A Few Questions That You Need To Know About The All Saints Reunion

All Saints are back. For a certain kind of 30-something – the kind who never quite identified with any one of the Spice Girls; the kind who likes a song with a breathy spoken bit; the kind who might, for example, have spent her GCSE years ironing her hair, wearing combat trousers and fake black-rimmed glasses, forever on the hunt for the perfect vest top – this is pretty major news. Last week, trusty followers of the @AllSaintsOffic Twitter account – What? – released a series of black-and-white pictures of the quartet in the studio looking for all the world like the Noughties had never happened. There was Melanie goofing about with her massive smile; there was Shaznay looking moody – oh Shaznay, never change – and there was Natalie, or was it Nicole, pouting into a microphone in leisurewear. Today [Wednesday] the band confirmed their official return with a new single “One Strike” out next month, a candid interview with i-D and a new album, Red Flag, due in April. It’s not their first reunion. For a band whose close harmonies sold 11 million albums and got them five number ones, they've had their rifts. The band first split up in 2001, then reformed in 2006 – “for the money”, according to Melanie – releasing the flop album Studio 1 before splitting up properly in 2009 when Melanie (again) said they would “never, ever get back together”. And then, in 2014, they went on tour with the Backstreet Boys. It was doing those nostalgia gigs that made them realise they wanted to reunite for real. So here they are, in their forties, on their third reunion and that’s a very good thing. Here are eight reasons why.
1. Their songs All Saints had some great songs. Not many, about five, but the ones that were good were really good. Now they’re back together, it’s legitimately ok to put “Bootie Call” and “Pure Shores” on your Spotify Walking to Work list. Have they stood the test of time? Just put on “Never Ever” in any room and see how many people start intoning the opening words in a North American drone like they’re the only person ever to have learned them off by heart. Then wait for someone to say “A few questions that I need to know? That’s not even English.” Which is your cue to put your Parka hood up, turn on your Timberlands and leave. Which leads us neatly on to…
2. Their style If there’s one thing you can say for All Saints, it’s that for a short time in the late 90s they made the cargo pant look like a desirable fashion choice rather than a laundry day/ got lost hiking in the Peak District mistake. Ditto vest tops and going out wearing just a bra. The pictures released today suggest that they’re still into comfy, lightly macho cool – bomber jackets, bit of camouflage, lashings of black eyeliner – which means that hoodies and long hair is still an ok lifestyle choice for the rest of us. The cargo pant? Still no.
3. They’ve grown up They still look like the cool girls hanging out in the far corner of the school playing field but All Saints are now in their forties. Which means they have a whole new decade to write songs about. The new single, “One Strike”, is apparently inspired by conversations Shaznay had with Nicole about the breakdown of her marriage to Liam Gallagher. “I was feeling Nic’s life,” Shaznay told i-D. “The phrase ‘one strike’ is about how your life can just change in one instant. You can be walking down the road, you’ve just left your family at home and everything’s hunky dory, then when you go back home they’re gone.” Sounds promising. 4. Their stroppiness All Saints were not a girly girl band. More often than not, they seemed a bit annoyed with each other, a little moody, a little competitive – like all real women are with their friends at some point. There was none of that heartfelt Little-Mix-we-never-argue-and-can’t-live-without-each-other-babes-honestly stuff. They’re even rowing in their reunion interview about why they broke up in the first place.
5. They’re sisters Any band with sisters in it is cool. 6. They might inspire more late 90s bands to reunite The comeback interview mentions that Shaznay worked with the original Sugababes – Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan – recently and suggests that the two bands could tour together. Which would be amazing. If they can somehow get Eternal to reform as well, then we (I) can die happy.

They might make another film

They won’t make another film, but let’s take a moment to remember Honest, a '60s gangster caper about three gun-toting, streetwise, saucy sisters heading “up West” to pursue a life a crime. Chiefly remembered for the Appletons taking their tops off and Melanie also being in it. Shaznay – not for the first time – stayed well out of it.
8. At some point they’ll break up again Not to be negative but they do have form. Any band that can split up over who gets to wear a certain jacket in a certain photoshoot thrives on jeopardy. Shaznay admitted later she would never “in a million years have put money on the group ending over a jacket incident. But when that incident happened, it fired up so strong, it had to be over. And the way I was then, the state we’d got into then, there was no way she was getting that stupid jacket.” Never change, All Saints.

More from Music

R29 Original Series