Lots of dedicated music fans are sniffy about mainstream pop music from the 21st century. And if there’s anything worse, it’s 21st-century mainstream pop that was pre-fabricated for a TV show. Girls Aloud originated from the reality show Popstars: The Rivals, where a boy band and girl band were selected to vie for the 2002 #1 Christmas single in the UK. Girls Aloud won the battle – their ‘Sound of the Underground’ was the number one single.
Yet, despite their beginnings, Girls Aloud enjoyed critical praise during their five-album career. Guardian critic Alexis Petridis wrote that their debut single “was a reality pop record that didn’t make you want to do physical harm to everyone involved in its manufacture”. The manufacture for Girls Aloud was largely done by Xenomania, a production team that has also worked with Cher and the Pet Shop Boys.
The song ‘Singapore’ was left on the cutting floor for the 2005 album Chemistry, it was later revived on the bonus disc for the compilation The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits. ‘Singapore’ deserved a revival – it’s a short and subtle pop song with a hint of darkness. “Dark streets only suffocate me” is the key line in the chorus. Nicola Roberts was one of the less visible members of Girls Aloud, but she takes most of the lead vocals on ‘Singapore’. ‘Singapore’ also inspired a fan-made video with jelly babies:
There’s a sad reason for featuring Girls Aloud today – member Sarah Harding passed away at 39 yesterday after a battle with breast cancer.