Girls Aloud mark a decade as a guilty pleasure with a winning compilation of their hits plus some new songs.
Girls Aloud: Ten
Cheryl Cole's tabloid dramas have become so wearisomely ubiquitous in recent years that it is easy to forget what a breath of fresh air her band were back in 2002. Formed in the now traditional pop manner - live on TV - Girls Aloud confounded expectations with a surprisingly raucous debut single, Sound of the Underground, and have remained a guilty pleasure ever since. Ten celebrates that triumphant decade by compiling their consistently inventive greatest hits, plus four new songs and a fan-selected bonus disc. Of the new tracks, On the Metro - co-written by the quintet's talented Nicola Roberts - is the worthiest addition to their set-list, a Kylie-style disco groove with mirth-inducing lyrics ("his moves were so ridiculous, but he looked so meticulous"); it certainly trumps the formula dance of the recent comeback single, Something New, which is sadly devoid of their traditional verve. Girls Aloud's best songs always come with a wink, from the retro swing of The Promise to Biology, the bold 2005 romp that manages to incorporate three different choruses along the way. A fine body of work.
* Si Hawkins