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Sugababes - 'About A Girl'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:40 UK time, Wednesday, 4 November 2009


I'm almost scared to mention the word "Sugababes" in case we all end up getting bogged down with the endless debate over which was better out of Sugababes 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and now 4.0, and whether (yawn) they still have the right to call themselves Sugababes given the absence of all the original members.

(For the record, I think the Sugababes brand has been more important than any of the individual members since Mutya left, so quite why it took Keisha's departure to get everyone all het up I don't know, but again, I don't want to go any further down this road because it's going to upset all kinds of applecarts.)

Anyway, the crucial thing is that this is their first official single with the new line-up, arriving after all the tales of scandal and backstabbing, and a brilliant rumour that the three original 'Babes were forming a new band, and poor Amelle having to take time off with nervous exhaustion (and really, regardless of where you stand on the line-up change, you still know that's got to be unpleasant), so a lot of eyes are going to be on the girls to see if they're still up to the job.

(Here's the video. I didn't know you could play the bumgos.)

And actually, it's quite a pleasant surprise. Where traditionally the second single from any Sugababes album tends to be more sedate than its predecessor, this one is strident and unapologetic, and rivals 'Get Sexy' for attitude if not for overall levels of noise.

It's a dancefloor-friendly tune with an insistent chorus that echoes around your head, and probably feels the most like classic Sugababes (of the 'Freak Like Me' and 'Hole In The Head' era) that they've sounded since before the abomination that was 'Girls', while at the same time sounding current enough to suggest that they've finally got the stabilisers on and figured out which way they need to go.

Since this song was written and recorded long before the line-up change (though has been re-recorded to add Jade's vocals onto it now, natch), it doesn't necessarily follow that this gives us a good indication of what's to follow from Sugababes 4.0, but on the off chance that it does, I'm happy.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: November 9th
BBC Music page

(Steve Perkins)


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I don't think it matters who's in the Sugababes anymore, they're a brand and have been since Mutya left. Also should we care as long as they can sing, I don't think I've met anyone who only buys Sugababes records because they like Keisha, as long as they release good pop songs - which this one is - then people are going to buy their songs. Sounds abit like a nineties dance anthem, but in a good way.

  • Comment number 3.

    If you figure it out, Heidi has been in the band for the same time as Mutya was when you tot up the years. And Heidi and Amelle have been in the band long enough, for me anyway, to mark their territory. I think Sugababes have always had the edge over other girl groups since they released Overload, but they're still just a girl group. It's an unwritten rule that line-up changes don't matter in pop groups. Because the songs generally get based on harmonies and singers aren't normally distinctive in vocal, it's easy to re-arrange line-ups, compared to actual bands, where there's only one singer. Anyway, I think this proves to all the critics who take all this too seriously that the Sugababes will live on. Could do with more bass and a better middle 8 but a very good pop song.

  • Comment number 4.

    Cover of Florence in the Live Lounge was very good. Very ambitious for them considering the situation.

    Shame the single is just a bit dull and predictable.


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