Follow Us on Twitter

Sugababes - Change

Sugababes, Change

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

KEISHA, Heidi and Amelle – aka Sugababes – return with their fifth studio album and continue to prove why they’re generally considered to be one of the best all-girl pop acts around.

Produced with the help of the same personnel who’ve already provided the band with four of their No.1 singles thus far – namely, Dallas Austin (Push The Button) and Xenomania (Round Round, Hole In The Head‘) – the LP seeks to embellish their trademark sound with something to keep the mix fresh and exciting.

Hence, album opener [and former lead single] About You Now taps into a breezier sound that’s designed to fizz with synths, guitars and perky beats.

The ‘Babes describe it as “an anthem for anyone who’s ever chucked everything away then immediately regretted it” and, as such, include some regretful lyrics in a bid to give the pop a harder edge. But it doesn’t work as well as past hits and lacks the same crossover appeal of earlier cuts Round And Round or, most notably, Freak Like Me.

Its follow-up Never Gonna Dance Again is another early misfire – a relationship breakdown anthem set on a dancefloor that seems to be striving to recreate the dance appeal of Madonna’s last LP release. It’s amiable without ever coming close to the best in the Sugababes’ back catalogue.

Denial, however, drops an altogether sharper, snappier beat over the pop-laced vocal delivery to herald the album’s first real highlight.

And title track Change then capably marries William Orbit-style production values with the sort of power ballad qualities that helped to make Too Lost In You a better ballad than most. It’s delivered emphatically and includes some nice melodies that manage to avoid being too wishy-washy.

Back When is a perfectly fine example of Sugababes on cruise control complete with nice vocal harmonising and polished pop production values – like the equally pleasant Open The Door later on.

But unlike the name of the album suggests, Change is not so much a reinvention of the Sugababes sound but rather an underlining of their qualities – and proof that there is life after Mutya Buena.

While she attempts to form a solo career and collaborates with some interesting artists (Groove Armada), the remaining ‘Babes [and new recruit Amelle] appear content to remain in the pop world they have dominated for so long.

The remainder of the album follows a similar patten, blending easy on the ear pop melodies with some sassier, riskier moments.

One of these is Backdown, which flirts with a reggae vibe and some edgier electronic loops to create a much funkier sound, and another is 3 Spoons Of Suga, which thrives on a Fatboy Slim-style big beat and a strong organ underpinning the sassy vocals. Both provide the kind of crossover appeal and ability to mix things up that’s been missing from a lot of the album.

But in efforts like Surprise, My Love Is Pink and final track Undignified they deliver buff variations on their own tried and tested formula.

The result will satisfy the majority of their fans without reaching as wide a demographic as they have before. Change is therefore a good pop album with some even better moments. But by the Sugababes own high standards, it lacks a cutting edge.

Download picks: Denial, Change, Backdown, 3 Spoons of Suga, Undignified

Track listing:

  1. About You Now
  2. Never Gonna Dance Again
  3. Denial
  4. My Love Is Pink
  5. Change
  6. Back When
  7. Surprise
  8. Back Down
  9. Mended By You
  10. 3 Spoons Of Suga
  11. Open The Door
  12. Undignified

  1. If you ask me the Sugababes are going from strength to strength – not getting weaker as this reviewer suggests. Still, at least he hasn’t taken the easy indie option of slating another all girl chart act.

    Lara    Oct 13    #