The Sugababes Discography Rate

I have just started to get in to the sugababes so I'm thinking of participating in this! I fell head over heels in love with "One Touch" an I'm exicted to re-dive into the albums, I also love "About You Now" and have lots of chchildhood memories with it, same goes for "Hole In The Head"
You can, you rate your favourite version of the song.

Oh, I thought @beyoncésweave said we only rate the official versions of the songs (the Jade versions)?
Yeah, I’d prefer everyone rated between the official releases, which means the Jade versions for Sweet 7 (apart from for “Get Sexy”, which has the Keisha single version or Jade album version) just to keep things neat. I can’t monitor this obviously, so it won’t matter too much really.

I honestly don’t think there are huge differences between the different versions across the rate; people like to do a bit tew much about minor changes or vocal variations (get ready for complete screeds on “Red Dress”). I don’t see more than 1 or 2 points of difference between the various different versions, if that.
Ace Reject of all songs came on shuffle the other day and took me all the way back to better days, so I'm keen to participate in this. I have to admit though - most post-Mutya stuff will be a (re)discovery for me.

Sadly I'm old enough to remember the early material but also old enough to have forgotten a lot of it too.
In the lead up to the close of voting, I'll be offering a few personal reflections on each album. Hopefully this could be a kickstart to your voting, if you haven't already begun.

Let's start with


When I first listened to One Touch, I ranked it as a slight, anomalous effort in the band’s discography. On a first listen – and particularly to ears trained as they were on a diet of bops – only a few of the cuts here stood out. This relative lack of flashy bangers, alongside the quieter production, and let’s say its ‘youth’, were all reasons to dismiss the album as being minor, and inaccessible. But when I returned to it having come to terms with the other albums, slightly older and perhaps wiser, I found it revealing further, and further yet depths. At some point, the whole thing just clicked in that whiplash-inducing, seeing The Light way which happens every so often. My opinion of the album upturned itself almost instantly, and I fell unexpectedly and irrevocably in love. That love has endured in the years and years since. I now consider it one of the best girlband albums ever, which I firmly believe has not been bettered since. For me it is, in no qualified terms, a masterpiece.

Everything here just works. The production – lowkey, unfussed and often inspired R&B-lite stylings that still land squarely, and gently, within pop – may not be particularly inventive or ambitious, but it is perfectly judged in terms of creating a relaxed, intimate atmosphere. As it happens, this is the perfect complement to the album’s content. Vocally, it’s an accomplished affair. Of course they were just teenagers, and this is noticeable. But if this is a fault, it suffers only in comparison to the vocal heights they themselves would go on to scale. To an extent, the vocals work on potential – the idea that these are voices would grow in strength (this potential, of course, would be realised much later in the most emphatic way). But putting all that aside, there’s this magic when those voices come together, with quiet intimacy and nervous chemistry, particularly in those harmonies – gorgeous and stirring one second, and wispily fluttering away in the background the next.

The album’s high point is its lyrical substance. The ruminations on growing up and finding your way through love and life here are, despite the markers of adolescence attached to them, universal in many ways. The album could certainly be dismissed as juvenile, from the opening strains of ‘Overload’, but that would be both unfair and limiting. The jittery nervousness of approaching a new crush (“Overload”); the confident reproach of an uncommitted lover (“One Foot In”); and the bold excitement of revelling in a new love (the title track) are hardly limited to teenagehood.

But what pushes it over beyond any idea that this is child’s play is the album’s final quarter, where the album takes a noticeable turn for the darker. “New Year” diagnoses, eulogises and sheds tears over a broken, traumatising relationship. “Promises” pleads moving on from unkept promises with wistful, self-pitying weariness. And then there’s “Run For Cover”. All the bleak facets of despair rendered with chilling accuracy and drama. The lyrics, suggestive of things graver than mere heartbreak, belie the youth of its singers, and underscore what a mature record this is. They were, unbelievably, fifteen when they wrote these songs (like what were you doing with your life?). The sense of melodrama here certainly speaks to the teenage condition, but perhaps because of the state of arrested development that practically all twentysomethings – particularly those of the queer kind – suffer from, it feels altogether more expansive.

These heights – of emotional depth, nuance and care – are rarely scaled by pop acts, let alone by ones so young. That explains in large part its vitality, at least for me personally. When this sort of connection happens, it’s lasting. In the decade and more since One Touch, these three women would go on, here in this form, then individually, and finally together again (all too) briefly, to be responsible for some of my most cherished music-related memories. Through that time, their personas – thoughtful, introspective, self-aware and poised – would bubble away underneath. And One Touch remains the anchor to all those wisps of meaning.

It often feels like One Touch set an impossible bar which (unfairly) colours how I see each new girlband that comes along, or older ones I encounter. Because somewhere along the way, it just glued itself onto my life. You can measure the importance of any cultural product to your life when you can see bits of you reflected in it. And so it is that I have a collection of memories – of train journeys, quiet night walks and rainy days in; moments of joy and excitement and contentment and despair – associated with most of these songs. In the best of girlband tradition, most of the album reads like hanging out with a close friend, full of the confessions and building up of assurance and esteem. It has filled the spaces between years of growing up and living.

This is an album to soundtrack life to, full of secret fears, desires and hopes, and a quiet, assured confidence. I cannot love it more.

For your consideration: “One Foot In”, “Just Let It Go”, “One Touch”, “Promises”, the whole album.
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