Sugababes - 'Wear My Kiss'
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.
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.