girl band theme with its brooding harmonies and infusion of electronica and acoustics. Critics and the public alike were silenced, not since All Saints had a girl band delivered a song so critically acclaimed, later being nominated for a BRIT award for Best Single.
2. Push The Button (From: Taller In More Ways)
Most fans and critics will generally argue this to be the Sugababes’ opus. Push The Button was almost aggressive in its catchiness, employing synthetic promincence, instant danceability, a hilariously camp video and lyrics so simple they just had to work, “If you’re ready for me boy, you better push the button and let me know, before I get the wrong idea and go, you’re gonna miss the freak that I control.” Brilliant! Criminally the song lost the Best Single BRIT award to Coldplay’s Speed of Sound, possibly Coldplay’s worst single to date.
1. Freak Like Me (From: Angels With Dirty Faces)
To really comprehend the mind-boggling brilliance of Freak Like Me, the following must be explained: The Sugababes (with the aid of Richard X) released a mash up single in 2002, before most people even knew what they were. More than that, Freak Like Me sounds as radio-friendly now as it did when it was released seven years earlier in 2002. How many pop songs can attest to that? Singing Adina Howard’s hit Freak Like Me over Gary Numan’s pulsatingly ’80s Are Friends Electric?, the Babes achieved their first no.1 from this synthy electronic masterpiece – A summer anthem so special, it’s only downfall is that the ‘Babes might forever be unable to top it.
I thought I should also acknowledge two things: The first is my intense appreciation for Stronger. On the surface it’s Oprah style self-help balladry. Really it’s a dark number infusing elements of electronica, string arrangements and lush vocal harmonies over a minor key tonality. It’s essentially a four minute, PG rated interpretation of saying, “Get the fuck out of my life you toxic prick.” Amazing! The second is that second single, the Red-One produced About A Girl will be such a hit, Get Sexy will just be forgotten so quickly you’ll have to check wikipedia just to confirm it was ever released…Check it out, it kills Get Sexy.
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