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Shape (song)

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"Shape"
Sugababes-shape.jpg
Single by Sugababes
from the album Angels with Dirty Faces
B-side "Killer"
Released 10 March 2003
Format
Genre
Length 4:12
Label Island
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Craigie
Sugababes singles chronology
"Stronger"/"Angels with Dirty Faces"
(2002)
"Shape"
(2003)
"Hole in the Head"
(2003)

"Shape" is a song by English girl group Sugababes, released as the fourth and final single from their second studio album, Angels with Dirty Faces (2002). It was composed by Sting, Dominic Miller, and Craig Dodds, who produced the song. The midtempo pop and R&B ballad incorporates a sample of Sting's 1993 recording "Shape of My Heart", whose vocals are featured in the chorus. It received mixed reviews from critics, who were ambivalent towards the sample of "Shape of My Heart".

The single attained moderate success and reached the top twenty on the charts in Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. The song's music video was directed by Michael Gracey and Pete Commins, and filmed in Sydney, Australia. The video was censored and later re-shot due to its depiction of nudity. It features the Sugababes at a masquerade ball in a mansion. The Sugababes performed "Shape" on GMTV, at the V Festival, and on tour in support of their albums.

Background and composition[edit]

"Shape" was written by Sting, Dominic Miller and Craig Dodds, and produced by Dodds under his production name Craigie, for the Sugababes' second studio album, Angels with Dirty Faces (2002).[2] It is a remake of Sting's 1993 recording "Shape of My Heart"; the song's verses were changed, while the chorus that features Sting's vocals was re-recorded.[3] According to Sugababes member Mutya Buena, "He felt he could do better with the chorus, so he came in to re-record it".[3] The song was engineered by Jack Guy, and programmed by Dean Barratt.[2] Additional vocal recording was completed by Ben Georgiades.[2] "Shape" is the album's fourth and final single, and was released in the United Kingdom on 10 March 2003 as a CD single and cassette tape.[4] The B-side is a cover version of English producer Adamski's and English musician Seal's 1990 single "Killer".[5]

"Shape" is a midtempo pop and R&B ballad with a subtle dance groove.[6] The song was composed in the key of F minor, at a moderately slow tempo of 82 beats per minute.[7] The Sugababes' vocal range in the song spans from the higher note of F3 to the lower note of G4.[7] Its instrumentation consists of keyboards and bass guitar.[2] The chorus of the song features Sting's vocals.[8] Adrian Thrills of Daily Mail described "Shape" as an "ambitious, harmonica-led reworking" of "Shape of My Heart".[1]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

"Shape" received generally mixed reviews from critics. Alexis Petridis of The Guardian criticised the track as a "lumbering, mirthless AOR[disambiguation needed] ballad, grown-up in the worst sense of the phrase".[9] The Birmingham Post's Andrew Cowen panned the song as "horrible", and regarded the sample from "Shape of My Heart" as "not big or clever".[10] Andy Kellman of AllMusic called "Shape" a "bum moment" on the album, and dismissed it as a "misguided re-configuration" of the sample.[11] Alex Needham of NME considered it a "massive faux pas" on the album.[12] The Jerusalem Post writer Harry Rubenstein viewed "Shape" as "[a] sing- along, more than a cover, that sounds completely uninspired and out of place amongst the faster-paced R&B tracks on the rest of the album".[13] In contrast, David Byrne of RTÉ.ie called the track a "nice touch" on the album,[14] while Daily Record writer Julie MacCaskill complimented the sample of Sting's "Shape of My Heart", which she felt produced the song's powerful hook.[6] Alan Poole from the Coventry Evening Telegraph wrote that the Sugababes "underline their versatility" on the track.[15] A writer from South Wales Echo felt that "Shape" was equally good as "Freak like Me" and "Round Round", the group's number-one singles from the same album.[16] A critic from Daily Mirror described it as a "clever" cover that depicts the Sugababes "on top form".[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Shape" debuted at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart on 22 March 2003.[18] It became the first single from Angels with Dirty Faces to not reach the top ten.[19] By early 2010, it had sold 55,000 copies in the UK.[20] The song was more successful on the Irish Singles Chart, where it debuted and peaked at number nine, and in turn became the third single from Angels with Dirty Faces to reach the top ten.[21][22] "Shape" also achieved commercial success in Continental Europe. In Belgium, the song reached number two on the Ultratip chart in Wallonia,[23] and number 49 on the Ultratop chart in Flanders.[24] The single debuted at number 16 on the Netherlands' Dutch Top 40 chart, and peaked at number seven three weeks later.[25] It ended as the chart's 76th best-performing single of 2003.[26] The song peaked at number 16 on the Norwegian VG-lista chart and spent four weeks in the top twenty.[27] "Shape" attained top-forty positions on the German and Swiss singles charts,[28][29] and reached the top fifty on the Austrian chart.[30] The single debuted and peaked at number 75 on the Australian Singles Chart, where it charted for a total of four weeks.[31][32]

Promotion[edit]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Shape" was filmed in Sydney, Australia.

The accompanying music video for "Shape" was directed by Michael Gracey and Pete Commins.[33][34] It was filmed during December 2002 in Sydney, Australia, and was released on 24 February 2003.[35] Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge team assisted in its production.[35] Sting did not appear in the video due to a busy schedule.[35] The Sugababes wore flesh-coloured bodysuits which caused controversy as it implied nudity.[36] The video was subsequently censored[36] and later re-shot after being deemed "too raunchy".[37] The video features computer-generated butterflies around the group members' bodies and was described as displaying "a wonderland".[35][37][38]

The video opens with a scene of the ocean at night.[39] It then shows a mansion by the water, in which Buena is seen standing by a balcony.[39] The following scene shows Range entering the mansion as two men open the doors for her.[39] Buena is shown walking in the middle of a masquerade ball, in which she captures the attention of a man.[39] The Sugababes are shown on a couch, where Buchanan holds a man's hand; they all then walk down the mansion's staircase.[39] Each group member begins to dance with a man at the ball.[39] Buena walks towards a mirror which depicts a reflection of the Sugababes, while Buchanan drops her white mask which subsequently shatters.[39] Towards the end of the video, they are shown leaving the ball before Buchanan jumps off the balcony and into the water.[39] All three members are shown collectively in the water, which begins to fade out into the sky.[39] The last scene shows the men that were in the mansion walking away.[39]

Live performances[edit]

The Sugababes performed "Shape" on GMTV on 20 February 2003 which was the same day of the 2003 BRIT Awards.[40] They performed the song on 30 March 2003 at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool.[41] An acoustic version of the song was performed during their tour in support of Three (2003), the group's third studio album.[42] The group sang "Shape" at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on 18 August 2004 as part of a set list.[43] The third line-up of the Sugababes, comprising Buchanan, Range and Amelle Berrabah, played the single while on the Taller in More Ways tour as part of a medley with "Stronger".[44] The trio also performed these two songs as an acoustic medley at the 2006 V Festival,[45] and at the 100 Club in London to promote the release of their greatest hits album, Overloaded: The Singles Collection.[46]

Formats and track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Overloaded: The Singles Collection.[2]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Thrills, Adrian (30 August 2002). "Reborn babes are a sweet success". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c d e Overloaded: The Singles Collection (album). Sugababes. Universal Island Records. 2006. pp. 13–14. 1712650. 
  3. ^ a b Dingwall, John (20 August 2002). "All Round good girls: Success is sweeter for Sugababes". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 30 March 2013.  (subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c d "New single "Shape" out now!". Sugababes.com. Archived from the original on 30 August 2003. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Killer – Sugababes". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 23 March 2013. 
  6. ^ a b MacCaskill, Julue (13 March 2003). "The Singles and Albums Reviews". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  7. ^ a b "Digital Sheet Music – Sugababes – Shape". Musicnotes.com. EMI Music Publishing. 1992. MN0068487. 
  8. ^ Sloan, Billy (11 August 2002). "It's cool to be a virgin". Sunday Mail. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  9. ^ Petridis, Alexis (23 August 2002). "Sugababes: Angels with Dirty Faces". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Cowen, Andrew (17 August 2002). "Culture: CD Reviews". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  11. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Sugababes – Angels with Dirty Faces". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Needham, Alex (30 August 2002). "Sugababes : Angels With Dirty Faces". NME. IPC Media. Archived from the original on 18 February 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Rubenstein, Harry (8 October 2002). "Pop goes the disc". The Jerusalem Post. Mirkaei Tikshoret. Retrieved 1 May 2013.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ Byrne, David (16 August 2002). "Sugababes – Angels With Dirty Faces". RTÉ.ie. RTÉ. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Poole, Alan (23 August 2002). "GO! Rock: From Mouths of Babes...". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  16. ^ "Friday Live: new sounds". South Wales Echo. Trinity Mirror. 30 August 2002. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Sugababes – Shape". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. 10 March 2003. Retrieved 2 January 2013.  (subscription required)
  18. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 2003-03-22" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Sugababes". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Sugababes Official Top 20 Best Selling Singles". MTV UK. MTV Networks. Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  21. ^ a b "Chart Track: Week 11, 2003". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  22. ^ "Sugababes". Irish-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Sugababes – Shape" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Sugababes – Shape" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  25. ^ "Sugababes - Shape | Top 40". Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "De Nederlandse Top 100" (PDF). Dutch Top 40 Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  27. ^ a b "Norwegiancharts.com – Sugababes – Shape". VG-lista. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  28. ^ a b "Musicline.de – Sugababes Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  29. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – Sugababes – Shape". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  30. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Sugababes – Shape" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  31. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing: 26th May 2003 Issue No: 692" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 26 May 2003. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  32. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing: 16th June 2003 Issue No: 695" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 16 June 2003. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  33. ^ "Skating babies in our Botanic Gardens?". The Age. Fairfax Media. 26 July 2009. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  34. ^ Overloaded: The Singles Collection (DVD liner notes). Island Records. November 2006. 
  35. ^ a b c d Callan, Jessica; Waldegrave, Niki; Kerins, Suzanne (28 November 2002). "Every little Sting they do is magic". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2 January 2013.  (subscription required)
  36. ^ a b Smart, Gordon (4 August 2007). "A moonful of Suga". The Sun. News International. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "Suga Coating". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. 24 February 2003. Retrieved 2 January 2013.  (subscription required)
  38. ^ Quill, Colleen M. (17 May 2004). "Sugababes – Interview". Hip Online. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sugababes (2002). Shape (DVD). Sydney, Australia: Island Records. 
  40. ^ Brown, Annie (20 February 2003). "Sugababy Love for Brave Paige". Daily Record. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 October 2012.  (subscription required)
  41. ^ Empire, Kitty (30 March 2003). "Once a kitten and now a minx". The Observer. Guardian News & Media. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  42. ^ Petridis, Alexis (22 March 2004). "Sugababes, Brighton Centre". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  43. ^ Rae, Carolyn (27 August 2006). "Radiohead captivated fans and Sugababes proved they have both style and substance". Sunday Mail. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 29 April 2013.  (subscription required)
  44. ^ Price, Simon (16 April 2006). "Who's a babe and does it really Mutya?". The Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 30 March 2013.  (subscription required)
  45. ^ "Hard-Fi play last 'organised' UK shows before second album". NME. IPC Media. 19 August 2006. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  46. ^ "Sugababes play secret gig". NME. IPC Media. 3 October 2006. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  47. ^ http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=229670
  48. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Sugababes – Shape". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  49. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Sugababes – Shape" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  50. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN - SINGLE 2003" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  51. ^ "End of Year 2003" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 13 July 2014.