Girls Aloud ranked

Every Girls Aloud single ranked, in honour of their 21st anniversary reunion tour

My girls are back… I’m sobbing

In a year that’s given us Big Brother back in the public consciousness, Deal or no Deal back on the TV and  Saltburn celebrating 2006 and 2007 in the cinema – Girls Aloud are back together, announcing a world tour and doing the UK press circuit. We’re in a time machine, which is apt considering the fact that Doctor Who is also back, Russell T Davies at the helm and Catherine Tate and David Tennant starring. It’s all very nostalgic. Girls Aloud are everything to me; the people’s girl band. We voted for them, we loved them and we still gobble up everything they ever do. As the group embarks on the press circuit to promote their reunion tour – here’s a fresh ranking (over two years since my last). All 23 Girls Aloud singles, ranked.

23. I Think We’re Alone Now

An utterly pointless cover of the ol’ classic. Shoved on to their first greatest hits album mere days before it was set to be sent to the manufacturers, just absolute nothingness. ‘Nothingness’ and ‘Girls Aloud’ should never be in the same sentence.

22. See The Day

How on earth this was released as a single over Swinging London Town or something is beyond me. Girls Aloud should never be doing covers of songs, and they should also never be doing ballads. Pack this in.

21. Walk This Way

Obviously it was for charity and that, but I think that there could have been a much more slay way to raise some money than a half-arsed Aerosmith cover by the two greatest girl bands of all time with neither of them looking like they want to be doing it at all. Notice this is ANOTHER cover, by the way. Free us.

20. I’ll Stand By You

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it an actual original song? No, stupid. It’s another cover. I will say of mums and straight girlies fave I’ll Stand By You that The Aloud put a good vocal shift in on this one. They all sound quite gorgeous. No harmony, though. Five members and they never once sang a harmony, which is quite camp.

Once again, Girls Aloud should never be singing ballads or covers. This is both. Death to it.

19. Long Hot Summer

Notoriously Girls Aloud’s first flop, first misfire. At least in the eyes of the general public at the time and certainly in the eyes of the band. Brian Higgins of Xenomania, who notoriously go hand in hand with the Girls Aloud sound and crafted the most critically acclaimed pop music of the 2000s, HATES IT. It was for the Herbie: Fully Loaded soundtrack, and Brian said “chasing the soundtrack disrupted us creatively. It was making us miserable. Something had to come out and that was Long Hot Summer. It was made in a panic. It was a disaster record. I can’t stand it.”

18. Whole Lotta History

The All Saints wannabe spoken word start, the tepid Steps-esque balladry… Just dated. Horrible. Don’t understand who this was made for or why, because it certainly wasn’t made for Girls Aloud fans.

17. Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me

Mybabymybabymybabymybaby. The last ever Girls Aloud single. I know some people will be sharpening pitchforks when I say this but for all its faults I actually… do not hate this song. It’s the first on this Girls Aloud ranked rundown that I like! Sue me! Yes it’s a disgrace this was a single over the likes of On The Metro, but it only breaks one of the cardinal rules: A ballad – but it’s not a cover. Progress! Whole Lotta History was that too, I guess – but Whole Lotta History is a whole lotta horrible. Plus, we’ve got Nicola Roberts pen scrawling away here and I have to respect that.

16. Can’t Speak French

The best bit of Can’t Speak French is over in the first verse, with Nadine and Kimberley on the “I way-ay-ay-ait underneath the covers all ni-ay-ay-ight beside you” – just bliss to my ears. The rest of it is decent. If they were a less good girl band, it would be ranked much higher, but Can’t Speak French gets eclipsed by the bigger and bolder things to come.

15. Jump

“THIS IS A COVER”, I hear you protest. It is a cover, but credit where credit is due: It’s a very well done one. Nadine’s vocal chops on this are belting, and I have a very nostalgic love for it. When this is the first version of Jump you ever hear, then is it really a cover? Perhaps not in my own head canon! It’s a bit local and for the mums because of the Love Actually connotations, but I’d get up and dance to it, so!

14. Something Kinda Ooooh

Something Kinda Ooooh, always with four ‘o’s. Only Girls Aloud and Xenomania could create a huge chart hit with a chorus that earnestly declares “something kinda ooooh, jumping on my tutu”. These are five women who we have never once seen wear tutus. but it matters not. At this point, Girls Aloud could release anything and we’d be worshipping in child’s pose. We throw caution to the wind and pop our puss til the world ends.

13. Love Machine

The (admittedly very few) straight men reading this are currently up in arms that Love Machine has missed out on a top 10 Girls Aloud ranked placement. They are foaming at their mouths, protesting that “Arctic Monkeys covered it in the Live Lounge and it was a belter”. We’ve heard you. I love this song, I do. But the best is yet to come. “We’re only turning into tigers when we gotta fight back / let’s go eskimo” is outrageous but it’s why we love them.

12. Sexy! No No No…

The thinking man’s Something Kinda Ooooh. Love the ridiculous music video where they’re all in the latex with very evil eye makeup. Sort of like Jamelia’s Beware of the Dog on steroids. Great stuff.

11. Wake Me Up

A forgotten banger from the Girls Aloud singles discography ranked here. The fact Wake Me Up doesn’t even have a million streams on Spotify is criminal. It’s got that No Good Advice-esque storming fury that I can’t resist. My favourite kind of Girls Aloud songs are the ones where they sound like they’re about to rampage through the plot of Kill Bill. “Was it just the margaritas or are you looking at me” is such a good line.

10. Life Got Cold

Look, the girls that get it – get it. An accidental but impossible to ignore sampling of Wonderwall pissed Oasis right off, which is never a bad thing. If Girls Aloud are ever going to do something that isn’t a balls to the walls banger, it should always sound like Life Got Cold. The Aloud having a demure moment in the best way. “We smoke as we choke as we sink another Coke” is so funny. Our sober divas.

9. No Good Advice

A masterclass on how to do a second single that proves you are not just a one hit wonder from a talent competition. Sound of the Underground shook up pop, No Good Advice kept it shaken. It’s one of those rammers that feels like it’s building and levelling up at all times, the way they sing the verses with something to prove, the smack into that adrenaline-filled pre-chorus and then the pure ATTITUDE of the chorus? Majestic. “No need to count those dirty sheep”? So real for that.

8. The Show

I love The Show because it just has two choruses. Because it can. It has the refrain of “shoulda known, shoulda cared, I shoulda hung around the kitchen in my underwear” and then it has its “Nobody sees the show, until my heart says so”. Just a properly weird Xenomania balls to the wall banger with an iconic salon music video that’s permanently etched into my brain. One of their campest cuts. Worth saying that from here on out all of these songs are 10/10, no notes, peak of British pop music anthems.

7. Biology

Famously Xenomania’s Frankenstein’s monster creation, one of the most inimitable of all the Girls Aloud tunes ranked here. Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper spliced together three different songs and created a pop behemoth in a way only they could, delivered with the conviction only these five girls could give it. The bluesy bit, the 4/4 verse and pre chorus and then the biology bellows of the chorus – it has no business working as well as it does. A bonafide classic.

6. The Promise

The song that finally won Girls Aloud a BRIT Award, and promptly caused the late, great Sarah Harding to grab the mic and shout “CAN I JUST SAY? IT’S ABOUT TIMEEEEEE!” It was about time. It was overdue and late. It’s fitting to mention Sarah Harding here because this reunion tour will be the first time Girls Aloud will be on stage since she passed away from cancer in 2021. On The Promise, and with her BRITs antics, Sarah Harding displayed twice how she is the heart and soul of Girls Aloud. Her iconic “Here I am, walking primrose” in this song makes it what it is – and when she did it live and gave us her signature, rockstar belt before the final bridge you saw her come alive. When BBC Two aired the Tangled Up tour on TV in the summer, Sarah was at her most electric.

If you want to celebrate the legacy of Sarah Harding in Girls Aloud, The Promise is a shining example. It will never not be a devastating loss, but this tour will celebrate her in every way possible. A legend.

5. Call The Shots

The next three Girls Aloud songs ranked here are the perfect way to kick off the top five best, because they’re like a trilogy to me. They feel related; the Charmed sisters from the TV show of the Girls Aloud discography. You can tell Xenomania were in their Pet Shop Boys era, because all three feel like Neil and Chris had a hand in it even though only one of them officially does. Effortlessly chic, slinky, sexy and danceable – just beautiful pop music.

4. The Loving Kind

The straight-up Pet Shop Boys co-write classic that deserved to be a huge hit. I know Nicola hates it and slagged it off at the Popjustice £20 prize in 2009, but ignore her. With all due respect, The Roberts is talking shit. This is a masterpiece in the way most Pet Shop Boys penned songs are. If you aren’t crying on the dance floor at some point during the night, what’s the point of going on it?

Shout out to Sarah’s truly legendary bum note on GMTV. God love her.

3. Untouchable

Whether you’re going for the long, extended album cut or the vocoder-laden single mix, Untouchable stands tall amongst Girls Aloud’s very best. Dreamy, chilly, robotic – the cool vocal delivery with the trancey production and a 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired music video makes Untouchable feel like Girls Aloud at their most futuristic. It’s a massive shame they missed out on the top 10 on the charts with this one; I’d go as far to say an injustice. Nadine’s bridge is one of her best vocals on any of their songs, and the lyrics speak for themselves.

Whenever you’re gone (gone) they wait at the door
And everything’s hurting like before
Without any meaning, we’re just skin and bone
Like beautiful robots dancing alone

2. Something New

For Girls Aloud’s 10th anniversary in 2012, they came back from their hiatus to release their Ten greatest hits album, go on a massive tour and give us a couple of new tunes. The first of those is the attack on the senses that is Something New, a loud and abrasive call to arms that showed everyone who the best girl group in this country was and still is. Brian Higgins of Xenomania is still on production, but the sound feels more commercial to 2012 without losing the way Girls Aloud could absolutely roar the way through the verses and emulates tracks like Something Kinda Ooooh and Sexy! No No No.

This is my most streamed Girls Aloud song, funnily enough. There’s something about it. You can feel how hungry the girls are to prove they still are the “leaders of the pack”. It’s utterly anthemic.

1. Sound of the Underground

It’s a tale as old as time. Posters: The Rivals put together two bands at the end of a tense public vote that saw Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, Cheryl Tweedy, Nadine Coyle and Kimberley Walsh form as Girls Aloud, pit against lads group One True Voice to compete as the titular, erm, rivals to get the Christmas number one. One True Voice released a double a-side, one of which was a cover of a Bee Gees song. Girls Aloud released Sound of the Underground – a song that quite literally knocked the music industry off its axis. Girls Aloud won, and went on to be the reason me writing this ranked list of their singles 20 years on is still relevant. One True Voice are nowhere to be found.

At the time, this sound was left-field and wild. It still sounds it. Sound of the Underground feels dirty, grimy, filthy. A surf rock melody with endless oomph and personality, it defined the 00s and stands as one of the greatest girl group tracks literally ever. It still sounds like a rush of blood to the head. Masterpiece.

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