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Catfights and Spotlights is the sixth studio album by British pop band Sugababes, released by Island Records in the Netherlandsmarker and Irelandmarker on 17 October 2008 and in the United Kingdommarker on 20 October 2008. It was primarily produced by Klas Åhlund, Steve Booker and Orson, with additional contribution from Si Hulbert, The Invisible Men, Melvin Kuiters, and Max Martin. It is the group's final album to include final founding member Keisha Buchanan

The album received a generally positive reception from the media and music critics, but became the group's second lowest-charting and lowest-selling album, reaching number eight and the top twenty in the UK and on the Irish Albums Chart, respectively. Catfights and Spotlights spawned two singles, with the international top ten entry "Girls." The second and final single "No Can Do" was released on 22 December 2008.

Recording and theme

After they had completed the Change Tour in May 2008, the Sugababes announced that they would not go back into the recording studio until September 2008 to work on their next album, insisting they needed more time to work on their new material. However, on 15 June 2008, band member Keisha Buchanan told an interviewer that the group would start work on a new album straight away due to opportunities to record with new producers, and by 17 June the trio had started recording. Less than a month later at the annual Liverpool Summer Pops in Liverpoolmarker, they announced that the lead single was completed, describing it as "amazing." The title of the single, "Girls", was revealed on 11 August 2008 and was released on 6 October 2008 in the UK.

The album has been described as having a "funkier" sound by Orson's lead singer Jason Pebworth, who has been working with the group in the recording studio. In an interview, the Sugababes described the Catfights and Spotlights as having a more mellow and mature sound which focuses mainly on their vocals.The album was also described by Range as darker.

Release and reception

"Girls" generally received positive reviews from critics. Popjustice described it as "literally quite brilliant" and complimented how it has been inspired by the popularity of soul music in 2007 and 2008, yet still remains original and unique. Speaking of the rest of the album, Popjustice said that the other tracks, including "You on a Good Day", "Murder One" (later renamed "Every Heart Broken"), and "Sunday Rain" were "soulful, melodramatic, orchestral and intensely brilliant". They added that the lyrics from "Every Heart Broken" were the best so far from the band and that, musically, whilst the tracks have a 60s feel, they still manage to "sound modern and exciting".

The second single "No Can Do" was reported on Popjustice and gave it a less favourable review than their previous single stating "This is by no means the best song on the new Sugababes album but someone somewhere evidently likes it because it's the second single - out Christmas week perhaps (ie probably not) with a remix featuring sleigh bells. The review ends by stating that the song is "above average".

Sales and impact

Catfights and Spotlights debuted at number eight on the UK Albums Chart with first week sales of over 23,000 copies, becoming their fifth studio-album to reach the top ten in the United Kingdom. However, it also became their first album since their debut One Touch not to peak inside the national top three. The album fell out of the top fifty in its fourth week of release. As of Monday, January 19, the album jumped 22 places from 96 to 74 with sales 2,000.

In Irelandmarker, the album debuted at number 18, before falling to number 42 the following week, while in Greecemarker, the album entered at number 33, before dropping to number 37 the following week. However, on its third week the album climbed to number 22.

On an interview to Daily Star Sunday, Sugababe member Heidi Range blamed their music label, Island, for disappointing sales of their new album. According to Heidi, "The sales have been disappointing but I don't think it is a reflection on the album's quality, and the problem is the promotion, I don't actually think our fans know we've even got an album out."

In Australia, Sugababes have only had 3 of their previous 6 albums chart, but they all are always in the top 20 on the Hitseekers Chart, which is the 20 albums from artists that have never made top 50 with an album. "Catfights & Spotlights" was the first album not to make this chart, mainly because lead single "Girls" was never released to Australian radio, therefore no promotion and awareness was made of the albums release.

Catfights & Spotlights Tour

Towards the end of the Catfights & Spotlights era, Amelle Berrabah confirmed that there would be no tour and they hadn't initially planned one. She stated that they wanted to move onto new material; which is now called Sweet 7 and is set for release on the 15th February 2010.

Track listing

  1. "Girls" (Allen Toussaint, Anna McDonald, Nicole Jenkinson, K. Buchanan) — 3:11 [A]
  2. "You on a Good Day" (Klas Åhlund, K. Buchanan) — 3:26
  3. "No Can Do" (Jason Pebworth, Jon Shave, George Astasio, Geeki) — 3:11 [B]
  4. "Hanging on a Star" (J. Pebworth, J. Shave, G. Astasio, Geeki, K. Buchanan) — 3:22
  5. "Side Chick" (K. Åhlund, Alex Purple, K. Buchanan) — 3:40
  6. "Unbreakable Heart" (K. Åhlund, Max Martin) — 3:52
  7. "Sunday Rain" (Steve Booker, Karen Poole, K. Buchanan, H. Range, A. Berrabah) — 4:01
  8. "Every Heart Broken" (K. Åhlund) — 4:09
  9. "Beware" (K. Åhlund, A. Berrabah) — 2:55
  10. "Nothing's as Good as You" (J. Pebworth, J. Shave, G. Astasio, Geeki) — 3:03
  11. "Sound of Goodbye" (S. Booker, K. Poole, K. Buchanan) — 4:23
  12. "Can We Call a Truce" (K. Åhlund, A. Purple, Deanna, K. Buchanan) — 4:33
Bonus tracks
  1. "About You Now" (Acoustic Version) (Cathy Dennis, Lukasz Gottwald) — 2:46
  2. "She's Like a Star" (Remix) (Taio Cruz featuring Sugababes) (Taio Cruz) — 2:43 [UK only Bonus Track]
  3. "Girls" (Klas Åhlund re-work, digital download accessed via Enhanced CD section) — 3:12


Notes

A ^ Contains a sample of Ernie K-Doe's "Here Come the Girls", written by Allen Toussaint

B ^ Features interpolations of Sweet Charles Sherrell's "Yes It's You", which was produced by the late soul legend James Brown.

Release history

Region Date Label
Netherlandsmarker 17 October 2008 Island Records
Irelandmarker
United Kingdommarker 20 October 2008
Australia 22 November 2008
Germanymarker 2 January 2009


References

  1. link
  2. link
  3. "New single - GIRLS". Sugababes.com. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  4. Kilkelly, Daniel. "Sugababes working on "funky" album"". Digital Spy. 4 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  5. "Sugababes Heidi, Keisha and Amelle on the new single 'Girls'". ITN Music. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  6. "Let's have a look at some new Sugababes songs, shall we?". Popjustice. 5 September 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  7. The UK Albums Chart Week November 9 2008
  8. Sugababes - Catfights and Spotlights Irish Top 100
  9. www.sugababes.de



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