Girls Aloud "The Loving Kind"/"Untouchable"

Girls Aloud "The Loving Kind"/"Untouchable"
Every year I seem to rant about how disappointing it is to see yet another album by my favourite DS-playing and dog-saving group, Girls Aloud, get passed over for North American distribution by their label, Universal. But this year I'd rather focus on the music and the fact that they've just put out their best album yet. Called Out of Control, the Girls have worked with Xenomania (Annie, Franz Ferdinand, Sugababes) once again, along with unlikelies such as Johnny Marr and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. A number of the songs this time stand out, like the '60s girl group throwback "The Promise" or the skittering drum & bass energy of "Live in the Country," but for me it's a toss-up between two others that deserve some focus.

I like the idea of sequels in pop music. Though it's not officially the second part to last year's utterly marvellous "Call the Shots" — y'see, it would need to be called something like "Call the Shots Pt. II" or "ReCall the Shots" or even "Call the Shots: Shoot Harder!" — "The Loving Kind" is being branded by many (not the Girls though) as the successor to last year's bombshell single.

What's even more interesting than this association is that it was co-written by Tennant, who has described it as "beautiful but still dancey." Produced by Xenomania, the song recycles the euphoric, "only done in Europe," trancey synths of "Call the Shots," as well as the submissive lyrical overtones.

Myself, I don't fancy it over "Call the Shots." In fact, as far as Out of Control is concerned, I prefer the epic, six-minute-plus "Untouchable." With its deep dramatic tone initiated by the awesome freeze and build opening, the song grows into a fantasy world where the Girls sing about their dreams and how they and their lovers are, well, 40 stories tall and untouchable. It's those escalating hi-NRG synths that make the song such a powerhouse; the way they oscillate is straight outta '89, and boy do I wish we heard that more often on this side of the pond.

"The Loving Kind" will see a commercial release on January 12.

Girls Aloud "The Loving Kind"

Girls Aloud "Untouchable"

A nice touch: a fan-made YouTube clip of "The Loving Kind" synced to "Call the Shots."


Girls Aloud "Untouchable"