Call it women’s intuition or maybe telepathy — or the spiteful work of Heidi Range — but a large chunk of unreleased songs from the Mutya Keisha Siobhan vaults (AKA MKS, AKA Sugababes 1.0, AKA Origibabes…) came drifting down in front of our digital doors like a gleaming pile of freshly laid snow upon on Christmas Day yesterday.
Merry MKSmas, indeed.
Over the past few years, a few of the trio’s early sessions have already squeezed out from the archives, including the Ahmad-sampling “Back In The Day,” which dropped last year, and the highly anticipated “Boys,” which came just weeks ago.
As of now, there are seven previously unreleased MKS tracks in total: “Today,” “Love In Stereo,” “No Regrets,” “Summer of ’99,” “Too In Love,” “I’m Alright” and “Drum.” (You can listen to all of them over here streaming at the moment — I’m not hosting those files myself because I certainly don’t need Queen Mutya coming for me.)
Together with “Back In The Day,” “Flatline,” “Boys,” “Burnt Out” (which Tom Aspaul wisely went and saved for himself), their semi-cover of Kendrick Lamar in “Lay Down In Swimming Pools” and their previously live acoustic-only and still gorgeous “No Regrets,” we’ve got a complete MKS record; a bittersweet gift given the dubious status of the group’s alleged 2017 comeback.
The leaks highlight the myriad reasons that the Sugababes succeeded for so many years since “Overload” in all (well, most) of their incarnations: those impeccable heaven-sent melodies, the well above-average songwriting, their effortless genre-hopping ability, that deep-rooted emotion generated by a troupe that really did sound destined to sing together. It’s magic.
There are certain tracks — from the surprisingly rock-edged “Summer of ’99,” which feels like a nostalgic sequel to “About You Now,” to instant fan favorite “Drum,” a dizzying dance jam that sounds like something M.I.A. or Diplo might have cooked up with the girls — that are almost maddening: this sounds like the future of adult girl group pop, and these three were (are?) certainly the ones to blaze that trail.
They’re all top-notch tracks in various levels of finish: the MNEK-produced, drum and bass-infused “Today” deserves far more than “leaked demo” status (“feelings of yesterday, I can see them floating away…“), as does the tripping brilliance of resilience anthem “I’m Alright” and the ’80s retro-electro nod of “Love In Stereo.”
And, of course, the Dev Hynes-produced “Flatline” remains the Best Song of 2013 — and still perfect today.
The pop landscape for Western girl groups is especially bleak: All Saints, despite dropping a fantastic record earlier this year, are barely registering as a blip on the radar. Little Mix may very well be the sole remaining troupe in 2017 — and good luck booking that stage you speak of, Camila Cabello.
This leak could not be more necessary to prove that good, timeless girl group pop does still exist. Just…in a vault, somewhere, waiting to be freed by some overly trusting intern. Or Heidi.
It’s unclear whether the Suga-spillage will push the group’s management to make the move to release a follow-up in early 2017 or scrap the whole thing entirely, but one thing’s certain: MKS — the Sugababes, whatever they’re calling themselves now — are the best girl group still in existence today…if they still want to be.
Just watch them in action together. This is an undeniable magic.