State of the Arts

Girls Aloud are giving us the first Noughties pop reunion that feels right

Between S Club 7, NSYNC and Sugababes, it has been a year of pop reunions and now Girls Aloud have announced a 2024 tour in honour of their late bandmate Sarah Harding. But while other reunions may whiff of greed or waning celebrity, this one feels far far easier to celebrate, writes Helen Brown

Friday 24 November 2023 13:47
<p>Girls Aloud’s UK and Ireland tour will take place from May to June 2024 </p>

Girls Aloud’s UK and Ireland tour will take place from May to June 2024

Deck the halls with diamanté and false lashes: Girls Aloud are back in town. The girl group have announced they are reuniting for a 2024 tour. Given that their first single (“Sound of the Underground”) was a Christmas No 1, I still think of Girls Aloud as a festive band – and like Christmas, their story involves a triumph of familial love over cynical consumerism and long-running differences of opinion. While many bands reunite out of greed or a yearning to rekindle the embers of waning celebrity, Girls Aloud’s reformation appears to be driven by a genuine wish to celebrate the life of their late bandmate, Sarah Harding, who died from breast cancer, aged 39, in 2021.

The recent reunions of other pop acts like NSYNC and S Club 7 – formed around the same time as Girls Aloud – come across as more desperate endeavours. S Club seem to be ploughing on too soon after the sudden death of Paul Cattermole, and without Hannah Spearritt. Meanwhile, it’s hard not to view NSYNC’s recent single release and planned tour as a business move calculated with the sole purpose of rebooting Justin Timberlake’s career in the wake of the public’s reevaluation of how he treated ex-girlfriend Britney Spears.

But the Girls Aloud tour – planned for May/June 2024 – appears far less cynical and so far easier to celebrate. The bandmates have denied rumours that they’re cashing in by recording new music. It’s not like they need new material to pad out a show; their back catalogue is wall-to-wall hits. “Love Machine”, “Call The Shots”, “The Promise” and “Biology” were among the group’s 21 (I repeat… 21!) Top 10 tracks. During their time, they sold 4.3 million singles, a staggering amount for any band – let alone a seemingly disposable one formed on ITV’s one-time reality TV Show: Pop Stars: The Rivals.

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