Girls Aloud - 'Untouchable'
Until recently, I never considered the possibility of having to discuss Girls Aloud having to edit down a seven-minute album track to make it more radio-friendly. After all, lengthy album tracks are not the sort of thing that straightforward pop bands do; they make albums where every song should be a four-minute-or-less earworm capable of sneaking its way up the charts. But of course, it's not like Girls Aloud have ever been the sort to play by the rulebook, and so there were raised eyebrows aplenty when people got their hands on 'Out Of Control' and realised how lengthy 'Untouchable' was.
Now, I'm a big fan of Girls Aloud, but even I'll admit that I don't think 'Out Of Control' is an album brimming with potential singles. Good songs, yes. Potential singles, no. As far as I was concerned, the only viable options left once 'The Promise' and 'The Loving Kind' were out of the running were this and 'Love Is Pain', but I can see why this won the battle - it's epic and dreamy and a bit of a diversion from the usual GA pattern while still being recognisably very Girls Aloud. But the issue of how to trim down a song twice the length of an average single without stripping it of all its character is a tricky one.
(Here's the video. Spaceballs!)
And to be honest, it hasn't been done entirely successfully. The basic gist of the song is still here: Nicola still gets the lion's share of the verses, and rightly so (I will bore on to anyone willing to listen about how I think Nicola is the best singer in the group, but I'm trying to stay on point, so I'll save that for another time), the verses remain haunting and wistful, and the bridge sort of zooms up and kicks into a dancefloor stomper of a chorus that's uplifting while still being very sad, and there's still the amazing "without any meaning, we're just skin and bones/like beautiful robots dancing alone" refrain at the end. These are all good things.
However, someone has made the regrettable decision to vocoder the living daylights out of the verses for no good reason, which does rob them of a lot of their emotional kick. And the shortening of the intro, and the removal of the repetition of the first few lines (meaning that we hit the chorus for the first time only about 40 seconds into the song, which is a little too hurried for me) all go a little way towards removing the intensity of the album version that I loved so much in the first place.
I'm not saying it doesn't work, because it does. If I'd only ever heard this version, chances are I'd be fine with it. But compared to the version that's available on the album, the radio edit definitely feels rushed and inferior, which is a shame.