When Johnny Borrell sings “There's nothing on the radio that means that much to me” he's only got himself to blame.
Editor's Rant - Why Girls Aloud are Ace
What's happened to the spirit of Rock n Roll? Right now the press would like to believe it's the current crop of guitar bands: the Razorlights, Kooks and Jets of this world. They have feuds with other groups, issue ridiculous proclamations and, every so often, have a wee bit too much to drink and end up in a brawl. But, well, it's all a bit dull really. The hideous predictability of these bands is barely inspiring or life affirming. Every action is carried out with some calculated eye on record sales and tabloid the coverage; the result is a music scene devoid of original thoughts, real opinion and a readiness to take a stance. When Johnny Borrell sings "There's nothing on the radio that means that much to me" he's only got himself to blame. Yup, 'alternative' guitar music has had its spirit sucked dry. The place to look for the rock attitude nowadays is pop music. And the best of the bunch? The mighty Girls Aloud.
Girls Aloud are everything Razorlight aren't. They've got style, they've got real attitude and, ahem, they've got better songs. They, not a collection of London fashionistas, are the true heirs to punk rock. Razorlight declared themselves 'Better than Dylan' and everyone sniggered. Girls Aloud wouldn't know who Dylan was; wouldn't care if they did and would be too busy living for the present to compare themselves to past greats. The five members of this nation's best pop band understand we all love about musicians: the outlandishness, the hilarity, the escape. They're too busy getting drunk, slagging off their contemporaries and building a library of regrets to join the horrendously self-congratulatory Live8 or other such causes. It's them who have inherited Liam Gallagher's swagger and couldn't-give-a-damn stance. While the Oasis singer is busy doing his shopping at Waitrose these girls start fights in clubs and taking a run-and-grab stance on life. They know it won't last so they're living it up while they can.
Some say they can't have real attitude 'cos they're from reality TV. These people are elitist killjoys; what kind of dour snob are they? Every punk band was formed through auditions advertised in the NME. Girls Aloud did the same, albeit on TV and with an audience of millions. That they got through all that with their attitude intact shows just how rock they are. Rather than the standard indie gig experience of skinny white boys hiding behind guitars Girls Aloud go for an over-the-top, utterly gratuitous extrovert approach. "Don't like us?" they scream "Tough, because we're here to stay". They've channelled the beating of heart of rock machismo into a gloriously camp, tongue in cheek pop package. They've not aspirations to change the world - they just want a good time. This is the ultimate 'carpe diem' group.
Rock attitude rarely goes hand in hand with good music. Jim Morrison may have been the ultimate nihilist but he made some of most posturing, lacklustre, self-indulgent music known to man. Girls Aloud break the mould. Letting others deal with the song writing while the band get on with being pop stars is startling obvious - it has worked for hundreds of years and produces the better product. Reservation over such matters is an extremely recent concept. Instantly removing any decadent filler we instead receive album after album of brilliantly produced, highly polished pop. What more could you ask for? Even better, that attitude is hidden inside every song: only Nadine and Cheryl ever seem to sing. The rest just turn up at the shows, add some backing vocals, drink the free booze and have the time of their lives - the punk spirit in a nutshell. As luck would have it, these songs are just stunning; Love Machine has a funkier bassline than anything James Brown could come up with (nowadays – ed). Sound of the Underground is a pure synth pop sleaze, a step above all the current Killers-wannabes. And Biology with its three (count 'em) choruses is a melting pot of everything that's so great about music right now. The lyrics are savvy rebuttals for the 21st century. Hear "I'm on a downward slide to rehab and all of it's for free." and it encapsulates more about modern life than most groups manage in a lifetime.
Face the facts. Rock and its supposed 'attitude' are empty shells trading on past glories. Move along kids, nothing to believe in here. Those pretty boys who write their own songs are just another cynical attempt to extract money from your pocket. It's not Green Day but Girls Aloud telling it like is; if you're after suave songs, real attitude and proper stars then look to pop. Stop accepting mediocrity! Demand more from your stars! Join the New Pop Revolution!
Words: James Waterson.