Archive for Girls Aloud

64. ‘Biology’ by Girls Aloud (2006)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 22, 2010 by G.K. Reid

From left to right: Pete Burns; Sour-Face; Racist; Porn Star; and The Unintelligible Irish One.

Girls Aloud. Where to start, eh? I mean, in many ways, they’re fantastic. And yet, in an equal number of ways, you want most of them to just cock the fuck off. (Not Sarah Harding, because she’s clearly one of the most amazing women of the 21st Century). I’m not entirely sure as to how Girls Aloud managed to luck into being the main vessel for the most interesting and innovative pop songwriting/production team of recent years (Xenomania), but then I have to consider that, when I listen to Shangri-Las records, I never even bother to wonder about such things at all.

However it has come to be, Girls Aloud do currently enjoy a very interesting position in the media and the music press. They’re obviously kitted out for tabloid interest – well, mostly just Cheryl… and occasionally Sarah, when her alcoholism becomes too public… and very occasionally Nicola when she calls the Prime Minister a ‘toad’ or something. (I exclude Nadine because, let’s face it, no one actually gives a shit whether she’s shagging that big-pecced guy from Desperate Housewives or not, not least because its impossible to decipher anything she ever says). But as well as being tabloid fodder, they’ve gained a lot of stuffy-critic-approved CREDIBILITY. And, as such, now appear to be national treasures.

I remain skeptical. If only because Girls Aloud have managed to generate more hype than they have good songs.

Having said that, though, Biology remains a triumph. It’s just very odd. And incredibly daring – I can’t think of another pop song this decade that shifted gears with such confident precision, yet retained such a charming, slapdash facade, as though it had all been miraculously cobbled together in 15 minutes (cleverly, the out-of-sync dancing in the video maintains this sense of ramshackle fun).

For these reasons, and more, Biology is a great example of a pop song that is happy and confident with it’s own musical or structural merits. It knows that it’s breaking the mould, but it doesn’t demand that people take notice. Unfortunately, it DID make people take notice, and ever since Girls Aloud as a pop-thing have got increasingly complacent and assured in their own vanguard brilliance. (AKA: Cheryl and Nadine are going to fuck it up for everyone else.)

Bonus points: I neglected to mention Pete Burns/Kimberley earlier re: tabloid interest. But that’s largely because there. is. no. interest. Rest assured, she’s actually my second favourite member of the band, after Sarah. Chuck Cheryl in on backing vocals (just to piss her off) and ditch the other two, and you may have my second favourite hypothetical Turbo-Ronettes of the century.

83. ‘Never Forget You’ by Noisettes (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 12, 2010 by G.K. Reid

Noisettes need to hire a better photographer.

Post-Winehouse, probably around the time that Girls Aloud released ‘The Promise’ and Sharleen Spiteri started  sampling The Shangri-Las to desperately banal effect, I figured: ‘ENOUGH WITH THE 60s GIRL GROUP PASTICHES ALREADY!!!’  Which is frankly a sentiment I never thought I’d be expressing, considering I want the world to constantly sound like a Phil Spector production. But, despite my weariness, along came this little song by a band I’d previously angrily dismissed (thanks to that godawful, hollow contraption about not upsetting the rhythm) and it somehow managed to not come across like cynical bandwagon-hopping.  So how did they do it? Well, it’s irresistably lovely for one thing – the swooning production, the playful but poignant lyrics – and Shingai’s vocals (which had been a major point of contention for me in their previous output) find a Ronnie Spector earthiness which proves that it takes more to do the 60s thang than a lot of hairspray, a shimmery dress and a half-arsed dance routine. 

Bonus points:  
I often unwittingly pronounce their name “Nwasettes”, like a Frenchman.