GIRLS ALOUD | Swinging London Town


Do you know the me that wakes
And see the livewire in my eyes
The it girl with a twist girl and no one realises
Just that I'm living on a tightrope
I can't, I won't look down
I pussyfoot from drink to drink
In swinging London Town

Do you know the me that wakes in places
With faces I've never seen
The mother of all hangovers
To remind me where I've been
And if I stop, I'm sickened
It really gets me down
So I step back into the city lights
The queen of London Town
It's the queen of London Town
It's the queen of London Town

New York, Monico, Paris and Milan
Poor little rich girl, who does it 'cos she can
I'm just a big time Gucci girl
A first in retail therapy
And now we're down the slide to rehab
And all of it for free
And with these joke-fuelled egos
Martini sipping chums
Gigolos, stick-thin models
Hanging off their arms
I guess I'm neck deep in it
I'm starting to drown
Along with all the wannabes
In swinging London Town

Do you know me?
Do you know me?
Do you know me?
Really, really know me?
Do you know me?
Do you know me?
Do you know me?
Really really know me?

Soho soaks drink Campari
Free flowing bubbly, a drop of gin
Cocktails with price tags
Make you choke on your sushi
Dressed to impress, these bright young things,
Chelsea chicks, drink white wine spritzers
G&T's or bottled beer
Horray Henry's cruising the King's Road
In daddy's bentley still full of Gear:
Gear, Gear, Gear, Gear, Gear, Gear, Gear

Do you know the me that face graces pages of Hello? Graces pages of Hello?
Try hard to die hard, united on the goal
Air kissing eligible bachelors
And trust fund daddy's boys
International playgirl showing off their toys

And all these price tag starlets
A galaxy of stars
Buzzing around the next big thing
And checking out their cars
I guess I'm neck deep in it
I'm starting to drown
Along with all the wannabes
In Swing London town
Swinging London Town
Swinging London Town
Swinging London Town
Swinging London Town


Available on:
x Girls Aloud - Chemistry (2005) CD

Written by Miranda Cooper, Brian Higgins, Matt Gray and Tim Powell.
Published by Xenomania/ Warner Chapell Music Ltd.
Produced by Brian Higgins and Xenomania.
Mixed by Tim Powell and Brian Higgins.
Keyboards and Programming: Tim Powell and Brian Higgins.
Keyboards: Nick Coler.
Programmed by Jon Shave.
Guitar: Nick Coler.

x It should sound like a cautionary tale, but the music - a collision of warp-speed funk guitar riffs and distorted Giorgio Moroder-style techno-disco that unexpectedly drops into wafting movie-soundtrack ambience - is so glorious that it makes a downward slide to rehab sound about as much fun as it's possible to have. Alexis Petridis

x (...) songs which deliberately exploit and revel in the fact that they needn't appeal to the frequently bizarre whims of the Radio One playlist committee. One case in point is 'Swinging London Town', which sounds like technopunks Atari Teenage Riot steamrollering Top Shop's head office and feels like staggering around the capital under the spell of enjoyably cheap narcotics. Peter Robinson

x (...) a fairly open pisstake of ligging debutante partygoers who are always pictured pissed in expensive dresses in the celebrity magazines. You might like to stop for a moment here and consider the irony of Xenomania writing a song on that subject for the members of Girls Aloud to sing. Sweeping The Nation

x I think that a lot of people have been trying to write this song over the past decade, this sort of precisely calibrated techno rock thing, and in retrospect it now seems as though there are entire discographies that are like rough drafts for this one perfect composition.
"Swinging London Town" is sung from the perspective of a spoiled young socialite who is all too aware of the toxic nature of her lifestyle. She is already seduced by the excess and decadence, but can barely mask her contempt for virtually everyone and everything in her life. Status symbols are alternately desired and derided for being ridiculous cliches, evidence of nonexistent imaginations and mindless trend-hopping. The character is on the outermost limits of our sympathy, but she earns some small measure of it in the context of the arrangement. As the track intensifies, the vocals initially recede into the mix, making her seem overwhelmed and tiny as she is consumed by her world. When the bridge hits, the bottom drops out and it suddenly seems like happy hour at a trendy nightclub on the ocean floor. When the song comes back up for air, the vocals grow more confident, though the lyrical tone is more defensive than anything else. It's the sound of pride swallowing a person whole, and desperation being trumped by aimless ambition. Think of this as being like the "kicking squealing Gucci little piggy" section of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" fleshed out into a proper character study. Matthew Perpetua

x (...) the skill and nous that have gone into songs such as 'Swinging London Town' are unimpeachable. There hasn't been a song since the Pet Shop Boys' 'West End Girls' that captures the ugly charms of London on a Friday night, but 'Swinging London Town' comes close. Kitty Empire

x (...) Girls Aloud staring their mortality in the face and inviting it to take a fucking swing. The London here is the one where everything and everyone is taken for granted-"Soho soaks drink Campari, free-flowing bubbly, a drop of gin; Hooray Henrys out cruising the King's Road, in daddy's Bentley stuffed full of gear." This is the cycle that they have become locked into, and which will chew them up and spit them out, because that's what happens. (...)
Girls Aloud might just be the most universally critically acclaimed musical act in Britain today. The adverts for Chemistry proudly sport recommendations from NME, The Observer, The Times- and they're still the pieces of meat that, when the time is right, will be thrown in the bin. No-one, when writing about Girls Aloud, can avoid the meta dimension. Every review must mention Xenomania, because we all know how pop works know. You come in. You have a maximum shelf life of x amount of years-say five at the outside, yuh? Then you split with the greatest hits album and farewell tour, one of you has some kind of semi-successful solo career, the rest will resurface on various reality shows, then it's a matter of waiting till the Hear & Now tour comes knocking. Girls Aloud, it is presumed, have seen their future, because, quite frankly, so has everyone else. Any attempt at a denial of this is because they're celebrities. They're deluded. That's their job.
"Swinging London Town" is them trying to escape. William B. Swygart

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