Is it really worth celebrating ten years when you’ve been inactive for about four of them? Girls Aloud seem to think so, and it gives them a wonderful excuse to dress up as iridescent jellyfish for the cover of this, their second greatest hits album.
It all went a bit Spice Girls for them in their time apart – Sarah did a Mel B and buggered off out of everyone’s sight, while Cheryl became textbook Mel C and churned out album after mediocre album appreciated only by the campest of Britain. Kimberely tried her hand as a less-successful Victoria and decided to do everything but touch a microphone, while Nicola went the way of the Bunton by having an under-appreciated solo career. And of course, Nadine did a Geri, breaking off in a huff, thinking she’s the shit, only for us all to eventually realise what a massive twat she is (although she does still enjoy a successful career moonlighting as a Twiglet).
What impresses in Ten is the selection of music from the girls’ vast career. Every single song holds up surprisingly well in 2012 and could easily sit on the next album from whichever rent-a-girlband pops up next. Of course, that’s a testament to the production more than anything else, but no one really gives a shit about that, do they?
And then there’s the new material. Absolutely bang on trend – with the obligatory ballad-shaped misstep – Something New, On the Metro, and the banging Every Now and Then (below) show that the girls have just as much resilience in them as Madonna’s gusset.
Clichés are clichés because they ring with truth, and thus the words ‘sum’, ‘greater’, and ‘parts’ seem most appropriate for Girls Aloud… even if this album should really be called Six.