Girls Aloud - Tangled Up

Girls Aloud - Tangled Up

Xenomania are, of course, responsible for the ridiculously high standard maintained, and for three songs in particular they’ve outdone themselves.

Rating:

Five studio albums in, and Girls Aloud have confounded their critics, sold a bucketload of records and are still managing to look as if they are having the time of their lives. New album ‘Tangled Up’ is taking no prisoners. It’s non-stop pop with no ballads, no cover versions and hardly takes a breath from start to finish.

The Euro-pop chic of ‘Call The Shots’ opens the album, an odd choice considering what the rest of the album has in store. It features a smooth and sublime chorus, and finally a stand-out verse for the neglected vocals of Nicola Roberts. ‘Close To Love’ ups the tempo and once again demonstrates the part-rap part-fast singing that Nadine always does so well.

Xenomania are, of course, responsible for the ridiculously high standard maintained, and for three songs in particular they’ve outdone themselves. ‘Black Jacks’ could be one of the finest, well-crafted Girls Aloud songs yet. It has an absorbing melody matched by a huge chorus and Nadine shines. The trademark GA number ‘Fling’ is an unrelenting, beefed-up dancefloor assault, impossibly catchy and superbly flirtatious. It simply has to be a single. Good enough to seriously rival ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’, you can just about forgive the copious use of the lyric ‘ding a ling’. The final stand-out number of ‘Tangled Up’ is the electro delight ‘I’m Falling’, a seething track which twists and turns and could well be considered the heaviest moment of the album.

There are flaws, of course. Nadine still dominates too much of the vocals, you could argue that the sheer unadulterated pop on offer could be considered too much, but we don’t think so. While there are no songs which could be dubbed filler, we’d question the inclusion of ‘What You Crying For’, an unnecessary drum ‘n bass featurette which smacks of Xenomania simply ticking another genre off their list. Similarly, ‘Can’t Speak French’ seems ill at ease with the rest of the album - we can’t fail to wonder why the far superior ‘Dog Without A Bone’ (B-side to ‘Sexy! No No No’) wasn’t chosen instead.

It seems strange that various commentators are still talking about their surprise when it comes to Girls Aloud. This isn’t the first time a girl band has managed to walk the line between commercial success and artistic recognition. Whether it’s their reality TV origins or maybe they weren’t expected to get this far, Girls Aloud have given us yet more magnificent 21st Century pop and we should rejoice.