Girls Aloud wasn’t the only girl group ringing in the New Year with something new.
MKS–the holy trinity of Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy (also known as the Origibabes)–made their secret live comeback last night.
The Sugababes are, aside from Girls Aloud, generally regarded as the UK’s most successful girl group of the 21st century. With dozens of chart-topping hits–from “Overload” to “Freak Like Me” to “About You Now”–five Top 10 albums and dozens of awards to their name, the ‘Babes have consistently slayed for well over a decade–although not all as one defining unit.
Yet as much as the girls have become known for being a legendary powerhouse troupe of soulful divas, they’ve earned themselves just as strong of a reputation for the revolving door status of their members–the kind of constant switcheroo that easily puts the frequent chiding of Destiny’s Child‘s own member swap to shame.
When the group first started, the original Sugababes were Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy–who left after the release of their debut album citing an interest in pursuing fashion, and only later on revealing during an interview that Keisha was a “bully” that pushed her out of the group. She was replaced by Heidi Range in 2001.
Mutya Buena then took a leave in late 2005 and replaced by Amelle Berrabah, while Keisha Buchanan eventually bowed out (and/or was kicked out by Amelle and Heidi for–you guessed it, allegedly being a bully) in late 2009, leaving Jade Ewen to fill her spot.
But as the group’s original member count has slowly dwindled, so too has their reputation. Now in their fourth incarnation, the Sugababes have no actual Sugababes members remaining, and it’s come to the point now where the group is being heavily mocked in the media for looking like a desperate knock-off of the original brand.
For years, there’s been a steadily growing public outcry for the original ‘Babes to reform (if not just the stuff of Suga fanboy/girl dreams) and now, it seems those dreams are about to come true.
Back in October, UK blog Wot You Got reported that the original trio had reunited and were heading back in the studio to work on a few demos together to test out their sound after over a decade apart.
Earlier this evening, Keisha Buchanan just added fuel to the initial rumors by tweeting the following:
Hanging out in the studio with @professorgreen and two lovely ladies with bags of talent :-p lol
And then came a tweet from Mutya Buena:
@ studio wit professor green in tha building and 2 beautiful ladies
The third and final original member of Sugababes–Siobhán–isn’t on Twitter just yet, but the tweets still all but confirm the same thing: The iconic soulstresses behind hits like “Overload,” “Run For Cover” and “Soul Sound” are back in the studio working together. As of today, they’ve allegedly been involved with popular UK producer Professor Green. And according to some newer Internet rumors, they were even working with Xenomania‘s Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper just before Christmas. And although there’s still no official confirmation just yet (although my boo over at The Prophet Blog just revealed that he’s known this to be true for a while), it’s pretty safe to say that this one’s a go. (EDIT: It is–as triply confirmed by PopJustice.)
Still, plenty of questions now loom: For one, what’s to come of the current Sugababes? Well, the news certainly doesn’t look promising. By most accounts, the group’s been quietly dropped from Sony/RCA. Ever since the non-release of “Freedom” by the Sugababes 4.0 which stalled only days before its release date last September and ended up being offered as a free download, the ever-withering troupe has fallen silent over the past six months.
Plus, in an interview published yesterday with Heidi Range–who’s now about to appear on Dancing On Ice–the singer openly admitted that the group’s not doing much these days. From Digital Spy:
“We were just in a period where we weren’t busy anyway. We were doing our own thing,” Range told Digital Spy. “We haven’t split up, no.”
Speaking about the group’s future, she added: “We’re not concentrating on it. I’m concentrating on this. We haven’t got anything planned at the moment.”
If the Sugababes 4.0 aren’t splitting just yet, their name remains intact. So what will the original troupe be called? Although it’s true that Mutya won limited rights to the Sugababes name back in August (quite limited, actually–as in paper goods, stationary and gift wrapping), it doesn’t seem as though the girls will be able to reunite under their original name. Any guesses on their new incarnation name?
Only one thing’s for sure: I’m on overload.
It’s the answer to the question everyone’s been asking ever since Keisha Buchanan got the boot/left the group in September of 2009: Can the girl group made up of three girls that were never part of the original line-up really still call themselves the Sugababes? The answer: Sorry, no can do!
Founding member Mutya Buena has just won a lawsuit against the troupe for legal rights to the band’s original name. From the NME article:
The singer then announced she would be pursuing legal action to win the rights to the name Sugababes and announced yesterday that she had succeeded.
She wrote on her Facebook page of the news: “I won the official name of the Sugababes now!!! I deserve this! I’m over the moon!”. She is also listed as the owner of the name Sugababes on the official EU trademark website.
The decision not only means current members Heidi Range, Amelle Berrabah and Jade Ewen will potentially have to tour and record under a new name, but that Buena and original members Keisha Buchanan and Siobahn Donaghy will be able to reunite under the name Sugababes if they wish.
So, um…now what? The ‘Babes have a brand new single due out at the start of September (“Freedom”) and an album launch on the horizon. Coupled with dwindling support from the group’s original fan-base, is this the sound of goodbye?
Will Jade Ewen finally get to realize her dreams as a perfectly good solo artist in her own right? Will Amelle Berrabah start up a bad ass bitch duo with Alesha Dixon? Will Heidi Range launch a high street collection of tea cozies? Only one thing’s for sure: The Sugababes are officially no more.
…That is, unless the original group reforms. SHIVERS.
In all seriousness though, this is incredibly sad news: It’s officially the end of an era (for now). RIP Sugababes!
EDIT: Orrrrr not so fast!
NME has provided a quick update to their original story to clarify that Mutya has only won some rights to the Sugababes name, including “paper, cardboard and goods; namely stationery, paper gift wrap and paper gift wrapping ribbons.”
The Sugas live to fight another day! BUT YOU’LL NEVER WRAP A GIFT IN THIS TOWN AGAIN, AMELLE.
So, um…wait–oh? Really? Okay! Mutya Buena has a new song for us, y’all!
The song is called “Give Me Love,” and it’s a collaboration between UK House DJ Paul Morrell and former Sugababes founding member, Mutya Buena. It sounds like this:
As you can plainly hear, “Give Me Love” is the kind of song that goes unts-unts-unts with some strings on top, sort of like Sophie Ellis-Bextor‘s “Bittersweet” or…well, every ’90′s House song ever. (Note: Not a criticism by any means!)
In fact, it’s probably the best thing we’ve heard from the former ‘Babe since the utterly genius 2007 Groove Armada collaboration, “Song 4 Mutya.”
“Why won’t you love me? Why won’t you touch me?” Buena pleads throughout. GOD YOU’RE SO NEEDY, MUTYA. CAN’T A GUY GO OUT ON THE TOWN ALONE FOR ONE NIGHT? Jesus Luz.
But forreal though, I’m totes feeling this jam.
With the fate of the Sugababes now resting on a dodgy Greatest Hits release out in late February and a hope and a prayer that their remaining fans still remember which three babes are still in the band (one of them is T-Boz, right?), the absence of OG member Keisha Buchanan has never been felt so strongly.
But in her absence, she’s been rull busy–and the results are now starting to crop up. After the release of a fairly amazing solo clip called “Fearless” back in July comes a brand new song: “Under Control,” a leak from Keisha’s forthcoming solo effort.
Simply put, “Under Control” is quite exciting.
Not only is the electro-tinged R&B production packed with catchy hooks and melodies, but it also allows Buchanan to shine with a surprisingly strong, Robyn-esque swagger of confidence and pop sensibility. “I, I, I got it under control,” she assures us during the stomping, glittery beats of the chorus. At this point, I don’t think anyone’s got any doubt about that!
Furthermore, it sounds like this one really wasn’t meant to leak this early. From her Twitter earlier this evening:
Pretty bummed about my track being leaked, But the response has been amazing!! Thanks so much. Even better 2 come:-) Album almost finished X
Much like original band members Siobhan Donaghy and Mutya Buena, it sounds like this solo Suga may be rolling out a solo campaign as sublime as her founding sisters’ attempts. Don’t mess with a ‘Babe scorned!