The English Football Team Have Rediscovered Their Power, And I Have Rediscovered The Power of Atomic Kitten | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

The English Football Team Have Rediscovered Their Power, And I Have Rediscovered The Power of Atomic Kitten

In the midst of World Cup madness one noughties girl group has worked its way back into our hearts, Ben Johns writes

I never imagined that my new-found patriotism for this country would be all down to the union between three women from Liverpool and a waistcoat wearing England manager. But, knowing that a Gareth Southgate tweaked version of Atomic Kitten’s 'Whole Again’ has been echoing throughout the streets of Russia is the one time I’ve felt truly proud to be English since the Brexit referendum.

‘Southgate you’re the one, you still turn me on, you can bring it home again’ has reignited my love for Natasha Hamilton, Liz McLarnon, and, dependent of the year, Kerry Katona/ Jenny Frost. Atomic Kitten were the underdogs of the music industry, just like England were the underdogs of this World Cup. And just like our football team’s moments of success, Atomic Kitten’s have also been substituted to the bench of public consciousness. Atomic Kitten crawled so that Little Mix could run, and their services to British music deserve to be rediscovered.

Atomic Kitten crawled so that Little Mix could run, and their services to British music deserve to be rediscovered

Flashback to 1999: Three fresh faced girls from Merseyside were being touted as the British version of Destiny’s Child. Whereas DC opted for refined R&B, Atomic Kitten were the complete opposite and released the rough and ready ‘Right Now’ as their first single. The 80s porno funk guitar worked in with some OTT strings, was the juxtaposition of trendy. Atomic Kitten were so overtly uncool, and so obliviously unaware, that it made them even more endearing.

Through the wonky tooth smiles, and questionable hairstyles, you can see that they were really trying their best. They embodied a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ in their live TV performances as if they couldn’t believe that out of all the girls in Liverpool learning ballet in council-ran leisure centres, that they were the ones lucky enough to ‘make it’. However, after a slew of moderately successful singles, they were on the cusp of being dropped from their label. ‘Whole Again’, arguably the best song to be released by a British girl group ever, changed all of that.

‘Whole Again’ is arguably the best song to be released by a British girl group ever

British culture is an eyebrow pierced Natasha and a red and blonde streaked bob sporting Liz literally sing their hearts out on the various ‘whoa, whoa, whoas’ dotted throughout the song. And it’s impossible to forget Kerry Katona’s attempt at a Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez spoken word interlude, with her ‘For now I’ll have to wait…’ bridge, delivered in a faux Americans style. Again, so uncool, but endearing. Atomic Kitten’s Japanese fans adored it so much that a version with solely Kerry speaking the lyrics in her forced Miami-meets-Merseyside accent was released in the country. The song that has been a soundtrack to many post-World Cup celebrations saved Atomic Kitten from pop obsolescence, and because of it, they went on to score three platinum-certified albums, and 9 top-ten singles.

This was the girl group that made a heavily pregnant Natasha Hamilton wear a crop-top and low-cut jeans in their music video for ‘The Tide Is High’. This was the girl group that released a clothing range with BHS. This was the girl group that made chunky belts, rara skirts, and office-wear theirs. They were noughties England personified in the form of a girl group and encompass all that was great about our country all those years ago.

Atomic Kitten were noughties England personified in the form of a girl group

Atomic Kitten were never privy to William Orbit produced bangers like the much more stylish All Saints were, their budget never once came close to matching that of Girls Aloud, and the tabloids were much more enthralled with the comings and goings of the various incarnations of the Sugababes to ever pay the trio any real attention. But, with true Northern grit and determination, they kept carrying on and didn’t do that badly when it came to time to call it all a day. Liz McLarnon went on to front BBC Three show, Hotter Than My Daughter and Jenny Frost also became a part of the BBC Three family by presenting misogyny, masked as a makeover show, Snog, Marry, Avoid. Natasha Hamilton managed to come third on Celebrity Big Brother in, and Kerry Katona has overcome addiction problems, two declarations of bankruptcy, and three marriages, to come out relatively rosy on the other side and is now acting as Daniella Westbrook’s sobriety coach on Loose Women.

World Cup fever can’t last forever. At some point, we’re going to have to compartmentalise our feelings of joy towards Southgate’s squad, and return to the normality of our lives. But, if out of this month, Atomic Kitten can swindle some performances in Pryzm nightclubs across the country, then I’ll be happy. Football might not be coming home again in 2018, but I for one, am ready for Atomic Kitten to once again soundtrack our next football conquest in 2022.

(@ben_johns)



Published

20th July 2018 at 9:00 am



Images from

Atomic Kitten



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