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Sugababes - Catfights and Spotlights

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Catfights and Spotlights

Sugababes

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Thirteen months before the launch of their sixth studio album, the Sugababes saw monumental success with their fifth release, Change, and its lead single "About You Now." With its glossy electric feel, the powerful impact that "About You Now" had on the charts only further solidified Keisha Buchanan, Heidi Range, and Amelle Berrabah as three of the most formidable personalities in British pop music. Change was the group's most accessible radio-friendly release to date, which is why it seems more odd that their sixth release would be so much the opposite. However, odd doesn't necessarily mean bad, as Catfights and Spotlights, the title of the group's sixth sampling, stands poised to be the group's strongest showing to date. While it was never in doubt that the group was one of the new millennium's most influential girl groups, this time around Buchanan, Range, and Berrabah dive into a new dimension of artistic merit, flashing impeccable songwriting skills and flourishing arrangements thanks to the help of immaculate production, which throws the girl into a retro bodysuit yet never feels stale. After five albums (plus a greatest-hits launch) and ten years in the business, it seemed obvious that the group felt the pressure to hold onto their stake in pop music's ephemeral market, hoping to make that rare transition from being simply a girl pop group to mature divas, something that even the Spice Girls had trouble doing. In fact, it appears that the ladies hoped to do that by taking the overused idea of soulful retro sounds which plagued 2007 and 2008 and using them as a jumping-off point, creating songs like "Girls," which are as refreshing as anything new by any artist these days. However, "Girls" operates as a wonderful testament to the power of the '70s at its best. Show-stopping numbers like "You on a Good Day" and "No Can Do" work as shimmering displays of subtle strength, building on the recurring themes of enticing harmonies and vocal showcasing which are seen as the most dominant traits that the girls are showing off this time around. The album is by far the group's most coherent, mature sampling, and more than a handful of tracks, including "Sunday Rain" and "Unbreakable Heart" seem made with the sole purpose of dominating the adult contemporary chart. Even without fawning over so many other tracks, the number "Every Heart Broken" alone reflects the perfect imperfection that the group boasts. It operates as the group's single most raw and powerful track to date. While the album lacks the most vainglorious electric numbers which seem to dominate the radio waves these days (simply ask the Sugababes/Girls Aloud knock-offs the Saturdays), Catfights and Spotlights is the true reflection of a girl group's transition from shallow pop stardom into full-fledged recording artistry, and this album is the clear sign that these girls have reached tenure to the point where they will operate as wildly successful recording artists at any age, at any time. This album is only the beginning of a whole new chapter of the Sugababes musical lifetime, which should be filled with critical acclaim if the music is anywhere near as good as it is right now.
© Matthew Chisling /TiVo

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Catfights and Spotlights

Sugababes

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1
Girls Album Version
00:03:10

Mike Stevens, Producer, Additional Producer - Dave Palmer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Allen Toussaint, ComposerLyricist - Tom Elmhirst, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dan Parry, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Scott Garland, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Sugababes, MainArtist - Graham Russell, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Nicole Jenkinson, ComposerLyricist - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Anna McDonald, ComposerLyricist - Si Hulbert, Producer, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Melvin Kuiters, Producer - Melvin Kuisters, Programmer - James Treweek, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Victoria McCuminsky, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

2
You On A Good Day
00:03:26

Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Per "Ruskträsk" Johansson, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Programmer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist, Bass (Vocal) - Viktor Brobacke, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Phat Fabe, Programmer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

3
No Can Do
00:03:09

Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Dave Palmer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Hal Ritson, Producer, Guitar, Additional Producer, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Lawrence, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Miriam Stockley, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Henry Collins, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Nichol Thompson, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - Sugababes, MainArtist - Richard Adlam, Producer, Guitar, Additional Producer, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - The Invisible Men, Producer - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - George Astasio, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jason Pebworth, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jon Shave, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Geeki, ComposerLyricist - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Si Hulbert, Producer, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Jim Hunt, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Xavier Stephenson, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Melvin Kuiters, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer - Spencer Dewing, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

4
Hanging On A Star
00:03:20

Dave Palmer, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Neil Tucker, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sugababes, MainArtist - The Invisible Men, Producer - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - George Astasio, Guitar, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jason Pebworth, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jon Shave, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Geeki, ComposerLyricist - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Si Hulbert, Producer, Mixer, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Wheat, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Melvin Kuiters, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

5
Side Chick
00:03:39

Alexander Kronlund, ComposerLyricist - Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Programmer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist, Bass (Vocal) - Phat Fabe, Programmer - Tengan, Programmer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

6
Unbreakable Heart
00:03:50

Max Martin, ComposerLyricist - Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Programmer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist, Bass (Vocal)

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

7
Sunday Rain
00:03:59

Jon Kelly, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Booker, Producer, Mixer, Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Karen Poole, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

8
Every Heart Broken
00:04:08

Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - David Nyström, Programmer - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, String Arranger, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Programmer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Phat Fabe, Programmer - Stockholm Strings, Strings, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

9
Beware
00:02:54

Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - David Nyström, Programmer - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, String Arranger, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Programmer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist, Bass (Vocal) - Stockholm Strings, Strings, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

10
Nothing's As Good As You
00:03:02

Dave Palmer, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Neil Tucker, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sugababes, MainArtist - The Invisible Men, Producer - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - George Astasio, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jason Pebworth, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jon Shave, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Geeki, ComposerLyricist - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Si Hulbert, Producer, Mixer, Keyboards, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Wheat, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Melvin Kuiters, Producer, Keyboards, Additional Producer, Programmer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

11
Sound Of Goodbye
00:04:21

Jon Kelly, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steve Booker, Producer, Mixer, Guitar, Keyboards, Programmer, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Karen Poole, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

12
Can We Call A Truce
00:04:31

Alexander Kronlund, ComposerLyricist - Jeremy Wheatley, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Edgeler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - David Nyström, Programmer - Sugababes, MainArtist - Deanna , ComposerLyricist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, String Arranger, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Phat Fabe, Programmer - Stockholm Strings, Strings, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

13
About You Now Acoustic Version
00:02:45

Lukasz Gottwald, ComposerLyricist - Mike Stevens, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Cathy Dennis, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Thornton, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sugababes, MainArtist - Keisha Buchanan, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Heidi Range, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Amelle Berrabah, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Dave Whitmey, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2008 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

Album Description

Thirteen months before the launch of their sixth studio album, the Sugababes saw monumental success with their fifth release, Change, and its lead single "About You Now." With its glossy electric feel, the powerful impact that "About You Now" had on the charts only further solidified Keisha Buchanan, Heidi Range, and Amelle Berrabah as three of the most formidable personalities in British pop music. Change was the group's most accessible radio-friendly release to date, which is why it seems more odd that their sixth release would be so much the opposite. However, odd doesn't necessarily mean bad, as Catfights and Spotlights, the title of the group's sixth sampling, stands poised to be the group's strongest showing to date. While it was never in doubt that the group was one of the new millennium's most influential girl groups, this time around Buchanan, Range, and Berrabah dive into a new dimension of artistic merit, flashing impeccable songwriting skills and flourishing arrangements thanks to the help of immaculate production, which throws the girl into a retro bodysuit yet never feels stale. After five albums (plus a greatest-hits launch) and ten years in the business, it seemed obvious that the group felt the pressure to hold onto their stake in pop music's ephemeral market, hoping to make that rare transition from being simply a girl pop group to mature divas, something that even the Spice Girls had trouble doing. In fact, it appears that the ladies hoped to do that by taking the overused idea of soulful retro sounds which plagued 2007 and 2008 and using them as a jumping-off point, creating songs like "Girls," which are as refreshing as anything new by any artist these days. However, "Girls" operates as a wonderful testament to the power of the '70s at its best. Show-stopping numbers like "You on a Good Day" and "No Can Do" work as shimmering displays of subtle strength, building on the recurring themes of enticing harmonies and vocal showcasing which are seen as the most dominant traits that the girls are showing off this time around. The album is by far the group's most coherent, mature sampling, and more than a handful of tracks, including "Sunday Rain" and "Unbreakable Heart" seem made with the sole purpose of dominating the adult contemporary chart. Even without fawning over so many other tracks, the number "Every Heart Broken" alone reflects the perfect imperfection that the group boasts. It operates as the group's single most raw and powerful track to date. While the album lacks the most vainglorious electric numbers which seem to dominate the radio waves these days (simply ask the Sugababes/Girls Aloud knock-offs the Saturdays), Catfights and Spotlights is the true reflection of a girl group's transition from shallow pop stardom into full-fledged recording artistry, and this album is the clear sign that these girls have reached tenure to the point where they will operate as wildly successful recording artists at any age, at any time. This album is only the beginning of a whole new chapter of the Sugababes musical lifetime, which should be filled with critical acclaim if the music is anywhere near as good as it is right now.
© Matthew Chisling /TiVo

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