If you follow us on Twitter, you’ll probably know that our favourite member of Girls Aloud by a country mile is Nicola Roberts. We’ve always had a soft spot for the manufactured Popstars the Rivals TV show 5-piece. Somewhere on the internet you’ll even find something we wrote proclaiming Chemistry to be one of the greatest albums of the last decade. This is not a jokey semi-ironic hipster claim but a 100% honest statement about our love of giddying pop music.
Yet with the possible exception of Fight For Your Love which if we were the Pitchfork of pop we’d give 7.2 out of 10, none of the solo material from Girls Aloud has impressed. That is until Nicola Roberts arrived.
Beat of My Drum is the Breaking More Waves pop single of the year so far. It’s both gleefully cool with its reference points (Justice, Diplo) yet unashamedly cheesy at the same time (Daphne & Celeste) and the video is perfect. On one hand it looks cheap, tacky and girls-and-boys-out-at-H&M’s-sale yet on the other Nicola, the permanently dejected and sour-faced looking member of Girls Aloud, has a huge smile on her face and wiggles her arse like she’s Beyonce or Rihanna. Everything about Beat of My Drum is brilliantly contradictory and confusing but is held together by a hooky as hell dance-pop banger.
Now things get even better. There is a B side.
B sides are usually (and when we say usually we mean 99% of the time) rubbish.
Disco, Blisters & A Comedown occupies the space taken up by the other 1%.
The marketing campaign for Nicola’s single may have for the moment been a huge failure, her record companies attempt at ‘On air, on sale’ missing one vital and simple point; the song wasn’t on air. Radio stations hadn’t yet been convinced to play it and there were no TV appearances to back it up but that doesn’t stop Beat of My Drum being a huge pop delight. If you’ve ever bought a bag of liquorice allsorts you’ve probably left the ‘bobbly ones’ till last, but with time you realise they’re actually the best sweet in the bag. This is a bit like Nicola and this single.
We wouldn’t normally post about a B side. But when it’s this good – a mixture of Girls Aloud pop thrill matched with Lily Allen out-on-the-town attitude and boozy Britain comedown hangover memories, plus some of our favourite lyrics of the year that name check John Prescott, Top Shop, and Kebab shops – it deserves as much attention as we can give it.
Nicola Roberts. 100% amazing.