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Sugababes - Overloaded: The Singles Collection

Sugababes, Overloaded

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SUGAGBES have long been at the forefront of the pop movement because of the way they combine radio-friendly chart tunes with something that’s a little more sassy.

Since breaking through in 2000, they’ve sold 2 million singles, enjoyed four No.1s, shifted 5 million albums, including three triple-platinum discs in the UK and boast more Top 10 hits than the Spice Girls, All Saints, Destiny’s Child or Bananarama, as well as more Top 10 hits with original songs than any girl group since The Supremes.

They’re also the first girl group since the 1980s to release more than three hit albums. While their popularity isn’t just reserved for the UK, given their huge following across Europe, the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. They’ve enjoyed fleeting success in the States, too, where some of their songs have featured prominently on popular soundtracks (most notably, Love Actually).

What’s more, they’ve avoided the temptation to branch out into solo careers and remain one of the largest pop acts of the moment despite losing one of their founding members earlier this year – Mutya Buena departed to take a break from the extensive media commitments, leaving Keisha Buchanan and Heidi Range to unite with newcomer Amelle Berrabah.

Any doubts that this might upset the formula have long since been expelled by some impressive tour dates and the release of a new single, Easy, ahead of this timely greatest hits collection, Overloaded.

Indeed, Easy capably demonstrates how the girls enjoy working with collaborators to ensure their sound remains fresh and contemporary. In this case, pop-rock band-of-the-moment Orson lend their guitar sound to the track to give it some extra polish and a little bit of kick. It helped to ensure another huge hit for the girls.

But then why break a winning formula? The Sugababes have long drawn on the help of some of the industry’s leading figures, starting with Richard X, whose gutsy production values leant Freak Like Me such a distinct sound.

Further contributors have included the likes of Sting (on the excellent Shape), William Orbit, Xenomania and Cathy Dennis.

There are the odd moments when the Sugababes slip up and feel a little too generic (Run For Cover is a fairly bland pop offering, while Caught In A Moment is one of their weaker ballads) but on the whole this is one heck of a guilty pleasure.

There’s a truly infectious (even cheesy) vibe surrounding crowd-pleasers such as Hole In The Head and Ugly, while tracks like Round Round and the Beck-style Overload are genuinely funky performers that should effortlessly get you grooving.

Hence, at a time when the likes of Girls Aloud are putting out retrospectives that merely serve to remind us how forgettable and rubbish much of their early work has been, Sugababes now deliver a pertinent, sassy reminder of just why they have enjoyed such incredible success for so long.

If you buy only one pop compilation this Xmas, then make it this one. It provides several neat reminders of past glories, as well as a lively party soundtrack for any festive gatherings. Long may the girls continue for they help to make listening to pop music bearable.

Overloaded is also available as part of a 2CD release with a special remix package. On this separate CD, the likes of Armand Van Helden get to rework tracks like Hole In The Head and Craigie and Crichton twiddle some nobs on Round Round. Very few, however, sound as good as the originals and most actually sound a whole lot worse.

Track listing:

  1. Freak Like Me
  2. Round Round
  3. Red Dress
  4. In The Middle
  5. Stronger
  6. Shape
  7. Overload
  8. Good To Be Gone
  9. Caught In A Moment
  10. Ugly
  11. Easy
  12. Too Lost In You
  13. Run For Cover
  14. Hole In The Head
  15. Push The Button