Girls Aloud: Pop perfection

by Gazette Reporter
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I have a confession to make. I love pop music. I am, and will forever be, a complete sucker for a timeless melody and a killer chorus. The magic that is imbued into this form by the perfect synergy of songwriters, producers, designers, stylists and the artist themselves, is potent indeed.

To underestimate or blindly criticise pop is to miss the point entirely. The accumulated output of the likes of Phil Spector, the writers of the Brill Building, Trevor Horn, Motown, and countless others throughout the years have the power to stop traffic and make you dance. It’s about emotion in motion, and reaches a part of the brain few other forms of music can.

Therefore, it’s a bittersweet pleasure to have been able to attend what most are presuming will be the last ever Dublin show of the only genuine pop sensation of the last 10 years, Girls Aloud.

Why are they so beloved? We connected with the girls, and still love them, because they were from an era before we were jaded beyond belief by television “talent” shows. Before there was X Factor, there was Popstars: The Rivals. It produced One True Voice and Girls Aloud. Only one of these acts are on their tenth anniversary tour. The others are asking if you’d like to go large with that meal.

And what made them endure? GA were like real people, we related to them from the outset. They were clumsy, a little awkward at times, making mistakes along the way, and that lack of polish made them endearing. They took around five years to become the complete product, and their Tangled Up album in 2007 was their creative pinnacle – it remains a classic of the genre, electronic pop at its most effective.

And the show was, simply put, immaculate. From five icons emerging amid the fireworks atop a glittering Girls Aloud sign to their classy exit dressed in red gowns after their shout to the Wall Of Sound, The Promise, last Saturday night was a lesson in showgirlship and how to construct a great pop show, that simultaneously showcased their run of peerless pop singles and the immense ability of their producers, Xenomania.

Broken into four segments containing five of their classic songs (and one cover version, which ought to have been jettisoned in favour of the absent Long Hot Summer), it was a breathless and breathtaking exercise in how to do this kind of show just right. Ronan Keating was a few seats away, no doubt furiously taking notes. I couldn’t see, I was too busy dancing.

The mindblowing opening quintet – Sound Of The Underground, No Good Advice, Life Got Cold, Wake Me Up and Jump – was just a taster of what was to follow. Great pop songs sung well (very well by Nicola and Nadine, it must be said) and backed by a powerful and tight backing band, did complete justice to their legacy over the course of probably the best 90 minutes of pure pop the city will see this year.

As the stagelights faded and the glitter cannons blasted their last, so Girls Aloud shall remain – timeless and classic.

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