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In short, what British pop in 2007 should sound like...
on 30 September 2007
In the old days, before we were all engrossed in a generation of downloaders and MySpace hunters, and when record companies had more money to throw around in the golden age of MP:UK (manufactured pop UK, as the Sunday Times Culture guide labelled it), manufactured pop bands would, more often than not, have to split after three or four albums and a greatest hits - basically, it was a death knell to each individual members' future career - all to release flop solo albums, and then appear in some panto in Worthing with Christopher Biggins and some so called "actress" from The Bill/Footballers' Wives etc or a third rate, car crash reality TV show with David Hasselhoff or similar, dampening their public credibility forever more.
Now, in times when pop bands are few and far between, this doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Sugababes are one such band, and in spite of no less than two line up changes in the past 7 years, they have surpassed everyone's expectations, as now, joining One Touch, Angels With Dirty Faces, Three, Taller In More Ways and last years' best of package Overloaded: The Singles Collection to their albums CV is their fifth studio album, Change. The title, like all the others before it, reflects numerous shifts in the band - they're all in their 20's now, it's their first album with still relatively new member Amelle Berrabah, and more importantly, it just so happens to be the best album of their career to date.
Opening on the record company proclaimed, Cathy Dennis penned "spanking new single" (and it really is) "About You Now", which as I write is set to shoot in at #1 this afternoon on downloads alone, they establish themselves as the new queens of squelchy, catchy electropop perfection - it's a song that has all the makings of their biggest hits, while taking on something brilliantly different at the same time. This isn't the only standout though - as once again, Xenomania pop back up to contribute "My Love Is Pink" (which, on it's title alone, surely has to be a great song anyway, which it is) and track 2, "Never Gonna Dance Again", which, largely because of the paradox of sweet and breezy dance pop and gritty, doomed relationship based lyrics like "I lost the music when you said it's over" makes it one of their most clever efforts to date.
Also worth a mention is the eponymous "3 Spoons Of Suga", which has many similarities between the title track from their second album, "Denial", penned by Novel (Stacie Orrico, P!nk) and which makes more than a passing nod to the Gossip's "Standing In The Way Of Control" while remainingly delightfully hummable, and the album's title track, a rousing, emotive little 60's style ballad which will surely join "New Year" and "Too Lost In You" as one of their finest slow numbers (and it should, after all, this is the next single).
In short, if you're after an album of what British pop in 2007 should sound like, this is it. Keisha, Heidi and Amelle have struck gold again, and have set a high quality precedent many will have to pull their sleeves up for to follow.