The difference between edgy and tacky….Posted: February 25, 2008
Courtesy of the Sugababes and Girls Aloud (two supposedly ‘edgy’ girl groups in the UK for the blissfully uninitiated out there).
In terms of songs and general appeal, the Sugababes have always had the edge for me. Sure, not ALL of their songs are amazing but I’m not averse to the odd one on my MP3 player. I believe Girls Aloud are meant to have the same broad appeal, but unless I were to find myself slightly tipsy in a cheesy nightclub…I’m not sure I’d ever choose to listen to their music. In both cases, I think they’ve taken a long time and several stylists to get to a point where you could slightly respect their fashion sense too. But still the Sugababes have the edge for me. They’re far less cookie-cutter in appearance and I like their refusal to smile or dance much (coolness is as much in the eye of the beholder as beauty). Girls Aloud have more of a propensity to don those dreadful Kyri dresses so beloved of the Z-list celebrities and en masse they frequently resemble the hordes of hen parties I recall from my time living in Bournemouth.
The proof is in the two latest videos for the two tribes. Whereas the Sugababes have managed to pull off a stunning, Vogue-editorial-style promo for what is a slightly mediocre song*, Girls Aloud have produced the single most tacky visuals for the single worst song I think I’ve ever heard in my life.
I can kinda see where they were headed with the pseudo-Georgian corsets, feathers and big hair. And I admire big hair when people have the guts to do it. I even crimped in the name of Kate Bush for New Years, so I’m no slouch in the weird hair styling department. But something about the execution of the ideas, the lighting, the costume-y costumes….the sheer unconvincingness (it’s a word…..) of their attempts to be edgy in the face of such a dreadful song and the clear horror of having looked at themselves in the mirror prior to walking out on set and realising there’s no turning back…..(note to Girls Aloud…..this is the point where you stomp off and have a hissy diva fit and refuse to come back until they’ve replaced the stylist). Ohhhh the list is endless. It’s truly heinous.
I keep seeing the Sugababes video and cooing at Heidi’s pink hair. I have no idea why, although I did manage [I think] to pull off a blue wig once before in my life. At least I think I did. I have worn some weird stuff in my time. The hair and make-up styling is varied and beautiful. I also love the newspaper dress, the plastic bag(?) one, the playing card hats and pretty much just about everything in there. Hugely unwearable but genuinely, bafflingly brilliant. Heidi’s even wearing a Pierrot collar at one point (I can see I will not rest until I’ve gone out in one – it’s turning into a theme at the moment).
At times they both reminded me of the Army of Lovers Crucified video (see below if you’ve never seen it – high camp and highly rewarding!!).
Anyway, enough wittering. I thought it was an interesting compare and contrast example of getting it right vs. getting it horribly wrong.
*It’s still better than anything I’ve ever heard by Girls Aloud