Girls Aloud’s ‘Sound Of The Underground’ Turns 20 With Deluxe Reissue

The album’s new editions features a wealth of rarities and remixes, alongside a 24-page booklet with brand-new sleeve notes and unseen photos.

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Girls Aloud - Photo: Ellis Parrinder

To celebrate it’s 20th anniversary, Girls Aloud and Polydor/Fascination Records are set to release a deluxe edition of the band’s debut smash hit album Sound Of The Underground, the first in a series of reissues of their studio albums.

The classic album will be released as 3CD deluxe edition featuring two bonus discs of B-sides, rarities and remixes, alongside a 24-page booklet with brand-new sleeve notes and unseen photos. The album will also be available on vinyl for the very first time on both green colored vinyl and a limited edition picture disc. The 3CD track list will also be replicated on streaming and digital platforms.

Fans can also today hear the first release from the album, “Sound Of The Underground (Alternative Vocal Mix).”  This alternative mix of the song from the archives has never been released digitally before, and see the band members singing different lines of the iconic song to the original. Last year a limited edition 7″ vinyl release of the song was released, with this alternative version as the B-side to raise funds for The Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal.

Girls Aloud - Sound of the Underground (Alternative Vocal Version)

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After beating their Popstars: The Rivals competitors to the Christmas Number 1 in December 2002, Girls Aloud’s “Sound Of The Underground” single went on to spend four weeks at the top of the chart and heralded in a run of 21 magnificent chart smashes that defined a decade in pop.

Remembering the creation of the Sound Of The Underground album Nadine recalls, “The aim was to bring in as much creativity as possible and make something as strong as the single “Sound of the Underground.”

The album’s spine is its six tracks produced by Brian Higgins and the Xenomania collective. Girls Aloud arrived to the recording sessions to find a small army of songwriters concocting hooks, lyrics and rhythm tracks in every room, which Higgins would later piece together into sparkling and surprising pop songs. A vital part of the process was the wide-ranging conversations he would have with individual band members.

“I would sit down with Brian and he’d say something like, ‘OK, so you’re a 17-year-old girl from Northern Ireland, now living in London.’ What’s going on in your life?’” Nadine Coyle recalls. “Those chats were really important because they helped to drive our musical direction and make our songs genuine.”

The stomping “No Good Advice” was then released in May 2003 as Girls Aloud’s second single and it debuted at No.2. Much as they had done with “Sound of the Underground,” the band turned the song’s lyrics into a formidable statement of intent. “But I dig the music that I’m making, baby, and I’ll break it into your brain,” Nadine sings on the second verse. “No Good Advice” has gone down in history as a Girls Aloud classic and a band favourite – though that doesn’t mean every band member enjoyed making the video.

“It was a 24-hour shoot from 6am to 6am the next morning, and I had a trouser rip situation that had to be gaffa-taped shut!” Cheryl says.

The original version of the track included lyrics that needed to be censored to ensure radio play – the original uncensored version appears on the deluxe 3CD set. Higgins and Xenomania also produced “Life Got Cold,” the album’s wistful third single which became Girls Aloud’s third consecutive top three hit when it was released in August 2003.

However, what came next was arguably even more important. When the Sound of the Underground album was reissued that November, it included a fourth hit, a rollicking cover of the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump” recorded for the soundtrack to British rom-com movie Love Actually.

“It was a make-or-break song for us as a band,” Kimberley says, explaining that its success persuaded their record label to invest in a second Girls Aloud album.. “‘Jump” saved our career,” Nicola states. “It was four on the floor so it could be played in the clubs, but it was also familiar enough to be played on the radio. And at this point, it was probably our most digestible single.” The song remains one of the band’s most-streamed songs of all time.

In October last year Cheryl, Kimberley, Nadine and Nicola held The Primrose Ball, a charity gala event for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK, as part of The Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal. Hosted by Cheryl, Kimberley, Nadine and Nicola, and presented by Fearne Cotton, the evening saw performances by Olly Alexander, Ricky Wilson (Kaiser Chiefs) and Will Young, with a live auction including an original canvas depicting Sarah Harding by The Connor Brothers. More recently, a limited edition 7” vinyl release
of the band’s debut single “Sound Of The Underground” was released, also to raise funds for The Sarah Harding Breast Cancer Appeal. The single was backed with a never-before-released alternative vocal version of the song from the archives which now appears on the new 3CD set of the new album reissue.

Pre-order Sound Of The Underground.

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