My love for Brit pop runs as deep as the Atlantic that divides us. And right now, there’s so much good music on the UK scene (as my credit card can attest), like the two girl groups I’ve called out below. Since earlier imports like Bananarama and the Spice Girls had their moment in the American sun, my wish is that today’s talented lasses will soon receive some stateside love, too.
Sugababes – “Denial”
As previously noted, the Sugababes are the UK’s most successful all-female act of the 21st century. The group has 16 hits to its credit (though hits are defined as tracks charting in Britain’s top 75, a more generous measure of achievement than the U.S.’s Top 40 equivalent).
Much like the Supremes and Destiny’s Child, the Sugababes trio has similarly experienced some lineup shifts. Keisha Buchanan, Mutya Buena, and Siobhan Donagy formed the group in 1998. Donaghy quit in 2001 (replaced by Heidi Range), and Buena departed last December (a spot now occupied by Amelle Berrabah). Now featuring Keisha, Heidi, and Amelle, the Sugababes released Change, their fifth album, in October.
“Denial” is the disc’s third single, and my favorite:
Listen up late-adopters: Amazon has an international version of Change available as a very reasonably priced pre-order.
Girls Aloud – “Call The Shots”
In the UK, Pop Idol (which begat American Idol) was preceded by Popstars (also later given a U.S. makeover). Girls Aloud were the female winners of the televised talent competition’s second season in 2002, and have proven to have real staying power. They’ve won over a skeptical press and public, receiving rave reviews and holding two Guinness World Records (“Most Successful Reality TV Group and “Most Consecutive Top Ten Entries in the UK by a Female Group”).
The Girls Aloud success story has a great deal to do with the group’s production team, Xenomania. According to founder Brian Higgins (writer/producer behind the masterful marriage of Cher and vocoder for “Believe”), the Xenomania name was chosen to signify the “exact opposite of Xenophobia… a love of everything, of all cultures.” Xenomania’s ymbiotic relationship with Girls Aloud has created the expectation of something fresh from every new album and single. Together, they’re forever experimenting with different genres, melding old, new, and simply out-there sounds.*
Girls Aloud’s most recent single, “Call The Shots,” is the second release from their fourth album, Tangled Up. If the catchy chorus doesn’t stick in your head for days, your soul is a dark place indeed:
While “Call The Shots” isn’t yet available for download on these shores, both Amazon and iTunes are offering Tangled Up‘s rawkin’ first single “Sexy (No No No)” as a 99-cent point of entry. If you like these two, consider springing for the full-length.
*Xenomania, also behind the board for several Sugababes tracks (including two on Change), is currently collaborating with Franz Ferdinand, creating some studio magic for the band’s third album.