I’m a bit unsure this is the best Three B-side, but only 3.9 points separate this and “Colder In The Rain” so let’s pretend that won out. As it is, “Someone In My Bed” is a perfectly serviceable bop with a lot of the edge that they were doling out on autopilot during the era. Mutya’s slightly bored-nasal delivery is great on both the first verse and chorus; Keisha’s on par for the second verse; and Heidi turns in a pretty neat, though slightly too slowly-paced, middle-eight. My quibble is mainly with the “He’s got me sick” refrain that opens and closes the song. It sounds rather fantastic but feels rather odd tacked onto the song like that, with its different tempo. If Xenomania were firing on all cylinders, that bit would probably be interspersed through the song and used as a proper bridge. Structural issues aside, lyrically it’s on point as a hook-up jam, with some assured bravado from the girls that the mans they woke up next to is there because of their ways and means. They stretch the limits of PG territory (especially with lines like “I know you like what you can't see”) but overall they keep it cute and fun. I especially like the “When I'm going up the stairs/It can't wait 'till morning” in the first verse paired with the “And I'm coming down the stairs/Bragging cos he made me go Ooh” in the second verse.
There’s some history with the song as it was intended to be the lead single off Three. This was likely workshopped at the same time as “Hole In The Head” by Xenomania. Thankfully, they ended up developing and choosing the superior song. It is rather strange that the band ended up chucking this out as a B-side though (to “Too Lost In You”), as it could have fitted on the album rather well, and has none of the seeming disqualifications that barred some of the other B-sides from the album (i.e. too sonically dissonant like “Who”, or too thematically dark like “Disturbed” or “Colder In The Rain”). As it is, I personally don’t pine for its inclusion as much as those three, but this is still superior to at least three songs on the album.
First off, we have kal (9) checking off the herstory, “Apparently this was supposed to be the lead single instead of Hole in the Head. I don’t blame them for not choosing it, but it could have easily went on the album to replace “Twisted”. Still happy we got to hear it in the end. Mutya’s opening verse is everything.” uno (7.5) agrees that it “Definitely gives … "Hole In The Head" vibes, but doesn't come near the highs that Hole hit - especially with the weak middle-8. Still, a great song and probably could've replaced a few songs that did make the album.” Ironheade (7.5) arrives to the same conclusion after missing some hints busily being thrown at him, “A little odd. It almost sounds like it's going to be a prototype "Push the Button" from the intro, but we run into more of a "Hole in the Head" vibe through the body of the song, with the punchy upstrokes of acoustic guitar and fast arpeggiated bassline… not to mention how the girls deliver their vocals. I can't be the only one to think this, right? It's not on that level, but it's pretty fine, with its catchy yet subtly danceable hook laden with playful vocal exchanges, and a nicely laid-out, spacious dance beat. The slow-burning middle 8 is quite nice, too, suddenly dropping out into a sparse layer of rimshots. Kind of a basic bop, but it works for what it is.”
xondus (9) posits that its “Definitely one of their strongest B-sides. If the production was spruced up a little and the intro was made a little less awkward this could easily be a single.” Similarly, “how this isn’t on the album is beyond” theincredibleflipper (10), as well as tylerc904 (9) who reckons it “Could have been on the album over quite a few tracks. The ultimate late night, probably drunk, hook up anthem.” acl (8) meanwhile has found an anthem for the drive-bys they’re conducting on their late nights: “Great when the guitar comes in It’s got a motivational sound to the beats and melody, like you’re in the car with the hunties on your way to fuck someone up.”
OTOH DJHazey (5) crosses himself hatefully, “Thank the Lord this mess didn't end up on a proper album. I keep hearing "something in my bed" and "something moving in it" in my mind -- yikes. The song is a pleasure otherwise, so it's quite a disappointment that I'll never hear it again.” I mean, no one is forcing you to not listen to it, boo! “Mutya makes is bearable by sheer force of will,” says a hateful Chanex (5) through gritted teeth. “Not good,” retches PCDPG (4.5). “It’s no ‘Colder in the Rain’” says a correct if harsh mrdonut (6)
Turns out Mama Constantino forgot to turn on the parental controls on poor Constantino’s (7) computer: “When searching for this on YouTube I stumbled upon some pretty disturbing thumbnails so lemme dock a point or two… This is alright but the mixing completely washes the vocals out.” londonrain (7) is measured as per: “The chorus saves this, which is just as well as it feels like it's repeated a LOT. Their vocals sound surprisingly weak on this for some reason.” Filler (8) also appreciates the “Cracking chorus. Would have been an above-average A-side. Solid lower-end-of-the-top-10 stuff.”
Robinho#1 chucks this a 10 and spills some tea, “Everything what “In The Middle” tried to be but could never reach such great heights.” Blayke (10) is also on the same frequency, and additionally picks up some static from The Aloud: “This would have been a much better single than “In The Middle”. This is perfect album material. How was this ignored and then later used as a B-Side?! I remember some people comparing Girls Aloud’s “Something Kinda Ooooh” to this but I can’t hear it despite the use of “ooh!”. I also love how bored Mutya sounds on the chorus despite leading it. Heidi’s middle-8 shines through again.” Runawaywithme (7.5) is more clearly finding the beats that are pumping on the stereo: “Another sassy bop with a great energy and edgy yet slightly clingy lyrics. It does sound a lot like Girls Aloud but the suga’s really sound great here and it’s a great fizzing pop song, I think that it should have been somewhere on the album.” CasuallyCrazed (10) don’t need no good advice cos “This is so bonkers it reminds me of a classic Girls Aloud Xenomania track. WHY WAS THIS A B-SIDE FOR GOD’s SAKE?” Perky Pamela P'NutButter (10) finds it to be “Xenomania at its perkiest”.
Solenciennes (8) is feeling the burn in his commitment to comment on every track teebs: “this is one of the better B-sides, it feels quite tongue in cheek. I don’t have much else to say about it, other than I enjoy it.” Someone who is not struggling with the same feat is Remorque (8) who has an … interesting take on this, “Excuse me, but is this an ode to rushing home to masturbate? Kii. They just sound so fucking sexy on this one. Definitely one of their best b-sides. Keisha’s little note to “One Touch” (she probably wasn’t aware of it…) [Ed: she probably was. “One touch of looooove” indeed.] and Heidi’s ode to that note on “Stronger” (she DEFINITELY wasn’t aware of it…) are nice little touches.” Of the hand kii.
We're halfway through, hunties! Time for a break...
~•~MID-RATE PRAISE BREAK~•~
So early on in the planning for this rate, I had to make the executive decision to cut the covers out. This was driven primarily by the alarming definites list which, at 111, was pushing the limits of feasibility. I figured that including the covers, whilst pleasing the hopeless Sugastans, would surely drive away newbies who already had to contend with a 24-strong coterie of B-sides and extras. But, I can’t just neglect the covers which have been a lot of interest to add to the band’s overall catalogue. So here are the majority of them compiled.
Of these, “Killer”, “Rocks” and “Don’t Look Back” are the picks of the lot for me. For some reason, the girls always sound better on the less frenetic covers, giving their vocals a chance to shine (especially Kesiha’s). “Hey There Delilah” is rather sweet as well, especially since they didn’t unnecessarily gender switch the lyrics (clearly after @ohnostalgia’s heart).
Interestingly, most (all bar two) of the cover B-sides were released by 3.0, perhaps charting the band’s decline in productivity in terms of original B-sides. Change produced just two original B-sides, and Catfights none. (In comparison, 1.0 produced four original B-sides from One Touch; 2.0 a total of eleven from Angels, Three and the Mutya singles from Taller; and 4.0 none at all). It’s also clear that 3.0 had strong leanings towards mid-00s British (pop)rock, which, as we covered with their original B-sides and tracks like “3 Spoons of Suga”, really seems like a missed opportunity in terms of potential (and better) musical directions for Change.
"Betcha by Golly, Wow" and "For Once In My Life" are great, rather left-field turns for them. Heidi in particular is wonderful on them.
“Please Can I Talk?” with Jools Holland – featured on Friends3 by Jools Holland (2004)
“Sing” with Annie Lennox and various artists – featured on Songs of Mass Destruction by Annie Lennox (2007)
“She’s Like A Star” with Taio Cruz and Busta Rhymes – this is a remix of the original by Cruz, and appears on the UK version of Catfights and Spotlights (2008), live
“Lay Down In Swimming Pools” – this is an interpolation of Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and MKS’ own song “Lay Down” (sadly, never to be heard). It was the first proper MKS song to be heard when it was put out by Dev Hynes after “the girls felt like having a bit of fun at the end of the last session”. It is pure, fantastical magic, and raised hopes for the reunion through the roof, which of course makes their subsequent dashing all the more devastating.
This is a really neat cover of The Supremes’ “Stop In The Name Of Love”, with the Babes getting to perform it with original Supreme Mary Wilson.
En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go” is a staple of girlband covers, but the Sugababes’ take on it is utterly glorious. Something about the song is perfectly suited for 3.0, being just within Amelle’s higher register, and space for Keisha to come in from the middle eight to obliterate everything. The last minute is her matching the En Vogue adlibs first, then ascending into some other dimension altogether.
Finally, no praise break would be complete without the Queen of Praise. No, I’m not talking about Natasha Tameika Cobbs, but Miss Patricia Louise Holt-Edwards herself, and the band taking on Labelle's classic "Lady Marmalade". This is just so much fun, and properly iconic. First there’s Whitney Houston(!) Deeming and introducing the girls in hilariously imperious fashion. The girls then come out and really turn it out to a lit audience (spot Jamelia amongst it), and it all goes awf when the guest of honour struts in. Without further ado, PLEASE BE UPSTANDING FOR MISS PATTI LABELLE!!!
They had some brilliant covers, especially 3.0. For Once in My Life is my favorite, but Betcha By Golly Wow, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, and Teardrops are also outstanding. I also love their Santa Baby.
Heidi sounds incredible on Betcha and For Once in My Life.
"I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" (which I'm sure got credited as the "Arctic Babes Mix" at some point) is an automatic 10 for me. It knocks the spots off the original version and would have been a great single in its own right.
Had we rated the covers, though, that Band Aid 20 single would have been my only zero. I know it was for charity and all, but hey, nobody used that reasoning to be kind to "Walk This Way"...