Saturday, 23 March 2013

Girls Aloud for beginners

Following the split of Girls Aloud and me being in mourning of them, here is two Top 10s; one of their best singles and one of their best non-singles. Let's go:


10. Graffiti My Soul - What Will the Neighbours Say?

9. Close to Love - Tangled Up
Brilliant, catchy, punchy, signature Girls Aloud. It was hard to choose between this and Control of the Knife, but the pace and undeniable chorus of Close to Love just edges it.

8. Models - Chemistry
Girls Aloud: the only pop band that could use the lyric 'You get your kicks like flies to shit' and make it sound fabulous. Sigh.

7. Hoxton Heroes - B-side to Can't Speak French
A massive 'fuck off' to little scrotes such as Jake Bugg. Truly wonderful.

6. Miss You Bow Wow - Out of Control
Doesn't make much sense, has one of the best choruses ever and has a DANCE INTERLUDE. Amazingly amazing.

5. Damn - Tangled Up
This song is never in any Girls Aloud top tens and it's really annoying 'cos it's fucking amazing. The guitars are sensational.

4. Love Is The Key - Out of Control
Jangly, a bit 60s, has Johnny Marr on harmonica. Case firmly rested.

3. Girl Overboard - Tangled Up
Electro-Aloud at their very very best. Every single part they sing fits their voices perfectly.

2. Black Jacks - Tangled Up
I can't even begin to describe how good this song is.

1. Rolling Back the Rivers In Time - Out of Control

Johnny Marr guitar riff better than most Smiths riffs. 60s girl group song better than any actual 60s girl group song. Most perfect piece of pop music ever to grace this planet.


10. Long Hot Summer - Chemistry

Was gonna put in Something Kinda Oooh but I prefer this. They are both very good.

9. No Good Advice - Sound of the Underground

Along with Sound of the Underground, No Good Advice put them firmly on the map as not-actually-being-a-shit-generic-girl-band. Should perhaps be number one just because of Cheryl's "NO NEED TO COUNT THOSE DIRRRRRTY SHEEP".

8. Untouchable - Out of Control

Would be higher, but the single version is nothing compared to the full 7 minute album version. A wonderful, chilled out, yet kind of still 'banging' electro pop song.

7. The Loving Kind - Out of Control

Passionate, Pet Shop boys goodness. There is literally nothing you could ever dislike about this song.

6. Sexy! No No No... - Tangled Up

So good that it is beyond a joke. Would be higher if others weren't also so stupidly good.

5. Love Machine - What Will the Neighbours Say?

If you don't like this song/think the Arctic Monkeys cover is better, you should not be alive.

4. Call The Shots - Tangled Up

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Brill.

3. Sound of the Underground - Sound of the Underground

The foundations, the beginning, the start of something wonderful.

2. The Promise - Out of Control

Needs no caption.

1. Biology - Chemistry

The most ridiculous, most inventive, most fabulous piece of music, never mind pop  music, the world has ever seen. Phenomenal. Yep.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pop Perfection

It is officially the end of Girls Aloud. And I'm very sad about it.

When Girls Aloud were first formed in 2002, I don't think any of us really expected that much. Look at the other Popstars, Pop Idol and X Factor winners: they've all proven that TV talent show pop has a shelf life. Even the acts considered as the most successful such as Leona Lewis and Will Young are now struggling to be noticed. So why were Girls Aloud so different to all the other talent show winners?

I think we can all agree that Girls Aloud's success is owed to their very first single, 'Sound of the Underground'. It wasn't just completely different to any other TV talent show winners' single, it was completely different to any 21st century pop song. The lyrics may have made no sense whatsoever, but it had one of the catchiest hooks and guitar riffs of any pop song we'd ever heard. It was the edgiest pop song Britain had heard for years, and it put Girls Aloud and their distinctive sound firmly on the map.

I was 10 when Girls Aloud were formed, so like everyone else my age, I grew up with them. What was so strange about them was that you felt like Girls Aloud grew with you rather than you growing with them. It started with fun yet edgy pop which any 10 year old girl would love, and then by the time I was 16 they had matured and blossomed into a much more adult pop with hits such as 'The Promise' and 'The Loving Kind'. No matter how old you are, you can't resist their concise, catchy, fantastic pop songs. Even Johnny Marr couldn't resist Girls Aloud, stating in a 2012 Uncut interview:

'I was working with Brian Higgins on a Pet Shop Boys record, and I let it slip that I like the guitars on a couple of Girls Aloud’s early singles. So he got me in a headlock, took me from hehind and, before I knew it, I had a harmonica in my mouth. No, I loved doing it. I am evangelical about pop music. The idea that pop is crass and commercial is an old-fashioned rockist conceit linked to the whole “Disco Sucks” campaign. [...] I’ve always held on to the nobility and aspirations of pop, and what it can be.'

However, it wasn't Marr that gave Girls Aloud the sound that we all know and love them for. The Xenomania team produced all of Girls Aloud's albums except 'Sound of the Underground', and without their extraordinarily talented team of writers and producers, Girls Aloud would probably have fallen from the throne in late 2004.

Although it's really sad that the best pop band of the 21st century have split up, it will be interesting to see where this takes pop music. Will there be other pop bands that will take the Girls Aloud formula and be just as fantastic as they were? Probably not, but hopefully some of them will come very close. Let's just hope that the end of Girls Aloud doesn't signal the end of great pop music, and that we aren't left in a world full of various Flo Ridas and Biebers.

You took some acid back in '99 
You said it blew your mind 
And it helped you write rhymes 

So you bought a trilby and a cheap guitar 
You thought you'd be a star 
It didn't get you that far 

I don't know your name 
You're just another band with a different game 
And you're all the same 
You said you played at Reading 
Then you chart at fifty-seven...

Just cos your dad knew the Rolling Stones 
You've got the Primrose set in your cell phone 
Don't kid yourself, you're an indie clone 
We've seen it before, get a sound of your own