On Sunday at 6:33 pm Nicola Roberts had Girls Aloud fans in a frenzy after simply posting a ‘4’ on her social media. The internet, of course, went wild with speculation, with Kimberley, Nadine and Cheryl continuing the countdown in the following days.
After 11 years away from the spotlight, we can now all celebrate the news that Girls Aloud are finally reuniting for a tour to honour their late bandmate Sarah Harding, who died of complications from breast cancer away in 2021 at he age of 39.
To celebrate the Girls’ legacy we’re taking a trip down memory lane as far back as 2002 to rank the girls’ amazing singles.
23 Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me
It won’t be a huge surprise to most that ‘Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me’ comes in at the lowest place here. It’s a nice little ballad, but the message doesn’t hit quite in the way it should, given that we should be loving ourselves regardless of other people. The biggest crime here though is that they had the Nicola Roberts penned ‘On The Metro’ screaming to be a single instead. ‘Beautiful ‘Cause You Love Me’ is a cute vocal moment for the group, with some soaring vocals from Nicola, but unfortunately feels like an afterthought in their singles discography.
22 I Think We’re Alone Now
Here we have the first of a small handful of covers that have all ended up relatively low down on the list. This time it’s Girls Aloud’s rendition of the 60s hit from Tommy James and the Shondells, which has been covered numerous times, most notably in 1987 by Tiffany and of course our girls. This is an absolutely fine cover but doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the Tiffany version.
21 See The Day
Unfortunately, this one feels a little forgotten within their discography. ‘See The Day’ (yes, another cover) isn’t bad though, it’s a nice vocal moment for the girls and shows off their softer side, but it isn’t the greatest use of the creativity that represents the rest of the Chemistry album it was taken from.
20 Walk This Way
We’re sure there’s a reality somewhere where a Sugababes and Girls Aloud collaboration was an original song and is now a pop staple. Unfortunately it’s not ours. Instead we have a cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’, which was released as a Comic Relief charity single. It’s a fun episode in pop history, but we don’t think fans will be rushing to go back to this one.
19 I’ll Stand By You
This was Girls Aloud’s second #1, back in 2004, though unfairly so. (‘The Show’ and ‘No Good Advice’ should have been #1 for 100 weeks). Again, this is a decent rendition, but isn’t a huge departure from The Pretenders original.
This is the fifth and final cover on this ranking, and pretty comfortably the best. This time the girls take on The Pointer Sisters’ ‘Jump’, which was already a huge banger. In fact, this is a huge Girls Aloud classic too, sitting within their top five highest sellers. Nadine’s distinct vocals really carry the choruses and give this a bit of the Girls Aloud stamp missing from some of the other covers. Points are deducted for it not being one of their originals but we won’t be skipping ‘Jump’ when it comes on shuffle.
17 Long Hot Summer
With wacky lyrics like “it’s been a long hot summer and we’re shaking like a cool lemonade”, ‘Long Hot Summer’ is the first on this list that feels like a real representation of what makes Girls Aloud Girls Aloud. ‘Long Hot Summer’ was originally intended for (and rejected by?) the Lindsay Lohan movie Herbie: Fully Loaded and Brian Higgins (one half of the brains behind Xenomania and most of Girls Aloud’s hits) has since called this a “disaster record.” It may not stand up against their best but we think it’s a bit of an underrated gem within the Girls Aloud singles discography.
16 Life Got Cold
“So chill now, woah!” Shakespeare could never. ‘Life Got Cold’ is a laid back talky-sung kind of heartbreak ballad. This moody midtempo is cute, but far from their best.
15 Whole Lotta History
By far Girls Aloud’s best straightforward ballad moment. All five members have really beautiful individual moments here, from Nicola’s angelic “Hello, did you call me?” to Sarah’s sombre outro. Everyone really shines.
14 Love Machine
Ask a casual radio listener to name a Girls Aloud song and chances are they’ll say ‘Love Machine’. It’s one of their biggest hits, possibly their most iconic behind ‘Sound of the Underground’ and ‘The Promise’. But the fact everyone knows this one may also be its downfall. Fun as it is, it has a slight hen party energy to it, from the sheer amount it’s overplayed in certain spaces. Regardless, ‘Love Machine’ will still be a phenomenal crowd pleaser and karaoke staple for years to come.
13 The Loving Kind
We’re getting to the really good stuff now. ‘The Loving Kind’ is a slightly more mature mid-tempo, which is often where Girls Aloud’s sound sits most comfortably. This glitzy bop was co-written by the iconic synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys and their DNA is all over it. The only issue with this song is that Nicola’s post-chorus (the highlight of the entire song), isn’t repeated after the second chorus, where there’s an empty instrumental instead.
12 Wake Me Up
We just know this guitar-led banger had Mick Jagger worried. As a huge fan of the pop-rock genre, ‘Wake Me Up’ was of course Sarah’s favourite on the What Will the Neighbours Say?album. ‘Wake Me Up’ is full on 100-miles-a-minute rush of adrenaline and we can’t wait to hopefully hear it live again.
11 Can’t Speak French
Quietly one of the catchiest singles they’ve ever released, ‘Can’t Speak French’ is a funky laid-back earworm which was famously recorded twice; once in English and again in French, so what is the truth, girls? ‘Can’t Speak French’ was such a big radio hit that it gave their best album Tangled Up a second lease of life on the charts, pushing it to platinum. ‘Can’t Speak French’ just missed out on the top 10 of our ranking, but looking at the material, it’s easy to understand why.
10 No Good Advice
Imagine having the audacity to follow something as fantastic as ‘Sound of the Underground’ with something as amazing as this? Kicking the one-hit-wonder accusations with ease, ‘No Good Advice’ stormed into the charts at #2 back in 2003 and it sounds just as fresh now as it did then. That talky-outro against the guitar is one for the history books. Bonus points for how incredible Kimberley’s hair looks in the video.
09 Sexy! No No No
Always the risk takers, Girls Aloud released ‘Sexy! No No No’, as the lead to Tangled Up. It may be sandwiched between some much bigger hits, but ‘Sexy! No No No’ stands out for being as fully bonkers as its title suggests. The structure is all over the place, the lyrics make little sense and the bass is bold, brash and noisy. But all of this works in its favour as the hooks strike like lightning and we wouldn’t change a thing.
08 Something New
Go girls g-g-go go go! Being part of a losing chart battle with Olly Murs back in 2012 ‘Something New’ almost felt too gay for the general public. There were so many “why are they rapping?” comments, but we could have done with even more rapping. This track’s chorus absolutely soars and Sarah’s “follow the leader” brings the track to an exciting climax.
07 Something Kinda Ooooh
17 years on and we still have absolutely no idea what “Jumping on my toot-toot” (or “tutu”?)” means, and we don’t care. ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’ is another balls-to-the-wall banger where nothing makes sense other than its brilliance. This was another massive hit for the girls and is three minutes and 23 seconds of hair-flipping magic. As Kimberley would say, “it’s just another kink in your steel”, and she has a point!
06 The Promise
Another of Girls Aloud’s most pivotal moments. Hot off the success of Cheryl’s incredible first year as an X Factor judge, Girls Aloud entered their imperial phase. ‘The Promise’ went straight in at #1 and gave them their most successful studio album to date with Out of Control. ‘The Promise’ is an upbeat 60s-influenced song with verses just as memorable as the chorus. The true shining moment of the song, of course, belongs to the late, great Sarah and her “walking primrose” belt, which she would nail every single time in a live setting. We love you, Sarah.
05 The Show
The opening synths on ‘The Show’ are a perfect example of Xenomania’s immaculate production doing what it does best. Despite going to #2 back when it was released ‘The Show’ is one of Girls Aloud’s lower selling singles, which feels…disrespectful somehow? Well, get streaming then!
Maybe this is cheating somewhat, because the hacked-up version that was actually a single maybe shouldn’t be anywhere near this high, but the 6:42 minute version is a full on pop masterpiece. With most current pop songs clocking in at around two minutes, this has a total of four verses, four choruses and that triumphant bridge from Nadine. Untouchable is a journey. It also holds the poisoned chalice, being the first single of theirs to break their momentous streak of 20 (!) consecutive top 10 singles at #11, but that doesn’t make it any less incredible.
As tough as this entire top 10 was to put into order, taking our bronze is ‘Biology’ one of Girls Aloud’s most critically acclaimed moments. Famously known for being stitched together from about three songs, the multiple hooks all somehow weave together into one neat little parcel and somehow it just works. Hands up who still remembers the choreo to the chorus?
02 Sound of the Underground
The way everything fell into place against all odds for ‘Sound of the Underground’ is still kind of astonishing. It remains the greatest reality TV show “winner’s single” by a clear mile. It’s insane to think that a track as bulletproof as this was given to the underdog winners of Pop Stars: The Rivals. But Girls Aloud proved to be the perfect vessel for such a song. It’s edgy, provocative and sexy and the moment the public heard the opening riff it was unfortunately over for the poor lads in One True Voice. Bye boys.
01 Call The Shots
Our number one goes to ‘Call The Shots’. This euphoric, dancefloor filler feels like Girls Aloud in their final evolved form. On ‘Call The Shots,’ Xenomania dialled down the eccentricities Girls Aloud are most known for and went fully in on an airtight melody-driven slice of absolute pop perfection.