GIRLS ALOUD | The Promise

LYRICS:

One, two, three, four!

Everything he does
Better than anything ordinary
Everything he wants he gets
'Cos everything he does is kinda necessary
Though I believe in love, tell me
Can anything last forever
If life can live up to love
Then hand on my heart
I'm never saying never

'Cos
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade, babe
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade

Maybe next time I'll take a ride on by
When I feel you near
'Cos I can't play this like I'm meant to now
My Aladdin's lamp is down and I got a fear
Oh baby right here

Giving up just looking into windows, yeah
I've had enough of wishing I'd found you
Baby don't you know
I've had as much as I can take of falling, yeah
I've got a lot to learn 'bout riding through

'Cos
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade, babe
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade

Here I am, walking Primrose
Wondering when I'm gonna see you again
So here I am, walking Primrose
Wondering when I'm gonna see you again

Got my hands all ready to touch your soul
I'm gonna get the energy
To wire me close to you
Got my eyes on the prize I see
Are you watching me baby?

'Cos my heart is turning to solid gold
And my head is saying
Honey, too good to be true
But one look in your glittered eyes
Power's failing me every time

'Cos
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade, babe
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade

Maybe it's not that hard to know you
Maybe we'll make it up and go
Maybe we'll work things out
There's only one way up
And one way down, I know
If you wanna convince me, start again
If you wanna be with me in my arms

'Cos
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade, babe
You're gonna make me, make me love you
Nothing at all, nothing that I do
The promise I made, the promise I made
Is starting to fade, starting to fade

Maybe next time I'll take a ride on by
When I feel you near
Maybe next time I'll take a ride on by
When I feel you near

INFORMATION:

Available on:
x Girls Aloud - The Promise (2008) CD-S, 7''
x Girls Aloud - Out of Control (2008) CD

Credits:
Written by Brian Higgins, Carla Marie Williams, Jason Resch, Kieran Jones, Miranda Cooper
Produced by Brian Higgins and Xenomania.
Mixed by Jeremy Wheatley
Drums - Florrie Arnold
Guitar - Kieran Jones, Jason Resch , Nick Coler , Owen Parker
Keyboards, Programmed By - Brian Higgins, Matt Gray , Miranda Cooper , Tim Powell , Toby Scott, Jason Resch , Nick Coler , Owen Parker
Strings, Woodwind - Adrian Smith , Jo Auckland , Mark C. Brown , Mike Kearsey , Nick Squires , Stefan Defiletm , Susan Early

Single information:
"The Promise" is the nineteenth Girls Aloud single, and their fourth number-one single on the UK Singles Chart. It is the first single to be taken from the band's fifth studio album Out of Control. It was released as a download on 19 October 2008 and on CD on 20 October 2008.
Peak position: #1 (UK charts)

Notes:
"The Promise" won "Best British Single" at the BRIT Awards 2009. It was Girls Aloud's first BRIT award.

One day two young Australian musicians of Xenomania, Jason Resch and Kieran Jones, played this '60s sounding backing track to Brian Higgins and "The Promise" was born. Brian and Miranda Cooper didn't write anything to the backing track for a few weeks - they waited until the right time so they didn't ruin this moment. Eventually the right time was a sunny summer Thursday. They wrote the song in seven minutes. The day before "The Promise" was due to be delivered to the label the entire backing track was ditched and replayed from scratch.

The minute Girls Aloud heard "The Promise", they decided it should be the first single from Out Of Control. It was decided that the band were now ready to pull off the definitive girlgroup look - that of The Supremes in the 1960s - and that a slightly 60s sounding sound would complement the look.

There's three versions of the song available: the normal single version, the album version (which includes a longer intro and different ending) and an alternate version in which Nadine sings Nicola's verse.

REVIEWS:

x The Promise takes the Duffy template for retro '60s pop/soul and given its very own Xenomania twist. Horns blare, harmonies are to the fore, and there's a quite brilliant key change which leads into possibly the catchiest chorus of the year.
It may lack the innovation and attitude of some of their previous work, but if you're looking for sparkling, fresh and sheer bloody fun pop music, then there's nobody better right now than Girls Aloud. John Murphy

x It's like an elegant, sophisticated 70s disco song inexplicably missed off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. You might not feel moved to play it very often, but when you hear it you enjoy it. It is the Girls' least brilliant (ie worst) comeback single to date, but it's still 'a pop treat'. Popjustice

x The Girls Aloud are the latest group to jump on the retro bandwagon. With them however, it feels far less trite because the Aloud and Xenomania have always been committed to taking influences from all genres and decades. "The Promise" wears its inspiration on it's sleeve, hearkening to a distinct Motown-esque sound. Usually, Nadine Coyle with her unique "fog horn" of a voice is the Diana Ross to the group's Supremes (though Cheryl Cole has always gotten more press), but "The Promise" grants each girl their own part of the song to sing solo. 17 Tracks

x The song has a serious 60s vibe; it sounds similar to a Tom Jones song and its structured like a track from one of music's golden eras.(...) The song will not make you pull out the dancing shoes. It's one of their more mellow efforts, something we don't see often. Honestly, its not the easiest song to catch on quickly with, but I definitely give them credit for expanding their musical horizons. In fact, the jarring difference makes it all the more intriguing. The 60s sound is definitely in (a la Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Mark Ronson, even the Sugababes), but this sounds nothing like it at all. Gotta give it to Xenomania; they make sure their GA songs sound nothing like anyone else. Brandon Lewis

x 'The Promise' is blissful, swooning, and warm. In some senses it's not very 'Girls Aloud' (key change? no fade out?), but the truth is that the band have consistently released singles that sound unlike anything they've done before - 'The Show', 'Love Machine', 'Biology', 'Something Kinda Ooooh' - and 'The Promise' continues in that tradition. It's certainly a sharp turn from the tone of last year's Tangled Up album; this is light and airy where that record was dark and edgy. Almost six years - and eighteen singles - on from 'Sound Of The Underground', Girls Aloud and Xenomania are still finding new sounds and delivering fresh, exciting pop. Best pop band since Abba? Best pop band ever? Has anyone bar the Beatles ever released as many thrillingly brilliant singles over a six-year period? Jon

x Prepare to be surprised by this track, popwatchers, because after the futuristic, cutting edge pop of the last few singles, The Promise is kind of what you'd expect if Nadine and Co had nicked a fluxed-out DeLorean and gone back in time a few decades.
Alright, so this seems to be part of a trend by Xenomania to mine the remnants of 60's pop music, as evidenced by the latest Sugababes effort. The jury's still out as to whether we really need this particular kind of revival movement, but doubtless it'll keep your granny and Louis Walsh happy while it all lasts.
For me, The Promise was too sharp a change in direction, and too soon. In fact, on the first few listens, the backing track in particular sounded like that bland kind of muzak they used to have in supermarket adverts in the 80's.
However, I'll concede that the song eventually will grow on you, despite the fact that it's nowhere near as groundbreaking as the last album Girls Aloud released. Unreality Music

x With "The Promise" I fear Girls Aloud and Xenomania have made their "War Song". The hook which masquerades as a chorus - the sub-Bacharach "promise I made, promise I made" - is undoubtedly memorable and catchy, but then so was "war, war is stoo-peed, and pee-pool are stoo-peed." And, as with [Culture Club's] "The War Song," the record doesn't seem to know where to go or what to do with itself once the hook has been nailed down; there's a terrible, telling moment near the record's end - directly after Cheryl's "in my arms" - where the song more or less loses itself in a void, all undirected whooshes and pointless spaces, before going into an anti-climactic key change. The effect is as if Xenomania hadn't worked out what was going to go in that space but put the record out anyway, unfinished, and is suggestive of an underlying contempt for their audience.
The "song" seems to have been pasted together with BluTak, which makes the opening, hopefully defiant "1! 2! 3! 4!" a clear case of trying too hard to cover up deficiencies. Having a verse structure which changes with every verse does not always represent the pushing of the pop song envelope; here the differences sound contrived, lazy, cynical, messy and unmemorable. And Miranda Cooper's "lyrics" seep an "am I bothered?" shrug from every ill-lit pore. What does "life can live up to love" mean? Or "giving up just looking into windows"? Or the beyond ludicrous "My Aladdin's lamp is down"? And when Cooper doesn't scribble non sequiturs she's busy penning clich├ęs: "I believe in love," "I'm never saying never," "Got a lot to learn 'bout riding through" (riding through WHAT?). Possibly her worst moment here - which is saying much - is "Here I am, walking Primrose" which is not only lazy and contemptuous shorthand lyric composition (as atrocious as anything Gary Kemp ever wrote at his considerable worst) but also, since it clearly refers to Primrose Hill and therefore Plath country, what I'm taking as a personal insult.
(...) in general "The Promise" continues the regrettable trend begun on Tangled Up of five voices all singing in unbroken unison, neither Bananarama nor Medeski Martin & Wood; there is no attempt to exploit the harmonic possibilities of five voices, merely a dulled Hollyoaks playground chant long outgrown.
And, throughout, "The Promise" constitutes a pretty thorough indictment of the corner into which British pop has again painted itself. The success of Winehouse and her numerous schooled imitators seems to have sent British pop into a panic; now it's all carefully tooled reconstructions of The Sixties, a time which even the parents of most Sugababes and Girls Aloud fans would struggle to remember first hand. Compare with the unapologetic and skilfully and elegantly constructed adventures that are coming out of American pop at the moment, not just "Disturbia" or "When I Grow Up" but also, just to name three off the top of my head, Solange Knowles' "Sandcastle Disco," Danity Kane's "Strip Tease" and Sophia Fresh's "What It Is" - all records which smile towards tomorrow, as opposed to glancing fearfully at yesterday - and British pop in comparison appears trapped, pinched, underfed, petty, choked by its own past; that one mono vision of The Sixties which nobody will allow us ever to forget even though it has long since, as "The Promise" clumsily puts it, started to fade. HV120

x (...) to put it mildly, it's not what anyone was expecting. It's neither a 'Call The Shots'-style pop romp nor a floorfiller in the 'Something Kinda Ooooh' vein. Hell, it's not even a ballad. So, what it is then? Well, if you asked Girls Aloud and Xenomania, their producers, to come up with a new song for the Dirty Dancing musical, it would probably sound like 'The Promise'. That's right, Girls Aloud have gone sixties. "Oh balls," you're probably thinking, "Not them as well!" But 'The Promise' is actually really good - a cute, wistful pop song that feels like a semi-distant relative to to 'Can't Speak French'. There's a groovy "one, two, three, four!" intro, some nice Spectorish touches in the production and a lovely, classic-sounding melody. In summary: it's hard to get your head round at first, but Girls Aloud are still very much on form. Nick Levine


LINKS:
x video on YouTube
x Wikipedia page

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