Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Live on television the other day an a cappella performance featured only three of the girls, because, frankly, they can't sing live for toffee, even if that's what they were supposedly chosen for from amongst the legions of pop wannabes who trudged to auditions across the country some two and a half years ago.
They’re an odd phenomena, Girls Aloud, simultaneously drawing from The Sex Pistols, The Monkees, The Spice Girls and any number of other acts, artists, trends and styles that have made up what we call pop music from the last 50 years, as important as any of them but still nothing more than bubblegum. In many ways they’re the end of the dichotomy of meta-pop - What Will The Neighbours Say? is only about the Girls themselves in as much as it’s about any girls who drink and dance and fall in love. There’s a song about Big Brother but it’s not obviously about Orwell or reality TV – just being eyed-up in a club. I could name two of them – Nadine and Cheryl – but not put any faces to those two names. I think one of them is a scouser, and one of them has legs, and another is blonde, and… that’s it. There is no Sporty Girl Aloud or Slutty Girl Aloud. That’s the point; it really is all about the music, man, and they know very well that almost anyone could be fronting it. Which has all been said before and is, of course, both perfectly true and also missing the point.
And yet… and yet…
The first four tracks are a major sucker-punch, a combo the like of which we don’t see anymore. Four singles, two of them covers, two of them the best singles released by a reality pop outfit since “Sound of the Underground” by… Girls Aloud. Sure, it’s far from the best version of “I’ll Stand By You” but it’s an amazing song and still makes hairs stand on end. “Jump” is useful only as another piece of 80s revivalism (they should have done the Van Halen track), but then the turbo-charged pop rush of “Wake Me Up” comes in (Dom thinks it’s like Nine Inch Nails – he’s wrong; it’s like Girls Aloud), and is better than any of the opening salvo. And then “Deadlines & Diets” is a dawn swoon that’s even better, and you realise that, Fucking Hell, this is a proper manifesto, this plays like a Greatest Hits, “Graffiti My Soul” is a stutter-tastic moment of pop every bit as good as “Toxic”, “I say A Prayer For You” is a good ballad…
12/14/2004 08:51:00 am