Thursday, 21 March 2013

Girls Aloud: A tribute.

After ten marvellous years (three of which they spent releasing no music whatsoever) Girls Aloud have played their final gig together and announced on their Twitter page they are no more. Why they felt the need to do this over a social networking site I have no idea, but that's that.

Last year Girls Aloud fans were invited to vote for their ten favourite non-singles to appear on the deluxe edition of their then-impending greatest hits album Ten. The fans cocked up massively, especially Cheryl Cole's fans who decided they'd be fucking idiots and vote for a song that only Cheryl has vocals on.

To commemorate this sad day in British pop history, here are my ten favourite Girls Aloud B-sides and album tracks that you may never have heard of, but if you're reading this and you've listened to my radio show, or indeed ever spent any time with me in person, then you probably already have a thousand fucking times.

Thank you, Girls Aloud. You were marvellous.

10. On The Metro (Ten)

So technically this song wasn't available to vote for because it actually appeared as a new track on the main disc of Ten, but it's still a very good song. It deals with the all-important theme of meeting someone in a club, then losing them and crying on public transport all the way home. Last Christmas I was home from my year abroad and I met a man named Peter in a night-club in Sunderland called "Passion". We kissed, and it was nice.

"What do you do for a living, Peter?" I asked.
"I'm a doctor", he said
"You're a doctor???" I repeated.
"No", he replied. He then told me again what his job was but because of the loud music I couldn't understand what he said, so as far as I was concerned I'd just got off with a doctor and that was that and we were going to get married and he was going to take care of me.

I then went to the toilets, and when I came back Peter was gone, never to be seen nor heard from again. Gutted. So, you see, I can relate to this song. I too have lost the love of my life in a nightclub environment. Of course, about a week later I started seeing this lad from America but I mean that's a whole other story really. Each night I still pine for Peter, and when I listen to On The Metro I crave his touch (I am obviously kidding, I am very much in a committed relationship with a person who is not Peter, although sometimes in bed I address him as Peter) (this is also obviously a joke) (or is it?) (yes it is).

The best part about On The Metro is that in the lyrics it says "I popped into the powder room" which is a very Mary Poppins-esque way of saying "I had a piss".


9. I Don't Really Hate You (See The Day)

"I've got a secret that I think you ought to know", says Kimberley on this brilliant little ditty. "The happy people are the ones who have a soul". SHE'S TALKING ABOUT YOU NADINE. Nar man.

This song was the B-side to what is undoubtedly the worst single Girls Aloud ever released, See The Day. What a fucking terrible song. The bewildering thing is, it's B-side is so good and it's one of the earliest songs that Nicola Roberts herself actually got any co-writing credit for, so well done pet you're clearly a lot more capable of writing a song than people give you credit for.

I Don't Really Hate You is, believe it or not, a song about explaining to someone you don't really hate them. That sentence right there pretty much explains why I got an E in my English Literature AS exam, n'est-ce pas?

8. Dog Without A Bone (Sexy! No No No…)

This song opens with the line "a five inch bullet" which, let's face it, is probably talking about a cock. This is a song about cock. It's a song about a man wanting to put his penis inside of a woman, and the woman not being as keen on the idea.

The chorus contains the lyric "[you're] hanging on my heels every night", which I like because even though Girls Aloud are wearing high heels they are clearly the powerful ones in the relationship, something which perhaps someone might do well to explain to Caitlin Moran.

Dog Without A Bone is quite a sexy song, and like the majority of the songs on this list it's from the post-"Something Kind Of Oooooh" era when Xenomania really started to make credible sounding pop music (the next single released after this was Call The Shots, which was undeniably a game-changer for Girls Aloud as important for them being taken seriously as when the Arctic Monkeys did that version of Love Machine and everyone pretended to have loved them all along even though they probably fucking didn't because people are JUST FUCKING SHEEP AREN'T THEY?????)

7. Revolution In The Head (Out Of Control)

By the time what turned out to be their final studio album Out Of Control came out, Girls Aloud were proper stars. Cheryl was on The X Factor, Nicola had embraced her gingerness and Sarah's partying was still seen as endearing rather than just a little bit sad.

Revolution In The Head is a song about just those sentiments: embracing who you are and making things happen instead of just sitting there. I think. I can't be sure. There's a line about "moving that ass" and, more confusingly, "gimme da ting gimme da ting gimme da oh oh oh".

I'm not 100%, so let's head over to my favourite website to see what user "Emerald54" has to say on the matter:

This song is purely about doing things rather than just sitting there, dreaming about it. Never put it off for tomorrow and do it now and don't stop until you succeed your aim. 
Gotta say this is one of my favourite Girls Aloud songs :)

You've got good taste, Emerald54, I'll give you that much.

6. Hoxton Heroes (Can't Speak French)

Girls Aloud not putting Hoxton Heroes on any of their studio albums is, to me, a bit like when Madonna pulled the plug on her original American Life video. They'd made this fabulous statement song, and received co-writers credit for it, but they decided it would be too controversial to actually release it properly so instead they plonked it on the end of the Can't Speak French single.

First, a bit of context. This song was recorded in early-to-mid 2007. A time when Girls Aloud weren't the most "credible" of acts. While they turned their back to record their Tangled Up album, guitar bands slowly crept back into the charts. I'm talking about The View, who wore the same jeans for four days in a row. I'm talking about Razorlight and that "woah oh oh OH there's something in America" song which made no fucking sense. And then out trotted Kate Nash on her piano, playing three chords in a row and wittering on about how "I like tea", "I drink tea" and "I have tea in the morning" in all of her songs, the special little snowflake that she is. WHAT A QUIRKY FRINGE, EH?

The thing all these fucking tedious acts had in common was that they were going on about how they were more worthy of being taken seriously than so-called "manufactured" acts, such as Girls Aloud, and music journalists were lapping it up, a bit like Jake Bugg laying into One Direction. IT'S STILL GOING ON TODAY PEOPLE.

The difference is, Girls Aloud couldn't be arced with that shite, and so they released a little song called Hoxton Heroes about how everyone else needs to get a fucking life because they're every bit as manufactured as they are.

"Don't kid yourself you're an indie clone", they sing in the chorus, "We've seen it before, get a sound of your own". Pretty brave stuff for a band who'd not really been controversial in the past (apart from that time Cheryl lamped a toilet attendant in the face but let's not dwell on that).

"You bought a trilby and a cheap guitar, you thought you'd be a star, didn't get you that far". AMAZING.

5. Models (Chemistry)

Models is one of the oldest songs on this list, and is one of just two of my chosen songs which got a feature on the Ten tour (this one was just a video interlude). Predictably, given the title, it's about models, and more specifically the men who want to shag them. This is actually what the second ever episode of Sex And The City is about, and I often wonder if that's what inspired the song. It's probably not, but whatever.

It also contains the word "shit" which is one of my favourite and certainly most-used swear words, so there you go. And Cheryl tries her best posh voice and says "darling we're in fashion, don't you know?"

I don't really have anything else to say. It's good.

4. Graffiti My Soul (What Will The Neighbours Say?)

If you ask most pop music buffs what is their favourite Girls Aloud album track they will tell you Graffiti My Soul. They'll probably bore you with the details of how Britney Spears's people said to Xenomania WRITE A SONG FOR BRITNEY expecting something identical to Sound Of The Underground, and what they got was stuttering, almost grimy sounding guitar-led piece of POP WONDERMENT. 

For some reason, Britney's people turned it down but Britney's loss was Girls Aloud's gain and they got to record this song. Britney also turned down Umbrella by Rihanna, you know. SOLID GOLD POP FACT YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK.

Graffiti My Soul is fucking wonderful, although there is a line that says "got a fist full of love that's coming your way baby" which is enough to make Julian Clary himself wince, isn't it? MATRON.

3. Miss You Bow Wow (Out Of Control)

This song is crackers. There's a lot going on. Sarah Harding fucking owns this song when she sings "I remem-BERRRRRRRR living the dream". I can't really explain this one either so let's go back to our old friend Emerald54 over on to sum this one up for us, shall we..?

i think taht this song means that when the girls get tempted to go and sleep with someone else or go out on a drinking session, they call 999 for a doctor which is the boyfriend. and as they miss him he comes and rescues his girl. and when he 'rescues' her, he makes her feel as though they are the only lovers that night cuz da sex is so good!

"Cuz da sex is so good"??? EMERALD54 YOU HORNY THING, YOU!

Nar seriously though, that pretty much knocks the nail on the head. It sounds very 60s-ish, the chorus makes no sense and Sarah Harding sings a line about dialling "999" which is very British and that is why Girls Aloud are so good.

2. Watch Me Go (Chemistry)
Like most of Girls Aloud's classics (Biology, Love Machine and The Promise, to name but a few) this is a song that has about six different choruses and there's a lot going on but it somehow is pieced together and works magically.

The song ends with Cheryl Cole rapping about a trombone. My boyfriend used to play the trombone you know. WHAT A FUCKING LOSER. Nar man, seriously, he's brilliant.

There's also a fabulous bit of "at quarter past one, I was having fun" "trying to make a move/quarter past two", "then we went for more, quarter past four" action, which frankly is brilliant and could be used to teach kids the time, but there's also a bit about being "tied up to your bed" which is not 100% child-friendly.

"Said your name was Ben". Inspired.

1. Singapore (I Think We're Alone Now)

"I'm watching daytime TV, just wishing you were with me, I'm counting hours and days, gotta stop believing what the movies say". Just gorgeous.

I will miss you, Girls Aloud. Sarah the motor-mouth blonde. Nicola the moody and ever-so-slightly awkward ginger beauty. Cheryl the Geordie glue holding the group together. Nadine- the incomprehensible diva forgetting everyone's names. And the other one.

It's been real.

See you in ten years when your money's run out.

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