Release Date: Nov 3, 2008
Record label: Polydor
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
Remember when all Girls Aloud had to do was outperform their hapless Popstars: The Rivals opponents One True Voice? In 2002, the bar for TV show graduates was set so low that you couldn't even limbo dance under it. But then, thanks to crack hitmakers Xenomania, they swiftly proved themselves the best British girl group since, well, ever and the one-two punch of What Will the Neighbours Say? and Chemistry made them standard bearers for the ideal of manufactured pop as something both imaginative and genuinely popular, to the tune of 18 consecutive Top 10 hits. In 2008, they seem, to quote the title of one new song, untouchable: admired as much by Franz Ferdinand, the Arctic Monkeys and critics as by viewers of The X Factor, perhaps, albeit for different reasons.
How many of us take notice of Girls Aloud's albums? Surely they should be excused from having to make them - their singles are of such unwavering brilliance there is no need to supplement them with 11 additional tracks that aren't quite up to standard. Out of Control is their fifth long-player, and it pushes the envelope a bit, with forays into good-natured reggae (Revolution in the Head), drum'n'bass (Live in the Country) and surreal lyrics ("I remember living the dream/ Twenty minutes in a hotel bar/ Then I slip into your girlfriend's jeans") nestling among the precision-tooled pop. But despite ear-catching touches such as the deadpan voiceover on Love Is the Key, nothing hits the spot like the Phil Spector-like single The Promise, one of this year's better chart-toppers.
Review Summary: Seriously guys. This has to stop now.Somewhere, somehow, it became cool to like Girls Aloud. And I don't mean cool with whatever the UK equivalent of jocks and cheerleaders is, I mean cool with people who read The Wire and know who Pierro Scaruffi is. They overtook the Sugababes as the pop band it's okay to like long ago, and that was fine, but the way they've been accepted by the popular music intelligentsia at this point is incredible.