“Those who think that Ten shouldn’t count in end of year best of lists because it’s a greatest hits and pop music can f*ck right off. How can any album that has the likes of Biology, Love Machine, Call The Shots, Sound of the Underground and The Promise not be one of the best albums of the year? To deny it shows that you’re some sort of smug intellectual who doesn’t understand pop music.” Those were our somewhat angry and animated words a few months ago and we’re standing by them. OK, maybe we’ll take the bits about smug intellectual back and the bit about understanding pop music as well, but as any fan of any band will know, sometimes being a fan means losing objectivity.
So why Girls Aloud? Why Ten? Because Girls Aloud are the antithesis of everything that so called ‘real’ and ‘non-manufactured’ artists like Jake Bugg stand for. It’s very easy to criticise manufactured pop music, but the reality is that every piece of music that is recorded in a studio is manufactured in some way unless it’s recorded in one take and the sounds are not altered in any way beyond their natural form. Got a fuzzy guitar pedal? Put some reverb on the vocals? Oh hello, you’ve just manufactured your music. The manufactured brigade are often the same gang who also have issues with ‘authenticity’ - another concept that our ears couldn't give a flying fig for – all we want is a good song, irrespective of if it’s been created by a robot in a studio or three bearded men playing acoustic guitars in a cider house. And this is what Girls Aloud have – not cider or beards – but great songs. Forget their celebrity / tabloid coverage, forget their start as puppets in a TV Talent Show, forget their lame solo careers (except for N-Robz who produced one of the most exciting pop records of last year) and focus on the tunes.
Ten is stuffed full of the things; hooks, melodies, killer-choruses, big-pop-bangers, beats to dance round your handbag to and just enough edge and sassiness to set them apart from the banal dirge that masquerades as chart pop in the UK in 2012. “You better watch you’re back, we’re the leaders of the pack,” they chant on Something New, the fierce single used to promote the album. Yes, Girls Aloud know they’re good and they’re right.
Ten is at four in Breaking More Waves Albums of the Year 2012 series. Now that’s something kinda ooooh.
Girls Aloud - Biology