Why We Need The Original Sugababes Back

Popjustice’s Friday Daily Pop Briefing was very, very exciting indeed. If it’s to be believed, then the original Sugababes – Keisha Buchanan, Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena – are apparently back together and recording new music that should see the light of day later this year.

They won’t be recording as the Sugababes – although hotly contested, that name is still the property of the managers guarding the errant nest of cuckoos that replaced the original members as they left one-by-one. Mutya apparently owns the right to use the name on merchandise, but seeing as it’s songs, not stationery that we’re interested in, that’s totally secondary to the fact that THE ORIGINAL SUGABABES ARE BACK TOGETHER AND RECORDING MUSIC.

The Guardian have just reported that Mutya has now denied the reunion, but her tweet still seems pretty ambiguous. We’re going to flatly ignore it and remain optimistically excited that a reunion could well be on the cards, as it would be A Good Thing for many reasons:

1They injected personality and vim into a squeaky clean pop landscape

Looking at the charts from 2000, the year the Sugababes’ debut (and the only album made by the original line-up) ‘One Touch’ was released, pop was in a pretty saccharine place. It was only a couple of years after the Spice Girls had run roughshod over the pop landscape, supposedly bringing personality to the fore and changing everything in their wake, although 2000’s charts are populated by the carefully stage-managed likes of Westlife, Britney Spears and S Club 7.

From the off, if there was trouble in camp Sugababes – as there reportedly was, and often – you knew about it. Friction was never glossed over, and even though managers were involved in their conception, they gave off the impression of being proper pals, a solid gang, which is more than you can say for a modern band like The Saturdays. Although it’s iffy that their managers reportedly saw the band members’ different heritages as a selling point, at least their diversity was celebrated; every day I walk past a huge billboard for The Saturdays’ new album on my way to work, and they’ve all been blanded into the same frosty pink lipstick-wearing ciphers.

This is something of a generalisation, but you can kind of split today’s girlbands into two camps: those who’ve come from reality TV programmes – Little Mix, Girls Aloud etc – and the likes of Stooshe and Oh My!, who fancy the idea as a kitsch homage to their youth. This observation is probably coloured by the fact that I was a naive 10-year old when the Sugababes first appeared, but there always seemed something quite natural about their being in a band together, and it seems no different this time around. Popjustice writes, “They met up and last year and decided that they would get back together to see how it went. It’s going quite well as it happens.” Casual and unforced: sounds like a recipe for success.

2They knew how to work a pop stool

Watch and learn, boybands.

3They weren’t sold on their sexuality

Compare and contrast old Sugababes with new Sugababes.


Not to get all Mary Whitehouse about it, but when the appearance of pop’s ladies tends to fall into one of the slutty / subservient / circus freak-sexy categories, a bit of non-wabs-based presentation could be refreshing.

4The songs they wrote together still stand strong

I’ve been listening to ‘One Touch’ this morning and, aside from a few Spanish-sounding numbers that betray the era in which it was made (it came out a year after Geri Halliwell’s ‘Mi Chico Latino’…) it still sounds fresh and often exhilarating. Debut single ‘Overload’ still seethes with the intoxication of fancying someone so much you just might explode, and its slippery feel continues to exert a hold over certain pop quarters – you can hear its influence in Joe Mount’s production for Nicola Roberts’ solo album, for example. Elsewhere, songs like ‘Look At Me’ don’t sound dissimilar to Katy B, both putting a British slant on Destiny’s Child’s percussive influence. Apparently Keisha, Mutya and Siobhan are working with Cameron McVey again, who co-wrote many of the most exciting songs on ‘One Touch’.