Tangled Up

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For other uses, see Tangled (disambiguation).
Tangled Up
Studio album by Girls Aloud
Released 16 November 2007
Recorded April – July 2007
Genre Pop
Length 47:26
Label Fascination
Girls Aloud chronology
Tangled Up
Out of Control
Singles from Tangled Up
  1. "Sexy! No No No..."
    Released: 3 September 2007
  2. "Call the Shots"
    Released: 26 November 2007
  3. "Can't Speak French"
    Released: 17 March 2008

Tangled Up is the fourth studio album by British girl group Girls Aloud, released on 16 November 2007, through Fascination Records. The album was produced by Brian Higgins and production team Xenomania, and recorded over six months. According to the group, the production and songwriting began with each member meeting with Higgins to discuss what had happened with them since the release of Chemistry (2005). Tangled Up was praised by contemporary music critics upon its release, and achieved moderate success, debuting at number four on the UK Albums Chart, while missing the top twenty on the Irish Albums Chart.

The album spawned three top ten singles: "Sexy! No No No..." was co-written by Girls Aloud and released as the first single. The second single was "Call the Shots", which performed better than the first, and was deemed as the favourite track on Tangled Up from bandmate Cheryl Cole. The final single, "Can't Speak French", almost missed the top ten, peaking at number nine. To further promote the album, Girls Aloud embarked on a tour of the same name in 2008. The tour was recorded and released on DVD.


The group announced that they would release a new album due to November of that year.[1] The production and songwriting began for Tangled Up began in March 2007, with each group member meeting with producer Brian Higgins and discussing what had happened with them since the release of the Chemistry (2005).[2] Nicola Roberts explained that Higgins take inspiration from those discussions, adding that "it's important he's up to date with where we are. Our songs have to reflect us so that's why we do it."[2] Roberts also continued that "normally, a Girls Aloud album will be recorded in a matter of weeks," but the process evolving Tangled Up took much longer.[2] The entire process of recording and producing lasted for six months, with the first single, "Sexy! No No No...", being released while they were still working on material for the album.[2] Nadine Coyle, who recorded her vocals in Los Angeles, California,[3] said that the tracks from Tangled Up were "all in the same vein," contrary to their previous releases, which she described the song selection as "quite random."[4] When asked in an interview with Fascination Records about what fans and music critics could expect from the album, Cheryl Cole said the album was "heading in a more mature direction. We're not necessarily singing about things that we would have when we were 16. Now we're singing about things that you talk about in your early 20s."[5]


Style and lyrics[edit]

Tangled Up features a dancier, more electronic approach to pop music, in comparison to Girls Aloud's previous albums.[2] The dance-pop sound was inspired by the success of their 2006 single "Something Kinda Ooooh". "Call the Shots", "Close to Love", and "Girl Overboard" are all electropop numbers reminiscent of 1980s music.[6] The song "What You Crying For" is influenced by drum and bass, a type of electronic dance music.[7] However, "Control of the Knife" is more inspired by reggae and ska,[8] while "Can't Speak French" employs "jazzy guitar changes" and "Black Jacks" recall "sixties psychedelica".[9][10] Girls Aloud co-wrote two of the twelve tracks on Tangled Up, of which are "Sexy! No No No..." and "Crocodile Tears". They also co-wrote and recorded a song titled "Hoxton Heroes", which pokes fun at indie bands. The song was deemed too controversial for Tangled Up and therefore omitted from the album;[3] however, the song was released as a B-Side to "Can't Speak French".[11] Cole said of their contributions, "We never got into this industry to be brilliant lyricists but recently we've felt more comfortable with writing bits and pieces.[2]


A 22-second sample of the opening track features Girls Aloud singing mature lyrics over a "classy electronic Euro-pop" instrumentation.[9][12]

A 23-second sample of the song's chorus which "kicks off the energetic side of Tangled Up with a monster beat."[8] The song was deemed similar to 1980s songs.[6]

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Cole deemed "Call the Shots" her favourite from track from album, adding that it gives her "goosebumps".[13] The track was called "an elegant electro-pop ballad delivered with a restraint and maturity to rival groups of twice their age" and "classy electronic Euro-pop with real edge".[9][12] Alex Fletcher of Digital Spy praised the song, calling it "more tasteful than some of the more lurid [...] previous hits".[14] Talia Kraines of BBC Music stated that "Close to Love", the second track, "kicks off the energetic side of Tangled Up with a monster beat,"[8] while the following track, "Sexy! No No No...", was described as a "pounding electro-punk number with an extended, vocodered intro."[12] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian felt that "someone carelessly forgot to pack a tune amid the fuzzy guitars and synthesizers, distorted vocals and Sympathy for the Devil-esque whoops."[15] The song contains a sample of Nazareth's 1975 song "Hair of the Dog".[16]

"Girl Overboard", which is "a tribute to Eighties electro-pop,"[6] is "a slightly ridiculous rave knees up with a vodka rush of a chorus".[10] "Can't Speak French" was referred to as a "swirling, slower cut with great jazzy guitar changes".[9] The Guardian called it "a prime example of Xenomania's ability to throw wildly disparate musical elements together."[15] According to Allmusi, the song "achieves the kind of effortlessly sultry cool which the Sugababes have spent a career striving for."[12] "Black Jacks", a "cocktail of glorious Northern soul-inspired chorus and belligerent terrace chant,"[15] recalls "sixties psychedelia".[10] "Control of the Knife" was described as "reggae infused [...] with an absurd mash of trumpets and synths".[8] "Fling", track eight on the album, "boasts a manic shoutalong chorus" and "offers a kind of nuclear-powered punk-funk".[12][15] "What You Crying For" is a "forward-thinking drum and bass track".[7] "I'm Falling" was called "futuristic" and "a thrilling mixture of Prodigy-style beats and intergalactic synths".[8][10] "Damn" was given poor reviews by the Daily Star, who said it compared it to "an out-take from their last album."[9] The album's closer, "Crocodile Tears", was called "entrancing".[12]

Release and promotion[edit]

Girls Aloud performing during the Tangled Up Tour, 2008.

Tangled Up was first released in Ireland on 16 November 2007,[17] and in the United Kingdom on 19 November 2007.[18] In addition to the album, an extra limited edition remix album was released. The bonus disc, entitled Mixed Up, was available to purchase only from Woolworths, and was available at a discounted price when bought together with Tangled Up. Jewels & Stone are responsible for the album.[11][19] Mixed Up charted for one week at number 56 on UK Albums Chart.[20] A fan edition of Tangled Up was also available through Girls Aloud's official website; it is the only version of the album to contain a picture of Girls Aloud on the cover, along with song lyrics and signed postcards.[11] In 2008, Girls Aloud went on a tour of the same name to further promote the album.[21] The announcement of the tour helped to stop rumours that the band were splitting up. The stories surfaced after Coyle pulled out of a reality television show with the group for the second time.[22] The tour was recorded on 17 May 2008 at the O2 Arena in London and aired live across 50 Vue cinemas up and down the United Kingdom.[23] It was released on DVD through Polydor Records on 27 October 2008, and it was later certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry.[24]


The first single from Tangled Up was "Sexy! No No No...", released on 3 September 2007.[25] The accompanying music video was directed by Trudy Bellinger, and features the group sporting futuristic-looking skintight PVC catsuits with peep-toe high heels as they dance through wires stretched across the set.[26] "Call the Shots" was released as the second single on 26 November 2007.[27] The song debuted at number nine due to strong download sales and peaked at number three, spending a total of fifteen weeks in the top forty.[28] The third single, "Can't Speak French", was released on 14 March 2008.[29] The track debuted at number forty-nine on the UK Singles Chart on 24 February 2008, four weeks before the single's physical release.[30] After the physical release, it peaked at number nine.[31]


Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[12]
BBC Music (positive)[8]
Digital Spy 4/5 stars[10]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[15]
The List 5/5 stars[32]
NME (7/10)[17]
The Sun 4/5 stars[33]
The Times 3/5 stars[6]
Virgin Media 4.5/5 stars[7]

Tangled Up received highly positive reviews from music critics. Talia Kraines of BBC Music labelled the album "yet another unrelenting pop masterpiece" by the group, while praising the "challenging pop music" production "without ever losing their sense of fun" and calling Girls Aloud "undoubtedly the best girl band the UK has ever seen".[8] John Lucas of Allmusic considered it "a short, sharp and tight collection of some of the most exciting music in a particularly exciting career" and complimented it for being "a perfectly constructed whole without becoming a tedious homogeny".[12] A reviewer for Virgin Media rated Tangled Up four and a half out of five stars, describing the album as "ballsy pop with moments of eclecticism which [...] results in hair-curlingly exciting music" and stating that "the girls excel themselves".[7] A The List critic praised the album's "witty lyrics, insanely infectious melodies and soaring choruses that explode out of nowhere", as well as its "groundbreaking production from genius collective Xenomania" and called Tangled Up "a standout example of some of the best British songwriting in years".[32]

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian called Tangled Up "witty, diverse, experimental and viscerally thrilling" and "by any standards [..] pretty irresistible,"[15] while Nick Levine of Digital Spy found the songs "fun, frivolous, catchy, sexy and innovative," and noticed that the album Girls Aloud's "most danceable album to date".[10] A The Sun critic said Girls Aloud are "still at the top of their game" and felt that the album has "a more ballsy sound".[33] A reviewer for NME reated the album a 7 out of 10, saying that the group's career "has been marked by genre-hopping, and lots and lots of fake tan," while commenting that Tangled Up "will continue the trend."[17] The reviewer also highlighted the songs "Fling" and "Can't Speak French" as "unbeatable future pop hits".[17] Steve Jelbert of The Times gave the album a mixed review, deeming it "as predictable as a motorway, but fun."[6]

Chart performance[edit]

Tangled Up debuted in the UK Albums Chart at number four. The album fell steadily, before rising back into the top thirty with the release of "Can't Speak French", while reaching number 12 on the week ending 12 April 2008.[34] On 25 January 2008, Tangled Up was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments of 300,000 units in the United Kingdom.[24] It has sold over 505,000 units in the country as of 21 March 2013.[35] The album performed poorly in Ireland, debuting and peaking at number 25 on the Irish Albums Chart. However, the album was certified Gold by the Irish Recorded Music Association.[36]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks were produced by Xenomania. Credits adapted from the liner notes of Tangled Up.

Standard edition: Fascination / 1750580 (UK)
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Call the Shots"  
2. "Close to Love"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Cowling
  • Nick Coler
  • Jody Lei
3. "Sexy! No No No..."  
4. "Girl Overboard"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Coler
  • Lei
5. "Can't Speak French"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Coler
  • Lei
  • Carla Marie Williams
6. "Black Jacks"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Coler
  • Cowling
7. "Control of the Knife"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Sommerville
  • Jon Shave
8. "Fling"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Coler
  • Williams
  • Moguai
9. "What You Crying For"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Cowling
  • Tim "Rolf" Larcombe
  • Myra Boyle
10. "I'm Falling"  
11. "Damn"  
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Coler
  • Cowling
12. "Crocodile Tears"  
  • Girls Aloud
  • Cooper
  • Higgins
  • Powell
  • Coler
  • Sommerville
  • Larcombe
Total length:


Chart (2007) Peak
Irish Albums Chart[36] 25
UK Albums Chart[34] 4


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Ireland (IRMA)[36] Gold 7,500x
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Platinum 505,000[35]

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


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  3. ^ a b McLean, Craig (11 November 2007). "Smashed hits". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Welch, Andy (7 December 2007). "Girls Aloud on their new album". Liverpool Daily Post (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
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  7. ^ a b c d Matt O'Leary (19 November 2007). "Girls Aloud: Tangled Up review". Virgin Media. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
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  14. ^ Fletcher, Alex (12 November 2007). "Digital Spy Music Review: 'Call The Shots'". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Petridis, Alexis (9 November 2007). "Girls Aloud, Tangled Up". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  16. ^ Dingwall, John (8 September 2007). "Girls Aloud use sample of Scots band Nazareth". Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Girls Aloud: 'Tangled Up'". NME. IPC Media. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
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  19. ^ "It's a 'Mixed Up' world". Fascination Records. 5 November 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "The Official Charts Company – Mixed Up by Girls Aloud Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 
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  30. ^ "Girls Aloud – Can't Speak French". aCharts.us. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  31. ^ Wilkes, Neil (23 March 2008). "Estelle knocks Duffy from top spot". Digital Spy. Heast Magazines UK. Retrieved 7 April 2008. 
  32. ^ a b Pia, Camilla (29 November 2007). "Girls Aloud – Tangled Up". The List. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  33. ^ a b "Girls Aloud – Tangled Up". The Sun (News International). 15 November 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
  34. ^ a b "Girls Aloud – Tangled Up". UK Albums Chart. Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  35. ^ a b Caulfield, Keith (21 March 2013). "Girls Aloud: A Whole Lotta Chart History". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c "2007 Certification Awards – Gold". Irish Albums Chart. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 

External links[edit]