Sugababes – Sweet 7 album review

I’m not even going to mention the ‘K’ word. Yet the Sweet 7 era has been a disheartening experience – how could a band whose last album positively ached with beauty, emotion and harmonies be reduced to a dance routine that involves smacking each other on the arse? How could a band who were always ahead, or at least bang on, musical trends be so desperately, unimaginatively chasing the zeitgeist?

If you’re going to be uninspired, at least do it in style. Lead single, Get Sexy, was a tacky noisy mess, regardless of who was singing it (then again, noisy messes seem to be all the rage now – I’m looking at you, Christina). The RedOne-produced About A Girl should have been this album’s sure-fire smash, before the pounding beats and belter of a chorus were completely enveloped by the SugaDrama that ensued and Wear My Kiss is a cute little album track with some great ‘da-da-da’ing but a completely faceless and unremarkable choice for a single. It’s sad because the album, although it has about as much emotional depth as a Gossip Girl extra, does yield better.

Thank You For The Heartbreak is a flash of Sugababes past – tight too cool for school vocals, crunching earworm beats, Heidi sections that are a totally different pace to everything else yet somehow just feel right – and easily the album’s highlight. Sean Kingston is drafted in for Miss Everything and fashions a catchy, dancefloor-destined chorus whilst She’s A Mess is basically Get Sexy done right i.e. without a Right Said Fred reference. It’s a trashtastic, vocoder-ed to death hot piece of ass, with Amelle inciting everyone to ‘go psycho’ in her almost Cockney manner.

However, the ballads (previously a Sugababes speciality) are especially insipid – Crash & Burn is the least terrible of the lot, with Sweet & Amazing and Little Miss Perfect proving more saccharine-soaked puddings than sweeping slowies – whilst Jade’s vocal contributions (especially overwrought on Wait For You) do little to dispel the notion that she is a promising soloist biding her time.

Writers may harp on about Brand Sugababes but there’s precious little identity here – this direction suits the band about as well as the skin-tight leather outfits suit Heidi. The quicker this band get back to being the class act they once were (if that’s even possible), the better because Sweet 7 is shallow, soulless and soon-to-be-forgotten.

3/5

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