These are exciting times for fans of Girls Aloud: The British-Irish girl group, on hiatus since 2009, has debuted a Twitter handle and relaunched GirlsAloud.com with an announcement that they'll be releasing a new album on November 26 to celebrate their tenth anniversary! Girls Aloud Ten will include all the group's greatest hits plus four new songs. Even better? A Girls Aloud UK tour in 2013! (No US date? Come on guys!)
Before there was The X-Factor to pump out hit machines like One Direction, there was 2002's Popstars: The Rivals. The talent show sought to put together a girl group and a boy group to compete for a spot at the top of the charts. The five lucky ladies? Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, Sarah Harding, and Cheryl Tweedy (now best known as Cheryl Cole), who would band together to form Girls Aloud. Their first single dominated the UK Christmas charts, and the rest is history: Twenty consecutive top ten singles, five platinum albums, and one Brit Award for Best Single of 2009. (And that boy band? Long since forgotten.) They're the UK's biggest girl group, beating out our beloved Spice Girls, though they've never cracked the US market.
So for those Fashionista readers who are already Girls Aloud fans, consider this a fun trip down memory lane. For the rest of you who may not be familiar, here's your primer to the UK's biggest girl group.
Look at these fresh-faced babies! This photo was taken right after they'd been announced as the winners of Popstars: The Rivals in November 2002 so they'd only been Girls Aloud for a few precious hours.
The Video: This is a 2008 performance of Girls Aloud's first single, "Sounds of the Underground," because the original video isn't available in the US. The song was a breakthrough for the girls, becoming that year's Christmas number one and is credited for changing the sound of British pop for the decade (no, seriously). The original video, featuring the girls in pink tracksuits and filmed in a London warehouse, was shot just days after the band was formed. Their style is a bit more sophisticated here, but the sound is the same.
Check out the matching outfits--definitely in girl group mode. And wow, a little heavy on the bronzer--but this was 2003, after all.
The Video: The girls covered the Pointer Sister's "Jump" for the soundtrack to Love, Actually. Great film, even better music video.
The asymmetrical hems, the strappy sandals, so much spray tan - no question we're in the mid-aughts. 2004 saw the release of Girls Aloud's second album, What Will the Neighbours Say? - and by the looks of it, their cleavage as well.
The Video: For their first single off the new album, "The Show," Girls Aloud filmed this video in which they play various stylists at a salon called "Curls Allowed" (get it?!). We suspect this salon would get shut down by health officials but hey, the song is fun!
Wow, are those gold cowboy boots on Kimberley? It would also be a safe bet that the girls got personal trainers to get their abs in tip top shape for all those bare midriffs 2005 brought. The girls toured in support of What Will the Neighbours Say? in these super sweet shiny boob contraptions paired with jeans. Girls Aloud also released their third album, Chemistry. (Man, they really pumped those things out!)
The Video: The girls are mechanics in a car garage in this video for "Long Hot Summer." And their outfits are super practical for working on cars! I, for one, always wear stiletto heels when changing my oil.
This was the year the girls starred in their TV series Girls Aloud: Off the Record and release their first greatest hits album, The Sounds of Girls Aloud. Fortunately, this is also the point that their style starts maturing a bit more. Off the stage, Cheryl Tweedy married footballer Ashley Cole in a seriously over the top wedding, becoming Cheryl Cole (and a WAG).
The Video: Lest you think that Girls Aloud is just about fun pop tunes, they pull out a slow jam like "Whole Lotta History" and show their softer side. The girls take Paris in this music video--and there's nary a belly button in sight!
Tangled Up, Girls Aloud's fourth studio album, is released November of this year. It is their most critically acclaimed album to date. And judging by the looks of things, 2007 was the Year of the Bangs for Girls Aloud. Nicola is finally embracing her pale English skin, even launching a skincare line for pale girls called Dainty Doll.
The Video: "Call the Shots" sees the girls take on a sleeker, sexier look. Plus, it's just a really good jam.
After spending the first half of 2008 on the Tangled Up Tour, Girls Aloud's most commercially successful album Out of Control is released. They also release their autobiography Dreams That Glitter: Our Story. Cheryl Cole begins judging for The X-Factor, where she will stay for three successful seasons.
The Video: "The Promise" has a strong retro feel, so the video plays that up by having the girls hit up a drive-in theatre to watch, uh, themselves perform in the style of a Motown girl group. Meta.
Oh Girls Aloud, we barely knew ye. 2009 was the last year the girls were officially together, performing for the first time at the Brit Awards, where they won Best Single for "The Promise." They went on tour in support of Out of Control and opened at Wembley Stadium for Coldplay and Jay-Z. Despite signing a contract with their record company for another three albums, the girls went on hiatus to pursue solo projects. Sigh.
Their second-to-last video together, "The Loving Kind" marked the group's twentieth consecutive top ten single.
2010 Solo Projects
Nadine Coyle released her only solo album to date, Insatiable, on her own imprint through UK grocery chain Tesco's.
Kimberley Walsh became a presenter on music talk show Suck My Pop and headed up a weekly column in UK tabloid OK!.
This was a tough year for Cheryl Cole: she divorced husband Ashley Cole after several women came forth accusing him of cheating, and she contracted a life-threatening bout of malaria on vacation. However, while her personal life may have been tumultuous, her professional life was soaring: She established herself as a style icon in the UK, released a book entitled Through My Eyes, and had two solo albums under her belt, 3 Words and Messy Little Raindrops.
The Video: Cheryl Cole went solo first, releasing her album 3 Words in 2009. The third single off the album is 2010's "Parachute," choreographed by Cole's friend Derek Hough.
2011 Solo Projects
Kimberley made her West End debut as Princess Fiona in the London production of Shrek the Musical.
Cheryl was set to make her US debut as a judge on the American version of The X-Factor but midway through auditions, she was sacked and replaced by Nicole Scherzinger.
Nicola Roberts released her solo album Cinderella's Eyes, which found generally great reviews among critics.
The Video: The second single off Nicola's album Cinderella's Eyes, "Lucky Day" was filmed in New York (where apparently there was a pants shortage).
The girls are back! Just last Friday, Girls Aloud announced their reunion to celebrate their tenth anniversary. A new greatest hits album plus a UK tour - we want in.
Kimberley is currently appearing on the reality show Strictly Come Dancing, the UK version of Dancing with the Stars.
Cheryl released her third album, A Million Lights and had a bit part in the film What to Expect When You're Expecting. She will also be releasing a second autobiography (hey, a lot can happen in a year or two!) called Cheryl: My Story.
Nicola was chosen by Rihanna to co-host the UK reality show Styled to Rock, which aims to find underdeveloped British designers. Nicola works alongside designer Henry Holland, who calls her both his friend and muse.
The Video: This brand-new video for the new single, "Something New"!
Check out this gallery of our top Girls Aloud style moments: