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Remember when the late Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, with characteristic bravado, challenged her TLC bandmates to an album showdown, suggesting they all drop solo records on the same day to see which diva reigned supreme?
TLC’s chart faceoff never happened, but we’ll have a close approximation of this scenario next month in the UK when Girls Aloud members Cheryl Cole and Nadine Coyle both release solo records within a week of each other. Cole’s sophomore album Messy Little Raindrops hits stores next Monday, and Nadine Coyle‘s solo debut Insatiable will follow a week later. You can bet that the red tops and the British music press will be parsing every sales stat for each of these releases.
Can Coyle, clearly the best technical vocalist in Girls Aloud and de facto frontwoman of the band, outsell Cole, who has evolved into one of Britain’s most beloved figures?
Ms. Nadine claims she ain’t bovvered by all the hullabaloo surrounding the chart faceoff. She talks to The Daily Telegraph‘s Neil McCormick:
“It’s not a competition,” insists Coyle. “The press likes to create cat fights with girl bands. I’m not that vicious or wayward. There was real camaraderie in Girls Aloud, the feeling of one for all, and all for one.”
As for Cheryl: “Me and Cheryl always had each other’s backs, because she’s quite a strong character and so am I, so if ever there was anything really serious going on we would be watching out for everybody. She works really, really hard. She went straight from Girls Aloud to X Factor to her solo stuff. I would have been exhausted doing what she did. I was exhausted just watching her.”
The promising sales of Chezza’s lead single, “Promise This,” give the X Factor starlet the edge in this battle. However, early reviews of Messy Little Raindrops have been quite tepid, with MuuMuse ripping it mercilessly. “From ‘The Flood’ to ‘Happy Tears,’ it’s clear that the S.S. Cole has sprung a major leak on its solo journey – and the results are devastatingly soggy.”
And The Daily Telegraph‘s McCormick calls Raindrops “an album that tries to hit too many targets.” However, McCormick doesn’t give Nadine’s album much more praise, writing that Coyle “has ended up with…a fairly generic set of punchy pop rock and big ballads, characterized mostly by Coyle’s hyper-powered vocals.” Yowch.
Compare Nadine and Cheryl’s solo singles below:
Who do you think will come out on top in this Girls Aloud chart battle, Nadine or Cheryl?
by Kevin Wicks
See more posts by Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.