Girls Aloud - Chemistry (2005)

Chemistry
1 Intro
2 Models
3 Biology
4 Wild Horses
5 See the Day
6 Watch Me Go
7 Waiting
8 Whole Lotta History
9 Long Hot Summer
10 Swinging London Town
11 It's Magic
12 No Regrets
13 Racy Lacey

Introduction

"Girls aloud are manufactured bubblegum pop - but they are awesome"

I remember very well reading this on some youtube video. And I couldn't agree more. Yes, they didn't write any of their songs (In fact every one of them was written by songwriter ensemble Xenomania). Yes, they emerged from a reality-TV show and most likely were chosen purely by looks.

So what is there to like?
Quite a lot actually...

First of all Xenomania were consistent with their musical direction. While Girls Aloud definately was a pop group, they always had these odd influences noone expects from such an act. Quite a lot of their songs are straight out rockers and breathe a healthy dose of punk rock in the best possible way. This reminds the listener of the Go-Go's, whose main singer should be well known: Belinda Carlisle.
While none of the girls had a charisma half as big as Ms. Carlisle, the group as a whole managed to appear ironic, fun to be with and sometimes even a tiny bit critical.

The Sound

Anyway. Punk. There I said it.
No Girls Aloud were no punk, but they delivered some kind of attitude, which combined with the witty, fun lyrics completed an image of actual rock chicks.
The album starts off with "Models", an eccentric track with this typical Xenomania vibe. Its basically a very modern version of the 80s, but without the bombast. More Post-Punk than New Wave. Without the punk of course.
It's followed by a song that might very well be the best pop song of the whole new millenium thus far. Classic Blues-Rock lead, and a refreain thats just one thing: fun. Nothing deep, no experiements, but fun and that's all one could ask for from a good pop song.

The majority of the album continues in a similar fashion. Upbeat, rock-influenced tunes, with catchy melodies (Watch Me Go), 60s influenced rock song (Waiting), even somewhat experimental songs (Swinging London Town).

Of course a proper girl-band needs some ballads too. And Xenomania delivered here, too. "Wild Horses" and "Whole Lotta History" are well executed and you might catch yourself humming along those melodies.

So, what's the verdict here? Chemistry is a very entertaining record that doesn't get boring at all. While the girls had funnier (and even critical) lyrics on later albums, the overall quality of this one was never matched again. At least if you come from a proper rock background, like I do. Chemistry was their most rocking effort, but honestly: Every album was quite fun.

If you are not close-minded and the obvious manufacturing aspect doesn't put you off, give this album a try, it's in all seriousness a great listen.

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