Don’t expect anything too long-term from the Girls Aloud reunion – Sarah Harding has announced that she will be releasing a solo album in 2013.
The girlband, who are formed of Sarah along with Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh, are thought to be marking their ten-year anniversary later this year with possible new material and a tour.
Speaking to Broadcast Exchange, she said: “There’s quite a lot going on this year, but it’s in the pipeline right now, so I can’t really say much about that!
“Next year I am preparing for solo material, so watch this space.”
The release will make her the final member of the band to go it alone. Chezza released her third Top 3 LP last week, Nadine reached the giddy heights of the Top 50′s outer suburbs with Insatiable in 2010, and Nicola Roberts made the Top 20 with her critically-acclaimed attempt last autumn. Kimberley recorded the official Team GB Olympics single with Alfie Boe, but is focussed on acting.
The band are far greater together than they are as individuals, so this Sarah Goes Solo business is hardly the most uplifting news of the century.
The second album is notoriously tough, particularly in the fickle industry we know as pop. One minute you’re the country’s favourite newcomer, your singles are played on commercial radio about 204 times a day and your debut album flies off shelves quicker than you can say ‘Gabriella Cilmi’. But then the second album comes around and it all goes to pot.
Anyone remember Duffy’s second album Endlessly? Anyone brave enough to compare sales of Pixie Lott’s 2009 breakthrough Turn It Up with its 2011 sequel Young Foolish Happy? Did anyone even notice Alexandra Burke releasing her second LP a couple of weeks ago?
10. Joe McElderry – Classic August 2011, follow-up to 2010′s Wide Awake
Critics were (understandably) unimpressed, but fans were certainly a lot more taken with Joe’s first post-Cowell record than they were with his debut. Classic, released just four months after he was dropped from his SyCo record deal, outsold its X Factor-friendly predecessor within weeks of being released. Unfortunately it didn’t do a great deal for Joe’s reputation as one of the talent show’s least successful winners, but he is currently the only champion from the show’s roster to score three Gold-selling albums, and that wouldn’t have been possible without Classic.
09. Girls Aloud – What Will The Neighbours Say? November 2004, follow-up to 2003′s Sound Of The Underground
The excitement around Girls Aloud looked like it was off down the drain very quickly, until producers Xenomania whipped out their A-Game and their second LP paved the way for what was to come over the next four or five years. ‘The Show’ and ‘Love Machine’ were both welcomed warmly by critics and pop music fans, and if it weren’t for this album the band would probably have disbanded a lot sooner. Who knows what Cheryl would be doing now…
08. Justin Bieber – Believe June 2012, follow-up to 2010′s My World/My World 2.0
Just how successful this album will turn out to be in the long run remains to be seen, but its opening sales figures are nothing to be scoffed at. Believe has edged ahead of Cheryl Cole’s A Million Lights in the UK midweeks and could become his first ever No. 1 album in this country on Sunday, while in the US Madonna’s record for the best first-week sales of 2012 looks likely to be overtaken. But whether or not Believe has the longevity to out-do My World(s) remains to be seen.
07. Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds September 2006, follow-up to 2002′s Justified
How do you follow an album that sells 8 million copies worldwide? With one that sells 10 million worldwide, that’s how. FutureSex/LoveSounds gave us a new, edgier Justin – one who has had a lasting influence on Bieber and our very own Conor Maynard, and one who is still missed today. ‘SexyBack’, ‘My Love’ and ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around’ were all global smash hits, and it remains a tragedy that he’s stepped away from hitmaking to focus on his much less interesting film career.
06. Sugababes – Angels With Dirty Faces August 2002, follow-up to 2000′s One Touch
Everyone nowadays seems to be wetting themselves over the reunion of the “original” three Sugababes, but lest we forget that very few people really gave two shits about them back in the day. Their album peaked at No.26 and lost them a record deal. But when Siobhan left (claiming Keisha bullied her) and Heidi Range was bought in, things really started to pick up. Led by singles ‘Freak Like Me’, ‘Round Round’ and ‘Stronger’, Angels… went triple platinum and is the band’s top-selling record to date.
05. Will Young – Friday’s Child December 2003, follow-up to 2002′s From Now On
Following a debut album that he himself probably detests, Will came back in 2003 with a game-changer that paved the way for one of the longest careers in talent show history. Friday’s Child launched with the enormohit ‘Leave Right Now’, and also produced ‘Your Game’, aka Song With The Coolest Video 2004. His more dedicated fans will say that Echoes is his best record to date, but there’s no way that would have even been released were it not for Friday’s Child.
04. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You February 2009, follow-up to 2006′s Alright, Still
Lily made a media-baiting name for herself in 2006 with her first record, but it was 2009′s sequel that cemented her position as one of the country’s best popstars. ‘The Fear’ rocketed to No.1, ‘Not Fair’ became an instant fan favourite, and it remains a (may-as-well-be-a-) criminal offence that ‘I Could Say’ was never given single treatment. Confirmation this week that she’s back in the recording studio with Greg Kurstin is among the best pieces of news EVER.
03. Katy Perry – Teenage Dream August 2010, follow-up to 2008′s One Of The Boys
One of the most successful second album campaigns in the history of pop, Teenage Dream spawned eight (yes EIGHT) singles that were ALL global hits, and were – mostly – all amazing. ‘Firework’! ‘Teenage Dream’! ‘E.T.’! ‘Last Friday Night’! ‘The One That Got Away’! The album propelled its singer from a slightly whacky newcomer to one of the most famous faces on the planet, and also paved the way for one of the most successful concert tours of all time. Good luck with album 3, Katy…
02. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway November 2004, follow-up to 2003′s Thankful
Kelly’s attempts to break the international markets with her debut album fell flat on their face – in the UK for one, Thankful only charted at No. 41. But then came Breakaway. Initially making only a minor smash when the title track was chosen as the lead single in the US, it wasn’t until ‘Since U Been Gone’ hit airwaves that its sales skyrocketed and propelled Kelly to the most famous she has ever been, and ever will be, in her whole career. ‘Behind These Hazel Eyes’, ‘Because Of You’ and ‘Walk Away’ followed in similarly huge fashion, the live version of ‘Beautiful Disaster’ went down a storm, and the album sold 6.2 million units in the US, and 1.6 in the UK.
01. Adele – 21 January 2011, follow-up to 2008′s 19
Who else?! Whether or not you’re sick to the back teeth of hearing about it by now (and understandably so), 21 is one of the best-selling albums of all time. Resonating with so many people in so many places, it only dropped down as low as No12 for the first time a couple of weeks ago (this being after 18 months in the Top 10) and is STILL riding high in the US. Grammys, Brits, world record after world record… Adele admits herself that her third album stands a cat in hell’s chance of matching the success of 21, but to be fair, she’d really have to go some to pull that off.
This week in pop has been full of big chart news and girlband superiority.
While Girls Aloud have been plotting their return to the UK charts, The Saturdays have (allegedly) been planning their move to the US. Oh, and Kimberley Walsh’s Olympics single has been unveiled.
Tulisa’s set a 2012 chart record (but Rita Ora’s already looking likely to take it off her), Keane are on course for one hell of a comeback, and Will Young is behind the best-seller of the 21st Century.
Catch up on all that and more – including Rebecca Ferguson’s broken-legged performances – below.
Unless Nadine just happens to be putting herself (and, indeed, us) through a second doomed-to-fail solo album, this tweet CAN ONLY MEAN ONE THING.
The quintet behind ultimate pop-cultural phenomenon of the 00s ‘Long Hot Summer’ (and other lesser known hits) are back in the studio with the producers of all but one of their singles, as the Girls Aloud return to amazedom begins to take shape.
That is of course unless Nadine is genuinely learning actual magic tricks with Brian Higgins, in which case stop tweeting easily misinterpreted non-events please.
In other GA news, Kimberley’s “solo” single with Alfie Boe – official Team GB Olympics track ‘One Vision’ (yes, Queen cover) is out now. Let’s hope it doesn’t become phenomenally successful and derail the Girls Aloud reunion, right? (It’s at No. 181 on iTunes).
OK so the impossibly cute Sophia Grace and Rosie have made another appearance on Ellen in the US, got treated to their own massive Billboard, and performed Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships’ (the clean version, of course).
Sophia-Grace Brownlee does, as usual, do all the singing, whilst Rosie, as usual, ups the cuteness by dancing faithfully by her side; holding a microphone but never at any point singing into it.
So what happens further down the line, when SG&E become more and more notorious and the trappings of girl-powered pop become more and more complicated?
History has taught us that any of five scenarios could become a reality.
1. ‘The Girls Aloud’ The girls will announce that they are “taking a break”, and both Sophia-Grace and Rosie will attempt solo careers. Rosie will perhaps be offered a judging role on some form of talent show before using it to launch her own music. Of course the music will either be auto-tuned using snippets of speech or totally instrumental, but it will sell by the bucketload and break all kinds of records, making her the new Nation’s Sweetheart. Sophia-Grace, as the stronger singer, will launch her album by way of an exclusivity deal with Tesco and absolutely bomb in the charts.
2. ‘The Atomic Kitten’ Sophia-Grace and Rosie will be on the brink of their most successful work yet when suddenly one of them will quit and be replaced by a new member. Let’s for arguments sake say it’ll be Rosie. Sophia-Grace and Newbie will go on to bigger and better things, whilst Rosie will earn her living through numerous reality shows, go through some kind of meltdown in her teenage years, and then kind-of-redeem-herself-ish to the point where nobody thinks she’s particularly mental anymore but at the same time nobody particularly wants to see her every move documented on camera.
3. ‘The Sugababes’
Sophia-Grace will quit and be replaced by a new member. Rosie will soldier on with a new singing partner until some kind of disagreement happens a few years down the line, resulting in her own removal from the line-up. Another newbie will join the previous newbie, and they will continue to record under the name ‘Sophia-Grace and Rosie’. As their star gradually begins to fade, Sophia-Grace and Rosie will re-unite, but unable to perform under the name ‘Sophia-Grace and Rosie’ because it’s still the legal property of Newbie 1 and Newbie 2, they will have to rebrand. Songs may be written for them by Emeli Sande.
4. ‘The Pussycat Dolls’
Things continue in much the same vein as they are now, with Sophia-Grace doing all the singing and Rosie smiling and doing her dancing thing in the background. But over time rumours of dispute will begin to surface in the press, and then suddenly one day they’ll release a song called ‘J’ai Ho’ which will be credited as ‘Sophia-Grace and Rosie featuring Sophia-Grace’, prompting speculation that Sophia-Grace has left the band. She will announce work on her own solo material and, eventually, that she is no longer a member of ‘Sophia-Grace and Rosie’. Rosie will then announce that she too has quit, but the duo’s management will insist that the ‘Sophia-Grace and Rosie’ will be back with a next generation line-up, fronted by that blonde girl from ‘Party Rock Anthem’. Sophia-Grace will land a judging role on X Factor USA but muck it all up and end the first season as Destroyer Of Rachel Crow’s Dreams. Rosie will enjoy tepid success elsewhere but nobody will really be paying any attention.
5. ‘The The Saturdays’
Things will continue as they are but just before they really, like REALLY, make it to true mega-mega-mega-superstar status, they’ll flatline and be named the World’s Favourite All-Girl Duo purely because there aren’t really any other all-girl duos to compete with.
Hard to predict at this point, everybody. Hard to predict.
“Big Brother’s watching me, and I don’t really mind,” sang Girls Aloud on their 2004 album What Will The Neighbours Say?, and it seems Nadine Coyle meant it as a hint.
It is claimed today – though I genuinely will be surprised if it’s true (especially considering the lady herself has posted a nonspecific attack on the UK press on her Twitter page which suggests the whole thing’s bollocks) – that the Irish singer has agreed a fee to appear in the upcoming season of the show’s Celebrity edition.
The ‘Insatiable’ hitmaker, whose solo career fell flat when launched in Cheryl Cole’s shadow in 2010, is allegedly £100,000 in debt after suffering troubles with her Irish Mist bar in Los Angeles. The Daily Mail claims that she initially turned down the CBB producers’ offer, but eventually agreed when they hiked her fee to £500,000.
Says “a source”:
“This money will allow Nadine to clear all her debts in America and start the Girls Aloud tour with a clean slate. Initially, when she was approached by the station to take part, she turned it down flat. But when she met TV executives in London last week and saw how much was on the table she eventually agreed. They simply made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“Nadine is confident that the public will warm to the real her, which is a warm, funny but confident woman. Cheryl [Cole] is not the only member of the band that can command big TV show appearance fees.”
It is claimed that former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg is the only star who has signed a final contract, with Julian Clary and Corrie’s Julie Goodyear in negotiations.
Casting the ol’ mind back to Girls Aloud’s Off The Record documentary series in 2006, Nadine was an incredibly sweet character, and it’d be genuinely surprising if the decision to appear on CBB backfired on her. It’s just a shame she needs to do it at all.
If news of the Girls Aloud reunion was going to come from anyone, it’s most re-assuring for it to come from the one allegedly least up for it – Nadine Coyle.
The ‘Instatiable’ hitmaker, who relocated to the US as soon as the band announced their hiatus back in 2009, revealed the news to super-journo Dean Piper.
“It’s time to come back,” she said. “At the end of the year it would have been ten years and it feels like the right time to regroup. I know everyone’s been speculating about what we will do. It will be arena dates at the start of next year and we will have new music to go with it.
“One or two singles I would think. It depends on how well it goes with the tour announcement. If things work well, there’s enough demand and we’re all in the same head space as a band then who knows what could happen.”
Of the apparent unrest between her and Cheryl, Sarah, Nicola and Kimberley, she said: “I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the girls. It’s been a long time since we’ve all been in the same room together.
“I’ve been really worried about Sarah and I’m glad to see she’s getting better. I’m thrilled Kimberley’s doing well on the West End and Cheryl and Nicola are working hard on their music.”
On Cheryl: “Everyone was so keen to put Cheryl and me against each other – but we just weren’t enemies. We are very different people musically, that’s all.”
Hate to crack out the dreaded ‘Ones To Watch’ cliche, but here are some, erm, ‘Ones To Watch’.
Yep, the New Year is coming up, and as ever it’s time for the annual onslaught of lists telling you who’s going to do great things over the next twelve months. Who are we to resist?
Below are ten acts – some new, some old, some new but not really NEW new – who will have Trash Lounge’s hawk-eyes on them for the next twelve months.
So, in alphabetical order:
She started with a boom on ‘Bad Boys’, and returned with a stutter on ‘Start Without You’. Alexandra Burke, technically one of The X Factor‘s top three winners, returns with a new album in the New Year, following new single ‘Elephant’ in February. Do: Deliver the tunes, belt out something massive, maintain radio support. Don’t: Talk. Ever.
We spoke to Bobbie Gordon a couple of months ago and instantly fell in love with both her and her music. Her debut EP, ‘Matters Of The Heart’, is out now, and she has put in the hours working as a backing vocallist for Cee-Lo Green and Adele. Check out her cute tune ‘Matters Of The Heart’ and its low-budget video below:
Conor befits the over-used tag “YouTube sensation” rather well, given that his gorgeous cover versions have amassed millions of views each. This ‘Use Somebody’ one is nearly two years old now, but gives you a good chance to check out his wicked voice. His ‘Conorcles’ (GEDDIT) series of video diaries are worth a look-in as well. Oh, and apparently he ain’t exactly ugly…
Amid reports that Ellie Goulding is heading in a slightly different direction for her second album (DON’T FUCK IT UP PLEASE), filling her Radio 2 playlist-shaped shoes could well be Gabrielle Aplin. The talented 19-year-old releases her third EP ‘Home’ on January 9, and this is the rather lovely video:
Even though some form of ‘thing’ is definitely occurring in 2012, Girls Aloud’s declaration back in 2009 that they’d signed a three-album deal seems unlikely to come to fruition. But wouldn’t it be amazing if it did? Instead of fighting off split rumours every two weeks, they should give the world what it really needs more than anything (except maybe world peace and the sacking of Louis Walsh), and release a new album. Make. It. Happen.
Russian star Kamaliya has been generating quiet hype in some pop circles in recent weeks, with a single launch in London and the promise of big things in 2012. Whether or not her Eurovision-friendly tuneage will appeal to the masses is unclear, but you can decide for yourself with ‘Crazy In My Heart’:
We already know that Ke$ha desperately wants to change her tune with her second album (does this mean some actual SINGING?), but if she could do this without losing the intermittent amazingness of Animal and Cannibal we’ll be on to a proper winner. ‘Blow’ and ‘We R Who We R’ are two of the best pop tunes of the past twelve months, so hopes are high that she pulls off a few more gems over the next twelve.
Lana Del Rey
‘Video Games’ is great, ‘Born To Die’ is even better and her album could be all kinds of incredible. A darker Florence + The Machine (and really I only say that because she enjoys a good harp), Lana is featured on several international One To Watch lists, including MTV’s, and her “credibility” (pardon the C-word) that’s come from performing for the likes of Jools Holland means she could be a bit of a cash cow.
We went along to a sparsely-populated free gig at the London Piazza (i.e. the foyer bit at the O2) the other week and were impressed at how polished Lawson’s sound is already. With the ability to re-invent pop favourites like ‘Marry The Night’ and ‘Just The Way You Are’ – as well as a knack for popping out killer tunes of their own – they could do big things in 2012. Not least an attractive calendar.
Little Mix The important thing is that Syco don’t balls everything up and bring their latest X Factor winners back with a tepidly-received ballad from Gary Barlow and/or a laborious “club tune” featuring a sales-mongering rent-a-rapper like Flo Rida or, Heaven forbid, Pitbull. The girls may be touted as “the next big girlband”, and they certainly have the potential to be, but they aren’t yet. That all depends on the tunes they’re given as a launchpad and it’d be a crying shame if the operation went tits-up.
Nicola Roberts was kept pretty much in the background for the first few of Girls Aloud’s 21 singles, given so few lines to herself that the considerably less able Kimberley Walsh probably couldn’t believe her luck. But as time went on it became apparent that, actually, she was right up there with the Nadine Coyles (the Nadine Coyles being, uh, Nadine Coyle) as a rather impressive vocalist.
But however good she seemed in the band, she really does benefit from branching out on her own. Even going by the two singles – the gloriously bonkers ‘Beat Of My Drum’ and the pseudo-60s ‘Lucky Day’ – she sounds strong, confident and, most importantly, like she’s having the time of her life.
It’s a feeling that continues throughout the album’s twelve tracks, and in snagging the genius of producers Dimitri Tikovoi, Diplo, Dragonnette, Metronomy and The Invisible Men she’s able to craft some of the cleverest, forward-thinking pop music we’ve seen in quite some time. Marina And The Diamonds may have slagged off Girls Aloud on her brilliant Family Jewels album, but actually it’s that very record to which Cinderella’s Eyes can be easily compared.
To pick out just three highlights: ‘Porcelain Heart’ somehow manages to ace both vulnerability and power, ‘Say It Out Loud’ is the most incredible hands-in-the-air dose of euphoria you’ll hear in a very long time, and ‘Take A Bite’ tackles head-on her reputation as a standoffish “ginger bitch” when she first rose to fame aged just 16.
Cheryl’s solo material may have been put together by world-class producers, but it brought with it an inescapable sense of conveyor belt will-this-do crowd-pleasers. Nadine’s, on the other hand, showed off her impressive pipes but was, frankly, a load of crap. Nicola has it just right. “Baby in the corner, learning quick” she says on ‘Beat Of My Drum’, a lyric that can sum up the whole LP rather nicely. She may have been the Girl Aloud with the lowest profile, but bloody hell does she know what she’s doing.