I don’t know if you know this but Girls Aloud are, no questions asked, the most important British band of the century.
In a ten year career that spanned five albums, four number one singles and a particularly brutal Ghosthunting with… documentary, Girls Aloud almost single-handedly legitimised the relevancy of reality TV in creating acts whose success was long-term. From the very first twang of that surf guitar on their debut single Sound of the Underground, they began to shape and change the face of pop music in Britain.
So, yes Girls Aloud are a big deal. Or at least they were, before the split in 2012 after the culmination of their greatest hits album, Ten (which, barring their awful cover of Stand By You and ballad Beautiful Cos You Love Me, is practically the British ABBA Gold) and an ensuing tour. The undoubtable highlight of this is when Nadine Coyle tried to keep the band from splitting up, so they presumably locked her in a closet and instead broke up by a hastily-written message on Twitlonger. Remember Twitlonger?
I will always recommend a thinly-veiled think piece about Girls Aloud, so to celebrate the news that former Tesco spokesperson Nadine Coyle re-launched her solo career with the Xenomania-produced Go To Work, I think it’s only fair to relook at what the members have Girls Aloud have gotten up to after their split.
5. Sarah Harding
Oh, Sarah. I say this as a friend – please, please stop. I could handle your attempt at an acting career; St. Trinian’s 2 was a bit lols with your character that skewered your ‘party girl’ persona, I thought you were too harshly judged for that stint on Corrie (but, to be fair, were you the next Vera Duckworth? No.) and I even watched the trailer to Run For Your Wife. I sensed good things for your step into the world of musical theatre; who better to end the monopoly set in place by Alexandra Burke and Kimberly Walsh? But, sadly, that didn’t go too well either.
But the straw that really broke the camel’s back was your actual attempt at a solo career. Whilst other members of your group (ahem) cultivated a personality and an image durable enough to go it alone, your single Threads was, to be honest babe, a red hot mess. It was a single that would have sounded dated if you had released it ten years ago, and all the sonic innovation that you had, by proxy, been apart of as part of Girls Aloud was thrown to the wind and torn apart.
Oh, and I won’t even begin to get into Celebrity Big Brother, mostly because it’s clear there’s been some serious neglect in terms of looking after your mental wellbeing in order to gain some much-needed press and social media traction and I can’t watch one more second of you giving a sort-of secretive hand job without bursting into tears. Also, I’ve watched far too many Gemma Collins memes. I expected much more from the woman who was responsible for one of the cornerstones of Gay Twitter.
4. Nadine Coyle
It seemed for a very long time that Nadine would be the inevitable Ginger Spice of the Aloud and make a break for solo stardom. In fact, she took the first steps when she broke away from the rest of the group and found her own solo representation and also made the hop over to L.A where she founded the now legendary Nadine’s Irish Mist. But, unfortunately for Nadine, Cheryl (more on her later) got there first.
The solo career of Nadine Coyle, then, is an interesting state of affairs. There’s her debut solo album, Insatiable, which was released through a distribution deal with Tesco, a tour with the company of Lord of the Dance and a duet with one of Westlife. But it’s her second crack at solo stardom, kickstarted by the single Go To Work, which gives us cause to think she could quite easily move up these rankings in future. In short; Go To Work is a trop-pop infused banger which sees Coyle reunited with Xenomania after several years in the wilderness. It has a Frankenstein-like stitched together feel, like most of the Aloud’s best bits, and has a delicious middle-eight that repeats for the last thirty seconds of the song. It doesn’t pander to commercial radio, but it does show Nadine (and Xenomania’s) re-commitment to making bonkers pop music. So, for now, that’s very promising indeed.
3. Kimberley Walsh
Kimberley always seemed like the mother of Girls Aloud. And, indeed, it seems that after Louis Walsh left the girls hung and dry after the end of Popstars: The Rivals, Walsh was practically the band’s manager until their career stabilised.
Look, as a member of Girls Aloud, Kimberley Walsh must be afforded love and adoption by all pop fans until the end of time. But, let’s be honest here, Kimberley always, to a certain extent, looked a bit lost. But, it looked as if Kimberley found her groove, so to speak, after the end of the band. She became a staple on the West End, released an album of musical theatre covers and, further proving that she is probably a 30-something gay man trapped in a woman’s body, she took part and actually did quite well in Strictly.
Look, it’s not quite five solo number one singles, is it, but at least she seems happy?
2. Nicola Roberts
Would be number one with a bullet if she had actually bothered to release a second solo album.
1. Cheryl (Cole/Tweedy/Vernandez-Versini/Just Cheryl)
Was it ever going to be anyone else?
Fight For This Love – Banger.
Parachute – Banger.
Promise This – Massive Banger.
Call My Name – Jesus Christ girls, this is how you do it.
Crazy Stupid Love – Less said about this, the better.
During her time as Britain’s de facto national sweetheart, Cheryl proved herself to a shrewd businesswoman and a national pop star. You don’t get a record-breaking five solo number one singles and internationally syndicated promotional campaigns just by sitting on your arse, do you?
Look, none of her singles may be as good as the output of Girls Aloud at their peak, but you have to admit, she gave it a pretty good go, right?
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