Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Album Review: Sugababes - Catfights and Spotlights (4/5)
Sugababes (along with fellow girl group Girls Aloud) since the new millennium have been great representatives of great, fresh UK pop. Their debut back in 2000 with One Touch was a fairly mediocre offering churning out the mellow, rock steady, top 40 hit "Overload". Their sophomore effort Angels With Dirty Faces remain their best work to date, producing a string of top 10 hits and 2 #1s with the remake of "Freak Like Me" and "Round Round". Follow up albums Three and Taller In More Ways were very consistent efforts, keeping the group at the forefront of UK pop.
Their last release Change gave the group a fatal blow both in quality and commercially, the UK #1 "About You Now" and "Denial" were good cuts from the album but everything else was just not upto par with their previous releases.
Sugababes adopt redemption with Catfights and Spotlights which is admittedly a great improvement from Change, whilst Change was more electronic and european pop, Catfights and Spotlights indulge in a more motown throwback, urban contemporary vibe, something I've been longing for the group to do since their single "Stronger" back in 2002. "No Can Do" is my favorite track on here, which carries a delicious 70s motown throwback theme. The album already beats Change with its opening song, the catchy remake of "Girls" which also serves as the albums lead single.
"Hanging On A Star" and "Unbreakable Heart", are more euro-pop influenced tracks, they doesn't anywhere near as contemporary as they should, but they're flirty carrying an almost trip-hop vibe, so you can say "screw contemporary" here. "Side Chick" is an nostalgic number and another favorite, the chorus is mid paced going on slow, but more richer than some of the other slow numbers on the album - it's almost reminiscent of "Division" an album cut from U.S. Disney stars Aly & AJ from their Insomniatic album, but carries a more richer feel.
"Sunday Rain" is among the more dramatic ballads, with a very haunting yet melodic chorus, I like the lyric: " you break my heart and I'll break yours, that's how it goes". Another song about heartbreak is "Every Heart Broken" which another slow number, it lacks a good hook, it balances itself with rhythmic handclaps in the background a recurring piano, which seems to be playing one key throughout the song.
Aside from "Girls" and "No Can Do" the more upbeat moments on the album are "Nothing's Good As You" which sounds a tad Kate Nash-esque and "You On A Good Day" which is another one of my favorites, portions of it sound very cartoonish.
Catfights and Spotlight (without the addition of Change) is yet another consistent offering from Sugababes. Unfortunately as music progresses I fear they'll never ever be able to match Angel's With Dirty Faces or even Three. This may have some decent standouts, but it lacks its "Push The Button" or "About You Now" - "No Can Do" is the only song that comes close.
Best tracks: Girls, You On A Good Day, No Can Do, Side Chick, Sunday Rain