One amazing – and surprising – positive of lockdown has been something (or rather, some ladies) we didn’t think we’d be seeing or indeed talking about again in the collective sense, let alone in the current climate. Chiefly, the weekly digital reissue of every single released by our British-Irish girl group faves from ten years ago, The Saturdays.
But now their group social media accounts have arisen from an almost six year slumber since their Greatest Hits tour ended. And whilst this hive of activity is presumably a result of their old management team Fascination working from home, looking for something to do/generate some Spotify coin from, what better thing to give time and energy to then reminding all what grade-A bangers Frankie Bridge, Mollie King, Una Healy, Vanessa White and Rochelle Humes gave us at the turn of the last decade?
The official line is that a full blown reunion isn’t on the cards at this stage – perhaps for obvious reasons – but let’s be honest. All the signs are surely pointing to it once life returns to something approaching normality. So, as we did with JLS earlier on in the year, we’ve sat our bonces down these last few days and cranked up our Spotify to decipher and give you what we think is our definitive ranking of all eighteen of their singles.
So as a man before us once asked: Frankie, Mollie, Una, Vanessa, Rochelle, whatcha doin’ Saturday girl?
18. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Released: 10th August 2014 / Highest UK chart position: #38
Now, The Saturdays and JLS share something in common – and we’re not talking Rochelle and Marvin being our #RelationshipGoals faves. Nope, they are both universal in that their weakest single was their last (according to our rankings, anyway). Demoed and recorded as far back as 2012, ‘What Are You Waiting For?’ obviously had high aspirations for dancefloor greatness, being as it was another Brian Higgins and Xenomania collaboration. But unlike their other work with them we’ll discuss a bit later, this lead off single for their greatest hits album Finest Selection fell conspicuously flat for us on repeated listens. It was a bit of a shame for them to end on a whimper rather than a bang.
17. IF THIS IS LOVE
Released: 27th July 2008 / Highest UK chart position: #8
Ask most people with even a vague interest in British pop music of the 00s what the ladies’ first ever single was, and the bafflement when it’s not what they think it is palpable. But no, after a launch supporting labelmates Girls Aloud on their Tangled Up arena tour, their chart career began on this Yazoo sampling number which, whilst perfectly OK at the time, has rather lost its shine to the greater moments in their catalogue. Still, it did the trick of launching them with a top 10 debut, and proved the UK record buying public still wanted pop with a capital P at the end of the 00s.
16. JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH
Released: 2nd March 2009 / Highest UK chart position: #2
Much the same as that brief moment in time when people thought Girls Aloud were only good for being defined by singles of theirs that everyone recognised already – i.e their cover versions – so too did The Sats’ sparkly, 90s disco rave reimagining of the Depeche Mode classic get viewed in a similar light. But when you consider its context – being recorded as that year’s Comic Relief charity single, even if it was cruelly overshadowed in the charts by both a future collaborator of theirs and the unofficial release from Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon in their Gavin & Stacey guises – it’s at least lovingly done, even if it’s not our go-to bop of theirs. The video was great too.
15. 30 DAYS
Released: 13th May 2012 / Highest UK chart position: #7
For us, ’30 Days’ is a strange record to contemplate looking back. Released independent of their fourth album that they had not long finished touring the UK with, but over 18 months before it was added onto their fifth album Living for the Weekend, by which point it felt like yesterday’s news, this good if slightly predictable dance pop shuffle about missing a special someone whilst living far away from them wasn’t their most adventurous offering. And let’s not get started on the slightly awkward with hindsight speed dating themed video…
14. NOT GIVING UP
Released: 6th April 2014 / Highest UK chart position: #19
Appearing almost six months after the release of its parent album – owing to Frankie going on maternity leave – ‘Not Giving Up’ had got fans all kinds of excited when an early demo was first premiered on their E! reality show Chasing the Saturdays in 2013. Released as the fifth and last single from Living for the Weekend, this ravey floorfiller with its neon light clad video was to also mark their last foray as a group into the UK top 20. In that respect, it was more of a high to end on than their actual last single was.
Released: 30th June 2013 / Highest UK chart position: #14
Viewed somewhat unfavourably in their canon, owing to it being the single that followed their biggest hit yet, ‘Gentleman’ arrived in the UK top 20 in the summer of 2013 to one half joy and one half befuddlement from a divided fanbase. The reason being of course that this part rapped, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink sassathon about finding a decent man being easier in 1995 and 1999 was quite unlike anything The Sats had done before or indeed in the year that followed. Personally? We still love it, if not for Mollie’s genius anti-homewrecker line, ‘He already had the milk so why would he go buy the cow?’
12. MY HEART TAKES OVER
Released: 14th November 2011 / Highest UK chart position: #15
The girls’ third and final single from their blinding fourth album On Your Radar, ‘My Heart Takes Over’ was not only denied better promotion due to touring commitments, but cruelly seemed to get lost in an extremely busy Q4 release schedule when it entered and peaked at #15 in November 2011. But the chart position belies the quality of this snowflake encrusted enormo-ballad, with Vanessa and Rochelle both delivering stunning lead vocal turns, and a suitably dramatic and beautiful promo video shot in Iceland.
Released: 29th June 2009 / Highest UK chart position: #22
And speaking of singles that were marred by a clash in schedules, here’s what was the fifth and final single from their platinum debut album Chasing Lights, released just as they were embarking on their first theatre tour of the UK, which this single was named after. Again, the chart position of this one does it a disservice; a catchy, sultry cut of R&B influenced pop, ‘Work’ boasted a tougher sound and style in the industrial set promo video, and even when performed on their tours remained a firm fan favourite.
10. MISSING YOU
Released: 9th August 2010 / Highest UK chart position: #3
Headlines, the ladies’ third album in 2010, came at a point where it briefly looked to be make or break for them, following the underwhelming commercial reception to the album before it, and a messy split from their original management team that had kept them out the public eye for a few months. But even though it was sadly denied the opportunity to remain at the number one position it had occupied midweek, ‘Missing You’, a suitably summery if wistful ballad with one eye on the dancefloor returned them to the top 3 and ensured they were here to stay.
9. FOREVER IS OVER
Released: 4th October 2009 / Highest UK chart position: #2
Originally set to go, if you believe the rumours of the time, to either P!nk or Kelly Clarkson, and co-written by Busted star James Bourne, ‘Forever Is Over’ gave the girls their second #2 hit in the autumn of 2009 as the launch single for their second album Wordshaker. A delightfully stroppy pop rocker with an enormous chorus about the end of a bad relationship, props also have to go to its brilliant, Super 8 styled video, shot by Trudy Bellinger, who had previously directed the promo clips for both ‘Sexy! No No No…’ and ‘The Promise’ for their labelmates Girls Aloud.
8. DISCO LOVE
Released: 6th October 2013 / Highest UK chart position: #5
A sunshine bright love letter to finding romance via the sights and sounds of dancefloors from 1979 and 1999 – ‘It’s never winter when it’s Donna Summer all year long’ – ‘Disco Love’ gave The Sats their 13th UK top 10 hit, and allowed them a chance to raid the dressing up box for the years mentioned in the song in its super colourful video, which – fun fact – was choreographed by Frankie and Rochelle’s old S Club Juniors colleague Aaron Renfree, who was one of their dancers on several of their tours.
Released: 5th January 2009 / Highest UK chart position: #4
A long staying favourite at radio, and an eternal reminder of their ability to nail a five part harmony in an acoustic setting (usually with Una on guitar), ‘Issues’ proved they could hit the ballad button just as well as they could on their more uptempo offerings when released as their third single at the start of 2009. It also caused a minor bit of controversy when initially sent to airplay, as programmers thought the chorus had the word ‘stab’ rather than ‘slap’ in ‘Can’t decide if I should slap you or kiss you’. Not wishing to advocate unintentional violence, it was changed to ‘leave you or kiss you’ for single remixing purposes.
6. WHAT ABOUT US
Released: 17th March 2013 / Highest UK chart position: #1
After being denied at the last gasp on no less than four separate occasions, The Sats’ well deserved first – and to date, only – UK chart topper arrived in March 2013. The fastest selling single of that year in the UK to boot, ‘What About Us’ saw them hook up with serial collaborator and reggae star Sean Paul on what was also their American debut release, from their E! reality show Chasing The Saturdays, following their attempts to crack the States, which resulted in a top 30 placing on the Billboard dance charts, proving that the USA’s loss was the UK’s gain with girl group glory.
Released: 22nd May 2011 / Highest UK chart position: #8
Teased for what felt like an eternity as the lead single from On Your Radar, and taking a decidedly more clubbier route from the same vein Black Eyed Peas had been drawing hits from, ‘Notorious’ saw the girls grow up in the summer of 2011, with a memorable video that saw them transform from glamorous office secretaries to dancefloor owning ‘bad girls’, subsequently recreated to brilliant effect when they performed it for the first time on So You Think You Can Dance?
Released: 13th October 2008 / Highest UK chart position: #5
Universally acknowledged as the single that bought that them to public recognition, and their first venturing into the top 5 to boot, ‘Up’ was a seriously bouncy, bright and feisty offering of electro pop, with an epic chorus that would become the hallmark of many a great single of theirs – ‘If you lose me then you know, you’re just a bit too slow, I only go up, up’ – as well as their first iconic video which saw them sport a uniform of black dresses with block coloured tights, replicated in many a high street for months afterwards.
Released: 4th January 2010 / Highest UK chart position: #9
A shining example of some of the brilliant material penned for them over the years by Norwegian pop singer and songwriter Ina Wroldsen, ‘Ego’ – co-written with the equally legendary Steve Mac – may have just only reached the top 10, but stayed on the chart for just over four months, going onto become one of the girls’ biggest selling and best loved singles in the process, a sassy kiss off to a self absorbed ex with a memorable superhero video to boot.
2. ALL FIRED UP
Released: 4th September 2011 / Highest UK chart position: #3
Having been initially involved in their auditioning and formation along with Peter Loraine at Fascination back in 2007, pop producing giants Brian Higgins and his team at Xenomania finally collaborated with The Sats properly on this sophisticated but frenetic dancefloor filler from their On Your Radar album back in 2011. Another top 3 hit, it finally marked their transition towards a more mature sound and look, with a stunning video featuring latex clad dancers writhing in a strobe lit pool of water.
Released: 1st November 2010 / Highest UK chart position: #10
Winner of the Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize in 2011, and running on the philosophy of ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ with a guest rap from Flo Rida – who had denied them a number one twice before in the UK – ‘Higher’ seems like the song that notionally did finally get them what was a long elusive quest for a chart topping single. But though #10 was as far as it got in the charts, it is by far the greatest single they released. Punctuated by an irresistible and motivational chorus lyric – ‘So when I speak, listen / This is my decision / And you keep on messing up the words’ – and the sort of production in a pop song that can’t help but put a smile on your face, no song better sums up The Saturdays’ ethos and the mark they left on girl group history in quite the way ‘Higher’ managed.
All eighteen of The Saturdays’ singles are being re-released week by week in new digital bundles, comprising remixes and B-sides previously unavailable for streaming or download, every Friday through Polydor/Fascination Records. Twitter: @TheSaturdays
Were you a fan of The Saturdays? Do you agree with our choices? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below or message us on Instagram with the hashtag #CrazyStupidSats.