Nature, as we all know, abhors a vacuum. So when Girls Aloud carelessly split earlier this year and the Saturdays resolutely failed to win over our hearts (pick ONE of them out in a line-up and I’ll call you a liar,) an urgent pop vacancy was created. And now, after a few tense months without any decent harmonies, it has been filled by – blow me down – Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan!
No-one is more surprised than me. When the original Sugababes announced their return with their new name-based moniker (or, as I prefer to think of it “Try leaving the group this time, bitch,”) I had low expectations that a) they’d actually put anything out and b) it would be any cop. And as the months dragged on with scarcely more than the occasional tweet to confirm how much the girls love each other these days, I suspected I was right.
But then, on Thursday July 4th 2013, “Flatline” arrived, and it is wonderful – and definitely the best single ever made by two surly girls who look handy in a fight and one who tends to bolt at the first sign of trouble. Paying no attention to current pop trends whatsoever, it has its first moment of greatness at precisely seven seconds when the first Shakatak-y piano note hits. At this point you’re thinking, “oh this is slightly sinister and would sound good at sunset in a ritzy nightspot” and then you start imagining what the video would look like – probably the girls speeding around Stockholm in the back of open-topped sports cars at midnight – and then the chorus arrives and Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan’s vocals blend so perfectly that you burst into tears because you didn’t realise how much you’d missed them. And also because the line “I can feel a flatline, there ought to be a wave” is pretty heartbreaking.
Isn’t kismet great? Call it destiny, call it fate, call it a really good A&R person, but against all odds, “Flatline” is both the greatest single and comeback of 2013. As such, this should never be tried again (please take note, Nadine Coyle.) Welcome/welcome back, ladies. Until you spectacularly fall out again and Siobhan climbs out of another toilet window.