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No Can Do

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For the Latin dance tune of the 1940s and 1950s recorded by Erwin Halletz, Guy Lombardo and others, see Nat Simon.
"No Can Do"
No Can Do (Sugababes single - cover art).png
Single by Sugababes
from the album Catfights and Spotlights
B-side "Spiralling"
Released 19 December 2008
Format
Recorded
Genre
Length 3:10
Label Island
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Sugababes singles chronology
"Girls"
(2008)
"No Can Do"
(2008)
"Get Sexy"
(2009)

"No Can Do" is a song by English girl group Sugababes from their sixth studio album, Catfights and Spotlights (2008). It was written by Jason Pebworth and George Astasio of The Invisible Men, Jon Shave and VV Brown, and produced by The Invisible Men in collaboration with Si Hulbert. The song was released in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 19 December 2008 as the album's second and final single. "No Can Do" is a pop song with influences of R&B and soul. It contains a sample of Sweet Charles Sherrell's "Yes It's You", and contains influences of Motown music and songs performed by The Jackson 5.

The song received mixed reviews from critics, who were ambivalent towards its Motown influence. "No Can Do" peaked at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart and is one of the group's lowest-charting singles in the UK. The single also charted on the Danish and Slovakian airplay charts. The music video for "No Can Do" was directed by Marco Puig, and was inspired by a piece of pop created by Allen Jones in the 1960s. It features the group using twenty half-naked men as objects such as cars, motorcycles and bridges. The Sugababes performed the song in November 2008 to promote the release of the New Xbox Experience, and at Ponty's Big Weekend in July 2009.

Background and release[edit]

Following the release of their fifth studio album, Change (2007), and the completion of its supporting tour, the Sugababes announced that they would take a year-long break to record their sixth studio album.[1] Despite the announcement, the trio soon began work on the album, titled Catfights and Spotlights, which they eventually recorded within a matter of weeks and in between various festivals.[1] "No Can Do" was co-written and co-produced by The Invisible Men team members Jason Pebworth and George Astasio.[2] The two musicians co-wrote the song in collaboration with Jon Shave and VV Brown, and co-produced it with Si Hulbert.[2] The song was programmed collectively by Hulbert, Shave, Pebworth and Melvin Kuiters, mixed by Jeremy Wheatley and engineered by Dave Palmer.[2] "No Can Do" was recorded at Metropolis Studios in London, England.[2]

"No Can Do" was released as the second and final single from Catfights and Spotlights.[3] When Digital Spy questioned group member Keisha Buchanan about her reaction to its release, she responded: "I'm really excited about it. I'm looking forward to people hearing another side to the album. This single has got a kind of Jackson 5 feel to it which I love. The whole album has got a really old-school, laid-back Motown sound, so hopefully 'No Can Do' will get more people interested in the album."[4][5] "No Can Do" was released as a digital download in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 19 December 2008.[6] The following day, it was made available as a CD single, which consists of three remixes of the track and a cover version of Keane's song "Spiralling".[7]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"No Can Do" received comparisons to songs performed by The Jackson 5.

"No Can Do" is an uptempo[8] pop song with influences of R&B and soul.[9][10] It features prominent bass instrumentation provided by the keyboard, guitar, trombone, trumpet, saxophone and brass.[2][11] "No Can Do" is based around a sample of Sweet Charles Sherrell's "Yes It's You", as written and produced by Nugetre and Hal Ritson, respectively.[2] The song is largely inspired by Motown music and is reminiscent of songs performed by The Jackson 5,[12] namely their 1969 song "I Want You Back".[9] Adrian Thrills of the Daily Mail described it as "a bubbly Jackson Five pastiche".[13] The Motown influences are most evident within the song's beat.[14] The record's influences also derive from the music of girl groups from the 1960s.[14] According to the digital sheet music published at Sheet Music Direct, "No Can Do" was composed in the key of G major using common time, with a tempo of 96 beats per minute.[15]

Matthew Chisling of AllMusic noted that the song "[builds] on the recurring themes of enticing harmonies and vocal showcasing which are seen as the most dominant traits that the girls are showing off this time around".[16] The lyrics of "No Can Do" address the riddance of a boyfriend, following the group's "trademark super-energised big goodbye songs".[11][12] Buchanan stated during an interview with BBC's Sarah Jane Griffiths that the lyrics are "about your partner treating you really bad and you saying, 'Not any more. Or No Can Do'".[17]

Response[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception for "No Can Do" was mixed. David Balls of Digital Spy gave the song a two out of five star rating, and wrote, "in comparison to the majority of the group's singles, it's a half-hearted, bland and middle of the road offering that lacks the excitement of Sugababes at their best".[10] He did, however, call the song an improvement from the group's previous single "Girls".[10] A writer from Orange criticised the song's incorporation of multiple genres as "less than the sum of its parts".[9] The reviewer was also unfavourable of the sampling of "Yes It's You", which was noted as "giving the ladies' warblings a strange air of karaoke with the wrong lyrics" as a result of its resemblance to "I Want You Back".[9] The writer concluded the review by stating that "things are just a little lacklustre; the trio's vocals are still strong, but missing the sass that made them famous".[9]

Entertainment.ie's Lauren Murphy regarded "No Can Do" and album track "Side Chick" as "feeble uptempo tracks that sound like they've been plucked at random from a pop factory conveyor belt".[8] A writer from the Daily Record commented that "as much as ['No Can Do'] is mainstream and poppy, it's hardly their most remarkable offering".[18] Popjustice considered the song to be "above average" but not the best track from the album,[19] while Fraser McAlphine of the BBC Chart Blog wrote that it "won't be the all-conquering pop superbeast that it could be".[5] A positive response came from AllMusic writer Matthew Chisling, who considered the song to be a "show-stopping [number]" and stated that it "work[s] as shimmering displays of subtle strength".[16] Virgin Media's Johnny Dee praised inclusion of the Motown beat, which according to him makes the song "feel retro and modern simultaneously.[14]

Commercial performance[edit]

"No Can Do" entered the UK Singles Chart on 13 December 2008 at number 170, based on digital downloads from Catfights and Spotlights.[20] Upon its release as a single, the song peaked at number 23 in the issue dated 10 January 2009 with 12,890 copies sold.[21] Subsequently, "No Can Do" became the group's lowest-charting single since 2006's "Follow Me Home" and their third-lowest charting single overall.[22] The song is also one of their lowest-selling singles to date.[23] "No Can Do" brought the Sugababes' total single sales in the UK to three million.[21] The single also peaked at number eleven on the Danish airplay chart,[24] number 53 on the Slovakian airplay chart,[25] and number 67 on Billboard's European Hot 100 Singles chart.[26]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "No Can Do" was directed by Marco Puig, who previously directed videos for recording artists such as Robbie Williams and Madonna.[27] The video was filmed in November 2008,[27] and was released onto the iTunes Store later that month.[28] On YouTube, it was released on 2 December 2008.[29] The video's inspiration stemmed from a piece of art created by the sculptor Allen Jones in the 1960s, involving the use of female mannequins as everyday pieces of furniture.[27][30] Shortly before its release, pictures of the group's members with men in tight underpants surfaced online; according to Alison Maloney of The Sun, this "[left] little to the imagination".[31] The Sugababes wore glamorous gowns and had large hair and long eyelashes for the video, which features twenty muscly men who are used as pieces of furniture.[3][27]

The video opens with a scene of group member Amelle Berrabah, who is spread out on the floor and surrounded by multiple men.[31] Berrabah, Buchanan and other group member Heidi Range join together and walk on a bridge, which is constructed by the men's bodies.[27] Later, Buchanan straddles onto two men who pretend to be a motorbike.[27][32] Berrabah and Range then drive a car made from the men's bodies.[31] During the milk bar scene, the trio are surrounded by men who are used as tables and lamps.[27] Another scene shows Berrabah and Range in a car constructed by the men.[27] At the end of the video, Range uses a microphone to yell at the men who are standing in a line.[27] Balls described the video as "a little racier than we'd expect from Keisha and Co", but acknowledged that "it's nice to see the girls letting their hair down for a change".[3] He compared it to the music video for Kylie Minogue's 2003 single "Slow".[3] VV Brown, the co-writer of "No Can Do", stated that she did not expect the video to be racy: "Being very honest, I didn't see in that way. I saw the song as more fun and cheeky, rather than sassy and glossy like that."[33]

Live performances and impact[edit]

The Sugababes performed "No Can Do" on 14 November 2008 for Children in Need.[34] The trio performed the song later that month to promote the release of the New Xbox Experience, as part of a set list that included their singles "Push the Button" and "About You Now".[35] They performed "No Can Do" on 18 July 2009 at Ponty’s Big Weekend, which was held at Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd, Wales, and dedicated the performance to Michael Jackson who died a month earlier.[36] Buchanan named "No Can Do" one of her favourite songs from the Sugababes' career, stating: "I love 'No Can Do' because it's such a different sound for us. I really like the whole old-school, laid-back sound and it's got a kind of Jackson 5 feel to it which I love."[37]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of Catfights and Spotlights.[2]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Denmark Airplay (Tracklisten)[24] 11
European Hot 100 (Billboard)[26] 67
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[25] 53
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[22] 23

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Ireland 19 December 2008 Digital download[6] Island Records
United Kingdom
Ireland Extended play[38]
United Kingdom
Ireland 20 December 2008 CD single[7]
United Kingdom

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Savage, Mark (14 October 2008). "Suga rush produces new album 'in weeks'". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Catfights and Spotlights (album). Sugababes. Universal Island Records. 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The raciest Sugababes video yet?". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. 21 November 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Sugababes". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  5. ^ a b McAlphine, Fraser (20 December 2008). "Sugababes – 'No Can Do'". BBC Chart Blog. BBC. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "No Can Do" was released as a digital download in Ireland and the United Kingdom on 19 December 2008:
  7. ^ a b c "No Can Do (single)". Amazon (UK). Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Sugababes – Catfights and Spotlights". Entertainment.ie. Entertainment Media Networks. 5 November 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Sugababes – 'No Can Do'". Orange. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c Balls, David (18 December 2008). "Sugababes: 'No Can Do'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Davies, Lucy (17 October 2008). "Sugababes – Catfights and Spotlights – Review". BBC Music. BBC. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Album review: Sugababes". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 16 October 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Thrills, Adrian (24 October 2008). "New releases". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 21 May 2013.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ a b c Dee, Johnny. "Sugababes: Catfights And Spotlights review". Virgin Media. Virgin Group. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Sugababes: No Can Do". Sheet Music Direct. EMI Music Publishing. 2008. 45127. 
  16. ^ a b Chisling, Matthew. "Catfights and Spotlights – Sugababes". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Sugababes 'not into celebrity'". Newsbeat. BBC. 3 December 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Staying in: Out on CD". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 27 December 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2013.  (subscription required)
  19. ^ "'No Can Do'". Popjustice. Peter Robinson. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update". Official Charts Company. 13 December 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  21. ^ a b "Santa delivers good cheer for sales charts". Music Week. Intent Media. 5 January 2009. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "Sugababes". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Sugababes Official Top 20 Best Selling Singles". MTV UK. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  24. ^ a b "Sugababes – No Can Do Hitlisten.nu" (in Danish). Tracklisten. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  25. ^ a b "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200907 into search. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  26. ^ a b "European Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i "VIDEO: Sugababes take a ride in a man-car in pop art inspired shoot". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. 21 November 2008. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2009. 
  28. ^ "No Can Do – Sugababes". iTunes Store (GB). Apple. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  29. ^ "The Life Browser". The Independent. Independent News & Media. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2013.  (subscription required)
  30. ^ "Biker Bakes". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c Maloney, Alison (24 November 2008). "New pictures from Sugababes video No Can Do". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  32. ^ Smart, Gordon (21 November 2008). "Keisha Buchanan straddles two men pretending to be a motorbike in new Sugababes video". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  33. ^ Levine, Nick (9 January 2009). "Ones To Watch In 2009: VV Brown". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  34. ^ "THE Sugababes". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. 3 November 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  35. ^ Weinberg, Jonathan (21 November 2008). "Sugababes have The X Factor". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  36. ^ Williams, Tryst (20 July 2009). "Sugababes' sweet sound is a Big hit with revellers". Wales Online. Media Wales. Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  37. ^ Balls, David (19 December 2008). "Keisha reveals her favourite Sugababes hits". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines. Archived from the original on 9 August 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  38. ^ a b "No Can Do" was released as an extended play in Ireland and the United Kingdom on 19 December 2008:

External links[edit]