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After several lineup changes and rumours of in-fighting, girl band Sugababes released a greatest hits package in 2006, after four studio albums. Overloaded: the Singles Collection contained 15 songs, including some of their biggest hits.
The band's debut album One Touch contributes two songs to this collection. Overload was their first single and its sophistication and attitude belied the band's youth. Run for Cover, a tale of angst, is also a really good song. Second album Angels With Dirty Faces contributes four songs. Freak Like Me, one of their biggest hits, was a fantastic song and Round Round a great club track. Stronger and Shape are two of the band's best ballads, the latter making great use of a Sting sample.
Third album Three also contributes four songs. Hole in the Head is an unbelievably catchy upbeat pop song, while In the Middle another infectious classic. The two ballads are also of a high standard: Caught in a Moment is sad and reflective while Too Lost in You is about obsessive love.
Fourth album Taller in More Ways provides three songs for the album. Push the Button is full of attitude and a catchy beat. Red Dress is one of the best songs the band has done, a great pop classic, while Ugly is an unsentimental song about not judging people by their looks.
The album also contains two new songs. Good to be Gone is catchy, sophisticated Girls Aloud-esque pop, while Easy is full of attitude and is more traditional Sugababes.
Overall, this is a great album that showcases the 'Babes hits (and there are a lot of them!) up until their fourth album. In my opinion their early years were their best and I highly recommend this CD in order to sample the best of what they created.
1. Freak Like Me
2. Round Round
3. Red Dress
4. In the Middle
8. Good To Be Gone
9. Caught in a Moment
12. Too Lost in You
13. Run For Cover
14. Hole in the Head
15. Push the Button
This CD is a greatest hits album featuring fifteen classic pop songs from the Sugababes.
I would class the album as pop with an RnB twist. The album contains a mixture of both upbeat tracks and haunting ballads which are sung beautifully by all of the girls. Although this album features a new member, the previous members of the band are still featured on the older tracks (i.e Overload and Run For Cover).
The songs are written by the girls (most of them are anyway) and they're easy to relate to as they cover subjects such as relationships, bullying and self esteem issues. The ballads are quite slow (i.e Shape, Stronger) but they're far from cheesy and the vocals are perfect.
Fifteen songs is a decent length for a greatest hits album featuring a band that have been around since the year 2000. The album contains two "new" tracks which are "Easy" and "Good To Be Gone". The latter was never released as a single, it was only available on this album. The other songs were all featured on different albums, however it's nice to have them all on one album.
This album is easy to listen to, catchy and it contains no fillers. It's a great album to chill out to and it's also great for travelling as you can get lost in the songs too easily!
A fab album that's available for a bargain price now.
British girl group, the Sugababes, bizarrely share a special ability with Doctor Who - both have the unfailing ability to regenerate when facing certain death. Whilst currently on their fourth line-up - one lacking in both quality material and character - it is easy to forget that this group were once one of the best and most innovative in pop music. Memorable beats, edgy lyrics and soulful yet sexy vocals, they helped to craft some fantastic tracks over the past decade. 'Overloaded: The Singles Collection' was released in 2006, and covered their greatest hits from their first four albums. For me, this was the golden era of the Sugababes and is an essential purchase as it is one of the few pop albums that you can listen to and not skip a track.
The songs from the first line-up (Siobhán, Keisha and Mutya) show the group's more indie, less commercial origins. 'Overload', their break-out hit, features a shuffling bass-line and manages to incorporate elements of electronic and hip-hop music into its production. The song's hook is simple and surprisingly restrained vocally, but the interesting and eclectic production show a real creativity in their early approaches to pop music. It also boasts writing credits from all three girls, impressive given they were in their mid-teens when it was released. 'Run for Cover' also appears - an edgy, slightly haunting ballad with dramatic synths and an irresistible piano led production. Mutya's voice really shines in the song, sounding absolutely beautiful in the harmonies in the chorus with the other girls. The dark lyrics also provide another testimony to the fact that in the early days, these girls were not your typical pop band.
While the record label chose to neglect several of the other band's early singles, understandably, they seem keen to place the emphasis on the band's second line-up - the one which launched them to prominence in the early 00s. 'Freak Like Me' boasts production from Richard X, which sounds fresher than anything in the charts today. The heavy synths and layered percussion, combines rock elements and even sound-effects from 1980s video games into the production. The girls sound more confident, with the inclusion of Heidi Range as a replacement for Siobhán adding a softer, sweeter tone to their harmonies while still retaining their husky, sultry edge. "It's all about the dark in me," they sing, completely believably, which is in stark contrast against the try-hard efforts of most pop singers today to appear 'bad'. 'Round Round' again, is characterised by flawless production. Shuffling synths and a pounding drum-line come together to creative a unique back-drop to an addictive pop track. "Round round, baby, round round, spinnin' out on me/Don't need nobody but by honey's when I go round round" Mutya sings on the chorus - lyrically simple but begging you to hit the repeat button over and over.
The girls also shine on the ballads, with mid-tempos like 'Shape', which features vocals from Sting. The haunting production sounds flawless as it accompanies their voices, furthering my conviction that Mutya is one of the most underrated voices to grace pop music in years. She really provided the soul of the group, something which seemingly died with her departure from the group. 'Shape' sits shoulder to shoulder with 'Stronger', an empowering mid-tempo. "I'll make it through the rainy days, I'll be the one who stands there longer than the rest" they vow on the opening line of the track. The strong hook and their convicted vocals really sell the meaning of the song to you, which has surprising lyrical depth.
'Too Lost in You' from the film 'Love Actually' also makes an appearance on the album, where Heidi's vocals really shine. However, their gorgeous harmonies on the simple chorus ("Too lost in you/Too caught in you/Too lost in everything you do") are really beautiful to listen to. The song takes on a darker twist lyrically as the verse progress, which prevents the slightly saccharine hook from spoiling the track. The only dip in quality on the album really appears with 'Caught in a Moment', a perfectly serviceable ballad, but it lacks much character even with the girls' great vocals. "Bit by bit, I'm taking it step by step," they sing prior to the bland chorus, which lacks strong lyrics or a memorable melody. It's definitely one of those tracks which sound fine on an album, but in a greatest hits compilation, sound like a serious dip in quality given its company. 'Ugly' showcases a more acoustic sound to the group, but maintaining a radio-friendly sound. The inspirational lyrics feature some clever lines about judgement, where they proclaim "If I'm ugly then so are you". The lyrics are really great, and the gradually building tempo keeps the song from staying too grounded in the ballad territory.
'Hole in the Head' kicks off with an erratic guitar line and the memorable lyrics "Seven hours since you went away, eleven coffees Ricki Lake on play" before launching into one of the most creative British pop songs of the past decade. Shuddering beats and synths, and an addictive chorus, the girls appear defiant and full of conviction on the track as the quickly move on from a lover. For me, a definite stand-out track. 'In the Middle' also provides a great up-tempo with a really strong hook, and interesting structure. While I love the ballads on the CD, the up-tempos are really where the girls take big risks with their production and lyrics, often paying off big-time. Of course, the final song including from the second line is their enormous hit - the glossy pop track, 'Push the Button'. It is a fairly big departure from their edgier beginnings, yet with a song this flirty, charming and fun, you can't help but love it. Its lyrics are about the frustration you have waiting for someone to admit they like you, and so the girls demand their love interest 'pushes the button' or lets them move on. It's such a great track, and a perfect summery song to sing along to.
There are three tracks which appear from the third line-up - Amelle, Heidi and Keisha - a change which showed a markedly decline from the days of Mutya. 'Easy' is rock-tinged rock track, which has an addictive chorus but undeniably sleazy lyrics. The girls seem a little out of their depth singing about how there's a "landing strip free at the airport" and that they want "sex on the beach, and not on the rocks." However, it's a fun song at least. 'Red Dress' is a big improvement, with its empowering lyrics referring to a woman who refuses to dress-up for a man, because it hasn't attracted good men in her past. The up-tempo cut features strong percussion and electro-pop elements, characteristics of all the band's best pop tracks. Their third song included by the line-up is 'Good to Be Gone', a rock-influence song which has a fairly monotonous sets of lyrics and lacks a strong hook. Although there is a country and western-inspired guitar line which at least keeps it interesting.
Out of the fifteen tracks on this album, there are only two which I'm not particularly keen on. For me, this is a fantastic greatest hits, covering a pop band in its golden days - with the emphasis luckily falling on the second line-up, where their vocals and also musical output, are easily at their peak. While the band has since declined in quality, this album is a fantastic reminder of them at their best. Available for just £2.99 on Amazon and Amazon MP3, it's a ridiculous bargain - there are simply no excuses to put off buying it. Without a doubt, an essential purchase for any lover of pop music.
It's very odd singles collection. It's still contains of their stronger songs but is still lacking in some areas. I would recommend it if you're new to their music, but if you have their albums already, it's probably best to leave it be unless you want to get Easy or Good To Be Gone, which neither tracks you can download on amazon or iTunes individually. I find that a bit silly since Easy was released as a single. Overall, it's alright.
I've always liked the Sugababes, but have never bought any of their albums, so when I saw this greatest hits CD on Amazon, I thought it'd be a good buy. The download price was a little expensive- £7.49, in fact, but I was pleased to see it was available on CD for just £3.49. It seemed like a real bargain- 15 of their best tracks for around the same price as just 4 single downloads would be.
It's hard to believe that the Sugababes have been around for over 10 years now; the original members were in their early teens when the first single, Overload, hit the charts, and their youthfulness has kept them on top of their game over the years. They've moved with the times, but have for the most part kept the edgy style of pop which has set them apart from other girl groups. The reason they most stand out for me is the quality of the vocals; they've never had to cover up for a weaker member, like some girl groups seem to. Each member (and there've been a few over the years!) consistently delivers, and has a voice that can hold its own in a solo, or merge in beautiful harmonies with the other girls. The fact that they're equally good singing live is a testament to their outstanding vocal abilities.
Sadly, over the years, the group has become better known for its ever-changing line-up, with members being replaced amid reports of infighting. The original members of the group were Siobhán Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan, but after just a few single releases, Donaghy left the group and was replaced with Heidi Range.This second line-up lasted much longer- from 2001 to 2005, in fact, and it was during this time that the Sugababes enjoyed their greatest success, releasing chart-topping singles like Freak Like Me, Round Round and Push The Button. In 2005, Mutya Buena left the band to pursue a solo career, and was replaced with Amelle Berrabah, and, most recently, Jade Ewen replaced original member Buchanan in 2009.
Phew, that's a lot of history, but I think it's important to bear in mind the changes the group has been through when considering this album. 'Overloaded: The Singles Collection' was released in 2006, and came at just the right time, in my opinion. The group seems to have suffered from all the chopping and changing, and their chart popularity has decreased in recent years, but this album is a compilation of highlights from their golden years. Listening to it now is quite a nostalgic experience, as the group's style has morphed recently into funkier territory (and not in a good way!). These singles are, for the most part, more melodic and musical, but always with that edgy sound that makes them so unique.
Here are the album's tracks, along with the initials of the group members who performed them:
1. Freak Like Me (MB, KB, HR)
2. Round Round (MB, KB, HR)
3. Red Dress (KB, HR, AB)
4. In The Middle (MB, KB, HR)
5. Stronger (MB, KB, HR)
6. Shape (MB, KB, HR)
7. Overload (MB, KB, SD)
8. Good To Be Gone (KB, HR, AB)
9. Caught In A Moment (MB, KB, HR)
10. Ugly (MB, KB, HR)
11. Easy (KB, HR, AB)
12. Too Lost In You (MB, KB, HR)
13. Run For Cover (MB, KB, SD)
14. Hole In The Head (MB, KB, HR)
15. Push The Button (MB, KB, HR)
Listening to this album, the first thing that struck me was the order of the tracks- I don't think they've been arranged particularly well. The first 4 tracks are all quite similar- poppy, quite upbeat and sexy. By track 4, I found I was getting a bit bored, listening to all these songs with the same vibe, then came two slower, more melancholy songs together. Fortunately, from this point on the styles are much more varied, and the mix of tracks is good.
On the upbeat side of things, highlights for me are Overload, the group's slightly more indie style first release, which showcases the girls' surprisingly mature vocals and really kick-started their popularity, Push The Button, with its catchy chorus, and Ugly, a thought-provoking song with personal lyrics which provides a refreshing change from the girls' frequently sexy tone.
I also really like some of the more toned-down, soulful songs like Too Lost In You (the moving, romantic song that featured in Love Actually), and Shape, in which the girls give the Sting classic a modern, funky makeover.
While the album is refreshingly free from dud tracks, there are a few that I wasn't so keen on. Red Dress, In The Middle and Hole In The Head were all a bit samey and unimaginative for my liking, while Good To Be Gone was the only track I'd never heard before, and now I have heard it, it's very forgettable. Easy is a funny mixture- I don't really like the verse- with lyrics like 'Got such a pretty kitty, boy, I know you want to pet it', it's full of corny innuendo, but is redeemed by it's catchy chorus which sticks in your head.
Overall, however, the album features some of the group's best tracks, and has a song for every occasion. I'm sure everyone will find at least a few songs on there that they know and love. The only other slight gripe I have with it is that the photography on the sleeve features only Keisha, Heidi and Amelle; given that the latter sings on only 3 out of the 15 tracks, I'm surprised they used the photos of this line-up. That's probably just because I've got a soft spot for Mutya though- in my opinion, it's her gritty, powerful vocals that bring the backbone to the band. Still, I'm really pleased I bought the album, and would recommend it to anyone who likes the Sugababes' music, or is after some fantastic female vocals with a twist.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Freak Like Me
2 Round Round
3 Red Dress
4 In The Middle
8 Good To Be Gone
9 Caught In A Moment
12 Too Lost In You
13 Run For Cover
14 Hole In The Head
15 Push The Button