Out of Control (Girls Aloud album)

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Out of Control
Studio album by Girls Aloud
Released 3 November 2008
Recorded May – September 2008
Genre
Length 53:09
Label Fascination
Producer
Girls Aloud chronology
Tangled Up
(2007)
Out of Control
(2008)
Special edition cover
Girls A Live cover
Singles from Out of Control
  1. "The Promise"
    Released: 20 October 2008
  2. "The Loving Kind"
    Released: 12 January 2009
  3. "Untouchable"
    Released: 27 April 2009

Out of Control is the fifth and final studio album by British all-female pop group Girls Aloud, released in the United Kingdom on 3 November 2008 by Fascination Records. Like their previous albums, it was crafted by the production team of Brian Higgins and Xenomania. Out of Control builds on the sound of Girls Aloud's previous albums and represents a move into the mainstream for the group.

Out of Control debuted to positive reviews from contemporary music critics. The album debuted at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart, Girls Aloud's first studio album to do so, and quickly became Girls Aloud's best-selling studio album. It was certified 2x platinum in the UK and Ireland. It yielded three singles, including chart-topping "The Promise", which was awarded Best British Single at the 2009 BRIT Awards.

Background[edit]

Girls Aloud announced they would begin work on their fifth studio album in May 2008, while on the Tangled Up Tour.[1] Sarah Harding told MTV News that they had "been working on it all summer."[2]

Brian Higgins said, "By the time we did the last album, it was different. They were so big then. They were ready to sell a million albums immediately, so they didn't [...] something a bit highbrow. They needed something that would hit you right between the eyes [...] The group has moved more and more into the mainstream, because that was what was required."[3]

Girls Aloud's website describes Out of Control as "their most exciting and thrilling album yet."[4] According to Kimberley Walsh, the album's title came from Girls Aloud's record company telling the girls, "We don't know what to say, you lot are out of control. We can't tell you anything."[5] It also comes from a lyric in "We Wanna Party". Nicola Roberts revealed that the album was nearly titled Girls Aloud: Revolution, after the song "Revolution in the Head".[6] The artwork for Out of Control was revealed on Girls Aloud's official website on 16 October 2008.[7]

Music[edit]

Style and lyrics[edit]

The Sun described the album as "a mixture of ballads and the relentlessly upbeat, catchy hits we have come to expect."[8] Kimberley Walsh has said that the album is "a lot older sounding, which wasn't intentional, it was just kind of how it went."[5] The girl group were very involved in the album's direction. "The '60s thing is quite prominent," Walsh told the BBC. "But it's out of the ordinary. Not really what you'd expect."[5] Nicola Roberts said that the album also features a lot of 1980s-inspired electro pop.[9] Sarah Harding said that Girls Aloud "wanted to stay upbeat but try something a bit different and advanced. I don't think anything we've ever done has ever sounded the same. But we have that same vibe whatever we do because of our vocals."[10] Nadine Coyle said the "aim from the beginning was to come up with songs that didn't sound like anything else out there."[9] Walsh continued, "We want to impress the fans with what we do, so we've tried to up our game with this album and step outside the comfort zone."[9]

Girls Aloud co-wrote four songs on the album: "Love Is the Key", "Miss You Bow Wow", "Revolution in the Head" and "Live in the Country". In particularly, the bridge of "Love Is the Key" was written by Kimberley Walsh.[11]

Songs[edit]

The album's lead single, "The Promise", is a 1960's Spector-influenced number.[12][13] Despite the popularity of 1960's pastiches, it was said that Girls Aloud's "go-for-broke, very modern re-imagining of Spector's wall of sound proves to be more authentic and entertaining than most other recent attempts".[14] "The Loving Kind" is a collaboration with Pet Shop Boys.[8] Neil Tennant said that they co-wrote the song while working with Xenomania, and described it as "beautiful but still dancey".[15] Popjustice said that "the lyrics have the sadness and melancholy of a massive proper ballad but the production drags the song straight to the dancefloor and lends it an undeniable sense of optimism."[16] The song has been compared to 2007's "Call the Shots",[17] and has been referred to as both "a letdown sequel"[18] and "the best thing they've ever done."[19] "Rolling Back the Rivers in Time", which originally had a working title of "50s Sweetheart",[11] was compared to Burt Bacharach.[14][20] It features guitar from The Smiths member Johnny Marr,[21] who also plays harmonica on "Love Is the Key".

"Love Is the Key", according to Digital Spy, "begins with the strains of a cathedral choir before lurching into a sixties-style pop strut".[17] It ends with "a bluesey harmonica solo in the outro."[19] "Turn to Stone" was called an "icy electro banger", compared to "Róisín Murphy's moody kid sisters being remixed by 808 State".[14] "Untouchable" is a six and a half-minute song that was called "fast, electronic and fantastic" with an immense build-up to the chorus.[22] The song was said to recall New Order and "fuses blissful Balearic guitar lines with a pulsating techno throb".[14] The song was the different version to the Radio edit. Track seven, "Fix Me Up", was compared to "the theme tune to a comedy sex film from 1975. In a good way."[17] It contains a sample of Reuben Bell's "Superjock", written by Bell, Jerry Strickland, and Wardell Quezergue.[21] The Sun described "Love is Pain" as "a heartfelt song" which ends with "an emotive solo" by Cheryl Cole, whose husband Ashley Cole received tabloid attention for allegedly cheating on her in early 2008.[8] It has been described by Popjustice as "an early-90s electronic sort of affair."[23]

"Live in the Country" was called a drum and bass track "about moving to the countryside – complete with farm animal sound effects",[8] and "basically the sequel to 'Swinging London Town'" (from Girls Aloud's 2005 album Chemistry).[24] It was described as a "drum and bass anti-anarchy anthem".[25] "Miss You Bow Wow", it was stated, "could well be the most exhilarating song of the year, being almost ridiculously danceable, having a gloriously soaring chorus and some surreal lyrics".[19] "Revolution in the Head", a reggae-influenced song, features pseudo-rapping from Nadine Coyle.[8][26] The album's bonus track, "We Wanna Party", is a cover of a Lene track.[27] Lene previously co-wrote Girls Aloud's "No Good Advice" and "You Freak Me Out", and also has her own version of "Here We Go". Girls Aloud originally recorded the song for What Will the Neighbours Say?, but it was decided it didn't fit.[11]

Release[edit]

Out of Control was initially announced to be released on 10 November 2008,[28] but the release date was moved forward a week to 3 November.[29] The Irish release date came the Friday before on 31 October 2008.[30] In addition to the album, an extra limited edition live album was released. Entitled Girls A Live, the bonus disc was available to purchase only from Woolworths.[31] It features a number of live performances from Girls Aloud's tours. Additionally, a double-disc collector's edition of the album was released 8 December.[32][33] The box set comes in a DVD-sized case and contains a bonus disc containing unreleased demos and interviews, as well as a 24-page booklet containing photos and lyrics to all of the songs.[34]

Singles[edit]

  • The album's first single, "The Promise", was released two weeks prior to Out of Control on 20 October 2008.[35] The song is notable for its 1960s influence,[12] with "production that tips its cap towards vintage Spector."[13] The music video took place at a 1950s-and-1960s-inspired drive-in movie theatre, where a retro-styled Girls Aloud watched themselves channel The Supremes on screen.[36] "The Promise" became Girls Aloud's fourth No. 1 upon release.[37] It also earned the group their first ever win at the BRIT Award for Best British Single in 2009.[38]
  • "The Loving Kind" was released as the album's second single on 12 January 2009. The music video, directed by Trudy Bellinger, was premiered on 3 December 2008. In the run-up to the single's release, commentators began to speculate that the song could possibly become the first single by the group to miss the top ten. However, "The Loving Kind" peaked at No. 10 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Girls Aloud's 20th consecutive top ten single.[39]
  • "Untouchable" was released on 27 April 2009, as the third and final single taken from Out of Control.[40]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[41]
BBC Music (positive)[25]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[17]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[26]
The Independent 2/5 stars[42]
musicOMH 4/5 stars[19]
NME (8/10)[18]
The Observer 3/5 stars[43]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[14]
The Times 4/5 stars[44]
Yahoo! Music 7/10 stars[45]

Critical response to Out of Control was positive. Aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalised rating of 63% based on nine critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reception.[46] It was described as "their most melancholy album to date".[47] The Times wrote that Girls Aloud "show no sign of flagging in their quest to push the boundaries of the pop song" and noticed that they "continue to be as inventive as ever."[44] BBC Music described Out of Control as "a shimmering album of heartbreaking electro pop" and exclaimed that it is "pop music at its finest."[25] Digital Spy found it "smart, adventurous, emotionally resonant and often very, very catchy" and called it "an absolute delight" and Girls Aloud's "fourth terrific album in a row".[17] MusicOMH noticed that it is "chock-full of those trademark, otherworldy electro-synth songs" and concluded by calling it "yet another excellent album from a group who may have risen from a lot of people's 'guilty pleasure' to becoming full-on national treasures".[19] Slant Magazine hailed it as "one of the best pop albums of 2008" and said that Girls Aloud "are in a position where they can let the music do all the talking for them".[14] NME praised the songs "Love Is The Key", "Rolling Back the Rivers in Time" and "Untouchable" and stated that although it is "not their best" effort, it is "more consistent than any British indie album released this year".[18]

Yahoo! Music said that it "barely steers too far from their recipe for success", but more or less praised the album, awarding it seven out of ten.[45] The Observer gave it three out of five stars, but felt that Girls Aloud raised the bar so spectacularly that this album "suggests that Xenomania's once-bottomless well of great ideas is running dry".[43] The Guardian stated that "despite ear-catching touches [...], nothing hits the spot like the Phil Spector-like single The Promise".[26] The Independent described Girls Aloud's output as "the musical equivalent of the lingering aftertaste of synthetic sweeteners", calling the album "meekly conformist pop."[42]

The album appeared on Critic's Choice lists by Billboard contributors Keith Caulfield, Hazel Davis, and Mikael Wood.[48]

In 2008, the album came top in Popjustice's Readers Poll 2008, beating Britney Spears' Circus. The lead single, "The Promise", came fourth, behind Spears' "Womanizer", which they later covered on their Out of Control Tour, MGMT's "Kids" and Sam Sparro's "Black and Gold". "The Promise" also won Best Number One Single and the group won Best Pop Act of 2008.

Chart performance[edit]

Out of Control debuted in the Irish Albums Chart at No. 7, the highest debut of the week and their second highest charting in Ireland.[49] It debuted in the UK Albums Chart at No. 1. This is their first studio album to achieve the coveted No. 1 position. The album Girls A Live also entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 29. Out of Control spent five weeks in the UK top five overall, and three additional weeks in the top ten.[50] In the top ten albums chart of 2008, Out of Control came eighth, selling nearly 600,000 copies within just two months.[51] On 4 January 2009, The Sound of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits re-entered the charts at No. 6 while Out of Control was No. 10, thus giving Girls Aloud two top ten albums at the same time.

Out of Control has sold over 800,000 copies.[52]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks were produced by Xenomania. Credits adapted from the liner notes of Out of Control.

Standard edition: Fascination/1790073 (UK)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Promise"  
4:03
2. "The Loving Kind"  
3:54
3. "Rolling Back the Rivers in Time"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Williams
  • Powell
4:29
4. "Love Is the Key"  
  • Girls Aloud
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
4:17
5. "Turn to Stone"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Matt Gray
  • Stuart McIennan
  • Sacha Collisson
4:25
6. "Untouchable"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Gray
6:43
7. "Fix Me Up"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Resch
  • Jones
  • Williams
  • Powell
4:26
8. "Love Is Pain"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Williams
3:32
9. "Miss You Bow Wow"  
  • Girls Aloud
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Lisa Cowling
  • Owen Parker
  • Toby Scott
  • Myra Boyle
4:11
10. "Revolution in the Head"  
  • Girls Aloud
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Williams
  • Powell
  • Parker
4:31
11. "Live in the Country"  
4:15

Personnel[edit]

  • Joe Auckland – Strings, Woodwind
  • Dick Beetham – Mastering
  • Nick Coler – Guitar, Keyboards, Programming
  • Miranda Cooper – Keyboards, Programming
  • Brian Higgins – Producer
  • Tim Powell – Keyboards, Programming
  • Toby Scott – Keyboards, Programming, Engineer
  • Sacha Collisson – Keyboards, Programming
  • Adrian Smith – Strings, Woodwind
  • Jeremy Wheatley – Mixing
  • Neil Tennant – Keyboards and backing vocals on "The Loving Kind"
  • Chris Lowe – Keyboards on "The Loving Kind"

Charts[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
Funhouse by Pink
UK Albums Chart number-one album
9 November 2008 – 16 November 2008
Succeeded by
The Promise by Il Divo

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Ireland (IRMA)[55] 2× Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] 2× Platinum 600,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Ireland[57] 31 October 2008 Polydor Records CD, digital download
United Kingdom[29][58] 3 November 2008 Fascination Records
United States[59] 11 November 2008 Polydor Records CD
Germany[60] 10 April 2009 Polydor Records CD, digital download

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Special announcement from Cheryl". GirlsAloud.co.uk. 27 May 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2008. [dead link]
  2. ^ Tom Thorogood (29 September 2008). "Girls Aloud Sarah Harding interview". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved 29 September 2008. 
  3. ^ Andreas Soteriou (13 April 2010). "Brian Higgins: The Pop Don't Stop.". Ponystep. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Girls Aloud are Out of Control!". GirlsAloud.co.uk. 29 September 2008. Retrieved 29 September 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c Mark Savage (29 September 2008). "Girls Aloud go Out of Control". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 29 September 2008. 
  6. ^ "@GirlsAloudMusic A GA secret is that Out of Control was nearly called Girls Aloud: Revolution (after Revolution In The Head)". Twitter. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  7. ^ "Out of Control – The Cover!". GirlsAloud.co.uk. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2008. [dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d e "Cheryl's song plea to Ashley". The Sun. 3 October 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2008. 
  9. ^ a b c Erica Powell (17 October 2008). "Girls Aloud collaborate with Pet Shop Boys". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved 18 October 2008. [dead link]
  10. ^ Sarah Rollo (9 October 2008). "Girls Aloud have "one or two" LPs left". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
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  12. ^ a b Nick Levine (15 September 2008). "Girls Aloud are back!". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  13. ^ a b Nick Levine (20 October 2008). "Girls Aloud: 'The Promise'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
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  15. ^ Neil Tennant (4 October 2008). "Pet Texts – Message from Neil". Pet Shop Boys. Retrieved 4 October 2008. 
  16. ^ Peter Robinson (17 October 2008). "A proper review of 'The Loving Kind'". Popjustice. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
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  18. ^ a b c Jaimie Hodgson (31 October 2008). "Out of Control". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
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  23. ^ Peter Robinson (15 October 2008). "What's 'Love Is Pain' from the new Girls Aloud album like?". Popjustice. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
  24. ^ Peter Robinson (15 October 2008). "What's 'Live in the Country' from the new Girls Aloud album like?". Popjustice. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
  25. ^ a b c Talia Kraines (7 November 2008). "Out of Control". BBC Music. BBC. Retrieved 9 November 2008. 
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  28. ^ "Girls Aloud name Out of Control album". AngryApe. 30 September 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
  29. ^ a b "Latest news on Out of Control". Girls Aloud. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  30. ^ John Meagher (18 October 2008). "With a new album on the way, there's no stopping the rise and rise of the female fab five". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 18 October 2008. 
  31. ^ "Girls A Live". Woolworths. Woolworths. Retrieved 18 October 2008. [dead link]
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  39. ^ "The Loving Kind". ChartStats.com. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
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  44. ^ a b Priya Elan (1 November 2008). "Girls Aloud: Out of Control". The Times. News International. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
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  47. ^ Dan Cairns (2 November 2008). "Girls Aloud: Out of Control – the Sunday Times review". The Sunday Times. News International. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  48. ^ "2008 Billboard Critics Choice Top 10s". Billboard. Nielsen Company. Retrieved 14 December 2008. [dead link]
  49. ^ Acharts – Irish top 75 albums
  50. ^ "Out of Control". ChartStats.com. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2008. 
  51. ^ a b "Duffy and Burke top 2008 charts". BBC News. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2008. 
  52. ^ "Girls Aloud – Untouchable | pop". ilikemusic.com. Retrieved 8 August 2009. 
  53. ^ Greece Album Charts
  54. ^ a b "Girls Aloud – Out of Control". aCharts.us. Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
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  56. ^ "British album certifications". British Phonographic Industry. 
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  58. ^ "Out of Control (2008)". HMV. Retrieved 27 February 2009. 
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  60. ^ "Girls Aloud – Of Control". PlattenLaden.de. Abella Versand, a Universal Music Group Company. Retrieved 27 February 2009. 

External links[edit]