A new Girls Aloud album is a surefire way to put a smile on my face so I was super excited to receive their new album Out Of Control this week. I’ll be reviewing it for the BBC later, but here’s my first listen thoughts.
Overall you might be a bit disappointed if you’re a fan of the ‘Girl Overboard’ and ‘Biology’ side of the girls. They’ve cut back on frantic-ness and replaced it with gorgeous, soaring electro pop that’s just as good.
1. The Promise – It’s so exciting that they’re about to have their 4th #1 with this song. You’ve heard it though, although the album version has a longer intro and a repeat to fade ending.
2. The Loving Kind – This is a collaboration with Pet Shop Boys and the first of quite a few synth ballads. Being a GA & PSB collaboration it’s kind of a disappointment as it should be amazing. It has an epic verse but then the chorus doesn’t quite cut it. There’s no great hook.
3. Rolling Back The Rivers – Starts with a really strong big vocal almost acapella. I have no idea who is who though when they sing. Then when the music kicks in it sounds a bit like ‘Somethin’ Stupid’. It’s really smooth sounding and makes me roll my shoulders all about. Has a great ‘a-wooooo’ sound.
4. Love Is The Key – The first stomper! Starts with a male choral sound and then kicks off into sarcastic country with the girls even doing a Southern American twangy accent in their talky verses. The bridge makes me want to do chicken dance movements with my arms & then of course there’s a chorus. It’s Xenomania – there must be 40 different bits! It’s ace
5. Turn 2 Stone – Now if this had been the PSB track I could have accepted it more easily. Starts with whispered vocals and there’s some amazing electronic whizzy noises going on next to a really strong baseline. Then when the chorus drops it lifts and goes all ethereal and swirly. This has serious trance potential. Some DJ will remix it and it will be huge in the clubs.
6. Untouchable – This is 6.42 long. No one other than Girls Aloud could get away with that. Starts with some very Balearic sounds and then the first chorus is sung very softly before a powerful chorus sweeps it into another place. It’s very sad sounding. There’s a briliant lyric about robots dancing in the dark.
7. Fix Me Up – Popjustice nailed it when he said this was ‘low-slung’. It’s *very* All Saints or Spice Girls a la Naked and very Sarah heavy. It’s fun, but an album track.
8. Love Is Pain – Wow. This is gorgeous synth pop. Has a Depeche Mode feel to the music. It’s all floaty, swirling and above all epic. It sounds like they’re singing ‘First I saw the letter, heard your secret code, telling me walk away, what a waste, turn to coal(?!)’ Yes coal probably isn’t right. Is this the Cheryl vs Ashley track – ‘just be faithful to me’. Sad, tearstained pop.
9. Miss You Bow Wow – If you’re missing the frantic tracks then this is one you’re going to love. It starts quite calmly with Part I and talky singing ‘Everybody love love loves’. Then there’s Pt II about calling 999. Part III grabs the ‘Miss You Bow Wow’ title and repeats it before Part IV flirts and teases about ‘slipping into your girlfriends jeans’. 4 parts – but then there’s even more later! It’s really fast, really repetative, and really amazing! It goes completely instrumental at the end for about 45 seconds
10. Revolution in The Head – I don’t think many Girls Aloud fans will like this one for some reason. The first 30 seconds has elements of DJ Luck & MC Neat in it, coupled with some Sean Paul dancehall clapping and beats. It’s a bit exotic sounding.
11. Live In The Country – Alex James will love this. As the name may suggest it’s absolutely ridiculous, the music is all drum n bass-y while the girls ponder on the idea of life being much better if they live in the country. They want to escape ‘the rat race’ that makes them ‘dead on their feet’ by saving money, moving to the country where ‘the sky is always blue’ and they can have a ‘family portrait, a pipe and a dog at my feet’. The lyrics are really great, and then it ends with some farmyard animal sounds. Ace.
12. We Wanna Party – This is a cover of a song released on Lene from Aqua’s debut album. It’s very ‘What Will The Neighbours Say’ but a fun end to the album.