Album review: Sugababes - Change

Album review: Sugababes - Change | Random J Pop

Girl groups do not last the distance because of the epidemic known as 'The curse of the girl group'. They argue, bitch, pick on a girl, kick her out of the group, replace her like she's a dead battery and then completely meltdown and break up. Despite the curse, the Sugababes have managed to stick it out and reach the milestone that was the fifth studio album. Even the Spice girls or Destiny's child can't say that! With the roughness that was Mutya out of the picture and fans questioning whether they could go on without her, the surviving girls had to prove they could keep the music as tight as ever.

Change doesn't stray too much from the Sugababes' formula and is pretty much what you'd expect from the girls. Whilst the style of the music on the album isn't a major revamp of the Sugababes sound or even much of an evolution, the songs are decent on the whole and have the girls doing what they do best: blurring the lines of genres and putting their unique stamp on things. The departure of Mutya doesn't affect the music as much as you'd think. There are a couple of songs on the album where you do think 'Ahh, Mutya would've sounded great on this!' But the songs aren't any worse off without her. It would've been great to have Mutya on board for this album, but what's done is done and the bottom line is that the music still sounds good without her.

This album doesn't have one flat out rubbish song. But if I had to pick my least favourites they'd be "My love is pink" and "3 spoons of suga". I have the same feeling about "My love is pink" that I had about "Red dress" from the girls' previous album Taller in more ways - which is that it sounds like a Girls Aloud track, and that the Sugababes are way better than it. The Sugababes should not be sounding like a group who aren't even remotely on the same level as they are. So it pains me to say a Sugababes track sounds like one of theirs. "3 spoons of suga" is just plain cheesy. It has the whole 60's swing, Austin Powers' "Soul bossa nova" vibe going on with it. And once again the end result is a song that sounds like one from Girls Aloud.
As for the albums' best tracks, these honours goes to "Never gonna dance again" and "Surprise (Goodbye)". "Never gonna dance again" is damn near perfect. Fans of "Situation's heavy" and "Ace reject" will love this song. A steady, but danceable groove with melancholic lyrics of a love gone wrong. The chorus is killer and each of the girls sound great. It would've made a terrific single and Island records tripped up big time by not releasing it. Then you have "Surprise (Goodbye)" which has the Sugababes delving into rock territory. The song is produced by Dr Luke who is known for his work with Avril Lavinge and Pink. It shouldn't work, but it does due to the girls sounding so great on the track and songwriting queen Cathy Dennis penning such a catchy hook. The girls sound different on this song as it has them fluttering the high notes as opposed to the mid's and low's. But it works. Again, this would've made a solid single.

All of the other songs are pretty forgettable. Not crap, but just forgettable due to the lack of catchy hook and hints of sass you expect from the girls. "Change", "Mended by you", "Open the door" and "Undignified" are all lovely songs. But none of them will have you wanting to stick them on repeat. And by Sugababes 'standards, it's a case of one nice song too many. Especially on an album that has such a low key sedate sound and seems so void of sassy records as it is.

Change has the girls sharing vocals much more equally than on their previous albums. Interestingly, the new girl Amelle gets a lot of air time. A heck of a lot more than Heidi was given when she first joined the Sugababes for the Angels with dirty faces album. Keisha is still the one who comes through as always though, due to her being the only member who provides the ad-libs and handles the sections of songs which require a bit of belting.

I can't help but shake the feeling of wishing that the girls had given a bit more with this album. Aside from the album's lead single "About you now", everything sounds so sedate, and the girls sing half of the songs sounding as though they're fed up and would rather be doing something else. There isn't that hunger the girls had on past albums. And it's becoming clear at this point the girls need a sound that'll get them excited in the studio again. A perfect way to sum this album up would be to say it sounds like a mish-mash of their albums Three and Taller in more ways, but without the sass. Change is a good album, but not a great one. After one listen you're left wishing that the girls would've just gone that extra mile. Because they're better than this and have greater potential than this album would have you believe.

RATING: 5 / 10

Album highlights
■ About you now
■ Never gonna dance again ★ J's fave
■ Denial
■ Change
■ Surprise (Goodbye)


  1. this is probably the worst album theyve done :P
    it strayed to far into girls aloud territory for me but the singles were really good (just not the rest!) its a shame "catfights & spotlights" wasnt as successful as "change" because i thought it was way better but they picked the wrong songs for singles :P
    im sure the new album will be huge though ;D


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