With Keisha Buchanan’s departure, the Sugababes looked like they had reached their end. However, not a band to let losing ALL of their original line-up get in the way of another album, Heidi and Amelle are joined by ex-Eurovision hopeful Jade Ewen. The turbulence led to months of delays as Ewen set about rerecording all of Buchanan’s vocals and the result is this rejigged, revamped album that sounds less like the ‘babes of old and more like the sort of anonymous pop that we now see coming out of the US.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Sugababes of the tenties are NOT the band that made a huge splash in the last decade. Gone is the sass and indie cred that we had with the band’s first couple of albums and in their place we have highly polished, targeted pop that lacks the old heart and soul. Mutya, Keisha and Heidi may not have got along, but they produced some of the best pop songs with a crossover appeal that made them acceptable to those too cool to usually listen to that sort of thing. The Sugababes had more passion and personality back then.
That’s not to say that Sweet 7 isn’t a decent pop album; it’s remarkably consistent given the behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Get Sexy, despite this reviewer’s initial concerns, is one of the album highlights alongside current single, Wear My Kiss. Both tracks have glimmers of the band we once knew. Unfortunately, once those two tracks are out of the way we’re on a downward slope with each track blending into the next.
The girls have decent voices, but they need to be given room to shine on their own merits, without the American sheen and polish. With newer and younger groups on the rise, Sugababes need to do more if they want a place in the pop collections of the next generation of teenagers. They’re never going to have the same pull with the cool crowd now – arguably the departures of both Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena put pay to that chapter in the band’s history years ago but there is space for a more mature version of The Saturdays; maybe that’s the way the band should be looking now?
In the mean time, we’re waiting with baited breath for a girl band who can give us something as good as Freak Like Me, Round, Round, Push The Button or even Overload. Anyone fancy giving it a go?