Girls Aloud - Something New
Rumoured to be their final ever single, and presumably the lead single from their new upcoming Greatest Hits album, to mark 10 years (!) since they were formed on Popstars: The Rivals, Girls Aloud are back! In the three and a half years that have passed since last single Untouchable, Cheryl has become one of the UK's biggest pop stars in her own right with the chart topping hits Fight For This Love, Promise This and Call My Name. Nicola and Nadine had less successful solo careers, albeit with some high quality pop produced, certainly in the case of the former. Kimberley is currently amongst the line up of Strictly Come Dancing and Sarah has been unusually low key. But they've finally regrouped and are back to reclaim their title of Britain's premiere girlband from the likes of Little Mix, Stooshe and The Saturdays. Something New is typically GA, a big Xenomania production with pulsing synths that wouldn't have sounded out of place on 2007's superb Tangled Up album. It's a big brash pop anthem with a lot of attitude and a big chorus. In a nutshell: it's brilliant, welcome back!
Steps - Light Up The World
Having reformed last year, 90s pop group Steps went on to unexpectedly huge success all over again. The Ultimate Collection stormed to No.1 in the UK album chart and they sold out a huge arena tour. Fast forward a year and they're set to release their first new studio album since 2000 next month. Light Up The World is a wintery album, mainly consisting of festive covers, but lead single Light Up The World is an original song, and their first new single since the limp Words Are Not Enough in December 2001. This however is far better, a Steps ballad/mid-tempo done right. The song is instantly infectious with an earworm of a chorus that sounds like a mixture of Stephen Gately's New Beginning and something from Emma Bunton's 60s/Bond theme inspired 2004 album Free Me. They all get a turn on vocals, Faye opens the song, followed by a bridge from Lisa, Claire and H sing the second verse and Lee gets a solo turn towards the end. It's doubtful whether this song will continue their streak of UK top five singles as the singles market has vastly changed in the past decade, and I'm unsure as to whether they will get much support from radio/TV this time around, but it's a triumphant comeback single that deserves to be heard, and at least sell some albums for them!
And moving even further back through pop history, Whigfield's crowning moment of glory came with 1994's huge million selling hit Saturday Night. Danish singer Sanne Carlson now returns in her well known moniker with an absolutely excellent pop song, her best since that huge smash of 1994, although Think Of You put up a hue fight for that title too. The second single from her surprisingly excellent new album W (also check out the song As I Go), 4Ever is a fresh electro-pop anthem that's like a mixture of Robyn, Kylie Minogue and Tove Styrke, but retains the Whigfield charm, and she barely looks like she's aged a day in the video! An unexpectedly great return!