Warner Bros - 2003 - 54 minutes
At the height of Sugababes' first flourish of success, Siobhan Donaghy's name was every bit as ubiquitous as that of her sassy pop group. Indie boys who would have sniffed dismissively at the girls' music, harboured crushes on the pale-skinned, big- eyed beauty while others fell for her amazing voice; flawless of course, as all pop voices now are, but also laden with maturity and a world weariness at the grand old age of 15. Which is fitting, as we've since learned that her time in Sugababes was far from the giggling and abandon that one would imagine life in a chart-topping girl group to involve.
Donaghy has emerged from the Sugababes experience with dignity intact and a healthy amount of cynicism. It's clear from the opening moments of 'Revolution in Me' that the ex-popstress has an edge under her belt that Emma Bunton could only dream about. On 'Nothing But Song', with its heavy bass and looped piano, Donaghy lays out a stall with something decidedly more interesting to offer than that of her sickly sweet contemporaries. The album's first single, the under-rated 'Overrated', is a frank account of disappointment and misery. "Will I ever lose/these old Catholic blues/that direct my shoes?" the flame-head daughter of Irish parents wonders.
When, on the strangely affecting 'Iodine', she sings "There is no left wing to fight the right wing", you actually do a double take. While Donaghy may seem a bit young to know much about the intricacies of global politics, her efforts have to be admired. It's a hell of a lot more ambitious than Rachel Stephens and her 'LA Ex.'
'Revolution in Me' is difficult to categorise: it's too smart to sit alongside Girls Aloud in the commercial pop world but it's not quite offbeat enough to be embraced by the indie masses. That said, this is a fence that the likes of Robbie Williams sit on and it's certainly done him no harm.
Sugababes go on without Donaghy and release their third album this month. It's likely to outsell 'Revolution in Me' ten times over and this is a shame. While the more extroverted Keisha, Mutya and Heidi make undoubtedly catchy dancefloor fillers, it's clear the deeper thinking Donaghy took the soul of their music with her when she left.
Tracklisting: Nothing but song - Man without friend - Overrated - Little Bits - As you like it - Next Human - Suasex - Twist of fate - Faces - Dialect - Revolution in Me - Iodine