University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Where have the last ten years gone? After months of speculation, catfights and backstabbing, it seems it only took one awkward Olympic Spice Girls reunion to finally get Girls Aloud back together. Miraculously, the fiery fivesome have put aside their differences to come up with the 21st century's answer to 'girl power!' in the form of the newest single from their comeback album Ten – the aptly named, Something New.
At first listen it would appear the girls are trying to convince us of the solidarity between them: we girls gonna take control /we girls gonna run this show. Lyrically speaking, from the beginning the song reeks of feminist togetherness, yet, takes a rather cynical turn for the worse toward the end, warding off the competition with the declaration we're the leaders of the pack. Perhaps that's manufactured-pop code for *@?! off Little Mix? We'll never know.
Talking of which, the verses to this upbeat pop ditty do seem a little aggressive in parts, with some lyrics so autotuned that it's debatable as to whether or not Nadine Coyle actually offered any part of her own vocals to the (spoken) words. Composition-wise, the track is somewhat of a minefield, lacking in a typical verse chorus verse chorus structure, instead boasting verses, choruses, bridges, tunnels and all sorts. For all its unpredictability this does give the song a unique edge, while still maintaining the girls' trademark style of Coyle on lead vocals with a weighty solo from Sarah Harding. Of course, also true to the Girls Aloud tradition, Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts lose out to Cheryl on the visuals, who benefits from what feels like 50% or more of the music video's screen time.
Cheryl might just be the saving grace of this mediocre-at-best feminist anthem, however, as its chorus is so achingly similar to Call My Name, you might just be forgiven for thinking the geniuses at Xenomania stole Calvin Harris' synth melody, slowed it down a bit and dropped it a few keys. For all the calamity of the verses, the chorus is exceedingly catchy and instantly memorable, guaranteeing Something New a place in the charts if not for the excitement of the reunion alone.
Choruses aside however, Girls Aloud would be best advised in future to heed their own message and try something new, as this is hardly a breakthrough track for the group, and once again, they will probably fall into the awkward top-ten-but-not-number-one trap. Miss Harding can try all she likes to seduce us midway with her middle eight, telling us to take a walk on the wild side of life (perhaps something she should have avoided?) while posing in a James Bond-esque nudey silhouette, but unfortunately, this is the peak of the song's ingenuity. Following one more repeat of its above-average chorus, the ensuing 45 seconds offer nothing more than a boring outro in which the girls perpetually remind us that they are, in fact, the leaders of the pack.
Perhaps their comeback tour in 2013 will confirm whether or not this rings true.