#1. GIRLS ALOUD “Every Now & Then”

Posted By Adem / February, 3, 2013 / 0 comments

It’s truly amazing that, in a year filled with so many triumphant comeback moments and ‘hotly anticipated’ singles, Girls Aloud can come along in the final few months of the year, snatch a series of wigs that represent each of your faves pop careers, and then proceed to intensively mop the floor with them. Of the four new tracks on “Ten”, the latest Greatest Hits collection from Girls Aloud, none is perhaps as precious as the four-minute-plus epic Eurodance romp “Every Now and Then.” Driving the five-piece straight into classic Xenomania territory with one of their most forward-thinking productions since The Saturdays’ “All Fired Up” (and, naturally so, the exceptionally better of the two). Of course, it’s not just the stunning levels of production that clench this as a hallmark Aloud moment.

Not since “Call The Shots” have Girls Aloud really nailed this kind of song; deep, soul-wrenching heartbreak with both feet firmly placed onto the dance floor. “Untouchable” was certainly close, but of the former two mentioned singles I’d even go as far as saying that “Every Now and Then” is the stronger and better track. This sublime, bittersweet song of the heart deals with a subject we’d all be familiar with and ensures the listener embarks on a rollercoaster of emotions upon its first listen. There’s also the matter of a whopping key-change that comes into play just as you think you’ve got the song figured out, just as you think you’ve nailed how the chorus sounds. Within its first minute the track shifts into overdrive, wallops itself into a higher key, before serving the lessors with the actual chorus, which is a million times better and more satisfying than you could have ever imagined. Little inflictions, like when Nadine croakily sings “I knew it from the start” – and sounds like she’s on the verge of a mini-meltdown – to Cheryl’s gut-wrenchingly telling line “I gave you everything, I even wore your ring”, there’s very little in this complete masterpiece of a pop song that doesn’t leave me for dead, slayed beyond conceivable existence.

That’s what I’ve really, really missed about Girls Aloud. Not just the little things they bring to the proverbial table that make them the greatest pop group since ABBA, but that undeniable ability to rip you apart into a million pieces with 4 minutes of song but still remind you that, no matter how heartbreaking the situation is, you’re going to come out on top. Girls Aloud have always sung about matters from the heart but there’s been this strong, near-feminist approach to a lot of their lyrics (for the most part) over the years. “Never ever going back,” they sing in the chorus to ‘Every Now & Then’, “I said I never would again, It’s better now that we’re apart, but I still think about you every now and then.” There’s this acknowledged melancholy in not only the lyric but the way it’s sung, but not before a statement of their strength and survival is thrown in for empowerment. The chorus, lyrically, reminds me slightly of Cher’s “Strong Enough” which, thematically, follows a very similar pattern; the tears have stopped, I know I am a better person without you but I can’t help thinking about you every now and then. It’s nice we’ve still got some girls in charge who are still hell-bent on putting the boys in their place, as opposed to the current trend where a large portion of our female pop stars are poppin’ puss ‘in da club’ and whailing about guys going down on them or, even worse, singing about how their relationship with a person who beat, kicked and bit the living shit out of them is “Nobody’s Business.” No, not Girls Aloud. Because that would not only label them as hypocrites, it would also reverse the power of their name and serve as an undoing to all of the hard work they’ve constructed over the last 10 years. Girls Aloud are more than just a girl group, they’re a Girl Force.

I discovered Girls Aloud properly in 2005 through Popjustice, also one of my discoveries that year. The year was a rough one for me personally and saw me in hospital for major life-saving surgery on my lung. After the operation I was housebound for 6 months; unable to walk for 3, unable to work for 4 and unable to drive a car for the full 6 month duration. I was stuck in a house where my only solace was the world wide web. After years of straying from my pop roots (I was working as a dance music journalist for a number of years before grounding myself where I belonged; in the pop world) I started to really investigate what I’d missed over the last two years, and one of those were the mighty Aloud. The music of Girls Aloud got me through the troubles I faced out of hospital; there was this level of strength within their music I hadn’t really heard via a girl group before, and it was exactly what I needed. Plus to top it off, the songs were mind-blowingly good. There was an immediate connection not only to what was being said, but to the way it was produced. There was something this girl band had that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but knew I would no longer be able to live without.

“Every Now & Then” was not just the comeback song of the year, it remains without a doubt the Song of the Year.

A career pinnacle.

#4. GIRLS ALOUD “Something New”

Posted By Adem / February, 3, 2013 / 0 comments

The comeback single of the year, Girls Aloud’s dominating “Something New” did away with every other pop group in 2012 with this cheeky and topical moment of scattered technopop brilliance. Single-handedly taking on the influx of Boys in Pop since The Mighty Aloud’s three year hiatus, Girls Aloud’s comeback single serves, as my friend Richard would put it, their very own answer to “Spice Up Your Life.”

“Go girls, g-g-go go go, we girls gonna take control! You boys better know know-know-know, we girls gonna run this show.”

You better watch your back, they the leaders of the pack.

#12. GIRLS ALOUD “On The Metro”

Posted By Adem / February, 3, 2013 / 0 comments

This is the first of the new Girls Aloud tracks to appear in the countdown and for those of you who know me well, you’ll have figured out by now that there’s at least another two more songs from this earth-shattering comeback to appear in the list. “On The Metro” – one of two songs from the new four that were not written by Xenomania – is a Nicola Roberts co-write that smashingly showcases exactly why we’ve missed Girls Aloud so much; and that is for Queen Nadine’s solo’s.

There’s a slight problem with “On The Metro” though which sees it just miss the Top 10; had this actually been a Xenomania production there would have been a lot more done with that middle-8, which doesn’t really seem to go anywhere until – thankfully – Queen Nadine saves the day by adding a touch of goosebump-inducing class into its final moment.

Not the obvious choice for next single everybody would have you believe it is but still pretty damn brilliant.

GIRLS ALOUD, “Every Now & Then”

Posted By Adem / November, 28, 2012 / 4 comments

Of the four new tracks on “Ten”, the latest Greatest Hits collection from Girls Aloud, none is perhaps as precious as the four-minute-plus epic Eurodance romp “Every Now and Then.” Driving the five-piece straight into classic Xenomania territory with one of their most forward-thinking productions since The Saturdays’ “All Fired Up” (and, naturally so, the exceptionally better of the two). Of course, it’s not just the stunning levels of production that clench this as a hallmark Aloud moment.

Not since “Call The Shots” have Girls Aloud really nailed this kind of song; deep, soul-wrenching heartbreak with both feet firmly placed onto the dance floor. “Untouchable” was certainly close, but of the former two mentioned singles I’d even go as far as saying that “Every Now and Then” is the stronger and better track. This sublime, bittersweet song of the heart deals with a subject we’d all be familiar with and ensures the listener embarks on a rollercoaster of emotions upon its first listen. There’s also the matter of a whopping key-change that comes into play just as you think you’ve got the song figured out, just as you think you’ve nailed how the chorus sounds. Within its first minute the track shifts into overdrive, wallops itself into a higher key, before serving the lessors with the actual chorus, which is a million times better and more satisfying than you could have ever imagined. Little inflictions, like when Nadine croakily sings “I knew it from the start” – and sounds like she’s on the verge of a mini-meltdown – to Cheryl’s gut-wrenchingly telling line “I gave you everything, I even wore your ring”, there’s very little in this complete masterpiece of a pop song that doesn’t leave me for dead, slayed beyond conceivable existence.

That’s what I’ve really, really missed about Girls Aloud. Not just the little things they bring to the proverbial table that make them the greatest pop group since ABBA, but that undeniable ability to rip you apart into a million pieces with 4 minutes of song but still remind you that, no matter how heartbreaking the situation is, you’re going to come out on top. Girls Aloud have always sung about matters from the heart but there’s been this strong, near-feminist approach to a lot of their lyrics (for the most part) over the years. “Never ever going back,” they sing in the chorus to ‘Every Now & Then’, “I said I never would again, It’s better now that we’re apart, but I still think about you every now and then.” There’s this acknowledged melancholy in not only the lyric but the way it’s sung, but not before a statement of their strength and survival is thrown in for empowerment. The chorus, lyrically, reminds me slightly of Cher’s “Strong Enough” which, thematically, follows a very similar pattern; the tears have stopped, I know I am a better person without you but I can’t help thinking about you every now and then. It’s nice we’ve still got some girls in charge who are still hell-bent on putting the boys in their place, as opposed to the current trend where a large portion of our female pop stars are poppin’ puss ‘in da club’ and whailing about guys going down on them or, even worse, singing about how their relationship with a person who beat, kicked and bit the living shit out of them is “Nobody’s Business.” No, not Girls Aloud. Because that would not only label them as hypocrites, it would also reverse the power of their name and serve as an undoing to all of the hard work they’ve constructed over the last 10 years. Girls Aloud are more than just a girl group, they’re a Girl Force.

I discovered Girls Aloud properly in 2005 through Popjustice, also one of my discoveries that year. The year was a rough one for me personally and saw me in hospital for major life-saving surgery on my lung. After the operation I was housebound for 6 months; unable to walk for 3, unable to work for 4 and unable to drive a car for the full 6 month duration. I was stuck in a house where my only solace was the world wide web. After years of straying from my pop roots (I was working as a dance music journalist for a number of years before grounding myself where I belonged; in the pop world) I started to really investigate what I’d missed over the last two years, and one of those were the mighty Aloud. The music of Girls Aloud got me through the troubles I faced out of hospital; there was this level of strength within their music I hadn’t really heard via a girl group before, and it was exactly what I needed. Plus to top it off, the songs were mind-blowingly good. There was an immediate connection not only to what was being said, but to the way it was produced. There was something this girl band had that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but knew I would no longer be able to live without.

The return of Girls Aloud onto the pop market is a comeback I’ve been in harder celebration for than that of Madonna. And the return of my favourite pop group of current times could not have come any sooner. Just when I needed a little reminder of my worth, there were Girls Aloud, thinking of me – every now and then.

“And you’re out of my heart, I swear I can’t pretend. But the heart tears apart, as I still think about you every now and then.”

Faded.

Posted By Adem / July, 18, 2010 / 3 comments

ipod_nano_wallpaper

iPod shuffle is a strange, wonderful thing. Aside from blowing my mind to pieces the other day by playing three songs – in a row – about Penises (!!) (Gillette’s “Short Dick Man”, King Missile’s “Detachable Penis” and then Mickey Avalon’s “My Dick” – for fucking REALS), tonight it brought The Faders back into my direct line of attention.

“No Sleep Tonight” would have perhaps worked a little bit better had it not been sung by this lot and rather given to Sarah Harding as her debut solo single. The song is a pretty big pearler (so much so that Molly from The Faders went and recorded a solo version after they’d split) and would have done Sarah Harding very nicely. I’d BELIEVE her when she says she’ll be getting no sleep tonight. Molly McQueen on the other hand; definitely napping.

For best results, avoid watching the actual video clip (which is several hundred shades of utter shit) and just look at this picture of Sarah Harding being Rock ‘n Roll at a Rock Concert as The Faders audio plays.

sarahharding-rockconcert

Cor blimey they had a set of mugs on them, didn’t they?

It was fun though, wasn’t it.

Posted By Adem / April, 20, 2010 / 1 comments

sugababes

I have lost all complete interest in the Sugababes for such a long time now, so long that I’m only getting around to talking about this current incarnation of the brand properly.

The thing is, this current line up could actually work and I know I’m not the first to say it. But here’s why I think it could work, provided steps are moved switfly away from anything to do with current album, the shit-stinker “Sweet 7″, which is the biggest pile of shit I’ve come across in a long, long while.

But the fact that the album’s best track is the non-available Keisha version of “About A Girl” speaks volumes about the kind of rubbish that this is filled with.

I’d like to think that “Sweet 7″ was Keisha knowing all along she was either going to destroy the Sugababes or leave and watch it crumble from the sidelines. Because Jade Ewen, Quicha’s replacement, had no input whatsoever (bar one awfully thought out track which was recorded later) in the way “Sweet 7″ sounded. There’s no print from her here whatsoever, and they’re basically playing with the ‘chosen’ drivel of an over-worked Keisha and unhappy Other Two.

I don’t think the girls are finished yet though. If they can make it through this album (it’s kinda looking almost certain that they will be making another album, Heidi’s telling anyone that’ll listen – barely anyone – that they’re absolutely not splitting up) and really think about where they want to go next, they could win back the interest of people like me (not that they’d give a shit, but hey this is a blog and apparently they matter, I DUNNO) and others who I know had called their death the second Keisha’s firing was made public.

Heidi’s reputation is on the line at the moment and I think she’s very well aware of that. She’s the new Keisha. The Sugababes are now her legacy to carry on through to the next firing, but I think Heidi’s going to be quite adamant about making sure everything runs as smoothly as possible so that there never IS another firing.

At the end of the day we all know that Heidi and Kimberley from Girls Aloud are very good friends and we all know Kimba’s partial to smoking a bit of weed every so often (over cups of tea and SKY+ recordings of “Emmerdale” and “X-tra Factor”). What I’m saying is, I don’t think a bit of that would do Heidi and the future of the Sugababes any harm.

I do still think they should change their name though.

Heidi & Ja’melle perhaps.

Because I do think that the original girls may still want to end the Sugababes legacy the way it started. The hints and rumours are probably too good to be true but fuck, I’m going to believe them because frankly there are five girls in Girls Aloud and only four of them seem to have any interest in being a pop group. I’ll clutch onto whatever glimmer of hope I can.

Anyway, from what I recall I actually did review “Sweet 7″ for the Australian edition of The Big Issue. I think I gave it two stars and immediately wished I’d given it one and a half, but justified (in print to the nation for a change – ha! I’ve never been published in anything nation-wide, so I’m a little bit chuffed and am totally gloating a bit, sorry) the extra half, perhaps, because of my love for “About A Girl.”

But the Keisha version.

Which wasn’t even on the album.

Housekeeping.

Posted By Adem / March, 12, 2010 / 3 comments

Will+Young+willyoungfeb4

There are so many musical thoughts that end up on Twitter that, if I weren’t so lazy, could probably be extended into slightly longer paragraphs on the blog. I caught myself spending too much time on Twitter again this week when I could have been blogging. NO MORE!

There are things I really want to talk about, like the new Sophie Ellis-Bextor Song of the Year “Bittersweet”, or the amazing new album from Delphic (among other things I’ve got almost ready to go), but in the meantime, there’s all of this that’s going through my head.

The new Groove Armada album “Black Light” is quite rapidly going from being a three-and-a-half-star album to a near five-star one. It seems to be the most consistent album from them to date; “Look Me In The Eye Sister” is like 60′s psychedelia meets trance, “I Won’t Kneel” featuring SaintSaviour is one of their best singles so far, and Will Young (who’s still looking mighty fine and was tops in Skins, wasn’t he?) collaboration “History” and the Fenech Sole “Paper Romance” are actually perfect, aren’t they? Top stuff, I should do a proper review of it soon actually.

The debut Cassette Kids album is also incredible and, I think, will surprise a few of their doubters. Quality from start to finish, review and A NEW interview with the guys coming soon. Also, the new Rogue Traders single “Would You Raise Your Hands?” goes to radio tomorrow morning from 7AM – you’ll finally all get to hear what I’ve been banging on about for so long. It’s tops, can’t wait for everyone else to be in love with it too.

Telephone tomorrow. OMG…

The new MGMT single song abortion is so all over the place that I barely got through the whole thing. 4 minutes and 16 seconds should not feel like a really disjointed 40 minute megamix gone horribly wrong. It’s like they had 10 really good (unfinished) ideas for some great songs, and just put it all together in one. Disappointing. Make your own judgements on it though, it’s available – legally – for free over here.

The same goes for the brand new Princess Superstar single, “Ground Control.” I have a really big gripe with people whispering; it’s not a pretty sound but can be carried off quite well in very small doses in some pop songs. Every verse in this however is whispered. It grates so much that you’re just waiting eagerly for the chorus, but then – of course – it really doesn’t feel like it was worth the wait al all. And the wait has been five years for new material from this lady. It’s really upsetting because I have loved EVERYTHING she’s done in the past and not just the highly underrated “My Machine” LP from 2005. She’s an incredible entertainer live and has the smarts to pen a perfect song. Unfortunately, this is far from perfect, but I’m hoping there’s a lot more to her upcoming album “The Next Evolution” than this insinuates. Also being offered as a free download on her MySpace, if you’re interested. Immediately after you hear it for yourself, listen to this, or this, and tell me that I’m not disappointed for a reason. She doesn’t need to make an electro-fused record for me to be happy, it just needs to be good.

The new Sugababes album, “Shit 7″… I don’t think I need to say any more actually.

Blog-commenter J responded to my Ke$ha/3OH!NO remark on last weeks eTunes post by offering a link to a Ke$ha-only, 3OH-FREE version of “Blah Blah Blah.” Thank GOD. Find it here… Thanks J!

There’s a lot going on at the moment in regards to the closure of BBC’s 6 Music radio station, and whilst I’m not going to even attempt to talk about (Popjustice have done a pretty good job of that, here, here and here), it reminded me a little of the near-10-year battle Hitz FM suffered through when it was running for a full time license in Melbourne between the years of 1992 and 2001. You can read more about the station (which was never granted that full time broadcasting license) here, it pretty much cemented my passion for dance music and radio during my ‘formative years’ and the uproar being caused RE: the 6 Music closure has just brought all of those incredible, but now somewhat upsetting, memories back.

Cheryl Tweedy chose her words incorrectly during an International TV appearance and scared the shit out of hundreds of millions of their fans. It’s all been cleared up now (Cheryl’s NOT leaving Girls Aloud, nor has she left), but I really feel like we’ve gotten to a point where I almost couldn’t care less about any more Cheryl material OR Nadine’s new album because it’s all just getting in the way of having my 2010 Album of the Year picked out for me in the form of a Girls Aloud release. Bitches I am OVER this shit.

It’s been 10 years since The Avalanches released their debut album “Since I Left You”. Preposterous. Get on with it boys, who do you think you are, Kate Bush? If only it had been a 10 year wait in between Wolfmother albums… Aah yes, what a simpler world it would be.