Flashback Friday: Sugababes - Overload | Train comes to take my wig to its destination

Flashback Friday: Sugababes - Overload | Random J Pop

Today is the 20th annviersary of the Sugababes' "Overload". So let's flashback to this song and it's impact, which is not talked about enough as it deserves to be.

The Sugababes debuted during a period of the UK's different-kinda-girl-group-renaissance, following the huge success of the Spice Girls and All Saints. Girl groups who had a different sound, attitude and look to what was considered the norm. Defying the rules of regular girl groups and showing folk was representation meant before it was a buzz word and something that was a check box.

The Sugababes debuted a song, which sounded different to anything else on radio at the time, much less from any girl group. With a hook which didn't even feature the name of the song and lyrics nobody could really make sense of. With a music video which looked like a United Colours of Benetton commercial where not a great deal is happening. Everything about "Overload" was a risk, and yet it had this effortless, no-big-deal energy about it which would go on to be a trademark for the group - along with their knack for releasing songs which would cut across every type of demographic. Because everybody and I mean EVERYBODY fucking liked this song and fucked with the Sugababes.

Surprisingly, "Overload" didn't hit number 1 on the UK charts, but it has continued to be one of the Sugababes most well known and beloved songs. "Overload" would form the foundation of the Sugababes sound. Pop songs that redefine the sound of Pop, sometimes to a point where their songs are difficult to even label. Many UK critics even said it was R&B, which I'm going to chalk up to there being a Black girl in the group.

Nothing about "Overload" was what you would expect from a group of 15 year olds. Then again the man behind the song wasn't one for being conventional. "Overload" was written and produced by Cameron McVey (husband to Neneh Cherry and father to Mabel) known for his work with his wife Neneh and the likes of Massive Attack; two acts whose sounds completely threw out the rule books of Pop and what a radio hit sound sound like, even though they often ended up being the latter.

To this day I don't think the Sugababes got the due they deserved for their sound, which fused elements of funk, ska, punk and rock before we started to see this become commonplace on US radio, with acts like No Doubt, P!nk and Christina Aguilera's work with Linda Perry ("Make Over" from Stripped was later made to include the the writers of "Overload" due to similarities), the re-emergence of Max Martin with Dr. Puke in tow, Xenomania who broke onto the scene with the Sugababes' "Round Round" and then would carry that sound on with Girls Aloud, and even far further down the line with songs like Ariana Grande's "Side to Side". The Sugababes sound was definitely a thing.

Many songs that the Sugababes would put out, even after 2 line-up changes would tie back to "Overload" in some way, with the girls reuniting with Cameron McVey for their fourth studio album Taller in More Ways post line-up change number 1, and with Siobhan Donaghy recording her solo album with Cameron McVey.

The Sugababes' music fell off in a big way after Mutya left the group, and the sound they were known for began to morph into that of your regular girl group. The nail in the coffin with 2009's "Get Sexy", which is one of the worst songs the Sugababes' had ever recorded. But we don't really acknowledge anything which was released after 2005's Taller in More Ways until the release of Mutya Keisha Siobhan's "Flatline". And with classics like "Overload" and more besides in the bag, we're cool with that.

🎧 A sweet playlist for the 'babes: This is Sugababes