October 15, 2012
Something New: The Almighty Return of the Almighty Aloud
It’s been 3 long years since Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, Cheryl Cole, Sarah Harding and Kimberley Walsh–better known as Girls Aloud, and more commonly ’round these parts as the Almighty Aloud–last released a tune together.
Life as we knew it grew cold. The summer no longer long nor hot…until now.
After years of rumors, months of speculation and days of teasing (with 3 more still to go, officially), the girls have finally made good on their promise to give us something once again. And this time, it’s something kinda…new.
Welcome to the sound of the Aloud in 2012.
Just as they did 6 years ago with “Something Kinda Ooooh” off of The Sound of Girls Aloud, the girls have returned with a blast of pop of the fiercest proportions: It’s incredible. An instant smash. The ultimate. Perfection.
But how do I love thee specifically, Aloud? Let me count the ways…
The beat, first of all, is absolutely enormous. Huge and insane. It’s like a blend between Calvin Harris, the searing synthesizers of Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” and Havana Brown‘s “We Run The Night,” all colored by constant explosions, weird electronica glitches, and big, bright piano chords evoking early ’90’s House anthems.
Much like any good Aloud tune, the structure of “Something New” is…well, also insane. (See: “Sexy! No, No, No” and “Biology”.) Really, which other group can so effortlessly dive back and forth between massive melodic choruses, aggressive raps, uncontrollable yelps and rowdy arena-ready chants?
Only the Aloud can cram 10 songs into one package and still sound coherent. And this time, it sounds like one major career retrospective: The tongue-tying rallying cry of “Go girls, go-go-go, go, go!” recalling “Graffiti My Soul” and “Miss You Bow Wow,” the heavily synthesized dance-pop pulsations of “The Show” and “Something Kinda Ooooh,” the male vocoder of “Sexy! No, No, No,” Sarah’s yelping moment recalling “The Promise,” a lyric that nods to “Sound of the Underground” (“Feel the beat deep underground/Boy tonight, it’s gettin’ loud”)–the track plays like both a grand reintroduction and a celebration of some of the Aloud’s finest moments.
“All I want is something new/Something I can hold onto/I don’t want to talk, I just want to dance,” the girls croon on the melodic earworm of a chorus. But the true centerpiece of the track comes at the 2:45 mark, as the Aloud charge into battle with one of their fiercest chants of their career: “We’re the leaders of the pack!” they triumphantly declare on repeat during the song’s glorious, aggressively explosive 30-second finale.
The Aloud never really needed to assert their dominance on top of the girl pop pack in the past (the Top 10 track record speaks for itself), but “Something New” is a brilliantly bitchy way of reminding the lesser groups working their way up–The Saturdays and Little Mix, for example–that they might want to consider checking their wigs at the door.
Apart from the song’s legendary battle cry, how perfectly ferocious is the title itself, “Something New”? It’s as if–after 3 years away from the scene as the troupe–the girls sat down with Brian Higgins in the Xeno studio and said “Right, all this other shit on the radio is boring. Let’s let them have it.” It’s brilliantly minimal, like a Pet Shop Boys title.
And despite fears that the group might not be able to recreate the magic after an extended hiatus, there’s nothing unnatural about “Something New.” In fact, the Aloud have never sounded more like themselves: Nadine belting out the chorus with her diva-sized pipes, Chezza serving us her best attempt at street realness during the rap (her “I like it like THAT!” roar is just too genius), Sarah yelping wildly, baby Nicola not being given her due microphone time, and Kimba sounding jolly to be going along for the ride.
This song is why I’ll always love the Aloud: It’s an unapologetic aural assault of stilettos ‘n’ sass pop that plays like the troupe never parted ways. But the real magic is in the songcraft, which is what has always put the Aloud 50 stories high above the rest: The unexpected verses, the nonsensical lyrics, the constant bouncing in between vocalists–all of it gives their music an extra power-pop punch of personality.
“Something New” is a new Aloud favorite, and a clear contender for best single of 2012. It’s everything a comeback single should sound like. (Just imagine if Spice‘s “Headlines” were actually this fierce.) Almost impossibly, they’ve lived up to the hype.
Who run this mother? As if there was even a doubt.