98. Sugababes – ‘Overload’ (2000)

“Strange fear I ain’t felt for years”

Written by Keisha Buchanan/Mutya Buena/Siobhan Donaghy/Felix Howard/Cameron McVey/Jony Rockstar/Paul Simm

Produced by Cameron McVey/Jony Rockstar/Paul Simm

Taken from the album One Touch

Also released on Overloaded: The Singles Collection

UK #6, AUS #27

‘Overload’ is one of the all-time great debut singles, establishing a clear identity and purpose for a group right from the starting point. With everything that has happened to Sugababes since Siobhan, Mutya and Keisha appeared in late 2000, it’s so easy to forget how needed they were on the pop scene that year, how One Touch felt like a reinvigoration of the girl group sound, a genre that had fallen on hard times ever since the Fall of Halliwell.

As well as being brilliantly catchy and immediate, ‘Overload’ is also seriously weird and extremely intimate, like reading a young girl’s diary. The whole album sounds a bit like that, but ‘Overload’ feels closer to home, more personal somehow. With the funky train-station beat and achingly cool vocal performances, this song is at once teenage bliss and yet it was embraced by hipsters. Sugababes became the girl group it was okay to like.

The video for ‘Overload’ is by far the group’s best. No amount of catfights, spotlights, motorbikes made out of muscle men, product placement, elevators, talent contests or lame battles with Girls Aloud could top the simple, stylish white background and those three captivating teenage performers. The budgets may have grown and the hits may have been bigger (and the members may have been different), but Sugababes never again captured the effortless brilliance of ‘Overload’.

Music video:

Kransky Sisters cover:

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