Thursday, March 24, 2016

Legend Ranking: The Definitive Order of Girls Aloud Singles From Worst To Extraordinary

Damn, it has been quite sometime since I've updated the blog. I apologize. But unlike the greatest girl group/musical treasure that has ever walked the Earth, I will continue my legacy for as long as my compute doesn't crash on me. As a welcome back gift, I've decided to give the concrete ranking of singles of the aforementioned pop deities Girls Aloud. It's a list that needs to be made and seeing as how there is a slim chance we'll get a second Nicola Roberts album, let alone a full on reunion, we can put this issue to rest and move on with our lives (but not really because #NEVERFORGETTHEALOUD). So here it is, the NSOTP ranking of Girls Aloud singles:

22. Beautiful 'Cause You Love Me

I never thought we would see the day where we would find an unlistenable Girls Aloud song, I even got through "I'm Falling" without wanting to rip my ears off, but they went and did it. The last single by the monumentally fantastic girls was a piece of shit ballad that no one could save, and ended their legacy on a particularly sour note. It's better to just forget this one ever existed.

Best Bit: The ending

21. I'll Stand By You

Once again, the girls failed to knock out a good ballad, but at least this one had a charity to back it all the way to number 1. Imagine the ballads nowadays the girls could cover? *Starting a petition to have them do a "Beloved" cover*

Best Bit: Nicola's "Why you look so sad?"

20. See The Day

Another Girls Aloud ballad that isn't terrible per se, just forgetful. The winter cryathon doesn't hold as much punch as the other singles the Aloud have released but it continued their streak of Top 10 hits back in the day and the music video was quite beautiful, in a cheap green screen way.

Best Bit: "Will you ever" *music drops out* "SEE THE DAY" *orchestral swell with bells*

19. I Think We're Alone Now

The worst non-ballad Girls Aloud single is this cover of the Tiffany classic. Isn't it funny how the unoriginal songs by one of the most forward-thinking, ingenious groups on the planet were the worst ones? "I Think We're Alone Now" once again barely registers in anyone's mind when they think of the Aloud and honestly, the video is the only redeeming quality. The different endings to the Vegas heist storyline was a stroke of genius, but we all know Kimberley's was the best.

Best Bit: Sarah's "Running just as fast as we CAN"

18. Love Machine

We are officially in good single territory, which is exciting because that's why you clicked on this right? "Love Machine" was the second single off the Aloud's highly underrated second album, and continued their streak for fun carefree music with a slight nod to retro party anthems. While it isn't the most inventive track in their discography, you can be sure every time this song came on, someone would do an embarrassing dance that would have been recorded and posted on YouTube if that was a thing back in 2004.

Best Bits: Either Cheryl's "gift wrapped kitty cats" line or the "A little education/ to give you motivation" part in the bridge

17. Life Got Cold

"Life Got Cold" was one of the most melancholic pop records of the early aughts but its depressing attitude and equally morose video were every emo teenager's dream come true. It also caused the girls to rethink their image, going from angry girls rocking the very best of 2000's fashion, to the fun loving, elegant pop goddesses that we all know so well.

Best Bits: Cheryl's "We flirt while we work to forget about the hurt and the trash that we left behind" and the chorus's "I don't believe in Romeos / or heroes anymore" Isn't that wonderfully sad yet true?

16. Jump

Speaking of transitioning, this was the single that got the girls up and dancing for once and really set the tone for the rest of their career. Even though it's a cover, "Jump" feels like a fresh new single from the girls and allowed the ever-amazing production team Xenomania to really explore electropop in a novel way. "Jump" was probably a precursor to a lot of major hits by the Saturdays and Florrie, not to mention the only Aloud song that America experienced from being in "Love Actually" (Hugh Grant dancing to it was probably a lot of British people's dream come true.)

Best Bit: "JUMP!"

15. Long Hot Summer

This one was definitely a grower but the tambourine driven summer jam from the immaculate Chemistry album was exactly what everyone needed. The guitars set the tone for the album era, the video kept up the girls' reputation for cheap yet wonderful videos (Nicola's costume change is amazing in itself), and no one could go without singing this with their windows down back in the day. A perfect day-at-the-beach song.

Best Bit: The outro verse with the lines "I ricocheted / around the world / drinking pink champagne / it's easy / turn the heat too high / got what I wanted / now I just can't lie / now I'm queasy". You know it's a good song when the last word is "queasy."

14. Wake Me Up

The pop chameleons really showed their versatility with the garage rock-influenced hit "Wake Me Up". It's one of the few songs where each girl gets a wonderfully tailored verse to their vocals, but each one has that attitude of badassness. Even Nicola managed to get some krumping in there! Just amazing.

Best Bits: Cheryl's "Was it just the margaritas or are you / looking at ME?" and Kimberley and Nadine's back and forth in the bridge is great too.

13. Whole Lotta History

Now, THIS is a ballad I can get behind. A wistful look back at a past romance, a sad video of the girls looking like they aren't gorgeous popstars who have been scorned by a lover, and Sarah walking along a river, it has everything you want from a slow burning torch blubbathon. Speaking of which, rivers are great things in pop. Just think of that Ella Henderson song. That mentioned a river. I'm sure you can find other songs with rivers in them. But anyways, "Whole Lotta History" will go down in history as the best Girls Aloud ballad by far.

Best Bits: The girls revolutionizing the pronunciation of "HIS-TREE-AH" for generations to come.

12. Something Kinda Ooooh

"Something Kinda Ooooh" is a special single because it marked the girls' first greatest hits collection. It's also special because it really couldn't have been amazing without being sung by Girls Aloud. From Cheryl's intro, to lyrics that literally make no sense, and it takes the cake for their shittiest video. Here is a live performance instead. It's quite good (of course it is, it's Girls Aloud)

Best Bit: Nicola's "Can't dance / no pain / no gain / no show (REFERENCE) / jumping to the beat all night / don't roll " It was foreshadowing to her own debut single where she sing-raps as only Queen Ginger can.

11. Something New

This is what we were all waiting for in 2012. The Girls Aloud comeback track really lived up to its title. It has all the staples of a killer pop track: a call to action, an iconic video (orange has never looked so good), ravey alien noises throughout, but best of all, it reminds us of how much we missed the Aloud's presence on the pop scene and who really "runs this show."

Best Bit: At the very end when everything is going off, Sarah comes out of nowhere with the "FOLLOW THE LEADER" line that makes you light-headed from the wondrous insanity of the track.

10. Sound Of The Underground

Back in 2002, no one was expecting this girl group put together on reality TV to come up with anything special. So when "Sound Of The Underground" came on the radio, it was essentially a sledgehammer to the face of the listening public. It was edgy pop music that did not play it safe on any level. The surf guitar mixed with the disco strings in the pre-chorus remains one of music's greatest combinations in history. Looking back on the song over a decade later, it remains an exciting testament of just how great pop music can be.

Best Bit: The line that started it all, Sarah's "Disco dancing with the lights down low"

9. Sexy! No No No...

Speaking of insane guitar riffs, this massive yet bonkers track from Girls Aloud basically rewrote the manual of pop. "Sexy! No No No..." is great in that it sounds like a mashup of 5 different songs but somehow works together. From Cheryl's robotic intro to Nicola's "woman sunshine" line and Nadine bringing it home in the post-chorus (2nd chorus? who knows), the title itself should give you an understanding of the sheer insanity of this song. Too bad the girls hate it so much but oh well.

Best Bit: The chorus is really where it's at, with the girls accusing each other of trying to sleep with a man with everyone denying it (NO NO NO) until Nicola asks "Get him out for coffee?" and everyone just says "HELL YEAH." Unexpected events are what pop is all about.

8. No Good Advice

Any pop obsessed teenager identified with "No Good Advice." It was Girls Aloud's big Fuck You track and it was catchy as hell. And oddly enough, it melted all the genres that Girls Aloud has come to use in one song: punk rock guitars, ingenious pop lyrics, and a retro-leaning yet modern production that has set them apart from any other act in recent history. The best part about believing in a pop act is when they deliver more than one amazing single in their career, and Girls Aloud quickly quelled anyone's fear that they would be one hit wonders.

Best Bit: In the outro, when the girls say how they don't need to do shit because they are Girls Aloud, Nicola ends the song with "'Cause frankly I don't even care." If you can't tell by now, Nicola is my favorite.

7. Untouchable

This massive space-age behemoth of a song faced a lot of injustices at the time of its release. Firstly, the 7-minute opus should have remained that long instead of the girls opting for a single edit. Secondly, after a couple of quite good videos, the band went back to spending about $20 on the visuals. And finally, the track only reached the 11th spot on the UK charts, ending Girls Aloud's 20-single streak of remaining in the top 10 over the years. We could understand all of those things for the ballads, but this beautiful avant-garde storm of synthesizers should be remembered as one of the band's most iconic tracks and deserved recognition as such.

Best Bit: Hands down, it has to be Nadine's frustrated verse at the climax of the song when she sings "Whenever you're gone gone / they wait at the door / and everything's hurting like before / without any meaning / we're just skin and bone / like beautiful robots dancing alone" LIKE BEAUTIFUL ROBOTS DANCING ALONE. What a lyric.

6. The Promise

Oh, "The Promise." The 50's leaning retro pop song is like a dream come true. It sounds like something from a different time and yet, maintains its timeless charm with every listen. There's lots to love about the song, from the intro itself, to Sarah's "Walking primrose" line, and Nadine's euphoric second part. But the best part about this track was the video. FINALLY, we have a properly amazing Girls Aloud video, where the Girls are at a drive in movie theater from the 40's, dressed like they're from the 60's, and watching themselves perform form the 50's. It's got romance, spunk, metaphysicality, and the easiest dance routine pop has ever seen. A well-deserved number one for the band, you will agree.

Best Bit: Either Nadine's parts in the verses, or the key change in the last chorus that literally comes out of nowhere. Fun Fact: global superstar in the making Florrie plays drums on the track, so every aspect of this track oozes pop potential.

5. Biology

This is arguably Girls Aloud's signature track. The highlight off their best album, "Biology" continues the band's reputation for unconventional song structure and retro styled beats. But the best part about the song is how much is going on without sounding like too much is happening. It flows from staccato guitars to a breezy back and forth verse among the girls, to a chorus that doesn't even hit until halfway through the track. With the legacy that the Aloud has left behind, "Biology" sums up in so many ways.

Best Bit: Honestly, this is the one song that you really can't pinpoint a specific part that stands out being everything is so amazing. So just take your pick.

4. Call The Shots

Now a lot of Aloud fans will be angry with me, because for many reasons, "Call The Shots" might be the best single on this list. It comes in at four simply because the other three tracks build on the majesty that "Call The Shots" exudes with every beat. Acting as Xenomania's masterpiece, the original banger ballad has the magic of being a sad love song that you can cry to on the dance floor. And it is a pop fact that those songs are the best songs ever created. Every moment of this song will give you goosebumps and nothing about pop has ever been the same since it's release. It really is the cherry on top of Girls Aloud's already amazing career, so just wait until you hear the next three tracks.

Best Bits: The bridge where Nicola sends shivers through your spirit with the line "So full of twilight / DREAMS THAT GLITTER" Seriously, it doesn't get much better than this stuff (but it does!!!!).

3. The Loving Kind

Just like "Call The Shots", "The Loving Kind" is a heartbreaking disco track about holding on to a lost relationship that you probably weren't destined to have no matter how hard you want it. The track comes together as the joining of 3 of pop's greatest forces to have ever existed: Girls Aloud, Xenomania, and Pet Shop Boys. You can obviously see the parts that each of these factors have played: Pet Shop Boys' signature lyricism can be heard in every word (examples include "I want you / to kiss away the tensions / the issues never mentioned/ with all the best intentions"), Xenomania's elegantly banging production keeps you engaged, and the girls themselves each have a part in this song's amazingness. It may not be remembered as such, but "The Loving Kind" illustrates the retrospective wisdom of falling out of love without losing any of the beauty that came with it. And let's face it, love is probably the best theme in pop music so why wouldn't this track be the band's third best song?

Best Bits: The chorus is a thing of beauty with the inquisitive "I'm not the loving kind?" refrain being just as great as the "You may be disinclined" line. However, the best part of the song, and possibly the most heartbreaking piece of music of the millennium, is Nicola (of course it is) leading the middle eight between choruses with "I'd do ANYTHING / sing you songs that lovers sing / if I could change your mind / then am I not the loving kind?" Those 20 seconds should go down in history as one of music's greatest contributions to humanity.

2. The Show

If you have gone through this list up to this point, you have obviously realized that Girls Aloud contributed something wildly different to any of their contemporaries throughout their time together. The song that signaled their arrival as game changers was this one: "The Show." Its unconventional structure & synth-driven electropop meets the girls cheeky lyrics and signature British appeal in a way that has been echoed in other songs like "Love Machine" and "Biology." Something about "The Show" sounds so far ahead of its time but its message about feminism and empowerment ring true even today. And that's exactly why Girls Aloud should be remembered, as visionaries of pop for a world that didn't deserve it, but is really glad that they were around.

Best Bits: The pre chorus bits are great, and the video is hilarious, but the best part is the intro and outro when the girls sing "Should have hung around the kitchen in my underwear" and "should have fluttered my mascara like a butterfly" with the best sarcasm seen in pop music, especially considering the shit that's on the radio now.

1. The Best Girls Aloud Single Is Inarguably and Unequivocally: Can't Speak French

It may come as a surprise that this Euro-leaning, slinky synthpop number from 2008 is Girls Aloud's best single. But it really shouldn't. "Can't Speak French" was the third single off the Aloud's fourth studio album and was an immediate standout. Its catchy as all hell guitar riff was enough to grab your attention and the girls back and forth over their frustrating communication issues is exciting from the first verse until Cheryl comes in to beg for you attention in the middle eight/bridge. It flows by with such ease, and its fantastic production and killer chorus essentially wraps up all of Girls Aloud's career in a nice little bow. The decision to consider this as the band's best single might be controversial, but that's why this ranking is so incredible. Everyone has made memories to these songs in a lot of different ways. Their appeal was worldwide, regardless of their uniquely British charm, and, as this song so perfectly states, the music really does do the talking. Though they may have called it quits in 2013, their time together will be remembered as a once in a lifetime pop event and we are all lucky to have been alive to witness it.

Best Bit: The chorus. "I can't speak French / so I'll let the funky music / do the talking / talking now, oh" is probably the best chorus to have ever been created. Ever.

Well there you have it. This was a long and hard process to go through, but it had to be done. As a final gift, I've made a Spotify playlist where you can listen to every single in this list in order! Here it is and have fun.

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