When I heard yesterday’s reports of a 10th anniversary reunion tour, I remembered a great Girls Aloud story I once read in Attitude magazine. Some hapless hack, after grilling Sarah Harding rather unkindly about her love life throughout a group interview, decided to ask Nicola Roberts why she was being so quiet. The response? “Because I don’t speak to cunts.”
That story sums up everything I loved about this pop group: they were tough, unreconstructed and together. For a while, being in Girls Aloud looked like the most fun you could have without a DeLorean ride to Freddie Mercury’s house circa 1982. But the fun and frolics would have been hollow if Girls Aloud hadn’t been so bloody good.
Unlike most modern pop combos, they didn’t flit from songsmith to songsmith in pursuit of a hit. After an early set-to in which they nearly rejected ‘No Good Advice’ (No.2 in May 2003), the girls stuck with Brian Higgins and his Xenomania songwriting team. Their reward? Not just brilliant singles like ‘Biology’ and ‘Call The Shots’, but at least two stellar long-players (2005’s ‘Chemistry’ and 2007’s ‘Tangled Up’), and B-sides other girlbands would flog their lipgloss for. Don’t believe me? Hit up ‘Hoxton Heroes’ and ‘Crazy Fool’ on YouTube.
I really admired Girls Aloud – especially as their performances got more polished and their fashion choices less reliant on tin foil – but mostly, I was proud of them. They were the reality show pop act who made a habit of confounding expectations: five albums, songs covered by the Arctics and Bloc Party, a Coldplay support slot. When they finally won a Brit Award in their seventh year of service, it wasn’t because their batshit fans spammed the vote; it was because they’d earned it.
Why is why it’s such a shame that they just kind of… stopped. Maybe Cheryl Cole had become too famous not to release a solo record? But whatever the reasons behind their “hiatus”, and however unresolved these are now, I can’t view the group’s 2013 reunion as anything but a good thing. The “one or two singles” pledged by Nadine Coyle may not be GA classics. And “if things work well… who knows what could happen?” hardly inspires hope for anything long-term. But those comeback shows will certainly serve a purpose: a nostalgia trip, a celebration, maybe a goodbye.
So, come the start of next year, I’ll be on my feet at the O2 Arena failing horribly to recreate the ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’ dance moves. I’ll also be remembering the time when Girls Aloud were so tight and feisty that they’d call a hack a cunt for being mean to one of their mates.