A new series of our pop podcast - dedicated to the Sugababes music career. We cover everything girlbands - the hits, the battles, the break ups and make ups. So join us each week for a new podcast episode dedicated to everything Sugababes
If you are joining us for the first time, We are POD OF THE POPS, a podcast dedicated to celebrating british girlbands in their united forms and getting justice for their oft forgotten solo careers. We dig up the little pop fact nuggets you never knew you’d already forgotten.
Our first series was dedicated to the Spice Girls - a sprawling 15 episode epic. This time, we’re keeping it tight. We explored the best selling girl band of the 90s, so lets look at the best selling girlband of the 00s: The Sugababes.
I’m your host, Comedian Aaron Twitchen and - once again - I am the English Rose between two Scottish Thistles. Karen - Lauren. Like, MKS we are reunited once again ladies.
So, I’ve shaken things up a little around here ladies. Sugababes have somewhat of a revolving door policy - or at least thats the joke constantly made - but we have seen 4 different iterations before they reset back to the original. As such, each episode will be in two halves. We will review their career of the band up until the departure of a member and introduction of the member, then in the second half we will review the solo career of the returning or departing artist. Make sense? ANy questions?
Lets take it back…….Sugababes were formed in 1998 by All Saints Manager Ron Tom.
Siobhan and Mutya had both been signed as solo artists, aged 13, and were performing together at a showcase.
Ron Tom (that name - it sounds like a sushi dish) had them both in the studio at the same time and Mutya had brought her friend, Keisha in. He asked if she could sing a little and the 3 started harmonising. Ron Tom saw dollar signs! He likened their difference in racial appear to United colors of Benetton.
Ron Tom….. was Siobhans best friends brother in law. And he had previously managed the All Saints.
Originally named Sugababies - but they felt that was a bit puerile - They drop the i and sign with London Records. Home of All Saints.. Its very Little MIx - they talk about that. Is it a name that can transfer to young women, a grown adult group.
They go into the studio - young women - working and writing. Lets respect that. Cowrite on almost every track.
And hit the scene in mid-2000 with their debut hit Overload.
Does anyone know what Overload is about? Lyrics.
There was a lyric controversy. So second verse says “In my sleep I think of you feather bed by myself”. Obvs a bit risque as they are under 16. So I think they say ‘theres a bed’. Of course, noone noticed because the lyrics are reasonably ludicrous.
So, their first live performance on TOTP. Young girls remember - 14-16. The chair choreography…. Leg switch. Head switch. I mean, they are DEFINITELY in time! Not easy….. And then the BREAKDOWN. Hop hop shimmy shimmy hop hop.
Did they invent the chair key change rise favoured by Westlife?
Mutya hair is SO 90s. With the half bits of plaits?
It gets a really positive critical reception. NME call it hauntingly infesctios while the Observer hail its unexpected class.
It debuts at No.6 and has some european success. Also gets to No.2 in New Zealand. International Babes.
To increase their profile and to further the profits of the Sugababes franchise management decided: Slap it on a soundtrack. What is better than one soundtrack: two soundtracks.
Features on soundtracks for 2001 High heels and low lifes
(a movie about an underpaid nurse - minnie driver - and her actress friend trying to extort a gang for a million pounds. Also features Danny Driver)
40 days and 40 nights (Josh Harnett stars in a satirical erotic romantic comedy in which he attempts to herculean mission of not boning someone for, you guessed it, 40 days and 40 nights. Plot twist: he fails)
Overload. Was also noted for Best British Single at the 2001 Brit awards.
To which I introduce a new feature - INSERT JINGLE -
Who wants to play the Brits Quiz Winner game?
I will read you the nominees for a past Brit Award category and you must guess the winner. Are you ready? Category is: Best British single at 2001 brit awards.
Let me read the finalists:
Pure Shores All Saints / Coldplay Yellow/ Craig David 7 Days / Robbie Williams Rock DJ / David Gray Babylon / Moloko Time is now / Sonique feels so good / Spiller Groovejet / Toploader Dancing in the moonlight.
Pop Quiz? Do you know which american diva had to later credit the Babes on her album track after accidentally sampling Overload?
Christina Aguileras “Make OVer”. Was originally Aguilera and Linda Perry then after release they added the writing team behind Overload. Including the babes. Indeed if you look on Wikipedia they are credited as the songwriters. The debate is over the bassline - I remember thinking it at the time. Apparently, it meant the song couldn’t be released as a single or be included on the Stripped live DVD. Who knew! THAT IS A JUICY Pod of the pops FACT people. Episode one, first 20 minute. Detective Aaron got out his monocle and magnifying glass and went digging.
Straight off the bat, a month later the album “One Touch” comes out. November 2000. Again, rave reviews.
Guardian: "fantastic album that encapsulates the sound of young America with enough style, attitude and originality to mesmerise"
Independent: "it's about time a half-decent pure-pop album got released, and over a dozen songs that jump playfully between upbeat R&B, poppy soul and groove-laden ballads, these three London schoolgirls have achieved it.
The girls are praised for singing and writing on every song. I love this album. I must have got it for christmas, I’m guessing - so after New Year had come out. I LOOPED it. Like, looped it. I think I could relate to the lyrics more than Spice Girls. Because they were more adolescent. And the sugababes seemed more - attainable. They maybe looked more like us. Spoke more like us.
Only 3 tracks on the album the babes dont get a cowrite on. More on this later.
Well, it did NOT set the charts on fire. It debuted at no.77 and flitted up there for a few weeks. It does reach a chart peak of 26 in April - around the release time of Run For Cover.
It is certified Gold for sales of more than 100,000 copies. Not to be sniffed at.
It does get some success in europe and in australasia.
Lets talk : The singles campaign for the album was New Year
This is one of the first songs that Keisha wrote. She says on her YouTube that she used to write poems. Who didnt - as raps. And then she was convinced to turn them to melodies. (That YouTube video is a bit Geri….. “I wrote it”)
- released just before christmas. A soft regretful ballad.
I just discovered the B-Side: Sugababes on the run. It. Is. Very of the time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feFjjSPUU2A
It was in the christmas chart battle, released 18th Dec… do you know who was christmas number one that year. Bob the Builder!
We get another white space music video.
Reviewers again LOVING it. The press was so hot for this.
It peaked at 12….. Can you imagine if that had been VB?!
In April we get Run For Cover. To obvious critical acclaim. Charting at 13. This is an exciting moment because all get the introduction of choreography - most notably, the Suga Shuffle. This will comeback a lot in the future and evolve.
Its basically a slight hip to the left, hip to the left - but in order to truly suga you got to make it awkward. Like you’re fighting your own hip. Like its broken. Like you’re stuck in treacle. And then walk, swap places, shuffle again.
Then in July we get Soul Sound. This gives us record label friction. So London Records were really keen for them to record the the song. One of the very few tracks on the album not written by the Babes.
The Babes didnt love it. They wanted to go more into an RnB direction and felt this was a bit more pop. It does feel very much like a campaign saver. Try and go pop.
I remember not loving it at the time - looking back, it does feel out of place on the album. Its not even a good representation of their voices. The harmonies aren’t as exciting as their other work.
Lyrically ok - so have I told you the background to the song?
So, I know its someones deep personal awaekening but…. Patience I will learn before this fire burns? Rhyming I with fly and see with be…. Come on now. Its very Desiree life. Sounds like means something but it really doesn’t.
It just isn’t indicative of the album. But, you know, sometimes campaigns savers work. Whole Again.
In order to make up for the lack of sales and to further the profits of the Sugababes franchise management decided: Slap it on a soundtrack.
It does feature in a movie Summer Catch - a movie in which Freddie Prince Jr has sworn off girls to further his baseball career until he falls in love with Jessica Biel when he sees her mowing the lawn.
THe babes will have got to have gone to a lot of movie premieres - no? That would have been fun.
DO we think these were the best single choices? I think New Year was a weak second single. Beautiful song but I dont think its attention grabbing. Whereas something like One Foot In or Same Old Story would be attention. Grabbing. Especially with the garage sound at that time.
Run for Cover a definite good choice.
You know how things went in the 90s, weve said it before - Banger banger ballad. Banger banger ballad.