Crash Course in Girls Aloud

14 May

Why didn’t the era of the girl band ever really take hold here in America? Sure, we are masters of the boy band, with Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, New Kids On the Block and other winners such as O-Town and 98 Degrees. But we lost more than we gained when we did not follow the UK’s excellent example exhibited by the Spice Girls. When the song “Wannabe” comes on, you are going to be excited and you are going to like it, this is pure fact. Somehow, though we vaguely appreciated the Spice Girls, we did not continue to follow the UK girl band music scene and because of this we missed out on what I will say is conclusively the most fun band of this or any other decade. Yes, other bands are perhaps more critically acclaimed, but none of them will get you out of your seat and having a good time like Girls Aloud does with hits such as “Biology,” “Love Machine,” and “The Promise.”

When I posted my Crash Course in Cheryl Cole, I did it partly for myself. I wanted to have something I could easily point people towards and say “Look, see, this is why you should love Cheryl!” The response was amazingly kind from Cheryl’s fan base, which has encouraged me to create a sort of follow-up, this time focused on my all-time favorite band and where Cheryl got her start, Girls Aloud. I hope to remind old fans why it’s so exciting that Girls Aloud will be reuniting, and draw in new fans who have never heard of the group. This post will also be video-heavy because that is the best way to experience them!

Pictured: Fun. Also pictured: Abs.

Before you listen to Girls Aloud, you need to know this – you are not going to understand a single thing they are talking about in a majority of their songs, partly because you’re maybe American, and partly because it’s not meant to make that much sense. With lines such as “Let’s go, Eskimo” purely created for the appealing sound, you cannot expect poetic brilliance. What you can expect is a catchy chorus and an amazing dance routine, and isn’t that all we wanted out of our performers in the age of *NSYNC? Music doesn’t need to be deep to be enjoyable. I adore this type of music above all others – I want my music to be fun. But, I’m trying to be realistic and temper my excited rave review of my favorite band with actual musical critiques to sucker you into falling for Girls Aloud like I have. The following clip sums up all the reasons I love them in a one minute package:

As a band that has been around for a decade, Girls Aloud has too much history for me to even begin explaning it all. I’ll discuss what I think I can get away with without boring non-fans to tears, but if this blog strikes a chord and you decide to let Girls Aloud into your heart and onto your iPod, you should turn to fans that are more creative than me! One fan has created the following phenomenal video that gives an overview of the band, set to their song “Untouchable.”

Girls Aloud has had 20 consecutive top ten singles and gone on five massive tours. Usually I am not a fan of watching tour videos. The quality isn’t the best, you can’t always tell what’s happening, and why not just listen to the CD? I will admit, I have one tour DVD that isn’t Girls Aloud and it is Avril Lavigne from the late 1990s and I used to watch it every single day. Those were not my proudest times. With Girls Aloud, the tours are the absolute best way to experience the music. I even have favorite tours – the Chemistry tour (which was ridiculously cheesy and fun)  and the Tangled Up tour (which was ridiculously fierce and amazing). The girls sing live and they are phenomenal dancers, a combination that is very rarely seen. Usually if there’s dancing, it’s all lip-syncing, but not in the case of Girls Aloud. The performances are fun, the singing is spot on, and they wear the absolute best outfits.

Click on the picture for a larger version to properly marvel at the outfits

I thought I couldn’t love their music any more until I watched their tour videos. The entire band has so much personality that it’s also fun to watch interviews and behind the scenes clips. If it has “Girls Aloud” in it and it’s on YouTube, I have watched it I guarantee you. Like the Cheryl post, this one will be a bit video heavy as I have to share some of the varied performances they have given and music videos they have put out in order to truly showcase their talent.

They have too many music and tour videos to even begin showing you, so I’ve picked only a few but highly recommend you check out more if you enjoy these. It was hard choosing, some of my favorites didn’t make the cut, but I’m hoping to demonstrate their diversity and why they have become so popular.

“Biology” has been called the “best pop single of the last decade” by The Guardian, and is often what I think of first when I think Girls Aloud. The music video is light and fun and the song will definitely get stuck in your head.

“The Promise” has a retro feel, both in the song and in the video. It earned the group a BRIT for Best British Single in 2009. The girls performed this song on The X Factor with a curtain of sparks, a very cool performance to check out if you like the song.

I’ll admit, “Sexy! No No No” had to grow on me, but once it did it became one of my favorites. It’s different from anything Girls Aloud had done before, and the staccato rhythm lends itself to a trippy video experience.

Now, on to the tours. My very favorite performance at any tour ever has to be “Close to Love” on the Tangled Up Tour. Cheryl’s ferocity cannot be denied, the outfits are killer, and the song takes on a new quality you can’t get from a pre-recorded track.

“Watch Me Go” is such a fun song and lends itself well to choreographed dance moves and zany outfits. Plus, the little rap part makes me laugh every time.

You can see with “Revolution in the Head” how different all the tours are. It’s a totally different vibe, and the energy in the arena is intense. The combination of stellar graphics at the beginning with a tight performance cannot be matched. Too often bands do not make good use of their setting, but Girls Aloud is prepared for the arena and caters to it.

What really makes this band spectacular is that you become a fan of every member individually. Did I really care about anyone other than Brian in the Backstreet Boys or J.C. in *NSYNC? Not particularly, but I follow the individual careers of each member of Girls Aloud.

Cheryl Cole, the band’s Justin Timberlake equivalent, has a successful solo career with some immensely listenable singles. She is very involved in charity and unimaginably kind to her fans. Her accent is incredible, I would listen to her read the phone book, and she has a great sense of humor. For more on her, you can check out my previous blog.

Cheryl’s dance moves cannot be beat

Nadine Coyle, who takes point on many of the songs, lives in the U.S. now and put out her own solo CD which she wrote completely. “Insatiable” and “Sexy Love Affair” are my two favorite tracks on the album. I have spent hours watching videos of her on YouTube because I love how she talks, her accent is “ahmayzing.”

I imagine Nadine constantly mid hair-flip

Nicola Roberts has found quite a bit of success with a solo album that has been reviewed as “fun and fearless” and “self-assured” and is incredibly beautiful albeit occasionally depressing. Honestly, the CD is like nothing I’ve heard before and you should really give it a listen. It manages to be catchy while also being haunting. My favorite tracks from this album at the moment are “Beat of My Drum” and “Lucky Day” but this has changed several times already. Nicola’s activism against bullying is admirable and her dedication is certainly sincere. She even has her own line of makeup for pale skin called Dainty Doll.

Nicola is almost as pale as me. Almost

Sarah Harding has been making her way in the acting world, with turns in movies such as St. Trinian’s 2 and Run For Your Wife. She owns her own nightclub, Kanaloa, which I almost visited while I was in London simply because she owned it. Unfortunately I didn’t make it there, but I’m sure that it’s a blast. Sarah is fun, brash, and good-natured. She is also very scared of ghosts.

Quite the dress, Ms. Harding

Kimberley Walsh is currently in the West End’s production of Shrek as Fiona and is the face and body of a new Puma campaign. She also collaborated on Aggro Santos’s single “Like U Like” that I will never get tired of listening to. Watching interviews with her, Kimberley seems so genuine and sincere. She has a good head on her shoulders and helped manage the band when they started out. Her friendship with Cheryl is adorable, as are the friendships among the other band mates.

Kimberley even looks like an amazing listener!

It’s hard not to go completely into all of their life stories because one of my favorite parts of the band are the individual personalities that it is composed of, but I’m trying to focus on big picture stuff! Luckily for me (since there’s no way I can narrow down my favorite interview clips), someone has put together a video of their silliest moments as a group which shows the chemistry and humor they are known for. They are fantastic sports and are always fun to watch.

With all their independent success, it seemed crazy to hold out hopes for a Girls Aloud reunion, but it has recently been confirmed that the girls have been in the recording studio. I am contemplating how ridiculous it would be to save up and fly to another country for a concert, and it seems like more and more of a good idea the more I think about it. In the two years since I learned about Girls Aloud, they have bypassed my old favorites such as Spoon, Metric and Britney Spears and become top of my list.

Despite so many bands breaking up due to solo pursuits and arguments, fans never lost hope that Girls Aloud would reunite. The band has something special beyond their musical abilities, an indescribable quality that has endeared them to their fans and that has kept them together through scandals and controversies. I love their solo works, and hope they are given the time for any pursuits of that nature that they desire, but I will be very content if Girls Aloud is still together doing reunion shows when they’re old and grey. Here is a sneak peek of what that could be like…

I am so excited to experience a new album as a fan. By the time I got into Girls Aloud, they were already on hiatus and so I was able to quickly consume all media relating to them. Waiting with bated breath for a new album release and new tour announcements is a different experience entirely, and one I am looking forward to immensely.

If you like music OR fun, please please please give this band a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. To chat with me about Girls Aloud or get bombarded with more video recommendations, check me out on Twitter @emhig.

4 Responses to “Crash Course in Girls Aloud”

  1. Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    GREAT JOB EMILY!!!!!! I love how you all brought it together in one very well written blog!!!

    • Emily May 15, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      Thank you! They have such a massive history, even more to narrow down than Cheryl, I could go on and on about them…


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