[3] Girls Aloud, ‘The Promise’

Girls Aloud

I can play this with the utmost confidence, because Junior’s now done what I would have expected far earlier – she’s fallen in love with Girls Aloud. Let’s face facts: we all have. The most surprising thing is they haven’t run out of steam; ‘The Promise’ is the curtain-up to their fifth (that’s fifth) album, and while the long-players are patchy as ever, the quality of single just isn’t dipping. ‘The Promise’ faced brickbats to begin with, sourpusses claiming it was the first step towards Westlife safe-playing or a pale Duffy/Winehouse identikit girl-group-throwback, but it soon revealed itself to be as complex as any ‘Biology’ you could mention. Only the brashness has been sacrificed, the brazen ambition is still there. Listen to it – no verse is the same (there are three, with entirely different melodies), no bridge is the same, and still they throw in a middle eight. If this is pop in the 21st century, I’m on board.

Junior knows all the words, and shimmies her shoulders just like her mum. She’s probably got an opinion about Kimberley’s hips too. I reckon Junior even knows what “walking Primrose” means and understands what the “promise” is and who it’s pledged to. It’s multi-layered, you see; once you’ve sussed out what the music’s doing, you still have to decipher the lyric. The ‘Aloud are two steps ahead of the pack.

But how much longer have we got them for? Rumours that Nadine’s on the way out won’t abate – and she continues to blow the others off stage with sheer lungpower – while Cheryl suddenly looks too big for a band. If they gotta go, go now. It’s been golden.

Advertisements

Spice Girls, ‘Wannabe’

Slam your body down and zig-a-zig-ahh. Euan, Paddy, OP and I did some impromptu street theatre on the Edinburgh Fringe the best part of 10 years ago, trying to show how the Spice Girls’ orders could be carried out. We decided that you couldn’t really slam your own body down, assuming that you had to land with said body horizontal to the floor for full slamming effect. You couldn’t get the full force behind you; it would be mere falling.

I didn’t ask Junior to replicate the slam but, like many little girls before her, she found the Spices’ song and message beguiling – although the fact that she was managing to do the zig-a-zig move as demonstrated in the video was more down to maternal manipulation than free will. 

So, whatever happened to the Spice Girls? One minute it was world domination with infectious tunes and sketchy empowerment poses, the next it was, well, we know what it was. Eye-wateringly bad solo careers, babies with silly names (Junior’s a very sensible name) and desperately misguided attempts to bed George Michael.

In our very first entry we mused on who would win a fight out of the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud. It’s time for you to decide. These are the bouts:

Mel B vs Sarah
Mel C vs Nicola
Baby vs Kimberley
Geri vs Nadine
Posh vs Cheryl