Now celebrating their tenth anniversary, Girls Aloud have released an almost blight-free series of fantastic singles and breathtaking albums. They’ve come a long way from their reality TV beginnings, becoming not only tabloid darlings but close to national treasures.
On hiatus after 2008’s Out of Control, Girls Aloud left something of a hole in the mainstream music landscape. The Saturdays did a fine job of stepping in as replacements – but as time passed, so demand for a Girls Aloud reunion grew. And now they’re back to restore balance to the pop cosmos.
Although members have dabbled in solo careers, there’s a real feeling of completeness when these five – Nicola Roberts, Nadine Coyle, Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh and Sarah Harding – click back into formation. There’s the sense that they each only achieve true star quality when a component of Girls Aloud.
Ten is an update of 2006’s best-of The Sound of Girls Aloud, with tracks added from 2007’s Tangled Up and Out of Control, plus four new songs. It’s not compiled based on chart positions, so their sole non-top-10 effort, the masterpiece of Untouchable, is rightfully included. Hardly missed are See the Day, I Think We’re Alone Now and their collaboration with Sugababes, Walk This Way.
Alongside the Xenomania hit machine, at their best Girls Aloud create a universe entirely of their own, standing as one of the greatest pop acts of this century. And all of their classics are here: the retro shimmer of The Promise; the top-class Call the Shots; the four-songs-at-once genius of Biology; and the futurist doof of Something Kinda Ooh.
As its title suggests, Something New is just that, a fanfare-like call to arms announcing the group’s return. Elsewhere, Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me is a blub-friendly empowerment cut complete with its own fireworks; On the Metro erupts into raving-through-the-tears amazingness; and Every Now and Then is a killer-chorused banger.
Ten is incredible. It’s up there with Gold, Substance and Discography in terms of greatest-hits sets. It’s proof of how perfect pop can be in the right hands, and if it’s the last long-player Girls Aloud put their name to, their legacy is assured.