This month I’m featuring my top 20 albums of the past decade, to celebrate 10 years of This Must Be Pop! Click here to see all the Decade of Pop posts so far.
I decided that I would only include one favourite album from each act, but I have struggled to choose from the four Girls Aloud records that were eligible. Any one of them could hold its own in this top 20, but I eventually settled on What Will The Neighbours Say? because of my great memories of this era of Girls Aloud. This is the album where Xenomania really defined the sound that the band would be remembered for, although as the cover shows, their look still needed some work!
What Will The Neighbours Say? includes some of Girls Aloud’s best and biggest singles, such as Love Machine, Jump, Wake Me Up and The Show. Listening to the album brings back memories of CD:UK, T4 on the Beach and all those fun pop promo opportunities that died with the arrival of Scouting For Girls. Even songs like Big Brother, playing on the reality TV craze, feel like they couldn’t have come from any other time. The album as a whole is confidently cheeky and poppy, marching forward without a glance in the direction of the indie snobs who dominated the media in 2004. As there wasn’t the same financial incentive for producing insipid, lowest common denominator mainstream music that we have now, these creative, intelligent pop songs could only be created when the genre was out of the limelight.