Sound of the Underground

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All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
Girls Aloud is the leggy quintet that beat out rival boy band One True Voice for the grand prize during the November 2002 finale of Popstars: The Rivals. A scion of existing U.K. reality shows like Popstars and Pop Idol which itself spawned American Idol, Rivals followed a similar formula, with one essential twist. After spending weeks building its bands with the normal round of tryouts, kick outs, voting, and drama, drama, drama, the program pitted its final products against one another in an ultimate pop-reality showdown. As usual, it didn't really matter which group won -- the finalists were to embark on the normal cash-in package tour as soon as possible. But ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Johnny Loftus
Girls Aloud is the leggy quintet that beat out rival boy band One True Voice for the grand prize during the November 2002 finale of Popstars: The Rivals. A scion of existing U.K. reality shows like Popstars and Pop Idol which itself spawned American Idol, Rivals followed a similar formula, with one essential twist. After spending weeks building its bands with the normal round of tryouts, kick outs, voting, and drama, drama, drama, the program pitted its final products against one another in an ultimate pop-reality showdown. As usual, it didn't really matter which group won -- the finalists were to embark on the normal cash-in package tour as soon as possible. But something funny happened on the way to ringtone fame. Girls Aloud's debut single "Sound of the Underground" debuted at number one, One True Voice imploded, the collaborative tour was canceled, and the Girls suddenly emerged as something more than wide-eyed reality TV winners. The quintet embraced their newfound celebrity and set the lofty goal of being better than the Spice Girls. To that end, there's Sound of the Underground, a cleverly arranged tray of sweetmeats manufactured to firmly establish the Girls Aloud sound. Unlike Sporty, Baby, Scary, Ginger, and Posh, separate personas aren't part of the Girls Aloud marketing arc. Underground's cover features them in matching Fem-Bot silver -- there's no individuality beyond varying hair color. No, it's the sound that sells this combo. The hit title track is a mechanistic sashay of twangy surf guitar and sultry gang vocals -- Girls Aloud explodes like a five-headed Kylie Minogue. Follow-up single "No Good Advice" is just as good, if not better. That scraggly spy movie guitar returns, but it's fastened to a bopping "Material Girl"-style groove. Underground does a great job of carrying its sound and production through to the end, dropping sizzling guitar parts and kinetic dancefloor jams as deep in the dirt as "Boogie Down Love," its second-to-last track. "All I Need All I Don't" should be another club favorite, moving easily between new wave and lighthearted disco. Even "Life Got Cold" -- Underground's "2 Become 1" -- is a solid ballad, suggesting a less intellectual Dido sample lyric: "We text as we eat/As we wait for the right of way". But even in its quieter moments, Sound of the Underground is careful not to let any of the Girls take over. Their voices are average, and negligibly different. Unlike the Spice Girls, Girls Aloud has no self-styled MC or even a knickers-flashing loudmouth. Not yet, anyway. Despite their surprising debut, Girls Aloud and its brain trust will have to work twice as hard to retain the glamorous ground gained.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/19/2003
  • Label: Polydor Uk
  • UPC: 602498653159
  • Catalog Number: 9865315

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sound of the Underground (3:42)
  2. 2 No Good Advice (3:48)
  3. 3 Some Kind of Miracle (3:09)
  4. 4 All I Need (All I Don't) (3:40)
  5. 5 Life Got Cold (3:55)
  6. 6 Mars Attack (3:24)
  7. 7 Stop (3:38)
  8. 8 Girls Allowed (3:24)
  9. 9 Forever and a Night (3:14)
  10. 10 Love/Hate (4:39)
  11. 11 Boogie Down Love (4:05)
  12. 12 Don't Want You Back (3:20)
  13. 13 White Lies (4:02)
  14. 14 Love Bomb (2:55)
  15. 15 Everything You Ever Wanted (2:55)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Girls Aloud Primary Artist
The Beatmasters Keyboards
Nick Coler Guitar, Keyboards
Gary Miller Guitar
Esbjörn Öhrwall Guitar
Graham Stack Keyboards
Brian Higgins Keyboards
Shawn Lee Guitar
Tony Foster Guitar
Tim Powell Keyboards
Mat Gray Keyboards
Christian Saint Val Vocals
Bryan McFadden wah wah guitar
Jonathon Shoton wah wah guitar
Philip Sheppard Cello
Mark Evans Vocals
Ava Knox Vocals
Technical Credits
The Beatmasters Programming, Producer
Betty Boo Producer
Nick Coler Programming
Tim Kellett Programming, Producer
Gary Miller Producer
Brian Rawling Producer
Dick Beetham Mastering
Jeremy Wheatley Producer
Graham Stack Producer, drum programming
Nick Marion Taylor Engineering
Brian Higgins Programming, Producer
Drew Peters Engineer
Tim Powell Programming
Mat Gray Programming
Arnthor Arranger, Producer, Engineering
Xenomania Producer
Jong Uk Yoon Engineering
Bryan McFadden Programming
Jonathon Shoton Programming
Philip Sheppard String Arrangements
Richard Edgeler Engineer, Engineering
Mark Evans Engineer
Tim "Rolf" Larcombe Programming
Peters and Peters Producer
Steve Anderson Producer
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