Since recently reforming as MKS, Siobhán Donaghy, Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan have excited eavesdroppers with what looks like a return to the quirky, interesting pop that made them such a treasure a decade ago. This a capella teaser of their new song, Boys, certainly hits the right spot with the harmonies, but it was the lush production and intricate arrangements that made the classic Sugababes sound. I can’t wait to hear the finished song. Continue reading
Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy – the original lineup of the Sugababes – have formed a new act descriptively called Mutya Keisha Siobhan. This is a good thing, and according to Popjustice, their music is “officially not s***”. In fact, they claim, it’s actually “really good”.
This comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone who heard the early Sugababes, because they were also really good. Let’s remind ourselves: Continue reading
Written for Collapse Board
Before they switched off Pandora in the UK, I found its deliberately anti-genre stance interesting because it would place frivolous ‘pop’ songs next to ‘credible’ artists. It’s probably stretching it to call any of these ‘rock’, but they’re of the type admired by people who don’t generally buy records by Beyonce, etc.
Stripped of the genre tag, note for note, there’s really not much difference between the songs. Wallace Wylie pointed out what’s wrong with the package of pop. If you take that away, you’ve got some great music that the middle-aged chin-strokers would probably like if they just started thinking of it as music. For example: Continue reading
Listening to MGMT yesterday, I began to wonder if people had forgotten how to write great songs. “How can you say that?” I hear you cry. “Electric Feel is a great song”, to which I’d counter, “Electric Feel has a great hook; it is not a great song.”
Great songs have rules – surprisingly rigid ones at that. It’s not that the songs that obey those rules are automatically good, but that the ones that break those rules are almost universally bad.
There’s no kind way I can say it: in the year 2000, I only heard one decent “alternative” record: United States of Mind by Covenant. This was a problem: I was the “industrial correspondent” for a metal magazine, and every release I was being sent was s***. It wasn’t just the ones I was being sent: I’d hear a great record in a club, hear the album, and that was the only good song on the entire record!
Pop music in the 90s had been pretty weak, but suddenly a slew – a plethora – of beautifully-written pop music records were released. There was Madonna’s Ray of Light and Music, Kylie’s Fever and Sophie Ellis Bexter’s Read My Lips. Weaker on the album front but churning out a succession of truly magical singles was teen band Sugababes. Their voices were lovely and stylish, and the arrangements sophisticated and moreish.
Is it really any wonder I jacked in the crappy gothic synth-bilge for music like this?
It’s been a day for celebration as the Chilean miners have begun their ascent. My mate Kenny reckons he liked them when they were still underground – but now everyone’s talking about them …
Kenny’s weird. He doesn’t like pop. I mean, granted, most pop’s rubbish, but every now and then a pop song makes the charts that’s as weird and wonderful, complex and exciting as any other style of music. Here, to remind us, are some of the best.
Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For? (Love. Angel. Music. Baby., 2004)
The story behind this New Wave treat goes that Stefani’s first day in the studio with the legendary Linda Perry was disastrous, with Gwen breaking down in tears of self-doubt. Perry played her a tune the next day, which Gwen really loved, and Perry said, “Well, what are you waiting for?” The pair then documented Gwen’s emotional state to form the lyrics. It is unknown whether white rabbits were involved in the proceedings.
Sugababes – Stronger (Angels With Dirty Faces, 2002)
Back when the Sugababes made truly excellent records, this ripped off Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy to devastating effect. Lush strings complement the fine three-part harmony against a languid trip-hop beat. This song is a great reminder of how they used to sound before they lapsed into bland, shallow elevator muzak.