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Change

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Album Review

It's amazing what effect a big hit single can have on album sales — not merely an average-sized number one single, and the Sugababes at this point of their career had six of them (including the charity collaboration with Girls Aloud) — but a massive, radio-friendly number one single that even average listeners can't get out of their heads. Well, having hit the top of the singles chart with "About You Now," the Sugababes unleashed their sixth album, Change, which was the first to feature new member Amelle Berrabah after Mutya Buena departed to pursue a solo career, leaving Keisha Buchanan as the only original remaining member of the group. The omens were not looking great. Change was the first release after the career summary Overloaded: The Singles Collection, and the most recent single, "Follow Me Home," had become their lowest-charting single to date. The Sugababes needn't have worried, however. Following the Comic Relief charity number one with Girls Aloud, "Walk This Way" (a rather messy version of the Aerosmith hit), "About You Now" was released and topped the chart throughout the whole of October 2007. One of the catchiest pop singles of the year, it propelled the album to the top, giving the group a simultaneous number one single and album. With various tracks produced by William Orbit, Dallas Austin, and the U.K.-based production team of Xenomania, the whole album from beginning to end was a slice of sophisticated dance-pop, midtempo songs that Girls Aloud (their greatest rivals for girl band supremacy) wouldn't record, and slushy ballads that the Spice Girls should have been recording for their comeback album. At the end of the day, it really didn't matter whether people thought the album was credible and worthy — it was pure pop with hummable songs and good melodies. Change was good to listen to and even better to dance to, and one could not ask more of the Sugababes or any other so-called manufactured pop band. [The 2007 edition included one bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

Change - For Better Or For Worse?

Sugababes. No matter what you throw at them, they just seem to bounce back again and again and again. When Siabhan departed, they replaced her with Heidi, and many argue their music picked up from then. Then when Mutya popped her Sugababe clogs, they replaced her with Amelle. Now has Mutya's departure affected the group in their first studio album? The answer is a very resounding yes. For better or for worse? Definatley the latter. But the fact remains the Change is a very mixed bag. It's definatley an improvement on Taller In More Ways, and there's a lot of choice of genre in here, from the up tempo pop stomper "About You Now" to the laid back reggae of "Backdown". There's something in here for everyone, but that's always a very double-edged sword, as you wont like everything in here either. The must-haves on the album include the song that you must (and should) have already downloaded or bought "About You Now", which is as near perfect as pop can get. Then there's the rock-tinged ballad "Change", the near unstoppable "My Love Is Pink", the beauty of the pounding bassline of "Denial", the sticky disco sound of "3 Spoons Of Suga", best listened to on a rock equalizer, and finally the relaxed reggae of "Backdown", which just makes you want to get up and shake your groove thing. If you're a Sugababes fan, you'll be in seventh heaven, their sound hasn't changed and this album is their best yet, but if you're not swooning at the thought of this album then you might not be happy with it. However there are some absolute gems in here, so make sure you don't miss out on them, even if it does mean not buying the full album.

Changes Have Truly Paid Off

With the infamous 'saloon doors' of the Sugababes' empire being once again opened and closed again due to the departure of co-founding member Mutya Buena in late 2005; 2006 brought a new, fresh-faced talent that was Amelle Berrabah. The group re-released one of their best works to date, "Taller In More Ways", to a rather luke-warm response (as seen with the single "Follow Me Home"), although not being dejected, they began plans for the Greatest Hits ("Overloaded") including (the majority of) their back catalogue which were bursting with flavoursome tracks such as "Freak Like Me" to the delectable and very emotive track "Too Lost In You". Many would've said "Easy", peaking at #6 in the charts saw doom & gloom with their newest member, clearly not... "About You Now" burst into the charts at #1, giving them their first (true) #1 with Amelle - only Downloads Only, being the first UK Female Act/Group to do so. The track is heavy pop, yet is a delight to the ears. Brandishing their accolade of a #1, their heads are held high to the release of this album: "Change". The confused identity of this album (selecting different genres for each songs) is classic Sugababes and they do not falter with the selection of tracks they have to offer to you in the next 45 minutes of your life. The opening "About You Now" was clearly the right choice as the lead single - sultry lyrics backed on the amazing 'barnstorming pop-electro- rock'; it then swiftly moves to a mid-tempo track "Never Gonna Dance Again" (produced by Xenomania - who also produced such hits as "Round Round", "Red Dress" and "Hole In the Head"). The heart ache, can be heard through the lyrics, yet a the oppsing feeling towards the sound of the beats and the backing would get anyone to show a couple of dance moves. The middle 8 is perfect for Heidi and it bursts, back to the sad-yet-oh-so-good chorus. My only gripe with this track is the production on the final chorus could've been imporved, giving a bigger 'ooph' and 'nudge' into heaven. "Denial", the heavily promoted track comes next (not confirmed as a single - which I think it deserves to be), with what many would think to be submarine-type noises. The lyrics are truely Sugababes and words don't do it much justice, you have got to listen to it. "My Love Is Pink", yet another wonderful creation by Xenomania's Brian Higgins; to which many would think would fit perfectly into Girls Alouds' back catalogue. The the genius in this track is, yet it may seem to sound like Girls Aloud's work, the Sugababes' still give it their all, give the sass and their spin on the track - it's theirs for keeps. "Change" to begin with you may think that this is a run of the mill ballad, yet it continues to the climax with heavy drum beats and guitar riff. Highly recommended, beautiful, emotive lyrics, and well thought choice for the Winter market. "Back When" (produced by Dallas "Push the Button"/"Ugly" Austin) provides some of the best sing-a-long lyrics, that would get anyone singing along. "Surprise" (originally named "Goodbye"), is another stand out track, absolutely charming and captivating beats and hooks that makes it instantly catchy. "Back Down" (produced by Novel), many would probably disagree, but out of all the songs this sounds the most like the 'edgier' Sugababes (as seen in the "Angels with Dirty Faces" era) with the excellent beats and lyrics, it is one of the best from them. "Mended By You" yeh another ballad, and this one doesn't disappoint, the track could very well be a strong contender as a single (like "Follow Me Home" from the predecessing album "Taller..."), however the latter is far more superior in my opinion as my only gripe with it is the lack of the Middle 8, however in saying that, it is a beautiful song. "3 Spoons of Suga" [UK Bonus], many would think that Bonuses only go at the end of an album as a tag-on, but this track perfectly fits in with the rest of the album's flow (sadly it is unavailable outside of the UK). The best thing about this track is that it does break the rather 'sombre' feeling (which is definately needed, due to the impending end of the album, you need another song to get you dancing). "Open the Door", originally I hated this track on first listen, however the vocal harmonies are beautiful and have definately stuck in my mind. "Undignified" the most underrated song in my opinion, originally I assumed this was the obligatory last-track ballad, yet it stuck out to me as one of the best songs. True, you've got to listen to it several times, but the track appeals to me on so many different levels. Overall, a solid effort from the Sugababes. The tracks are instantly captivating and toe-tappingly good. The lyrics are thought-provoking and yet simple. The latest addition that is Amelle is the true key to the whole album and her vocals do not disappoint, in fact all their vocals do not disappoint! Many would argue this is a little too 'pop' for them - well, granted the group are aimed at the 'popular music' mass market, I think they have hit the nail on the head. True the album is a mixture of sadness and woes from broken relationships, but aren't most songs about that? The appeal of different sounds all coming together to form one neat package is what the Sugababes do best and they have delivered it, hot and ready to gorge yourself on. They many have changed but don't all artists have to change in order to keep up with the ever-changing/evolving music scene? 9.5/10

So fresh!

Sugababes' 5th studio album, first full album with Amelle and it is such a step forward. "Change" is such a fresh, new sound which suits them very well. With a team of top producers behind them, this album is their best effort to date. It is a big step forward from "Taller In More Ways", an album which I really like. Recommended tracks: 1. About You Now 2. Never Gonna Dance Again 5. Change 7. Surprise And just to add, track #5 "Change" is probably the best song the Sugababes have ever done, it's an amazing song and will do well as the album's second single. Rating - 5 Stars.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Multi-ethnic U.K. trio Sugababes jumped aboard the teen pop bandwagon prior to the new millennium and exuded their own sassy demeanor without the frivolity of most mainstream acts. Siobhan Donaghy, Keisha Buchanan, and Mutya Buena were barely in their teens when they formed in 1998, sharing a liking of garage, hip-hop, and dance music. Initially, Sugababes were three friends who enjoyed singing along to the radio. Buchanan and Buena had been pals since primary school, and a chance meeting with Donaghy...
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Change, Sugababes
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