"Freak like Me" is the first single from Adina Howard's 1995 R&B debut album Do You Wanna Ride?. Like Howard's image, the song can be best described as hypersexual. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
The song's chorus is a lyrical interpolation of the verses found in Bootsy Collins' "I'd Rather Be With You". While the lyrics in "Freak like Me"'s chorus are different from the Bootsy Collins song, they are sung in identical melody. The song's drum beat is sampled from Sly & the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song." The original music video was directed by Hype Williams. The song returned to the public conscience when covered by British pop group Sugababes in a production by Richard X.
The song and her hypersexual image is considered groundbreaking in the U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop scene, it potrayed female hip-hop singers more aggressive rather than coy in their sexuality, in a manner that was feminine unlike the female hip-hop artists of before who dressed in men's apparel to express their aggressive image (i.e. Salt-N-Pepa). This new, hypersexual image would pave the way for upcoming R&B/Hip-Hop female artists like Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim; in addition, it allowed other artists to become more comfortable in releasing more explicit lyrical content that their previous images wouldn't be associated with. Examples of this are Toni Braxton's "You're Makin' Me High" and Monifah's "Touch It".
|Chart (1995)||Peak |
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales||4|
|U.S. Billboard Rhythmic Top 40||1|
|U.S. Billboard Top 40 Mainstream||20|
|U.S. ARC Weekly Top 40||2|
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart||22|
In May 2002, British girl group Sugababes covered "Freak like Me". Their version, however, used a completely different backing track (sampled from [Gary Numan and Tubeway Army's "Are 'Friends' Electric?") and used the radio edit lyrics of Howard's song (the word "brotha" is used instead of "nigga"). Numan was now credited as a co-writer of the song.
The Sugababes-recorded version was originally a bootleg mashup titled "We Don't Give a Damn About Our Friends," created by producer Richard X under the alias Girls on Top. Going on record as having been inspired by the UK garage version created by Tru Faith & Dub Conspiracy in 2000 (which reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart), Richard X created the mashup without the permission of the copyright holders of the songs, but it became a successful underground dance track. After failing to gain permission to use Adina Howard's vocals for a commercial release, the Sugababes were chosen by Richard X to record them instead.
The sound effect featured at the beginning of the song is the coin-insert tone from the popular 1981 video game Frogger. (The sound was also used to begin the song "Froggy's Lament," about the video game itself, on Buckner and Garcia's Pac-Man Fever album.)
The song appeared on the Sugababes' second studio album Angels with Dirty Faces. It was produced by Richard X and received rave reviews from music critics. It was released as the first single from the album in the spring of 2002 and reached number-one in the UK (where it sold 235,000 copies), number two in Ireland, and number 4 in Norway. "Freak like Me" is the first single to feature vocals by Heidi Range, after the departure of Siobhán Donaghy in 2001. The song also appears on Richard X's album, Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1.
The music video was directed by Dawn Shadforth and Sophie Muller and was filmed in London. The video acts as an introduction for the recent addition of Heidi Range, following Siobhan Donaghy's departure the previous year, and was also noted for its dark, yet rather surreal tone. The video, set at a strange nightclub, begins outside the nightclub with a man tumbling down the stairs, Keisha Buchanan in a long coat, seen only from below the knee, walking out of a door, over the man's body and up the stairs. Mutya Buena is seen standing on the stairs facing the direction where the man is lying. Inside, they spot Range dancing and flirting with many guys. They both quickly clash with her, and a fight between them ensues, which ends with Range falling to the floor unconscious. A man tries to help her up, but Buena grabs him by the neck and throws him away from her. Range then wakes up again soon after, and stumbles out of the club with another man, where they begin to kiss, until she suddenly bites hard into his arm.
Meanwhile, Buchanan takes a man outside, and she leads him into a dark alley, where they flirt briefly, before she scares him away. Buena then goes outside as well, and overpowers a man who towers over her. The music video ends with Buchanan and Buena accepting Range into the group, and dancing into the night. The demonstrations of supernatural strength shown throughout the video and Range biting the man on the arm are generally understood to imply that the woman are vampire-like "freaks", as the song suggests.
The video uses the We Don't Give a Damn Mix of the song, which is more faithful to the original mash-up.
British actor Julian Morris stars in the music video as one of the boys running from Buena.
In Australia, "Freak like Me" became the fourth single by Sugababes to make the singles chart, reaching number forty-four. It would be their lowest-charting single in Australia until the release of "Shape" in 2003.
|Australian Singles Chart||44|
|Austrian Singles Chart||22|
|Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart||10|
|Brasilian Singles Chart||18|
|Danish Singles Chart||13|
|Dutch Top 40||31|
|Euro 200 Chart||9|
|German Singles Chart||26|
|Irish Singles Chart||2|
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart||25|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||4|
|Romanian Singles Chart||28|
|Swedish Singles Chart||27|
|Swiss Singles Chart||11|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
"Freak like Me"
|Radio/Album Version|| "Freak like Me" single, |
Overloaded: The Singles Collection,
Angels with Dirty Faces
|We Don't Give A Damn Mix|| "Freak like Me" single, |
Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1
|Different Gear Mix|| "Freak like Me" single, |
Overloaded: The Remix Collection
|Video|| "Freak like Me" single, |
Overloaded: The Videos Collection
|Capoeira Twins Mix||"Freak like Me" single|
|Girls On Top Dancehall Mix||"Round Round" single|
|Brits 2003 Version||"Shape" single|
|Maida Vale Session||Overloaded: The Live Collection|
|Single Version||"Freak like Me" single|
|Acoustic Jam||Angels with Dirty Faces|