Keisha Buchanan’s departure from the British girl group the Sugababes in 2009 was accompanied by the usual sort of media maelstrom that follows breakups; there were tabloid accusations of intraband fighting that verged on bullying, and then a hasty replacement for Buchanan that necessitated an even hastier revamping of the group’s album Sweet 7. “Gimmie Pressure” would seem to be her very belated statement on the whole matter, with her taking on her ex-bandmates while big-upping her internal strength.
“I’m the original, not the generic”; “I wrote the book on the game that you’ve been studying”; “I bet you’re missing my voice on the records you’re on”—yeah, this song is pretty clearly aimed at Heidi Range and Amelle Berrabah, the ‘Babes left behind when Buchanan exited/was pushed out of the group. But her full-voiced charisma and a very spry, dancehall-tinged beat keep the song from devolving into a sour-grape-distilled whine. Things reach their apex as she draws out her singing about being “stronger, wiser, so much better”; sure, it’s a classic diva move to half-time one’s vocals as one belts out lyrics about summoning power from within, but that’s because it works.
Is “Gimmie Pressure” better than most of the Sugababes’ rock-solid singles canon, or even the Keisha-intact version of the group’s Sweet 7 single “About A Girl”? No. But as far as “working through one’s demons” tracks go, it’s certainly not bad, and perhaps now that Buchanan has replied to her ex-bandmates through song she can focus on making a pop record that plays to her many strengths.