The Sugababes Discography Rate

The Catfights songs should be left well alone for a while. There are a handful of other album tracks (and one single...) that should go first.
'No Can Do', 'Side Chick', 'Unbreakable Heart', 'Murder 1' and 'Can We Call A Truce' are all perfect pop songs and should see off quite a lot of what is left.

'Cause I ain't got time for your conversations

If you want a sly chick, on the Side Chick, it's not you and I

If I walk through my whole life choosing the safe side

We both have our truths



No Can Do

Score: 7.884
Highest: 10/10 x 15 (@VivaForever, @tylerc904, @Voodoo, @Elysium, @Island, @SmashHitter, @marie_05, @Lost In Japan., @supersoon, @High Heel Feminist, @Runawaywithme, @Daniel!, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Blayke, @PLUTO)
Lowest: 4/10 x 3 (@Filler, @constantino, @roux)
My score: 9/10

So we finally return to Catfights, and y’all do away with its second and last single, leaving six of its album tracks remaining, an unprecedented state of affairs compared to all the other albums which retain most to all of their singles.

“No Can Do” is a fantastic song that serves as a mission statement of sorts for the album, in capturing its sound – boldly retro soul/R&B – and its content – assertive male defiance. The song updates the Motown sound for the new millennium, running off an irresistible groove and layering it with sizzling instrumentation (mainly keyboard, guitar, trombone, trumpet, saxophone and brass). The central beat samples Sweet Charles Sherrell's "Yes It's You”, and there are definite allusions to the Jackson Five (especially “I Want You Back”). Vocally, it’s a superb showcase of 3.0’s elevated prowess – a slinking Amelle and a voluptuous Keisha knocking back their verses with aplomb before returning to duel each other on the middle eight, while Heidi handles the bridges with a cutting air of sultry disdain. All three go awf on the choruses, especially on the last one where the customary Keishalibs really make the song crackle. To top it off, there’s a really neat coda that takes over from the chorus and lands the song on silky smooth waters. It all provides a really interesting backdrop for the song’s subject matter – of waving a definite goodbye to a no good boyfriend – as the pace is relaxed, joyful even, contrasting with the barely contained ferocity of 2.0’s efforts on similar terrain. It’s as if this comes from being slightly older, when this sort of sign-off is perhaps more routine and doesn’t phase you as much any more; where you have the confidence to cut the toxic things in your life out.

The status of “No Can Do” as a single attracts a lot of debate. Whereas “Girls” managed to get to #3, “No Can Do” peaked at #23. This floppage failed to revive the fortunes of the album which had peaked at #8, being their first since One Touch to not land the Top #3. “No Can Do” really was, in a sense, an accurate marker of how the band would start its rapid slide soon. This has led to somewhat of an idea that the song shouldn’t have been released as a single, and that its charting is reflective of its quality. I find it hard to get on board with this sentiment, as this is the most polished, uptempo number on the album. The flipside of Catfights’ being such a strong cohesive statement is that there are few such standouts on it which could work as a single. Besides this and “Girls”, “Every Heart Broken” is the most obvious candidate, and thenafter maybe “Side Chick”, but both those would also have been slightly too left-field propositions in terms of concept or genre back then. Faced with a flagging album, I really don’t think any of those songs could have performed better. It’s perhaps fairer to criticise its release during Christmas week, as it makes for a particularly jarring effort for the Christmas #1. A few songs on the album would have fit that remit better (“Unreakable Heart” perhaps, or “Sound Of Goodbye”?) but with a disinterested label and virtually no promo, all such efforts would likely have ended in similar failure.

“No Can Do” is also noteworthy for its absolutely amazing video. It’s easily amongst their very, very best, and is one of the greatest girlband videos of all time. At first, it seems like the band is finally (after eight years!) pandering to its gay male audience and explicitly acknolowedging them for the first time by touting a horde of minimally clothed hunks à la Kylie’s “Slow”. But this actually goes one step further by literally objectifying men. The various set pieces feature the men in tight, grey underwear arranging themselves as inanimate objects, including a couch, a bridge and a car. The video’s most screamworthy coup, however, is having some of the men featured as lamps. And it’s all done with a playful smirk; when the men disperse from being objectified at the end, for example, one lamp-man is left standing.

It’s all a clever subversion of British pop artist Allen Jones’ 1960 series Hatstand, Table and Chair, which featured three sculptures of fetish gear-clad female mannequins as furniture, and appears deeply misogynist on a first reading (though is a bit more complicated than that by potentially being an expose of female objectification in a patriarchal society rather than an instance thereof). What the “No Can Do” video does is reverse that project’s genders, allowing for a more straightforward interpretation of female empowerment and jovial misandry. And the attention to detail and reference is striking. The milk bar scene is a straight up recreation of the Korova Milk Bar sequence from A Clockwork Orange, which features sculptures resembling Allen Jones’ work after Stanley Kubrick got permission for it. That adds further layers of textual depth to the whole affair. [If I kept going, however, I would question the true value of this visual empowerment, given the video’s male director and the band’s historic and ongoing control and domination by male-driven management and label executives. But let me check myself].

To top all this off, the girls look gorgeous, in exaggeratedly heavy makeup and slinky gowns, taking complete charge of the men and at points literally stomping on them with their heels before trailing their dresses over the wincing men. Heidi’s megaphone delivery of the refrain at the end is particularly great. It all comes together as a tight package (ΝΝΝ) that reflects the song’s tone and content perfectly, whilst being tounge-in-cheek clever to boot.

Leading the shouldn’t-have-been-a-single crowd is Solenciennes (9) “this is great but probably shouldn’t have been a single, it’s a brilliant, glorious album track at best. The video was delightfully weird and was probably picked out because the song needed something major to draw interest, and while it didn’t work out for them as a successful single, it’s by no means a bad song deserving of failure. Keisha and Amelle sparring in the middle eight is the highlight of the song.” uno (6) is a bit scathing, “A fine album song, a shit single. Definitely was a huge misstep making this the follow-up to Girls, and virtually killing the entire era. Total shame, because Catfights is one of the best albums they've put out.”

Sprockrooster (7) would probably have made for a pretty bad label exec, “this sounds more 4th single than second (and saviour) single, especially with those hits left on the album.” I mean, I feel a where_are_they.gif with these supposed hits. There are fantastic songs on the album besides this, but none that scream “hit” if youknowwhatImean. mrdonut (8.5) needs to rinse himself off, “I feel slightly dirty and in need of a good shower in admitting this but I LOVE “No Can Do”. The epitome of Ugh-mazing. While not necessarily single material, when played in the car on a sunny day, it’s delightfully carefree. And the “don’t try and even call me on the telephone” coda is perfect.”

DJHazey (9) is suddenly here for references older than the Mickey Mouse Club, “Literally a 21st century version of what the Surpemes would be doing today. Amazing, that's all you can really say and bow is all you can really do. The "don't try and even call me on the telephone" onslaught at the end is basically a pop orgasm to my ears. The only reason it's not a 10 is because I do recognise it ranking lower than all my 10s in the rate. Simple as that.” Ironheade (9) backs him up 100%, “If you want a song that updates 70's soul music (some of the best music ever recorded) for the modern day in stunning fashion, you could not improve on this. That bassline alone would justify a 9, but there's more to it, thankfully. The sultry, laid-back groove here really does evoke the best of Motown, especially with the playful frills of orchestration. Great chorus, too – and what vocals! Heidi's coolly smouldering delivery of the prechorus is a nice touch, but the real highlight is the duel between Amelle and Keisha in the bridge, the former's tough soul-rock snarl and the newfound velvety richness of the latter's upper register stunning at every turn. The extended coda makes for another winning touch, too. Such an underappreciated single.” P'NutButter (9) concurs far more curtly, calling it “Underrated,”

Not for the first time, Filler (4) gets … graphic, “Imagine actually driving a car made of men. Flesh and blood flying in all directions as you hurtle down the motorway. Guts trailing behind you. Foreskins sanded out of existence as their genitals chafe into raw bleeding stumps.” Constantino (4) thinks its cute to bring Megantaur Sneakers into my rate, “Drop the last two words… this is just a straight-up ‘NO’; dated production, lifeless vocals and just a bit pointless really.” To which I say: NO! CasuallyCrazed (4.5) is on some potent mushrooms to be dragging it like this, “It would have been fine as a Japanese bonus track, but not strong enough to be single material. The verses are stronger than the chorus, which should never happen in a pop song. The car they drive built out of human dancers in the video is probably the strongest thing this song has going for it.” The hunk car should also drive over Mina (5) who offers this steaming turd for all of us, “Sounds like a backing track to a generic commercial on floor cleaner. I enjoyed the male eye candy in the video, though the ladies were so heavily made up they looked like contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race.” To which I say,


Lost In Japan. (10) takes us on a little bike ride, “This is such a fun and breezy kiss off track which did not get the justice it deserved as a single. Maybe if it had been released two albums earlier. Also: Keisha’s man-motorcycle in the video is so iconic. Born This Way album cover who? Girls Aloud “Wake Me Up” video what?” londonrain (9) once again slightly misses the point, “A much better single than “Girls”. The video is odd but it's an excuse to see lots of guys with their tops off.” stopthestatic (9.3) also enjoys a good man motorcycle, “A classic, and the music video is cute with some nice eye candy as a bonus.”

Chanex (8) identifies the right parts but can’t quite put it together, “The telephone refrain near the end revitalises it which is great because although they all sound spectacular and it's catchy as hell, it gets a little repetitive.” I mean, the refrain does its job perfectly in stopping the repetition taking hold. PCDPG (8) calls it “A fun song but I don’t listen to it very often.” Neither does acl (9) who nonetheless catches onto the song’s layering, in having enough detail to hook you in multiple different ways, “I always feel like skipping this but then when I listen to it the back and forth between Keisha and Amelle, and Keisha’s “face it boy” ad libs remind me of just how stylish it is.”

Blayke (10) stans his life off for a 3.0 track for once, and relates another of his ringtone sagas, “The girls should have led the album with this song. It’s catchy, pop by numbers with the retro throwback. I used to be called crazy for saying that there’s an obvious Jackson 5 influence in this song seeing Keisha used to rave on about Michael Jackson at the time. The video is one of their best. The look was EVERYTHING. The Amelle and Keisha middle-8 is delicious, they sounded so good on that bit. The “don’t try and even call on my telephone, it don’t mean a thing coz I’m on my own” is so infectious. I actually had that part as my ringtone from 2008 until early 2009.” Sweet Runawaywithme (10) is bopping his lil heart out, “I unapologetically love everything about this. I love how sassy it is and the “screw you, I don’t you” attitude, the middle eight gives me Goosebumps and it makes my wig shoot of to space somewhere and then catch fire, and then when the “don’t try and even call me on the telephone” bit happens it comes back ripped up and sad and unusable and I am left in a “shook” heap on the floor somewhere, I know its not very well liked around here but something about it just clicks with me and I think its one of their finest moments as 3.0, and as a band on a whole.”

kal (9) won’t say no to a fat bass line, “I can’t believe I didn’t like this at the beginning. It’s very cinematic and in your face. The vocal deliveries by all three are on point and the fat bass line slays me.” tylerc904 (10) stans from the boot of the man car, “What. An. Anthem. This should have led the album, I don't care what anyone thinks about You On a Good Day/Every Heart Broken. Every single second is infectious, fun, and amazing. The video is a blast too.” Voodoo (10) deems it having been “Done damn dirty by the British public.” I mean, the week of its release Alexandra Burke was snatching the Christmas #1 with “Hallelujah”. Let’s leave the last word to the forum’s self-proclaimed “No Can Do” stan, queen VivaForever (10) who calls it the “greatest Motown pastiche of all time - just beating out Fleur East's More and More. The coda is endlessly amazing, as is THAT VIDEO. Sláy me, misandrist queens.” Mmmm yas.

This is pretty fantastic. Lifeless vocals hwhère?

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Granted, No Can Do is not my favourite song on the album so this doesn't hurt too much. I like the video. But now the album can be left alone again thanks.
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Staff member
This is disappointing but to be expected, there's a clutch of singles on the same sort of level that I reckon are going to fall like dominoes.
I'd actually forgotten about this video. The highlights for me, are the men wincing as Amelle stomps over them (for disgusting reasons), and the bit where Heidi has the petrol pump and looks at them as if she's wondering where to stick it.