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Girls Aloud: In Memoriam


Last night, after completing the final show of their comeback/reunion/greatest hits tour ‘Ten’, Girls Aloud announced that they are splitting for good. As a Girls Aloud superfan @BoyCotton has spent the day wearing all black (and his tour t-shirt) and is currently consulting various helplines in order to make it through the rest of the week. In between bouts of hyperventilation and fits of tears, he had this to write to the band:

Goodbye Girls Aloud.

You sang some good songs, you sang some great songs and sometimes (only sometimes mind) you even sang some bad songs. But all-in-all, you were pretty brilliant. You were probably the best. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t see this coming, its been circulating on the grapevine for a while that this was always a ‘goodbye’ tour rather a ‘comeback’ tour. But such is the quality of your output over these past ten years that we hoped somehow you’d make it into the studio and record another album of the year. Alas, it wasn’t to happen.

Throughout your time as a band you have been absolute gold. You have had a Midas touch regarding singles, everything you touched turned to gold. Indeed, you managed to rack up an impressive twenty top-ten consecutive singles – something not done by any other girlband (or pop act) before or after. What set you apart from the rest? Perhaps you weren’t the best singers (though you weren’t the worst), perhaps you weren’t the best dancers (though, again, you weren’t the worst) but you had an incredible likeability, an exasperatingly ambitious work-ethic and a dedication to pop-super-stardom that left the others for dust. No-one even comes close.

What better way to go out than on top? The ‘Ten’ tour was phenomenal. After seeing the show there is no-one (of sound mind and of working ears) who could be left denying your absolute power. You survived ‘the curse’ of reality television simply through being good enough to prove you never needed it anyway. As Shayne Wards and Michelle McManuses have come and gone, you have remained on top. Indeed, there were dark days back in 2005 when you were the only glimmer of hope in British pop music. In a period when pop music couldn’t and wouldn’t sell, you were defying everyone and scoring hit after hit. Eventually in 2009, after six years, you were awarded the Best British Single Brit Award for ‘The Promise’.

That you only notched up one Brit Award in your career is astounding. Another major thing that sets you out from the rest is your unmistakabley British sound. Where other pop acts looked to America and Sweden to dictate their sound, you and Xenomania created a unique pop sound all of your own. ‘Call the Shots’, ‘Biology’ and ‘The Show’ are wonderfully-crafted, anarchic slices of pop joy that, if there’s any justice, will be considered amongst the greatest British songs of all time. To be honest, that the Olympic closing ceremony wasn’t an epic three-hour-long Girls Aloud reunion show is probably the greatest injustice the world of sport has ever seen.

But maybe your comeback would’ve been wasted on the world. You kept it for the fans. The atmosphere at the O2 Arena in London at the beginning of the month was magical. You held your audience captive. Ten years is a long time in pop music and to many of us you were the soundtrack to our adolescence (and probably, for most of us, to our sexuality). Your power has always been your fans, and for all the love and admiration given to you, you have always given it back ten-fold. We loved Girls Aloud, and crucially I think, so did you. Not because it was a paycheck. Not because it made you famous. But because you loved performing and loved being the best girlband in the world.

You are and forever will be Untouchable. Thank you.

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Written by Oliver Meakings

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