The Sugababes Discography Rate

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier

It was so easy that night

Somewhere in the back of my mind, secretly I know you will find



I feel like this is such an unpopular opinion alert on my part, but I’ve never been able to get behind this. It always appeared to me as such a misfire on their part, effectively killing off Angels’ stellar singles run with what is, in essence, a wet towel. This has a few things going for it, but is weighed down significantly by its core and overall vibe.

The verses are the best part of this, doing the fast-talk thing quite well and building up a nice narrative, even if Heidi gets drowned out in the reverb a lot more than Mutya whose strident tone cuts through much better. Lyrically, it wrestles with a cards motif to make some sort of vague self-affirmation story. When it gets to the chorus, however, things just deflate completely. The sample of “Shape Of My Heart” (which Sting actually re-recorded for them) was a terrible idea, making Sting a weird phantom presence on the song who meshes so badly with the girls’ voices. Moreover, it just slows down the song to the point of lethargy, taking the wind out of the quiet momentum built up through the verses. I also find the mixing on the sample compared to the recorded vocals really off, further compounding the chorus’ rather indistinct feel.

It results in the song becoming some sort of trite MOR fodder that attempts to make the girls sound more mature. In the process, it actually achieves the opposite, feeling like an overreach that strikes you as an inauthentic attempt at trying to sing others’ words badly. More broadly, it’s also an unfortunate exposé of how Angels is actually a regression from One Touch in some senses. It traded incisive, deeply felt songwriting for a more appealing sonic palette backed up by some less sure-footed songwriting. In aiming to seem older than they were, instead of ruminating on the vagaries of their present experiences, the band seemed to have missed a trick somewhat by their sophomore effort. From a certain angle, trying to seem older is a hallmark of late teenagehood, so in effect they weren’t that far off; it’s just that it was expressed through markers of maturity that weren’t their own, curtailing their own voice. At that point, it also wasn’t hard to see that the absence of Siobhán having some discernible effect, if you stayed behind after the bangers.

Shockbox (9) has clearly grown up more than me, “Asked me 10 years ago, this would have got a 4. As an adult, it clicked and I love it.” londonrain (9) Fills Me In, “I'm not sure why, of all things, Sting's “Shape Of My Heart” got sampled twice in the same year - by the Sugababes and Craig David. Craig David did better by getting actual Sting on the song, but I prefer “Shape” because it works as its own song, and the video helps build the atmosphere. This is the epitome of the good quickly sung verse, plus it has solid ad libs.” roux (9.5) also this is Slicker Than Your Average, “I remember being furious at Craig David for daring to release “Rise & Fall so soon after this was released. Obviously this is a far superior use of sampling the original.” Blayke (10) also knows what his Flava is, “This song is just beautiful. I enjoy that it’s a bit of a slower mid-tempo because the album has been bit boppy until this song. Sting’s feature is nice but I wish he didn’t give the same sample to Craig David. It was really confusing at the time. There was this near-perfect mash up of this song and Craig’s “Rise & Fall” and it sounded LUSH. [Ed: here it is!] I would like the original Sugababes to perform this in some capacity.” Oh honey, this is way down the list of what I want MKS to do.

uno (9) outs haself as Sting’s agent, “They did a very good job at making the song their own, despite the heavy sample/Sting vocals in the chorus. I do feel like he should've been credited as a feature, with how heavily his voice is included.” Mina (9) overrules me on my “Blue” pref, “This will likely be an unpopular opinion, but kudos to the Sugababes for releasing this rather unconventional-sounding female empowerment midtempo as a single over the likes of “Blue” and “Switch.” I always envisioned this track as the background montage music to Passage to India.” I personally wonder if it would’ve worked on Howard’s End. Remorque (10) has similar sentiments, “I always thought it was a brave move to release this instead of one of the more basic tracks on the album, but it paid off in the end. I don’t even mind Sting being here, though he’s not really featured anywhere but the chorus… All of the girls sound wonderful on this one and I’ve always loved the video.”

Runawaywithme (8) expresses his verse-love, “Love the verses on this so much, especially Mutya’s the sample in the chorus took a while to grow on me but I have grown to like it.” Which, unfortunately, hasn’t happened to me.” Chanex (8) luxuriates, “It's a beautiful use of the sample and just beautiful in general. Plus the video is breathtaking.” Constantino (8) anonymously c’mons Sting, “C’mon easy listening BOP featuring an unknown male vocalist! I kinda dig this, to be honest. I absolutely love the guitar line, especially how it brings the track to a gentle close.” I_CANNOT_USE_REAL_WORDS_PROPERLY_ I cannot that he doesn’t know hew Sting is. Twinks these days…

VivaForever (4) is also no fan of strange men, “Who is this man and why is he singing on a Sugababes song? Also, is this a Backstreet Boys reference? *looks it up* Oh good lord, it's Sting? He sounds awful.” mrdonut (6.5) kinda gets to the crux of my issues with this, “Perfectly pleasant but it’s just a bit too Radio 2 for this stage of the Sugababes’ career.” PCDPG (6) claims it’s “Not my favourite ballad of theirs, it’s a bit boring.”

I can always rely on CasuallyCrazed (7) for some good GA shade, “Underwhelming as a sugaballad, although if Girls Aloud had ever recorded this it would be their strongest ballad of all time. Sting is so extra in this. No one was asking for him.” No one! Filler (7) spills the tea, “A pleasant but pointless cover unjustifiably chosen as a single over far better tunes and not particularly reaping commercial rewards for it – basically, it's “See the Day” in all but video quality.”

Solenciennes (7) meanwhile let Mr David get to him, “I have to concede that this song is perfectly fine, but I’m just not a fan of the overall concept of taking a Sting chorus and I think that’s further compounded by Craig David sampling the same song at the same time. The naked butterfly thing in the music video was a clever idea though.” Likewise, DJHazey (7) has no time for non-female preteen vocalists in his life, “It's a beautiful song throughout but I'm not here for that 'Sting chorus invasion'.”Ironheade (7.5) is also stung by the ol Sting, “So, so frustrating, because there were the seeds of something truly great on this one. The rhythmic vocal lines sound slightly awkward, especially on Heidi's part, but the spare acoustic guitar and hazy vibe are something different for the Sugaballad canon. This really could have been a very pretty low-key, restrained little gem, especially with the dust-bowl harmonica bridge (a bit of “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother”, maybe?). But… ugh, sorry, I just don't like Sting's “Shape of My Heart” at all, and the blatant lift from it blends really badly with the girls' harmonies. It's an ugly and incongruous choice that only doesn't ruin the song because everything around it is so well-done by comparison. What the bloody hell were they thinking?!”

P'NutButter (10) likes it when the sting is taken out, “The single mix gets a 10, Sting gets reduced and it's just better.” tylerc904 (10) also prefers “the single mix for the little flourishes. Simply gorgeous in general.” Make it three for three with kal (10), “I will never not be in love with the radio mix of this song and the stunning music video. Another Sugababes timeless classic. The original Sting version has nothing on this.” MrJames (10) enquires “I don't know how popular this is on PJ but I absolutely adore it. So beautiful.” acl (10) lets the SugaSlashfiction run away from them for a bitsy, “Soothing and magical like a fantasy. I feel Mutya mothering me whilst Keisha's calmly murdering the ex that broke my heart.” stopthestatic (10) confesses that “I've always had a soft spot for this song. I really like the interpolation and think Sting's voice works really well with their voices. Overall, one of my favourites from the early days and surprisingly, a contender for my 11.”

The song reached #11 on the charts, being the only song off the album to not land the Top 10. I felt then, and still do, that something like “Blue” or even a standalone “Angels With Dirty Faces” would have fared a bit better. The video to it, despite whatever my misgivings about the song, is fantastic in all senses of the word. Shot in Sydney, Australia it features a masquerade ball where the girls are wooed unsuccessfully by a string of men, before they make a fantastical (and really, rather evocative in a classical sense) escape. The digital effects are really subtly done, especially for a video from the time, and the overall effect is really lovely. It’s so beautiful, in fact, that you can’t help shake the feeling that they had the video concept before they tried to shoehorn a mediocre song into it. So yeah.​

They always seemed to go much more awf on the song live than on record. The adlibs from Mutya and Keisha are so great on these.

Amazing higher tempo, oddly ska-tinged breakdown of the final chorus here, which really makes you wonder what a full song like that would've been like.

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The video's gorgeous, too bad the song didn't live up to it. When you sample chorus vocals and a big chunk of the guitar part from Lame Adult Contemporary Period Sting (anything post-1991, basically), I suppose you get what you expect... but without shoehorning his vocals in on the chorus, it seriously could've been awesome.
I haven't even read the whole post but SCREAM.

Constantino (8) anonymously c’mons Sting, “C’mon easy listening BOP featuring an unknown male vocalist! I kinda dig this, to be honest. I absolutely love the guitar line, especially how it brings the track to a gentle close.”

Constantino (8) anonymously c’mons Sting, “C’mon easy listening BOP featuring an unknown male vocalist! I kinda dig this, to be honest. I absolutely love the guitar line, especially how it brings the track to a gentle close.” I_CANNOT_USE_REAL_WORDS_PROPERLY_ I cannot that he doesn’t know hew Sting is. Twinks these days…

1) I know who Sting is, I just didn't know it was his vocals on this track
2) I'm pretty sure you have to be skinny and hairless to be a twink so...
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