On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Sugababes – Freak Like Me (2002)
” Freak Like Me” is the debut single by American R&B singer Adina Howard. It was released on January 25, 1995, as the lead single from her debut album, Do You Wanna Ride? .
We’re leaving Spain behind today, dear reader, and making our way back to the UK and to London because why not? Formed in 1998 Sugababes focused on R&B and pop and would carve out a successful career with multiple chart toppers in the UK though lineup changes would impact them in later years. We join the group in 2002 and the release of their second album – Angels With Dirty Faces. From there, 1001 Songs have gone with the track – Freak Like Me.
Freak Like Me was originally recorded in 1995 by Adina Howard. In 2001 producer Richard X mixed the track with Are “Friends” Electric? which appeared on our list back in 1979. A popular bootleg hit, Richard X wanted to release the track commercially but Adina Howard did not give permission for her vocals to be used. Instead, Richard X approached Sugababes and they recorded vocals instead. The song is from the perspective of someone who considers themselves to be a freak of sorts but they are looking for love. They want a man who can see past their differences, someone who is essentially a freak and outcast like themselves. It sounds like this guy will have to be up to the challenge though and this narrator will not settle for second best.
I recall hearing one song by Sugababes in the past entitled Push the Button. I was not familiar with Freak Like Me but my ears certainly pricked up when I heard the music to Are “Friends” Electric? The combination of the two songs does work well but an old man like myself is always going to prefer Gary Numan over this one. Sorry Sugababes. This would be one of six UK chart toppers for Sugababes which shows how little I know about good music, right? The group are still going but there have been lineup changes, internal disputes, and the original trio even touring under a different name while Sugababes existed as a separate entity! By 2019 the Sugababes name had been reclaimed by the founding members and they continue to this day. Freaky stuff indeed.
Favourite songs so far: