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Sugababes - 'Wear My Kiss'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:22 UK time, Sunday, 14 February 2010


Sometimes it's the things you don't say which carry the most weight.

On a recent TV interview the three 'Babes were quite happy chatting away about how long Jade's legs are in proportion to her body, or about the feminist implications of singing a lyric like "I'm just a pretty little thing that'll make you wanna sing". But when asked to give a general outline of what this song is, and what it's about, the only word they could collective muster - and this was with a LOT of thought and uneasy body language - was "uptempo".

And I'm here to tell you, it's hardly Gallows in the velocity stakes, so they even got THAT wrong.

I'm not sure which is the bigger disappointment: the song or the band. Try as I might, I can't hear the magical melding of three complimentary voices here. All I can hear is three solo singers taking it in turns. Even when they're all singing together on the chorus, there's something not quite THERE. It's tempting to suggest that the thing which is missing is Keisha, but 'Get Sexy' suffered from the same problem, and she's in that.

Then there's the song. There's something depressing about a pop song which wears the formula for great pop songs quite as transparently as this does. It's like the producers are working from a checklist:

1: Start with the refrain, people have to know it's THAT song from the very first second. Use the one from that Britney song with the rude title if nothing else comes to mind.

2: Then a verse in which you don't so much sing the lines as wheeze them (it's SEXY).

3: Time for a bridge section with some proper singing in. Feel free to get creative here, the more bizarre the melody, the better. So long as the bit just before the chorus is emotive and pleady, you're fine.

4: Chorus. This needs to be at one and the same time a massive hook and a great big boulder of SOLID MUSIC. Use something like 'Finally' by CeCe Peniston as a template if stuck. This is your ringtone: polish it well.

5: Refrain.

6: Second verse, second bridge - throw in anything which will maintain attention and stop the song from sagging. Stuttery production ideas, experimental singing, ravey synths...anything.

7: Second chorus. Same as the first. Add the refrain again here.

8: A breakdown. Try rapping. If not, maybe a stunning baroque a capella section where the voices tumbledown together in an astonishing and beautiful vocal waterfa...OK, so rapping it is.

9: Third chorus. Nearly there now.

9: The end. Either repeat the chorus to fade, or go back to the refrain and stop suddenly, as if someone's opened a parachute.

10: A quick note about the lyrics: anything which is sexy works. Look at those crazy Lynx ads. Sexy as. It doesn't matter what you say, so long as it can be made to seem sexy. Compare yourself to a neck-tie, or a temporary tattoo, call yourself a toaster, whatever it takes to get across the idea that you, the singer, are SEXY.

In the end, it comes as a shocking realisation that without someone glaring haughtily into the camera, the Sugababes are just an understaffed Saturdays. Sad times.

Two starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: February 22nd
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    This review is so spot on it´s scary.

    Fraser, I hope they use your checklist next time to make sure they DON´T fall into those traps again. NEVER again! Because it is a sad thing when you witness the once great Sugababes lose the plot so completely.

    Alright, it´s breezy and easy on the ear, but when were the ´babes about just THAT?

    When I first heard it, I honestly thought I was listening to a remix of If U Seek Amy... and that bit wasn´t very good even on Britney´s track.

    Sad times. Too right.

  • Comment number 2.

    I like the title though.

  • Comment number 3.

    And here comes another top 20 hit for the Sugababes .....

  • Comment number 4.

    In all the excitement of dissing the song , has Fraser forgot to post the video ?

  • Comment number 5.

    Haha maybe Fraser just couldn't think of a funny caption to go with the video?

    I too think the Sugababes have lost it. Not cos Keisha left, Jade is a really good singer. I just watch their old videos and they're songs actually meant something. Now it's just your typical generic electro R&B.


  • Comment number 6.

    I can see how devastated we all are at the demise of the sugababes...

    Where oh where will we get our fix of cheeky, dancy, slightly sexual girl pop now? There's basically no girls in the charts nowadays... (cough cough)

  • Comment number 7.

    See, though I do believe that the Sugababes have gone down in recent years I don't actually mind this song, it's nowhere near as bad as the god awful Get Sexy. It's catchy and memorable with great commercial potential and for those reason I think it deserves more than 2 stars. 3 Stars from myself.

  • Comment number 8.

    I couldn't find an official video that isn't hidden behind adverts. Which hardly helps matters.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well I think Get Sexy is a fantastic pop song , and so did loads of others , as it hit number 2 and sold nearly 60,000 copies in it's first week .

    In terms of commercial success Sugababes were looking down after the failure of No Can Do to hit the top 10 , and the relative sales failure of Catfights And Spotlights . Get Sexy put em back on the singles sales map .

    They recently signed to Jay Z's American record label Roc Nation , and have a new set of songwriters and stylists so that's why the style has changed .

    Wear my Kiss is another polished pop nugget , that will be another big hit , as t.v and radio are set to embrace it , but throughout this transition I can see the old individual Sugababe spirit being sanitised and them becoming a generic girl band who has hits .

    I will be very interested to see how the album Sweet 7 sells , as I hear it does not have too many truly stand out and outstanding moments on it , but sounds like a professional girl band singing generic pop songs .
    Let's see .

  • Comment number 10.

    I personally think it is worth watching the video just to gaze at Jade's hair! How does it stay like that? How?

  • Comment number 11.

    'Overload' . . . 'Freak like me' ... 'About you now'. . . all The 'Babes need is a pop song half as good as any of these three and they will be brilliant again. Sadly, not getting that at the moment!

    I don't blame the lack of Keisha, because they were awful before she left. It seems over the years they have always been a product of their record lable. They don't really have much personal identity and control. Perhaps more in the earlier days, but they are simply a tool for songs. So to blame them for their demise is perhaps unfair. Is it the controling record company's fault?

    Would they be worse under their own direction?

    Either way I hope they don't go away. There's always a good debate to have aound them.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sugababes would have been amazing with Mutya, Keisha and Amelle.

    What do you mean understaffed Saturdays?
    The Saturdays are about a million times better than the new sugababes!
    even though they all have good voices the connection's not there their voices just dont go together.

    The Saturdays are great but the Sugababes have faded into nothing.

  • Comment number 13.

    Firstly, Tasmin u must be about 11 years old so therefore do not realise what the Sugababes are.The Sugababes are the most sucessfull trio/ girl band in the UK of the 21st century on alot of levels.
    I wish people would stop slagging them off they are real singers not plastic pop satrs like other bands ha ha. they can sing live for a start and have the respect the world over. Other girl bands could not survive what they have endured. Heidi was offered a solo by simon cowell - she did not take it, WHY? becasue she is loyal and dedicated

    Leave the SUGABABES alone there songs good and Heidi IS a real sugababes she has proved her worth.

  • Comment number 14.

    "Other girl bands could not survive what they have endured"

    Hate to break it to you, mate, but they haven't survived. It's different people now, see?

  • Comment number 15.

    Andy are you serious? Here's some points for you to consider. However first, remember, I like the Sugarbabes, read comment 11. Now this -

    1) Don't patronise other bloggers like that, especially knowing NOTHING of their background. Tamsin may be 11, but who cares? Shes entitled to her opinion. Much better than all the people saying how much they fancy The Bieber anyway.

    2) They are also not as sucessfull as Girls Aloud on many levels, it all depends on what statistic you want to read.

    3) They are average live.

    4) Respect the world over? Im not sure about that to be honest.

    5) They have endured by changing their line up and getting progressively worse as they have gone along. Great..

    6) Heidi was a fool!

    7) Heidi has however also proven her worth as a member of the babes.

    Also. The Saturdays can sing live, have catchier tracks, look better and perform better. They are setting the bar for girl groups at the moment. Put either of their last two albums up against Girls Aloud's and the difference is obvious.

    At the end of the day though.. they are all manufactured, reasonably mindless products of a record label! Good music I enjoy listening to. The future? Nope.

    (I'm being a little harsh here perhaps! Also, opening a massive can of worms. I love a good debate, hence a deliberate post of absolutes :p)

  • Comment number 16.

    Liam, theres nothing wrong with loving the Bieber.

    (i already hate myself for that joke)

    But Andy, Liam is right on all the points he raises. And if she was 11, then she probably wouldn't know what a 'Mutya' is, but if she is, who cares? I think she's right. Oh and before you criticise others for apparent child-like posts, you might want to check your own, as 'Heidi IS a real sugababes' doesnt make sense.

  • Comment number 17.

    A Mutya hahaha. Like she's some animal ..

  • Comment number 18.

    I personally think that this song doesn't deserve such a low rating!
    The song has grown on me and I think its chart position proves its success
    - number 7 is excellent for a third single, plus it has gone higher than their second single, About A Girl.
    We all know that Sugababes have great vocals, and this song doesn't exactly reflect that. However, it's still a good song that beats the rest of the girl bands

  • Comment number 19.

    Ha ha !

    The Sugababes are in at number 7 .

    There are so many people here in posts dissing the Babes , but that is now 3 top 10 singles in a row !!!

    "The Saturdays are now setting the bar for girlbands at the moment "

    Was this by having their album WORDSHAKER stay in the top 75 initially for just 3 weeks ?

    The Sugababes have had more NUMBER 1 singles than THE SATURDAYS , BANANARAMA , GIRL'S CAN'T CATCH , MINI VIVA and GIRLS ALOUD put together !

    You go BABES !!!

  • Comment number 20.

    In terms of quality tracks, The Saturdays top anything Babes have produced in the last year. 'Ego' and 'Forever is over' are much better than the last 3 offerings from the 'babes.

    Before you quote single sales at me Spirit, I don't care :p. I'm talking in terms of quality music. Would you argue, from a personal perspective, the Babe's stuff is better than theirs?

    It's not always quality that sells.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 15

    " I love a good debate "

    Just checking .

    It's hard to distinguish quality singles when it comes to girl band pop , as there are so many factors concerned in each song . Sales , appeal , can you sing it with broken heels at a karaoke after downing vodka/red bulls ?

    Babes borrowed Gary Numan brilliantly for Freak , The Saturdays used Yazoo well for If This is Love .

    In terms of overall singles and album sales The Babes trounce The Saturdays , and it's only their song Up , that I believe is truly good although I like the chorus of Ego .
    For all their hype , hours spent doing clothes , hair and make - up , do The Saturdays have songs with lasting substance that match :

    Round Round
    Hole in the Head
    Run for cover
    About You Now
    Too lost in You
    Push the button
    Red Dress

    Only Up , comes close in my opinion.

  • Comment number 22.

    You're correct in saying that over all Sugarbabes are better than THe Saturdays. But they have been around for MUCH longer. So I'd hope so!!

    In terms of recent music, I was refering too. I said that -

    "The Saturdays are now setting the bar for girlbands at the moment "

    So you can only look at songs released since The Saturdays burst on to the scene. All those songs were released before The Saturdays came into existance. So I would still say that the bar is currently set by The Saturdays.

    Im sure in a year or so Girls Aloud will be back with some better material. Their last album was awful (apart from 'The Promise') and again, The Saturdays had better stuff.

  • Comment number 23.

    I checked. The Saturdays released their first material Oct 08. Around the time Sugarbabes released 'Girls'. I notice that's not on your list :p

  • Comment number 24.

    In my humble opinion this song is the worst thing that the soulless 3 piece have put to their names to yet. This song may well have hit the top ten but that is no excuse for it being a complete cash in from a band that have no centrepiece of inspiration and no originality in terms of both music and band members. How anyone still cares about music like this baffles me but one thing is for sure. The last inkling of dignity that the Sugababes once had has been well and truly obliterated by the re-recording of their TERRIBLE new album. 1/5.

  • Comment number 25.

    Yeah, I'm with Liam and George on The Saturdays being better than the recent Sugababes singles. The last good Sugababes single was Change from their Change album. Denial was passable. Then Catfights & Spotlights came out and that flopped despite No Can Do being a decent-ish second single.

    The Sugababes panicked then and decided that it was all about commercial appeal over soul and made a load of catchy yet soullessly bland Top 40 fodder for the Sweet 7 album.

    The Saturdays have been patchy with their singles but Up, Issues, Forever Is Over and Ego have all been really enjoyable pop songs and much more enjoyable than the Sweet 7 singles.

    Round Round
    Hole in the Head
    Run for cover
    About You Now
    Too lost in You
    Push the button
    Red Dress

    Spirit, all these songs actually meant something. The Sugababes were on a whole different level from other girlbands back in the day. Now, there's nothing to distinguish them from Girls Aloud, Girls Can't Catch and Pussycat Dolls.

  • Comment number 26.

    Overload - One of their best, amazing.
    Ugly - Dull.
    Round Round - Good fun, but dull.
    Hole in the Head - Annoying.
    Run for cover - Love.
    Shape - Dont remember this, so forgettable?
    About You Now - Probably my fav 'Babes song.
    Too lost in You - No actually this is. WHAT A TRACK!
    Push the button - Annoying.
    Red Dress - No.

  • Comment number 27.

    I really like Get Sexy as an out and out disposable pop song .

    I didn't list Girls as it's a cover .

    Get Sexy , About A Girl and Wear My Kiss are all good pop songs with appeal and hooks , but I must admit , they could be by ANY girlband.
    There isn't that individual and unique touch , that gave The Sugababes their cool identity.
    These 3 singles are very American in their production and delivery.
    I have heard Sweet 7 , and despite it being a good pop album , it is a little skin deep in contrast to the inner soul of previous Babe work .

    I understand all your points , but as Catfights AND Spotlights bombed commercially in comparison , to previous Babe work , a change was needed.
    No Can Do struggled to make the 20.

    So 3 top 10 singles in a row.
    Why do you think so many people are buying the last 3 Babes singles ?

  • Comment number 28.

    Regarding Girls Aloud , I really liked The Loving Kind , Untouchable and Miss you Bow Wow ? ( Was that the title ? ) from their last album.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think the Babes are selling well down to lots of promo and having catchy pop songs. But I think Girls Aloud, The Saturdays and the Pussycat Dolls could have easily recorded those songs also. The Sugababes used to be almost alternative in their sound and now they're so generic.

    I love pop music and there are many jawdropping pop songs out there. Sugababes 4.0 have ticked all the right boxes with pop, making songs that are catchy and infiltrate your brain. But none of them are amazing like Lady GaGa or even the likes of Jason Derulo or Iyaz.

  • Comment number 30.


    Even dressing like this won't help your flagging career! You aren't Gaga!

  • Comment number 31.

    Hello again,
    Well Sugababes are better than Girls Aloud (I love them Both tho) Facts:

    Sugababes made the Hot 100 in the USA (hole in the head and push the button) as well as the charts (without trying or promotion in the USA)

    They are huge in Latin America, Europe, South Asia, Japan, Australia New zealand and India even !

    The have had more number 1's (singles and albums)
    They are critically acclaimed
    They perform more private gigs abroad for Rich people.
    They CAN sing live.

    Heidi has been in the band since 2001. Before this they were dropped by their label and would have not been given a deal without Heidi - I know this for a fact I was on a school work experience at the time and overherd a conversation !.

    Heidi was approached by Simon Cowell in 2006 and offered a solo career. Why did she not take the chance and do so - the loyalty to the other girls that why - she is not fool BloggerLiam. she could have been a judge on the x factor way before cheryl cole , then heidi would have been "the nations sweet heart" instead of Mrs C. then everyone would not be slagging her off right now.

    Why cant we all take music at face value !!!!! the Saturdays are ok but well have to see

  • Comment number 32.

    No i'm afraid the sugababes arnt better than Girls Aloud. They just arnt.

    However, they are better overall than the Saturdays.

    However they're not recently.

    Make sense?

    Those 'babes singles mentioned;

    Overload - Yeah its good. rather good.
    Ugly - I suppose the message is all good and nice.
    Round Round - Boring, predictable, bad...
    Hole in the Head - see above
    Run for cover - can't remember that one. says a lot.
    Shape - Or this.
    About You Now - Ok, chorus is good.
    Too lost in You - This is amazing. But then i have to admit i like Love Actually, so that may play a part.
    Push the button - Doesnt make sense. Rubbish.
    Red Dress - As Liam said, just no.

    So some good stuff, but Girls Aloud have a stronger catalougue.

  • Comment number 33.

    Over all - Sugarbabes > Girls Aloud > Saturdays.

    Last two years - Saturdays > Girls Aloud > Sugarbabes.


  • Comment number 34.

    Ahhh now Liam. On what basis are you saying the sugababes are better than Girls Aloud?

    I base my judgement on the 'babes singles i just reviewed against;

    Sound Of The Underground - Just a really good pop song

    Something Kinda Ooh - Ditto

    Whole Lotta History - I like it, partly because of how perfect Miss Tweedy looks in the video...

    Love Machine - Bit cheesy, but the ARCTIC MONKEYS made it sound GENIUS

    Call The Shots - Glossy pop song, very polished.

    Can't Speak French - Sexy, fun, and the video...woah.

    and I'll Stand By You and Jump were great covers.


  • Comment number 35.

    Ok so lets discount covers, I think that's fair.

    Sound Of The Underground is good. In fairness sake I'll add Biology and The Promise to the list of good Girls Aloud songs. You missed those for some reason.

    Of the ones you listed, Love Machine is awful and was made comedic by The Monkies, not genius. Call the shots no. Can't speak French is awful. I don't even remember Whole Lotta History, great. Something kind of ooh really got on my tits.

    I make that 3 Girls Aloud songs.

    As I said, in fairness' sake, I will take your 6 songs, add the two I also mentioned. That makes 8.

    So in comparison, now, my best 8 Sugarbabes songs -

    About you now
    Too lost in you
    Run for Cover
    (Freak like me, though maybe this is a cover?)
    Round Round
    Push the Button (Im not a massive fan but it's better than the listed Girls Aloud tracks)

    Thats missing many others would argue are better. Also not counting Freak like me, but I added it 'cause its genius (making 8 not inc that).

    That list of 8 trounces the Girls Aloud list.

  • Comment number 36.

    This debate could go on forever , and I love the way people just diss some of the Sugababes tracks that had mass appeal and went to number 1 .
    I know it's personal taste , but in the pop world having a number 1 takes a good song , and so many other factors .

    I can see we will have to agree to dis a gree as it is just personal opinion , and of course we are ALL right , on that level .

    Good fun though !

    I could list loads of GREAT Girls Aloud singles ......

  • Comment number 37.

    lets all take music at face value - since when has the world become full of x factor style judges.
    the SUGABABES are better than girls aloud and allways will be, simples. but I really like girls aloud but they scared to try new stuff.

    So, the Sugababes are not well recieved in their new direction - sooooo what, we all learn by mistakes. kiesha "the bully" buchanan was involved in the latest album and new directions, everyone seems to think its because she is not a babe thats why the band has "lost" it a little,
    their next album will be better
    Kiesha mutya the mut I hope u loose in court you jelous, petty women - u had your chances n blew it ...

  • Comment number 38.

    I have no real passion for girls aloud, I just think they're better than the sugababes, but Andy seems to have a sizeable amount of the stuff for the sugababes so I'm pulling out now!

  • Comment number 39.

    Oh and just a tiny point- We ARE all x factor judges in a way. That's why we're on here, to judge, discuss and discover music.

  • Comment number 40.

    4 Stars + songs by Girls Aloud
    Call The Shots
    Sexy No No No!
    The Loving Kind
    The Show
    Love Machine
    No Good Advice
    Sound Of The Underground
    Something Kind Of Ooooh

    4 Stars + songs by Sugababes (Freak Like Me is counted as a cover)
    Push The Button
    Too Lost In You
    Hole In The Head
    About You Now
    About A Girl
    Round Round

    This says that, in my opinion, Girls Aloud are a better pop group. (however if I was including Freak Like Me then they would be the same)

  • Comment number 41.

    Well, I suggested in post 9 , that despite having 3 top 10 singles in a row , the new Sugababes album could falter, as it contained few moments of magic to make it a great album .

    It is my sad duty to report that in 2 weeks, Sweet 7 has fallen out of the top 40 , and in it's second week, only sold 4,000 copies .

    In other words , it has failed spectacularly .

    I hope the new single can reverse the downward spiral of this album , but don't hold out too much hope , as the next Babes single will be called Crash and Burn .


  • Comment number 42.

    I've heard, Spirit, that Crash And Burn has been cancelled as a single and Miss Everything featuring Sean Kingston will be chosen instead.


  • Comment number 43.

    Also, the fourth (or is it the seventh?) Sugababe Rihanna will release the fourth single from Rated R, the will.i.am assisted Photographs on May 24th.

  • Comment number 44.

    Lol @ 4000 copies .. pretty pathetic.

    What was Rhianna's third single? I thought we'd just had Russian Roulette and her one for the family, 'Rude boy?'?

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh well their was Hard, her second single, which only got a promo release over here but was released officially over in the US.

  • Comment number 46.

    Haha !

    When your album saving single is a duet with Sean Kingston , then yes , it's time to worry !!!


    Just ask Natasha Bedingfield !


  • Comment number 47.

    What ever happened to her? Actually, I don't care.

  • Comment number 48.

    Natasha ended up more successful in the US than she did here. She's currently working on a new album after her last one did well in the US but flopped magnificently here. I actually liked Natasha's single with Sean Kingston. Even though I could have done without him in the song. Even though her bits were good.

  • Comment number 49.

    I don't know what Natasha Bedingfield's doing at the moment but last time I saw her she was with her brother in the bargain basement section of Tesco.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am sure I wrote a reasonably long post on here about Miss. Beddingfield...

  • Comment number 51.

    You'll probably find it on the 3OH!3 thread @ 24.


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