The Second Disc

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What Will the Neighbours Say? Girls Aloud Compile Studio Albums and Rarities for New Box

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Girls AloudWhile American audiences might hear “reality TV-created band” and shudder under the weight of forgotten groups, in England (where the first rule of pop music is there are no rules), the biggest pop act of the new century was created before a rapt audience on the tube: Girls Aloud. And, off their recent flurry of activity surrounding the group’s 10th anniversary (a recent compilation, 2012’s Ten, and an ongoing U.K. tour to end a years-long hiatus), a deluxe career-spanning box set is planned for release in England later this spring.

The concept of making a band on TV was nothing new in 2002. By that point, Popstars had become an international success since starting in New Zealand in 1999. Versions of the show ran on both American and British TV in 2001, creating Hear’Say on the other side of the pond and Eden’s Crush in the States (a band perhaps best known for featuring a then-unknown Nicole Scherzinger, later a member of burlesque-pop act The Pussycat Dolls).

Popstars would perhaps be eclipsed in popularity by that year’s solo talent show Pop Idol, created by Simon Fuller and successfully imported to America a year later as American Idol. (Pop Idol was replaced in 2004 by Simon Cowell’s The X Factor; a U.S. version of that show premiered in 2011, but both shows are perhaps now better known for their celebrity judges than their branding of new talent.) In any case, the original Popstars had one last hurrah in 2002 with Popstars: The Rivals, where male and female singing groups were created and squared off against each other. Girls Aloud, a quintet comprised of Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh, handily outperformed male equivalent One True Voice, and were mainstays of the pop charts, thanks in large part to their diverse personas and the polished production of the Xenomania team, who have not only produced most of the group’s output, but have worked with some of the world’s best-loved dance-pop artists, including Kylie Minogue, the Pet Shop Boys and Cher (Xenomania founder Brian Higgins co-wrote her smash “Believe”).

The aptly-named The Collection hits somewhere between the by-now typical multi-album collection boxes we’ve seen plenty of and the deluxe collectible piece we’ve all drooled over for our favorite bands. The seven-disc set includes:

  • All five of the band’s studio albums for Polydor/Fascination: Sound of the Underground (2003), What Will the Neighbours Say? (2004), Chemistry (2005), Tangled Up (2007) and Out of Control (2008). These albums boast a total of 19 Top 10 singles and have all been certified platinum or double-platinum.
  • The Complete Xenomania B-Sides and More: a disc, exact contents unknown, featuring the group’s non-LP B-sides with their beloved production team
  • Tangled Up: Live from The O2 2008: previously available on DVD and Blu-Ray, this CD features a distillation of the band’s multi-act setlist from their Tangled Up tour

Featuring colorful slipcase packaging and a hardcover book of photos and liner notes, The Collection is out May 13 in England. Track lists and Amazon links are not live, but it can be pre-ordered directly through Universal Music U.K. at the moment.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 26, 2013 at 13:01

3 Responses

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  1. This post is exactly why I love this website. You bring attention to deluxe releases that other sites wouldn’t even give the time of day to. Girls Aloud is a polarizing group, but there is no doubt that they have released some of the best pop music in the last ten years. Their partnership with Xenomania has resulted in some memorable pop songs like “Biology”, “Love Machine” and “The Loving Kind” (co-written by the Pet Shop Boys).

    It’s a shame that North America has missed out on their impressive run of hits (I am traveling to London this weekend just to see them in concert). Also, if you are a fan, check out the 2009 singles box set. It’s amazing. One of the best box sets I have ever purchased. I’m also getting this. Girls Aloud may be better known as a singles act, but they have released some fine albums, particularly Chemistry and Tangled Up.


    February 26, 2013 at 13:50

    • Tom, thanks so much for your kind words. The reissue scene is full of so many good things in all genres, and we’d be nuts to ignore it just because we didn’t think anyone would read it. There’s plenty of catalogue titles that have come out since starting the site that I might never have noticed otherwise; it’s as much of a musical learning experience for me as it might be for our readers, and that’s where the fun lies.

      Frankly, for a band likely viewed by most of our peers as some throwaway pop group, this package looks pretty comprehensive and lovingly made. I wish all of our favorite acts could get such content!

      Mike Duquette

      February 26, 2013 at 15:05

  2. Girls Aloud are nicer to look at than other girl groups, and I like a lot of their singles. They have hooks which are increasingly harder to find in American pop.


    February 26, 2013 at 21:12

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