With all the hoopla surrounding the return of the original Sugababes (one of my fave bands of ALL TIME FYI) as Mutya Keisha Siobhan, it’s time we gave a much-needed shout out to one trio’s massively impressive discography boasting of an insane 18 top 10 singles on the UK Top 40, including six # 1 singles!
I couldn’t possibly ignore ‘Round Round‘, ‘Hole In The Head‘ and ‘About You Now‘ as the three best Sugababes song ever written, but it’s the deeply personal ‘Ugly‘ that I chose as my Throwback Tuesday song of the week.
Iconic R’n'B/Soul trio TLC released a song along a similar theme back in 1999, ‘Unpretty‘ from their Grammy-winning six-times Platinum extravaganza ‘Fanmail‘. No other band, apart from the Sugababes, has done justice to an issue as sensitive as the one tackled in the song until then – an issue from which Lady Gaga has made an entire career of over the last few years.
‘Ugly‘ is undoubtedly one of the best and critically hailed songs they’ve ever recorded – especially when Mutya, Heidi and Keisha were the threesome running the band, and the name of their fourth album ‘Taller In More Ways‘ was taken from a line off the song.
Released in 2005, ‘Taller In More Ways‘ debuted at # 1 on the UK Top 40 Albums Chart, their first # 1 album on these shores – eventually going triple platinum in the UK with sales of almost a million copies there alone.
The album was a move in the right direction for the band, as they had a tough act to follow with the massive success of their third studio album ‘Three‘ (I consider ‘Three‘ as one of the definitive Sugababes albums along with ‘Angels With Dirty Faces‘, ‘Taller In More Ways‘ and ‘Change‘).
Of course, the girls didn’t disappoint, with ‘Taller In More Ways‘ being their most personal and introspective album chronicling their personal journey as a band. Till date the album remains their biggest hit and their highest seller.
‘Ugly‘ was the second single to be released from the album after the lead single ‘Push The Button‘ entered the charts at # 1. The empowering anthem was based on the media’s relentless backlash that the band faced, especially the rumors addressing an impending change of the line-up of the band. Like Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful‘ and TLC’s ‘Unpretty‘, the song also dealt with tackling issues of self-loathing and acceptance.
Inspirational and radio-friendly, the pop-ballad was nothing like the band had ever recorded before, and the song’s powerful lyrics struck a chord with both fans and the random listener alike. And of course, there’s honestly no band out there right now that can harmonize like the Sugababes. When the girls soar through the final chorus, it’s nothing short of heaven!
The lyrics remain a personal energy-booster every time I feel low.
‘People are all the same
And we only get judged by what we do
Personality reflects name
And if I’m ugly then so are you
So are you’
‘Ugly‘ peaked at # 3 on the UK Top 40 Singles Chart, as well as within the top 10 of a host of countries in Europe, Asia and New Zealand.
Unsurprisingly, American radio remained ignorant. Well, shame on them.
Check out the stunning Toby Tremlett-directed video for ‘Ugly‘ right here :