The Sugababes Discography Rate

@beyoncésweave - No T No Shade but since we both love the song so much - we should have a reference to it every page!

Hands up if you guessed when this started that the album that would be doing the best by the Top 6, by far, would be Angels With Dirty Faces? Not me!

P.S. - Next elimination in approx. 36 hours, Sugahunties. Mama's got a plane to catch.

Promises You Made, Coming Back To Haunt You...
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@beyoncésweave - No T No Shade but since we both love the song so much - we should have a reference to it every page!

Promises You Made, Coming Back To Haunt You...
I was in the wrong, but it doesn't really matter, don't whisper in my ear I SAID APPROXIMATELY. You'll be punished for this! The next elimination is a Xenomania cut.

Couldn't handle the things we said still I'm feeling you

Never thought that you could be so cruel

A bunch of flowers and I'll slam the door



Round Round

Score: 9.322
11 x 5: @Island, @LE0Night, @constantino, @Daniel!, @ohdenny
Highest: 10/10 x 38 (@kal, @tylerc904, @P'NutButter, @Voodoo, @Sprockrooster, @PCDPG, @Ironheade, @Deborux, @MrJames, @Elysium, @SmashHitter, @JamesJupiter, @Lost In Japan., @Terminus, @Reboot, @supersoon, @Robsolete, @High Heel Feminist, @Robinho#1, @2014, @AllSixSugababes, @Filler, @Runawaywithme, @Remorque, @Mr.Arroz, @Zar-Unity, @Black Topanga, @Uno, @xondus, @cryctall, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Consideration, @ohnostalgia, @acl, @Blayke, @BeingBoring, @Rhombus)
Lowest: 6/10 x 1 (@marie_05)
My score: 10/10
“Round Round” was the very first Sugababes song I ever listened to. It has been a constant stay throughout my long journey with the band over many, many years. Yet this omnipresence has never dulled the fact that it is a stomper. Right from the song’s opening, which is perhaps the most enticing in the band’s oeuvre, it is relentless. The sound of a space-station control pad malfunctioning gives way to that opening whoomp, and then Mutya kicks the song into blistering life.

The production is pure fire. The whirring, the heavy guitar plucks and clicks that form the instrumental are all a genius sampling of German production outfit Dublex Inc.’s “Tango Forte” which powers the song through. Adding to this is the song’s slightly left-of-centre structuring. The song’s scaffolding is in plain sight, with clearly differentiated phases for the song to move through (they go chorus-verse 1-bridge 1-chorus x 2-verse 2-bridge 2-chorus-middle eight-chorus). The Xenomania flavour, of course, is that the verses each have a different melody and the bridges are both different. Most noticeably, the middle eight markedly slows things down, dropping the beat and the tempo (which were present in the song until then) to a 6/8 form before the chorus pulls things back. Xenomania would go onto be even more adventurous with their song splicing over time, especially with the Sugababes, but “Round Round” provides a scintillating taste of the level they were operating at event then.

As for the Babes, this really wouldn’t work without them. They do that thing which 2.0 perfected from the get-go of sounding so wan and disinterested over a scorching sonic setup and somehow selling it. “Round Round” isn’t made for soulfulness or emotiveness, and so the staring-at-freshly-filed-nails and amused irritation Mutya and Keisha inject their verses and chorus with complement the ratcheting production readily. They also make a series of almost indecipherable lyrics – about rejecting a man and sticking with the girls – somehow seem comprehensible within the context of the song, if only in imparting the affirmatory and self-defensive vibe of the words. This equation almost flips when the song slows down unexpectedly for that middle eight as Heidi sounds a heartbroken wreck and the narrative reveals the hurt compelling the defiance (with some excellent harmonies in the background). But the song is too energised by its vivacity to dwell on or develop this narrative. It instead submits itself back to the stomping to finish off.

“Round Round” was released as the second single off Angels With Dirty Faces, and was the band’s second consecutive #1, and achieved even greater success than the preceding “Freak Like Me” internationally, reaching the Top 10 in a further 10 territories (including #2 in Ireland and New Zealand). This success sorta underlines what an anomaly “Round Round” was in effectively functioning as a second lead single. The back-to-back banger situation departs from the band’s approach to singles, which was usually to follow a banger with a ballad (at least, until the “Girls” – “No Can Do” and “Get Sexy” – “About A Girl” combos, but they hardly compare to “Freak”–“Round”). This also underscores what an aberration Angels was in a broader sense as well, in being so singles heavy (though I defend most of its album tracks).

The song’s international success is also handy evidence that it is the band’s most recognisable song alongside “Push The Button”. Like that song, “Round Round” also received an iconic video to seal its status which similarly literalises the song in a slickly stylish and not heavyhanded way. There’s a revolving circular arena, there’s an escalating whirlwind, there’s an audience behind a cage and there are three girls serving category is leather eleganza lewks. Heidi with a Stepford Wives pompadour, Keisha with smoky blue eyes and braids and, of course, MUTYA with that ridiculous Southside Minotaur chic hair, the brows plucked to the heavens and the kiss curls teased across her face. They make the entire song come together; the barely disguised tedium in the vocals is a whole other thing when paired with Kesiha’s seductive little grins, Heidi’s smug smiles and Mutya’s slightly raised eyebrows. They serve such enigma and exude effortless cool and – especially in the video’s apex for me, the synchronised hair flip (which of course I had to gif) – seem like they already own the world.

The critique of “Round Round” is perhaps that it is too much of a production showcase, with the other elements coming up short; the lyrics may be rather underbaked and there’s no single true standout vocal moment. Even the production itself could be seen as taking a quantity over quality approach. “Round Round” is very characteristic of early Xenomania in that the production outfit’s bucketload of songs in one MO is very plain to see. To this extent, the different songs just lie next to each other without perhaps being as cohesive a whole as they could be. From this angle, the middle eight especially could seem jarring as opposed to unexpected. This may also explain why the song sometimes feels longer than it is, and indeed, this was a reason why I cooled on the song after my initial infatuation, only to come crawling back later. In a comparative sense, and among the band’s R&B bangers, it fails to match the inventiveness of “Freak Like Me” – whether the myriad elements were more integrated into the central structure – or the polish of “Hole In The Head” – where the phase changes were more effortless. (Xenomania would of course go on to smooth the seams a lot more, and make the transitions between the cobbled together songs seem far more natural – especially, and very soon after, from Three and Chemistry onwards).

But despite all of this, it’s difficult to deny the net effect of the song and its futuro-techno-industrial concept. How it embodies an effortless kind of cool, even years later. The kind to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and induce involuntary movement in you. I have lost track of the number of times this has come on and I’ve been animated into a strut with my head snapping 90 degrees as the sound of a blackhole opening apparates the song into existence.

And despite anything else, I always come back to the dizzying, body-immobilising rush it was to experience this, and the Sugababes, for the first time. At some friend’s house, with one of those music video shows on and this coming on. Three women on screen, the vague swing of their bodies and the supernova they were impelling. And the thought circling and circling, round round, my juvenile and aghast mind: who are they?

Let’s begin with uno (10) who makes a strong case for 2.0, “As much as people want to bag on 2.0 and the loss of Siobhán, I really don’t think they would’ve been as big as they became without the loss of Siobhán. I can’t picture her singing this song and actually pulling it off. Siobhán was sacrificed for the greater good, and I’m 100% okay with it. “Round Round” is their first song/video where Mutya really came into the forefront as an absolute star. The ridiculously amazing hair, the sexy husky voice and the badass attitude really helped sell their transition from sweet teens with nice voices to bad ass pop stars who will seduce you then rob you for all you’ve got.” Yas, angels with dirty faces indeed.

tylerc904 (10) brings up what a fantastic year 2001 was for pop music in the UK, “Criticisms of it being disjointed aside, this is another monster of a track. Imagine receiving “Freak” and this back to back? The UK was so lucky.” PCDPG (10) also finds it “A lovely follow up to “Freak Like Me”. Heidi’s middle eight is a classic.”

ohnostalgia (10) comes to pray before Mme Range, “The Sugababes are so good at crafting seemingly simple songs that are actually jam packed with amazing touches that elevate. With “Round Round” the most obvious is the opening bassline that recalls “Overload”, weaving a narrative connection (train comes I don’t know its destination / round round baby, round round, spinning out on me). Both songs have that adrenaline rush quality. And of course I would be a fool not to single out Heidi’s heart stopping middle eight – a literal moment of she did that, you can do that, songs can do that????” YAS hunny they can! And she did that for berserkboi (10) also, “I live for Heidi’s part on here for some reason as it really shows how she could change the soundscape of the band perfectly here. Still a great song all these years later if not one of my very favourites. Unmistakably the ‘Babes though!” Let’s add Robinho#1 (10) in there too, “I could never imagine the originals dumbing down their lyrics to appeal to the masses. It’s so nonsensical but mind-boggling good. Heidi’s bridge is sensational.” To be fair, this wasn’t really dumbing down the lyrics so much as deliberately going with nonsensical. The Aunt Margaret appreciation séance would not be complete without Chanex (9), “For some reason I never wanted to think of this as a favourite, but it’s pretty undeniable. I’d never consider turning it off when it comes on via shuffle. And another impeccable middle eight for Heidi, maybe one of her best.” But not the best, no no, that is yet to come.

kal (10) yearns for a non-Bulgarian summer, “I don’t know why, but as soon as I hear the opening beats my mind is transported to a sunny beach and there’s a huge party and everyone’s having fun and jumping around, going crazy. Mutya absolutely slays her verse. The chorus is one of the most infectious things they’ve ever recorded and it all sounds as fresh as ever, even after 14 years. This is Xenomania at their peak. Bonus mention for Heidi’s beautiful middle-eight. The music video is also pretty great. Especially queen Mutya’s dress and hair combo.” CasuallyCrazed (9) was also shewk by Mutha Mutya serving, “This song was my first proper intro to the Sugababes and I remember thinking there was no one cooler in pop at the time. Mutya serving up both Fifth Element and chonga ratchet realness in the music video is EVERYTHING.”

Solenciennes (9.5) gets a little inventive in the kitchen, “Sugababes and Xenomania gave each other some real pop credibility with this release and the off-kilter image they projected in the music video serves as a pre-cursor to some of the weirder looks they’d give us with their third album campaign, album cover included. What is the chorus? I think I prefer the suggestion it’s “we’ll ride stir fried on the beat down low” because I love the imagery of vegetables sizzling and popping on a wok, it’s so specific and unusual and of course that kind of lyrical quirk is what Xenomania would become known for (whether this is one of them or not…) and I’m sure working with the ‘Babes is what led Xenomania onto Girls Aloud later that year. Heidi’s bit is too jarring for me but it’s a nice niche in their discography, whatever you might think of it.” P’NutButter (10) is also here to stir the pot, “Stir fried on the beat down low (Wasn’t there apparently more noodles references in the demo?).”

mrdonut (8) kinda gets at the diminishing returns the song may provide, “I adored this at the time of release and it sounded incredible in Wig Out and Popstarz where people would regularly lose their shit to it. But despite excellent song writing (including a tremendous middle eight), somehow it’s one of the Sugababes singles that have lost their lustre for me over the years (which is very odd considering how much of a stan I am for Xenomania).” Sprockrooster (10) is back inside the confessional, “I asked myself several times... do I want this to win. I kind of don’t, but I will not be pressed if it does.” Well no need to be restless no mo’ boo!

“Well. How could I not?” says Ironheade taking a 10 out of his purse, “It’s a darkly seductive, electrically-charged edifice that represents, in three and a half minutes, the sound of a group finding their direction. The entire musical backdrop is genius, all the way - the spiralling eeriness of the guitar chording in the chorus, the transition of the hollow snare sound in the chorus to the tight whip-crack tones of the verse, the keyboard that strikes on every other snare hit and makes everything that bit more strange and delightful, I could seriously go on for three paragraphs here. And even here, we can see that the vocals have taken a bit of an upgrade from One Touch - Mutya’s chilly deadpan is as cutting yet irresistible as it would ever be, while the fiery flutter of Keisha’s upper range weaves through the backing vocals with an effortlessly graceful touch. Not to mention, The Heidi Middle eight. Her quavering reediness on this album betrays that she had a long, long way to go as a singer, but that certain hesitant quality I love about her voice shines through here, backed by some gorgeous piano work and crystalline guitar chording to boot. One of the great pop songs.”

Remorque (10) was one of the OGs, and remembers every bit, “Fantastically ‘80s sounding dirty pop. It proved to the general public and the critics that this new line-up meant business and I was so happy it was a big hit for them. I remember seeing the video everywhere and something I’ll never forget about the video is how they start swaying their hips after Heidi’s middle eight. Glorious.” Blayke’s (10) Sugabrainwashing was ably aided by the particularly thirsty Australian radio, which had some taste way back when before it jumped fully onboard with P!nk and Matchbox Twenty, “This was my first “play on repeat for a week” song from them. It was catchy, infectious and the radios here in Australia DID NOT EASE UP. Mutya really is the foundation of the song and her low tones of the first verse really prove shes a versatile chanteuse. I also live for Heidi’s middle eight here and I argue that this was the emergence of her middle eight queen status and perhaps the beginning of the 2.0 formula (Mutya > Chorus > Keisha > Chorus > Heidi > Chorus – it’s that easy!).”

MrJames (10) loves the explosion in his buss, “One of my definitive favourites. An explosion of pop excellence. Vintage Xenomania.” Likewise acl (10) recalls one of his first climaxes, “As a young gay this was just the most awesome orgasmic heavenly gift from them. Finally a Sugababes single that properly made me wanna dance at least until Heidi’s lighters in the hair middle eight gives people time to stop and talk amongst themselves. Shame there’s no alternate edit either without her or with a remix of her bit to keep the pace.” roux (9) processes some childhood trauma, “I had to dance to “Round Round” as part of my Year 7 PE lessons, but not even the humiliation of that can take away from my love for this song.” Honestly, roux’s primary school sounds lit.

londonrain (9.5) yearns for the extended version a bitsy, “I wish they hadn’t shortened the middle eight (in which the lyrics make somewhat more sense) but to be honest it’s not the kind of song that you like for the lyrics. It still works really well as a pure pop single.” DJHazey (9) is out of range for the Range, “That chorus is pure pop fire and earns the high score despite Heidi’s middle eight doing whatever it can to derail the energy. (kii.)” Pat pat on the kitty kat, VivaForever (9) don’t mess with them regulars, “This is about masturbation right? I never listen to it, but it’s great.” “Classic but a tad bit overrated by their fans” says stopthestatic (8.3), who, with a global average of 7.52 for the band’s entire discography (higher than mine kii) is trying to pretend they’re not a fan.

Filler (10) brings up yet another PS2 anectode, as he is tricksied by both the Sugababes and Sony Entertainment, “As a child, before I really formalised "listening to music" as a thing in my life, I remember playing a looping clip of the “Round Round” chorus on a website promoting the original SingStar for PS2 while borrowing my mum’s work computer; it took me a good 10 minutes to realise it wasn’t the actual full song I was listening to, and at least another 20 minutes for me to turn it off.” Runawaywithme (10) has another sweet story about the Babes helping them connect with their grandparents, “I remember being about 6 or 7 and having a DVD that came free from a pop party CD or something and it had “Baby One More Time” “Love Machine” “Scandalous” this song and many other randomly selected bops. I always watched the video everyday when I got home from school and at the weekends I would watch the videos and show them to my family and then choose a song and charge 25p to come and watch me perform it, I remember whenever I did this I would always be mutya and cut up a bin bag for a costume, and drag in whoever I could to be Heidi and Keisha (it usually ended up with my nana being both because no one else could be bothered or was up to my 7 year old selves performance standards). So whenever I hear this amazing piece of pop I think of those times and it always puts a smile on my face when I’m feeling sad about losing my Nana and grandad.”

“Round Round” finally breaks the 11 record in the rate, with a very healthy five of them. We have three commenters who got turn’t. First is everyone’s favourite sentinet bot/random youtube link generator/forum sweetheart Island, whose Sugastory began much like mine, except nearly twelve years later, “I started my Suga journey in 2013 and the first song I listened to was 'Round Round'. At first the vocals sounded kind of dull and boring but I quickly became obsessed (even on the first listen) with Mutya's and Keisha's delivery in the verses. They're so nonsensical and make no sense but they were messing with my brain and I was hooked. I think Keisha's "people moving, bodies grooving" part was where my ears perked up a little bit more and I instantly fell in love with the song at the sound of her "WOO!". The chorus is such an ear worm even though there's many interpretations of the lyrics, which also don't really make sense but who cares. I always knew Mutya got ha kicks for free. Yes, kids, kicks... not kids. Then, the middle 8 happened. Why did it slow down? Who's that warbly voice? It was so jarring, so different, such a change of pace. Why was the structure like this? I was hooked, I was shook, I was scalped, I was bald, I was breathless. Something so out of place seemed to be in the right space with the change of pace. That was my introduction to the iconic Heidi Range Middle 8 and every time the middle 8 comes on, I still am left shook and in awe of this out of the ordinary ballad moment in what's supposed to be this fun, groovy pop song. 'Round Round' got my 11 because to me, it's a timeless song that has attitude, fun lyrics, sassy vocals, and that grand time-stopping middle 8. It was my first introduction to the Sugababes and I couldn't stop listening to that song ever since the day I decided to look it up. It's now one one of my favorite songs ever. Such an odd little gem, isn't it?” Yeahuh.

Commenting next are two great posters whose 11 deliberations I was lucky enough to be part of; and no, I made no undue pressures. First up, it’s charmante, turn’t lil Constantino who was debating between 5+ options before settling for this. Let’s obserante her high kick before pounding ha buss on the ground. “BOP! What RIGHT do these girls have to sequence the tracklist like this?? Like, what are they trying to do to us?? Queens of movement, pivots and kinetic energy. There’s just something so feel-good and timeless about the production – it’s one of their best for sure. In fact, this is their best for me; get encompasses everything I love about them and gets under my skin without even doing THAT MUCH… like the melody is fairly straight-forward, the production doesn’t do too much and the hooks don’t quite hit you in the gut… but it’s all just so electric at the same time?? I was gonna give my 11 to “About You Now” but it just felt wrong because Mutya is my favourite member so lemme stan and honour her with my 11.”

Finally, the superlatively tasteful and incandescent LE0Night whose participation in this rate was such a delightful honour for me, plumped for this after a very engaging exchange with me which was capped with “Even if it hadn’t been the very first thing of theirs I ever heard (and saw, Mutya and her braids were one of my very first exposures to the world of music videos) I still don’t think it’d be a stretch to call that hook one of the single best things ever gifted to pop.” Not at all.

The alternative mix, included in most versions of Angels, is rather interesting for amping down the pace every so slightly and adding quite a few new vocal parts. The less booming production also allows the vocals space to shine more.

This is a rather excellent performance of the Seani B remix of the song which slows the pace down and adds some great hints of ska and reggae. Also bad gyal RastaQuiche wining is a treat.

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Damn, I was really hoping that would go top 5. What an absolutely magnificent banger! I love everything about it: The pounding beat and the outstanding production (Xenomania knew exactly what they were doing), that flawless Mutya-led earworm of a chorus, Keisha doing her thang, Heidi owning that middle 8, the incredible video. Classic Sugababes. And that they followed up Freak Like Me with this, oh man.

It goes without saying, but fantastic write-up too, @beyoncésweave.
Many, many thanks for the invitation, @beyoncésweave, I wouldn't have ever dared stepping a single toe in here if you hadn't reached out and I'd have missed out on so incredibly much, I'm genuinely thankful.
I'd also like to say that there's a quite a bit of their catalogue I've grown immensely more fond of in the interim, if I were to submit another set of scores at this point my averages would've been significantly bumped. I did the best I could but certain levels of appreciation can only be reached with time.
I've also low-key been cringing over that particular line you quoted since I submitted it but reading it again it wasn't actually that badly phrased at all, eee
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Staff member
And with that all my remaining scores are 10s. Round Round is brilliant but like some of the others commenting it has somehow lost its lustre a little for me over time. Still, such a knockout song and a brilliant follow up to Freak Like Me, they established themselves as a force to be reckoned with when this was released. Amazing.
I'm happy Round Round went. I absolutely love it, but it just doesn't compare to the other songs left. I'm surprised it even went top 30 at all because I was convinced everyone hated it!

Deleted member 3416

I was obsessed with Round Round at the time especially Heidi's middle 8 but it has lost it's spark for me. Still a good song though.