Saturday, 12 February 2011
Nicola Roberts: The Advent Of A New Musical Titan.
(Originally published in Attitude)
As someone who derives roughly 80% of the pleasure in my life from girl bands, I have spent an incalculable proportion of my youth debating the merits of their members. I’ve devoted 15 years to the Spice Girls, and so established both a clear hierarchy (Ginger, Scary, Posh, Baby, Sporty) and a righteous indignation when this isn’t reflected in the wider population. I have rarely been as enraged as when Posh repeatedly received the loudest applause on the last Spice Girls tour, seemingly just for having had sex with David Beckham.
In the eight years since Girls Aloud were formed, my affection for each member has followed a winding trajectory - except for with Sarah “foghorn” Harding, who I’ve never liked. Her most iconic contribution to the group was when she hit that extended bum note performing The loving Kind on GMTV (http://bit.ly/3IAaqs) and she’s been the least personable when I’ve met her. Also, rock chick? Babes, no.
I’ve always been a great admirer of Nadine’s pigeon English, and think the performance she gave on Irish Popstars when she got busted for being too young to be in the competition was nothing short of awe-inspiring (http://bit.ly/e3Rsvn)Unfortunately, her solo material occupied the ground just beneath under-whelming, and I get the impression that if she put as much into her music as she does running her themed pubs/ candle shop empires in LA we might have ended up with something better than we did.
LOVE sensible Kimberly (especially for playing to her strengths by becoming the self-appointed bookkeeper when the band were managing themselves) but she doesn’t exactly come across as a creative powerhouse does she, bless her. I also have a lot of time for Cheryl, but possibly more as a people’s princess than a musical visionary.
Which leaves us with Nicola “I hate sunbeds, I do” Roberts, a woman who described herself as looking like a “sad fish” during the early stages of the Popstars audition process. Excitingly, there are murmurs of a solo album in the pipelines. Nicola is responsible for many of my favourite Girls Aloud vocals (always having done the best line in wistful; see Call The Shots/ Whole Lotta History) so she’s got the delivery covered, and has apparently also been working with the type of producers you’d imagine capable of recreating some of that GA magic.
Obviously she’s also got by far the best aesthetic, so all that’s left is for her to follow the following footnotes: 1) She’s apparently been working with Dragonette. This is a brilliant idea, and should definitely be pursued over a “ Siobhan Donaghy doing Kate Bush” sound (didn’t work for Siobhan) 2) Stay friends with Cheryl – X Factor, innit 3) Don’t open any candle shops. Too time consuming, and potentially dangerous when wearing the amount of hairspray that you’re accustomed to 4) Smash shit up in the video 5) Don’t be afraid to bring back the side-ponytail, the bigger the circumference, the better.