Girls Aloud
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Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud are a English-Irish girl group that were created through the ITV1 talent show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. The group consists of Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh.

Following the success of their debut single "Sound of the Underground", which spent four weeks at number one, the group has been successful in achieving a string of twenty consecutive top ten singles (including four number ones) and two number one albums in the United Kingdom. All of their albums have been certified platinum, with their greatest hits album The Sound of Girls Aloud selling over one million copies. They have been nominated for five BRIT Awards, winning Best Single in 2009 for "The Promise". The group has sold over ten million records worldwide.

Girls Aloud's collaborations with Brian Higgins and his songwriting and production team Xenomania have earned the group critical acclaim, due to an innovative approach to mainstream pop music. The group has become one of the few UK reality television acts to achieve continued success, amassing a fortune of ?30 million by May 2010. Guinness World Records lists them as "Most Successful Reality TV Group" in the 2007 edition. They also hold the record for "Most Consecutive Top Ten Entries in the UK by a Female Group" in the 2008 edition.



Girls Aloud is formed on 30 November 2002, in front of millions of viewers on the ITV1 programme Popstars: The Rivals. The concept of the programme, hosted by Big Brother presenter Davina McCall was to produce a boyband and a girlgroup who would be "rivals" and compete for the 2002 Christmas number one single. Following the initial success of Hear'Say (winners of the original Popstars show), several thousand applicants attended auditions across the UK in hope of being selected. Ten girls and ten boys were chosen as finalists by judges Pete Waterman, Louis Walsh and Geri Halliwell. However, two of these were disqualified before the live shows began: Hazel Kaneswaren was found to be too old to participate whilst Nicola Ward refused to sign the contract, claiming the pay the group would receive was too low. Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts, who had made it into the final fifteen but not the final ten, were chosen as their replacements.

During October and November the finalists took to the stage participating in weekly Saturday night live performances (alternating week-by-week between the girls and boys). Each week the contestant polling the fewest phone votes was eliminated, until the final line-ups of the groups emerged. The five girls who made it into the group were (in the order announced by the host) Cheryl, Nicola, Nadine, Kimberley and Sarah; Javine Hylton missed out on a place in the group, despite previous expectations that she would be placed in the line-up. The group were named Girls Aloud and were managed by Louis Walsh until 2005 when Hilary Shaw replaced him.

The two groups competed to become 2002's Christmas number one single. Girls Aloud won the battle with their single "Sound of the Underground", produced by Brian Higgins and Xenomania. The song spent four consecutive weeks at number one and was certified platinum in March 2003. "Sound of the Underground" received critical acclaim; Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote that it "proved a first: it was a reality pop record that didn't make you want to do physical harm to everyone involved in its manufacture." "Sound of the Underground" and another Xenomania production, Sugababes' "Round Round", have been called "two huge groundbreaking hits", credited with reshaping British pop music for the 2000s. Originally tipped to be more successful than Girls Aloud, One True Voice released just two singles before disbanding in the summer of 2003.

2002–03: Sound of the Underground

After the success of their first single "Sound of the Underground", Girls Aloud spent five months recording the follow-up single and their debut album. Sound of the Underground was completed in April 2003 and released the following month, described as a mix of "Blondie and Bananarama, with a smattering of the Spice Girls at their best thrown in." The album entered the charts at number two and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. One of the tracks, "Girls Allowed", was written for the group by ex-Westlife star Bryan McFadden, while "Some Kind of Miracle" was co-written by former B*Witched member Edele Lynch. The second single, "No Good Advice", was also released in May 2003 to similar success. Nadine Coyle said, "We waited from December to May before releasing a second single because we knew it had to be our strong point or we might as well kiss our careers goodbye." Kimberley Walsh further exclaimed, "We knew it was strong enough to come back with." Girls Aloud's third single, "Life Got Cold", charted at number three in August 2003. The song features a guitar riff similar to that of the 1995 Oasis hit "Wonderwall", for which Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher has been credited.

In November 2003, Girls Aloud released a cover version of the Pointer Sisters' 1980s dance hit "Jump". The song appeared on the to the 2003 film Love Actually, recorded at the request of director Richard Curtis. According to Cheryl Cole in Girls Aloud's 2008 autobiography Dreams That Glitter - Our Story, the single "was the point when we realised everything we'd been doing was quite down and moody and that's not what people wanted." Nicola Roberts further stated it "was meant to be. It was a turning point and everyone loved it." The single, which charted at number two, accompanied a new edition of Sound of the Underground. The reissue featured a new album cover and the replacement of three original songs with "Jump", "You Freak Me Out" (which appeared on the soundtrack of Freaky Friday) and "Girls on Film" (a cover of a Duran Duran song originally a B-side to "Life Got Cold"). "You Freak Me Out" was planned as the group's fifth single; however, the plans for this release were scrapped as work began on a second album.

2003–05: What Will the Neighbours Say?

After a brief hiatus, Girls Aloud released "The Show" in June 2004, the first single from What Will the Neighbours Say?, the group's second album. It had an unusual structure for a pop song, consisting of a number of interchanged sections rather than the more typical verse-chorus form. Polydor built excitement for the release and the group's new look with a promotional campaign featuring five empty director's chairs with each of the girls' names on. "The Show" entered the charts at number two. The next single, "Love Machine", also peaked at number two in September 2004. "Love Machine" was nominated for ITV's The Record of the Year and finished in sixth place. Girls Aloud recorded a cover of The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You" as the official Children In Need charity single. The song was not well received by critics; however, the cover became Girls Aloud's second number one single, holding the position for two weeks.

What Will the Neighbours Say? was entirely written and produced by Xenomania. Higgins said, "The pressure to come up with singles was, as always, immense. But we were able to have a lot of fun working on ideas that were maybe a little too odd to be on the radio." The album received favourable reviews from music critics and was a commercial success, a feat in itself considering Girls Aloud's reality television background. A review by entertainment.ie's Andrew Lynch said, "Girls Aloud really shouldn't have made it as far as a second album. There's just one problem - the girls have a knack of coming up with utterly infectious pop songs". The Guardian hailed Neighbours as "a great album: funny, clever, immediate, richly inventive." Stylus Magazine declared, "There is no pop in the world like Girls Aloud today." Upon its release on 29 November 2004, the album charted just outside of the top five and was quickly certified platinum.

The final single from the album, "Wake Me Up", was released in February 2005. It charted at number four, making it their first to miss the top three but still their eighth top-five single. In early 2005, the group won Glamour Magazine's "Band of the Year" award, and were also nominated for a BRIT Award for Best Pop Act. Following the album's success, Girls Aloud announced their first tour What Will the Neighbours Say? Live, which took place in May 2005. The group also released their first DVD, Girls on Film.

2005–06: Chemistry

Following their first tour, Girls Aloud began work on their third studio album, Chemistry. The album was described as "a concept album which relates to the girls and what it's like to be a twentysomething girl in London". The Guardian said that the album's "lyrics sound like Blur's Parklife rewritten by the editorial staff of Heat magazine" and "holds a distinctly ambiguous mirror up to noughties celebrity." The album peaked on the charts at number eleven, their lowest so far, despite overwhelming critical acclaim. It was their third consecutive album to be certified platinum.

The first single from the album was "Long Hot Summer", recorded for inclusion on the soundtrack to the 2005 Walt Disney reboot of the Herbie franchise, Herbie: Fully Loaded, although plans fell through. Released in August 2005, the single ended Girls Aloud's run of top five singles when it charted at number seven. Brian Higgins has expressed his disdain with the song, saying that "chasing the soundtrack disrupted us creatively. It was making us miserable. Something had to come out and that was Long Hot Summer. It was made in a panic. It was a disaster record. I can't stand it." In reaction to the single's disappointment, Higgins and Xenomania crafted "Biology". Higgins continued, "I think that it is a wonderful record - so uplifting. It meant so much to us and it really set Chemistry up well." The track is made up of distinct sections. The single saw a return to the top five for Girls Aloud, peaking at number four. The song was critically acclaimed; Peter Cashmore of The Guardian labelled it "the best pop single of the last decade". Despite Girls Aloud's near total obscurity in the United States, the song was listed at number 245 on Pitchfork Media's "The Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s" list in 2009.

The release was followed by a cover of Dee C. Lee's "See the Day", released in the Christmas week of 2005. "See the Day" became Girls Aloud's biggest hit in terms of radio airplay since "Sound of the Underground", but became their lowest-charting single at the time when it peaked at number nine. Girls Aloud won the Heart Award for the single at the O2 Silver Clef Lunch. The group travelled to Australia and New Zealand in February 2006 to release "Biology" and Chemistry. Despite, a one-week promotional tour, "Biology" peaked at number twenty-six on the ARIA Singles Chart, failing to break the group in the Australian market. "Whole Lotta History", the fourth and final single to be taken from Chemistry, was released in March 2006. Despite sounding more traditional than most Girls Aloud songs, "Whole Lotta History" is made up of seven different parts rather than following a verse-chorus formula. The music video for "Whole Lotta History" was filmed in Paris, France. The single charted at number six. Girls Aloud starred in their first television series, Girls Aloud: Off the Record, which followed the girls as they promoted Chemistry and travelled overseas. In May 2006, Girls Aloud embarked on their second UK tour (and first arena tour), the Chemistry Tour. The group performed for over 100,000 people across ten UK arenas, receiving critical acclaim. In the same month, Girls Aloud were moved to Fascination Records, a sub-label of Polydor Records.

2006–07: The Sound of Girls Aloud

In October 2006, Girls Aloud released their first greatest hits collection, The Sound of Girls Aloud. It debuted at number one on the UK album chart and went on to sell over one million copies. A limited edition was also available, featuring a bonus disc containing previously unreleased tracks. The album was accompanied by the single "Something Kinda Ooooh". Girls Aloud became the first British act to reach the top five purely on download sales; the single peaked at number three following its physical release. The next single was a cover of "I Think We're Alone Now", previously a hit single for Tommy James and The Shondells (in 1967) and for Tiffany (in 1987). The release marked the third time Girls Aloud had entered the Christmas chart battle; it peaked at number four. The song was also the official theme to the film It's a Boy Girl Thing. Girls Aloud collaborated with fellow British girl group Sugababes for their fifteenth single, a cover of the song "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith. The track was released in March 2007 as the official single for Comic Relief, billed as "Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud". It became the group's third number one and their fifteenth consecutive top ten single. In May 2007, Girls Aloud went on their third tour, The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits Tour. During the tour, the group appeared at fifteen arenas across the UK and Ireland.

2007–08: Tangled Up

Girls Aloud released their fourth studio album, Tangled Up, in November 2007. Called "yet another unrelenting pop masterpiece" by BBC, the album received was another commercial and critical success. It continued their streak of platinum albums.

The first single, "Sexy! No No No...", was another top five single. It was described as "one of the most daring songs they've yet released" and "yet another sample of their [Girls Aloud's] perfect pop: bold, sassy, slightly loopy and unbelievably catchy." "Sexy! No No No…" is actually three songs welded together: one with a samba rhythm, one with a sped-up sample and a breakbeat, and an intro from elsewhere. The guitar riff is sampled from Scottish rock band Nazareth's 1975 track "Hair of the Dog." "Call the Shots", which entered the top three, welcomed even more critical acclaim, with pop music journalist Peter Robinson calling it the "greatest pop song of the 21st century." It was described as "an elegant electro-pop ballad delivered with a restraint and maturity to rival groups of twice their age". The song was almost put forward as a single for the greatest hits compilation The Sound of Girls Aloud, but the song was deemed "too downbeat, when a greatest hits single needs to be a celebration." Cheryl Cole cited the song is her favourite from Tangled Up, and that it "gives me goosebumps". The third and final single from the album, "Can't Speak French", continued Girls Aloud's top ten streak. A French version and "Hoxton Heroes", a satirical track aimed towards indie bands, were included as B-sides. The release coincided with Girls Aloud's second television series, The Passions of Girls Aloud. The show revolved around each member achieving aspirations outside of the group. Girls Aloud also received their second BRIT Award nomination in 2008, nominated for the Best British Group award. In May and June 2008, Girls Aloud embarked on the Tangled Up Tour — their third arena tour and fourth overall. They played a total of 34 concerts around the UK.

2008–09: Out of Control

In 2008, Girls Aloud released their fifth studio album Out of Control. The group called it their "most exciting and thrilling album yet". It entered the UK Albums Chart at number one. It became their most successful studio album to date, being certified double platinum. Out of Control has described as "their most melancholy album to date", a "break-up album atop a mix of ’80s electro-pop", and "chock-full of those trademark, otherworldy electro-synth songs". The album's lead single, "The Promise", became their fourth number one on the UK Singles Chart, selling more than 77,000 singles in its first week of release—making it the fastest-selling single of 2008 up to that point. The single returned the group to the top two on the Irish Singles Chart.. Brian Higgins said, "We knew that was the piece of music Girls Aloud needed to announce them as a supergroup in this country, so we knew we couldn't drop the ball melodically or lyrically." He described it as "the theme tune to the biggest girl group on the planet". Girls Aloud also performed at the BRIT Awards for the first time in their careers, with "The Promise" being awarded Best British Single. They were also nominated for Best British Group, but lost to Elbow.

"The Loving Kind" was released as the album's second single. Xenomania and Pet Shop Boys wrote the song in sessions for the latter's album Yes. Both parties had previously agreed there would be just three co-written songs on the album, and having noticed Chris Lowe's "slight reticence" towards the song, Higgins suggested that Girls Aloud record "The Loving Kind". "The Loving Kind" peaked at number ten, becoming Girls Aloud's twentieth consecutive top ten single. "Untouchable", a trance-inspired "rave ballad" which marries "Balearic guitar lines with a pulsating techno throb," was released as the third single from the album. The song became Girls Aloud's first single to chart outside of the top ten. Girls Aloud embarked on the Out of Control Tour, which commenced in April 2009. In September 2009, Girls Aloud supported Coldplay along with Jay-Z at two Wembley Stadium dates. Fascination Records released a singles boxset collection to coincide with the tour.

2009–present: Hiatus

Girls Aloud signed a new record deal with Fascination that would see the group release another three albums. In 2009 Girls Aloud embarked on a year-long hiatus to pursue solo projects, but would reunite for a new studio album in 2010. Cheryl Cole continued her role as a judge on The X Factor, as well as launching a successful solo career. Her debut single "Fight for This Love" and the album 3 Words topped the UK charts. Nadine Coyle signed to Geffen Records early 2010 with an expected solo career in the same year, working with Guy Chambers, Toby Gad, and Tony Kanal, among others. Sarah Harding starred in 2009's St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold, recording three tracks for the soundtrack. Kimberley Walsh was made the face of high street clothing store New Look, while Nicola Roberts extended her make-up range Dainty Doll - designed for girls with extremely fair complexions, as well as presenting a BBC Three documentary entitled 'The Truth About Tanning' which aired 4 February 2010.

It is unknown whether the band will reunite in 2010 as Nadine Coyle is yet to release her debut solo album. Cheryl Cole plans on releasing a new album toward the end of 2010. Cheryl reiterated on Radio 1's "Live Lounge" that Girls Aloud did indeed sign a three album record deal before the hiatus. "We did sign a three album record deal just before we all did our own thing. The last time we did anything together was when we supported Coldplay at Wembley, which was only September so it hasn't even been a year. We haven't really spoken about anything yet. There are three albums just sitting there waiting to do – it just hasn't been put into place yet." She said.

Rumours of a Girls Aloud reunion have resurfaced, despite the rumours of Nadine being "jealous" of Cheryl. Although they have never actually thought about the reunion tour, Kimberley Walsh has claimed that it will happen "at some point - probably next year,".

Other musical projects

Girls Aloud also appeared on the 2007 compilation Radio 1: Established 1967, celebrating the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio 1, with a cover of Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag", as well as singing backing vocals on Franz Ferdinand's cover of David Bowie's "Sound and Vision". In addition to these appearances, Girls Aloud recorded two tracks for the soundtrack to the new St Trinian's movie ("Theme to St. Trinian's" and "On My Way to Satisfaction"). They also make a cameo appearance in the film as the school band. The soundtrack was released on 10 December 2007, and the video for "Theme to St. Trinian's" premiered in mid December 2007. On 6 January 2008, "Theme to St. Trinian's" became the first Girls Aloud song to enter the UK Singles Chart without any plans of a physical release, peaking at number fifty-one. Additionally, the girls also performed covers of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab", Robyn's "With Every Heartbeat", and Timbaland & OneRepublic's "Apologize" for Jo Whiley's Live Lounge programme on BBC Radio 1.

Girls Aloud recorded backing vocals for "My Love Is Better" from Norwegian pop singer Annie's second album Don't Stop. It was reported that their mutual producer Brian Higgins didn't ask for permission, which upset Girls Aloud. However, Annie herself revealed in an interview that "Brian asked them if they'd like to help out. They were really up for it and came into my studio and it was really fun." She continued, "of course their record company said no and they ended up not singing on the song after all. I thought it was a little bit stupid but what can you say? It wasn't my choice. They were really nice, very sweet."

Other endeavours

Film and television

In 2005, Girls Aloud filmed a one-off documentary entitled Girls Aloud: Home Truths for ITV2. The group witnessed the group's first tour, the release of their single "Long Hot Summer", and recording sessions for the group's third studio album Chemistry. The success of the show later made way for Off the Record, a six-part fly on the wall documentary series for E4. The program started its run on 11 April 2006. The series was filmed during the Chemistry era and focused on the band's promotional activities, including the shooting of the "Biology" video and the lead-up to and aftermath of the release of "Whole Lotta History". It also showed the band travelling abroad, to places such as Greece, Paris, Shanghai and Australia. A DVD of the series, which included an unaired episode, was released on 4 September 2006. Girls Aloud then appeared in an episode of Ghosthunting with... (without Nadine) towards the end of 2006, in which Yvette Fielding guided them through haunted locations.

In April 2007, Girls Aloud filmed a cameo appearance in the new St. Trinian's movie, playing the school band. The film was released in the UK on 21 December 2007, with Girls Aloud providing two songs for the movie's original soundtrack. The Girls also make a cameo appearance in the Oasis documentary, Lord Don't Slow Me Down. The girl group starred in a new television series on ITV2, Passions of Girls Aloud, broadcast from 14 March to 4 April 2008. The premise of the show involves each member achieving something that they have always wanted to do. It was reported on the 13 November 2007 that Nadine would not be taking part, due to the programme's bosses refusing to let her undertake charity work.

Cheryl Cole became a judge on The X Factor during its fifth series, replacing Sharon Osborne. Cheryl said that "whilst we get started on the next album, it will be brilliant to be a judge on The X Factor." Her fellow judge Louis Walsh was a judge on Popstars: The Rivals and formerly managed Girls Aloud. Cheryl's category on the X Factor was the 14 to 24 Girls, and her act Alexandra Burke made it to the final, and eventually won. The following year she returned as a judge she mentored the boys 16 to 24 boys and her act Joe McElderry made it to the final and eventually won as well. Girls Aloud appeared in a variety show entitled The Girls Aloud Party. The show aired on 13 December 2008 on ITV, between The X Factor finale and its results show. Girls Aloud performed hits and revealed their Christmas single, as well chatting to showbiz pals and performing comic sketches. Cilla Black and Julie Goodyear appeared as Nicola Roberts' grandmother and Sarah Harding's mother, respectively, in some of the sketches. Kimberley and Nicola also made a cameo appearance in the family drama show Britannia High. Sarah has starred in the direct-to-DVD feature film Bad Day as Jade Jennings, starred in a BBC film called Freefall in 2009 and also starred in St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold.

Girls Aloud have reportedly looked at film scripts. Kimberley Walsh said "We want it to be a Friends and Sex and the City kind of thing, all morphed into one," while Nicola Roberts added: "We'd really like the chance to do some more acting. We've been given a lot of dodgy scripts—they were all awful."

Merchandise and sponsorship deals

Girls Aloud came together with Mattel in 2005 to produce Fashion Fever Barbies. Each member designed the outfit and look of a doll modelled after themselves. In addition to live DVDs of their tours and both of Girls Aloud's television series, the group has also released Girls on Film and Style. Official calendars have also been issued annually from 2004 to 2009, the only exception being 2005. Girls Aloud co-wrote an autobiography titled Dreams That Glitter – Our Story. The book, named after a lyric in "Call the Shots", was published in October 2008 through the Transworld imprint Bantam Press. Before the release, OK! magazine bought the rights to preview and serialise the book.

In 2007, Girls Aloud signed a ?1.25m one-year deal to endorse hair care brand Sunsilk. The girls filmed a television advertisement and appeared in and magazine advertisements, with each of the five members being the face of a different shampoo. The same year, Girls Aloud also sealed a deal with the UK division of Samsung. They endorsed mobile phones and MP3 players, made personal appearances and sang at Samsung events, and contributed to competition prizes, among other activities. The Samsung F210 Purple came with a 1GB memory card featuring Girls Aloud content. Girls Aloud appeared in television advertisements for Nintendo DS the following year. The girl group signed a deal to front a promotional campaign for a new low-calorie KitKat bar called "Senses" in March 2008. The chocolate bar manufacturer also sponsored Girls Aloud's Tangled Up Tour. The exact worth of the endorsement is unknown, but a figure of ?500,000 each has been suggested. Sales increased 6.8% in the United Kingdom. In autumn 2009, Cheryl Cole became the new face of L'Oreal. She has starred in her own commercials for L'Oreal Elvive shampoo and L'Oreal Glam Shine lip gloss.

Musical style

Girls Aloud have worked closely with Brian Higgins and his songwriting and production team Xenomania since the beginning of their careers. Xenomania have produced all of Girls Aloud's albums and singles, excluding their debut album Sound of the Underground and the charity single "Walk This Way". Of Higgins and Xenomania, Girls Aloud's former manager Louis Walsh says, "He just makes great songs for radio. They just jump out at you and stay in your brain." In a review of the group's debut single "Sound of the Underground", The Guardian's Alexis Petridis exclaimed it "proved a first: it was a reality pop record that didn't make you want to do physical harm to everyone involved in its manufacture." In response to Girls Aloud's debut album, Jacqueline Hodges of BBC Music said that "Higgins injects an element of instant-catchy-cool to the songs without going overboard in trying to shape uber-chic dance floor hits."

A number of Girls Aloud songs explore a more innovative approach to pop music, straying from the typical verse-chorus form present in most songs. Petridis of The Guardian described What Will the Neighbours Say? as "a great album: funny, clever, immediate, richly inventive." He later wrote that Chemistry is "a record that dispenses with the tiresome business of verses and instead opts for songs apparently constructed by stitching eight different choruses together." Talia Kraines of BBC Music exclaimed that Girls Aloud "have resuscitated its corpse by wedding chart-friendly melodies to experimental avant-garde sounds". "Biology" was described as "about as far from tired formula as you can possibly get. It sounds like three separate melodies condensed into one." Popjustice referred to the song as "pop music which redefines the supposed boundaries of pop music." In a review for 2007's "Sexy! No No No...", Nick Levine of Digital Spy complimented Xenomania's work on the song: sacrificing "conventional song structure in the name of keeping hooks coming thick and fast - and quite right too."


The group's debut album Sound of the Underground takes influence from a number of 1980s genres, such as synthpop, power pop, and New Wave, and 1990s styles like big beat, drum and bass, and garage. The album received comparisons to girl groups such as Bananarama, The Bangles, and the Spice Girls. Similarities to Kylie Minogue and Madonna were also noted. A majority of the songs make use of guitars and electronic beats. The rise of indie rock also inspired Brian Higgins to "blur the edges between commercial music and so-called 'indie' music." He continued, "pop music was on its backside and indie music was about to rise, through The Strokes and everything else. We were an independent company and we were as indie as the other bands around us. The guitar riff on No Good Advice is very very similar to the riff on the track Michael by Franz Ferdinand." What Will the Neighbours Say? further explores different subgenres of pop, especially electropop. Synthesizers are more prominent on the album, although the usage of guitar remains prominent in several songs. The backing track to "Love Machine", composed by Xenomania musicians Tim Powell and Nick Coler, was inspired by The Smiths, while "Wake Me Up" includes a guitar riff inspired by garage rock.

Chemistry takes influences from a wide variety of sources, including "everything from French chanson to piano-pounding blues to the clipped R&B of the Small Faces". Rapping in the same vein as artists like Betty Boo and Neneh Cherry is prominent. Yahoo! Music says "there's nary a 'formula' in sight. There are as many sudden tonal and tempo switches as the tricksiest Chicago art rock band. And all but one song here gives guitars a starring role." The songs are noticeably less rooted in electronic music, although "Swinging London Town" is "a dark, squiggly synth pop epic a la Pet Shop Boys" and "It's Magic" is composed of "little Royksopp-like keyboard riffs". Alternatively, Tangled Up features a dancier, more electronic sound, inspired by the success of their 2006 single "Something Kinda Ooooh". "Call the Shots", "Close to Love", and "Girl Overboard" are all electropop numbers reminiscent of 1980s music. However, "Control of the Knife" is more inspired by reggae and ska, while "Can't Speak French" employs "jazzy guitar changes" and "Black Jacks" recalls "sixties psychedelica". Out of Control features a number of songs inspired by 1980s electro pop, while also exploring retro styles. "The Promise" is a 1960's Spector-influenced number, while "Rolling Back the Rivers in Time" was compared to Burt Bacharach.

There are a number of influences present in Xenomania's productions, including electronic, glam rock, Motown soul, punk rock, and more traditional pop music. Higgins is a fan of punk rock groups such as the Buzzcocks and the Sex Pistols, as well as more electronic groups such as Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Japan, and New Order. The band themselves are known to be fans of artists such as Ne-Yo, Oasis, and Michael Jackson.

Cultural impact

Girls Aloud's debut single "Sound of the Underground" and another Xenomania production, Sugababes' "Round Round", have been called "two huge groundbreaking hits", credited with reshaping British pop music for the 2000s. The Telegraph placed the song at number 15 on a list of 100 songs that defined the noughties, while NME included it at number 39. Spinner.com named "Sound of the Underground" the eighth best British song of the 2000s. In 2009, The Times included 2007's Tangled Up at number 62 on a list of the decade's best pop albums, while the Daily Mail listed it as the twentieth best album of the decade. MSN listed 2005's Chemistry as one of the decade's best albums. Girls Aloud were one of the few pop acts to achieve continued success and longevity throughout the mid-2000s while R&B and rock music became more popular. In a review for the group's 2008 Tangled Up Tour, David Pollock of The Independent noted that "Girls Aloud remain confidently the only pop show in town."

Girls Aloud are also notably one of the few British reality television acts to achieve continued success and longevity. According to The Times, Girls Aloud are the highest-earning UK reality television stars, having amassed a fortune of ?25 million by May 2009. The figure was increased to ?30 million the following year, following Cheryl Cole's appearance on The X Factor. Reviews of Girls Aloud's debut album noted the high quality of the album compared to output from other reality show contestants. In 2004, David Hooper of BBC Music exclaimed that "Girls Aloud are currently British pop royalty in the ultra-fickle world of TV-generated pop, Girls Aloud have real staying power." Andrew Lynch of entertainment.ie said, "Girls Aloud really shouldn't have made it as far as a second album. There's just one problem - the girls have a knack of coming up with utterly infectious pop songs".

The group has found themselves a number of celebrity fans such as the Jonas Brothers, Arctic Monkeys' Matt Helders, Guns N' Roses member Duff McKagan, Gabriella Cilmi, Oasis' Noel Gallagher, and Neil Tennant. U2 frontman Bono said that he is a fan of the band, saying "I think Girls Aloud are at the cutting edge of pop music. They are a great band and they deserve to be centre stage". Chris Martin of alternative rock band Coldplay also said that he is a fan of Girls Aloud, referring to them as "the ultimate form of life". Former Spice Girls members Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell are also reported to be fans. Julie Burchill has also stated that she is a fan of Girls Aloud. She has stated that they are "simply the most perfect pop group since The Monkees." Girls Aloud have had their music covered by artists as varied as Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, and Coldplay, among others.

Girls Aloud have also been identified as gay icons.

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