Girls Aloud – Out Of Control (part 2)

 

Girls Aloud – Out Of Control (Polydor)

 

Part 2

Largely, where attempts are made to engage with Girls Aloud‘s desired critical audience is where they come across with less conviction. Revolution In The Head is one such example, a rather vague and simplistic rallying tune in the girls’ ‘sassy’ mode. Worse, though, is the faux-ragga intro which seemingly has no relevance apart from how, y’know, reggae songs are about revolution and stuff. Still, the arrangement is extremely inventive – listen out for the droning oboe line in the background, it’s an eerie and almost inaudible effect that is more powerful to the subconscious than any of the lyrics.

Fix Me Up is very unsexy because of how brazen it is, Live In The Country is purely bizarre, but the worst song here is undoubtedly the closing We Wanna Party. Seemingly an attack on emo kids, or maybe Goths, it aims so directly at its targets that the term ‘preaching to the converted’ might be a tremendous understatement. Of course their existing fans will share the opinion. The purpose of this song is, arguably, to put forward the notion that Girls Aloud are very aware of their position in the media and for them to gain further valorisation from ‘serious’ music fans, but it comes off as slightly ignorant. “We wanna party but we got no love!” is slightly too strong a refrain to be as intelligent as it hopes.

Still, The Loving Kind is as wistful as they come and another excellent example of the pleading, beaten lyrics working far better than any others. Without sounding chauvinistic, Girls Aloud come across far better when they are devotional and not spurning their men so strongly and obviously. As far as their audience-splitting trick goes, they can’t ever stick with pure pop or attempts at crossing over into credibility. The fact is that they only achieve that credibility when they don’t mean to, when they’re simply singing songs with emotions and without agendas. In terms of furthering perceptions of the ‘girl band’ as a form, type or genre, Girls Aloud will only succeed if they ignore the external influences that have somehow convinced to them to strive for critical success. Deny it all turns they probably will, but it’s difficult not to think that someone has told them “hey, you girls could be Madonna when ‘Ray Of Light’ came out”. It’s not a guise that suits them – they should react to Out Of Control with a follow-up of the purest pop possible.

Read part 1 of this review here.

 

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Girls Aloud – Out Of Control (part 2)

  1. Alexis

    I hope you are aware that We Wanna Party is a cover track. It may change the context in which you view it. It’s from Lene (of Aqua fame).

  2. popmusicology

    I was not aware of that, no. But the sentiments are still sung by Girls Aloud so we, as an audience, may assume no prior knowledge and accept it as their feelings. Their decision to sing those words leaves us with no alternative. Essentially, because of the minimal songwriting input of the girls themselves (I believe they co-write one or two tracks), it could be argued that if ‘We Wanna Party’ is not an accurate reflection of their sentiments, then little else of the album is either.

    As it stands, we are encouraged to believe that all the words and feelings of the album are coming from Girls Aloud.

  3. Alexis

    Keep in mind, though, that THOSE SPECIFIC LYRICS were NOT written to convey a strychnine chic image of the girls. That’s you (or the audience) projecting onto them. Analysis is good, recontextualization is acceptable to an extent — but some research is important. Otherwise all we have are our perceptions, which are too subjective alone to substantiate criticism.
    The truth? The only reason the song is included is, quite literally, to include the lyrics “out of control” on the album. Banal? Yes. A desperate gesture for credibility? Hardly. If anything, it’s Xenomania self-referencing: a stubborn nod towards their own Lene production and the Aloud’s trademark attitude and territory on What Will The Neighbors Say? It’s a trite throwback, nothing more.

  4. popmusicology

    The perception that the average listener will have will almost certainly not include knowledge of the song’s original intentions – all they have to go on is the words they hear sung by the girls they already have a fan/artist relationship with.

    If the original intention of the song was in any way out of step with how Girls Aloud were to be portrayed and have their opinions expressed, then surely the songwriters would have sense enough to change the lyrics to something more suitable, or omit the song from the album.

    I do agree that the words ‘Out Of Control’ are important here, though. It’s a whole image distilled into one chorus and, therefore, very powerful.

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