Plus One

The 11 best Sugababes songs

Why have a Top 10 when you can have one more? Here are our 11 favourite Sugababes songs, ranked

If you were one of the lucky ones to witness Sugababes completely slay the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury last year, then you’ll know why they deserve their own Plus One.

Formed in 1998, Siobhán Donaghy and Mutya Buena (both aged just 13 at the time), started working together after being initially signed as solo artists. It was during these sessions that  Buena invited her best friend Keisha Buchanan along to watch. From there, the Sugababes were born.

Known for their darker, more sophisticated pop sound, the Sugababes have been through multiple break-ups and iterations (both Heidi Range and Amelle Berrabah were part of the trio at various points) before reforming the original line-up with Donaghy in 2012. 

They’ve gone on to completely own every live performance since then, bringing crowds to their knees with a solid back catalogue of sing-a-long hits that places female empowerment at their very core. Also, their voices. Their voices

Criminally underrated and overlooked until their recent return to form, here are the Sugababes’ best tracks, ranked and ready to start a kitchen disco. Enjoy.

11. Red Dress

(Taller In More Ways, 2005)

The first single to feature vocals by Amelle Berrabah, following the departure of Mutya Buena in 2005, ‘Red Dress’ is a funkier, more upbeat Sugababes track that offers social commentary on the fact women feel like they need to show their bodies to get noticed. It was a later hit for the band and did well in the charts, however, many fans lamented the fact founding member Buena had parted ways with the trio. The single release did however feature a cover of ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ on the B-side, which is actually, really really good.

10. Run For Cover

(One Touch, 2000)

From the opening piano to the lush vocal arrangements, it’s clear that ‘Run For Cover’ is an overlooked Sugababes gem. Dark, melodic, and goosebumpingly haunting, it’s the final song on their debut album, One Touch, and you have to wonder if this is deliberate, simply because the final bars of the track stay with you long after it’s finished. “You never seem to wonder how much you make me suffer. I’m speaking from the inside.”

9. Ugly

(Taller In More Ways, 2005)

‘Ugly’ is one of those tracks that gets inside you. Sugababes are known for their big, brashy dance anthems, yet this song, with its sweet, stripped-back guitars, lets the lyrics (and the message behind them) shine through. Addressing many of the issues that the Sugababes were having to deal with in the music industry (body-image being the most prevalent, sadly, not much has changed in 2023), ‘Ugly’ still holds up as a song that takes a real stab at how damaging the spotlight can be.

8. About You Now

(Change, 2007)

Co-written by the legendary Cathy Dennis, ‘About You Now’ brought Sugababes to a whole new generation of girl-group fans. Instantly catchy and commercially sound, it became one of the UK’s most played songs of the decade and even got nominated for a BRIT Award. However, Sugababes purists often think it’s the one song that sounds nothing like the band, despite its record-breaking prowess in the singles charts, both here and across the world. Love it or hate it, it’s a deserving Plus One entry.

7. Stronger

(Angels With Dirty Faces, 2002)

One of the slower Sugababes songs, ‘Stronger’ is a powerful ode to female badassery. Inspired by Heidi Range’s experience of feeling lonely after being separated from her friends and family, the track is a slow burner, but the final chorus, with its multi-layered harmonies and string arrangement is quite simply stunning.

6. Hole In The Head

(Three, 2003)

The lead single from Three, ‘Hole In The Head’ is a bouncy homage to up-tempo pop, with a catchy-ass synth chorus that has earworm written all over it. Sassy, spiky, and slagging off sh*tty boyfriends – “Just because you make me go oooh, doesn’t mean I’ll put up with you” – ‘Hole In The Head’ took the Sugababes up a notch in the mainstream pop charts. They were untouchable.

5. Freak Like Me

(Angels With Dirty Faces, 2002)

The first Sugababes single to feature Heidi Range after Donaghy’s departure, ‘Freak Like Me’ is a cover of the 1995 track by American R&B singer Adina Howard. Produced by Richard X, the track also features a perfect sample from the 1979 song ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ by Gary Numan and Tubeway Army. The result? A dark-pop meets rock mash-up that’s since become a massive noughties anthem. Also, the music video, with its eerie nightclub setting and vampyric undertones is still so good twenty years on.

4. Round Round

(Angels With Dirty Faces, 2002)

‘Round Round’, the second single to be released from 2002’s Angels With Dirty Faces, is made massive by its incredible rolling drum track. It swings. It moves. It actually makes you want to spin around on your axis. Plus, we love how the trio are allocated a verse to each showcase their singing styles (Range’s breathless interlude – “Does it hurt when you see how I’ve done…” – has become the stuff of karaoke legend), together with the synchronicity of their voices during the chorus. Banging stuff.

3. Too Lost In You

(Three, 2003)

Ok, forget Love Actually. No one needs Hugh Grant’s insufferable faffing to realise that ‘Too Lost In You’ is one of the 00s most devastatingly brilliant ballads. Full of softly spoken yearning (Buena’s “and my mouth can’t speak” during the intro, unreal), sweeping strings, dizzying, dark harmonies, this track wipes the floor with the Sugababes’ live crowd. Yes, really. We’re talking full-on ugly crying while screaming along with the chorus, holding onto your mates for dear life in case the feels actually sweep you off your feet. 

2. Overload

(One Touch, 2000)

The Sugababes debut single released in the autumn of 2000, ‘Overload’ still sounds incredible. Its sophisticated time signature coupled with the trio’s (then fledgeling) harmonies was lauded by music critics (yes, even the NME) and set the Sugababes apart from the other all-female pop groups dominating the charts at that time. Featuring jangly surf-style guitars and a plethora of samples and percussion, ‘Overload’ felt like a rage against the manufactured pop machine. 

1. Push The Button

(Taller In More Ways, 2005)

From the fuzzy electro intro to the glorious way the girls’ very different voices intertwine throughout, ‘Push The Button’ is woven together like a perfect sample of pure pop cloth. The video was glorious. The sound was on point. In fact, the whole aesthetic of this track just cemented Sugababes as one of the most accomplished and talented girl groups out there (a fact that’s finally being recognised following their recent and very triumphant reform). ‘Push The Button’: 3:37 minutes of sheer Sugababes brilliance.

Sugababes play Wilderness festival in August before starting their own headline UK tour – finishing up in London’s O2 on 15 September. Find tickets here.