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"Call the Shots" is a song performed by British all-female pop group Girls Aloud, written and produced by Brian Higgins and his production team Xenomania. Released on 26 November 2007, the single was the second to be taken from Girls Aloud's fourth studio album Tangled Up. "Call the Shots" was critically acclaimed, with pop music journalist Peter Robinson calling it the "greatest pop song of the 21st century."

Background and release

The song's lyricist, Miranda Cooper, said that "Call the Shots" was actually "inspired by an article she read on something called (coincidentally) the Miranda Complex, named after the ambitious lawyer in Sex and the City, about how women are earning more than men and pushing ahead." The song's music was initially composed by Xenomania in 2005. The lyrics were written a year later during a songwriting session in Paris, Francemarker. "Call the Shots" was almost put forward as a single for Girls Aloud's 2006 greatest hits compilation The Sound of Girls Aloud, but the song was deemed "too downbeat, when a greatest hits single needs to be a celebration." Cheryl Cole told the Daily Star that the song is her favourite from Tangled Up, and that it "gives me goosebumps".

The single leaked weeks before its radio premiere. Despite this, a 30-second clip appeared on the Girls' official website. The song's first televised performance was not until their appearance on The X Factor on 17 November 2007, although they performed the song at a UNICEF charity ball. They also performed the song on The Paul O'Grady Show and This Morning.

Critical reception

"Call the Shots" was described as "an elegant electro-pop ballad delivered with a restraint and maturity to rival groups of twice their age". Marie Claire agreed, stating the song "has a wonderfully ambient feel, echoing an arty electro band." Kim Dawson, a writer for the Daily Star, said that it was "one of their best yet". The Daily Star described the song as "classy electronic Euro-pop with real edge" in their exclusive track by track review of Tangled Up on 7 November 2007. Digital Spy also praised the song, calling it "more tasteful than some of the more lurid, poke-you-in-the-eyes pop glories of previous hits". However, The Guardian felt "its structure and production seem a bit commonplace coming from the people who made Biology, an audacious three-minute pop single on which the chorus didn't turn up for a full two minutes."

More recently, the song won the 2008 Popjustice £20 Music Prize. Popjustice writer Peter Robinson referred to "Call the Shots" as the "greatest pop song of the 21st century."

Music video

The video was directed by Sean de Sparengo, who previously directed Take That's video for "I'd Wait for Life". It was filmed in Malibu, Californiamarker, while Girls Aloud were filming The Passions of Girls Aloud. The video features the girls in purple dresses performing on Malibu Beach at night with flames and white fabric surrounding them.

The girls are also shown in different locations with individual story lines. Cheryl is simply seen looking out of a sunny window. Kimberley is sat in front of a mirror, putting on make-up. Her boyfriend comes to get her and they hug, though Kimberley appears to be sad. Nadine is seated on a couch, flipping through photographs with her and a man. She takes a lighter to the photos and sets them alight. Nicola is lying down by a swimming pool, running her fingers through the water. Her boyfriend walks up to her with a bouquet of flowers and tosses them into the water. Sarah watches her boyfriend in the shower and goes through his phone. It has garnered more than 3 million views on popular video sharing site, YouTube

The video premièred on The Box, Smash Hits! TV and The Hits on 17 October 2007.

Formats and track listings

UK CD1 (Fascination / 1749896)
  1. "Call the Shots" — 3:43
  2. "Rehab" (Live Lounge cover) (Winehouse) — 3:42
UK CD2 (Fascination / 1753047)
  1. "Call the Shots" — 3:43
  2. "Call the Shots" (Xenomania Club Mix) — 4:50
  3. "Blow Your Cover" — 3:27
  4. "Call the Shots" (Video) — 3:43
iTunes Exclusive digital download
  1. "Call the Shots" (Tony Lamezma's Sniper Mix) — 7:22


These are the official versions and remixes and the release they appear on, of:

Version Release appearance
Album Version Tangled Up,
"Call the Shots" single
Xenomania Club Mix "Call the Shots" single
Tony Lamezma's Sniper Mix UK iTunes Exclusive download (No longer available)
Live at the O2 Girls A Live bonus CD


"Call the Shots" was available to download on 26 November 2007 in the United Kingdom, the same day that it was available physically. However, due to popularity on the song, it charted at number nine in the UK Singles Chart. This made it become their second single to chart within the top ten on downloads, and giving Girls Aloud their 17th consecutive top ten single.

On week dated 2 December 2007, "Call The Shots" climbed to number three in the UK Singles Chart. The single stayed at number three the following week, but fell to number five in its fourth week. Through the Christmas week, the single managed to stay in the top ten, charting at number nine. A week later, it climbed back up two places to number 7. The following week, it did not move and remained at number 7, meaning the single spent 7 consecutive weeks in the top ten but the following week, it fell to number 11. It was the 59th best seller in the UK in 2007. By the end of February 2008, the single was still in the UK Singles Top 40 at #38. On 2 March 2008, the single had climbed back up 4 places to number 34.

The song also reached number one on the Sloveniamarker Radio Chart. The song debuted at number forty-four in the Irish Singles Chart on downloads only, rising to number nine a week later.

Due to the success of "The Promise", "Call The Shots" re-entered the UK Singles Chart on 27 October 2008 at number 100.

Chart (2007) Peak
UK Singles Chart 3
Irish Singles Chart 9
Estonian Singles Chart 1
European Hot 100 Singles 9
Romanian Singles Chart 38
Slovenian Single Chart 12
Ukraine Single Charts 11
UK Year End Singles Chart (2007) 59

Live performances

The band performed the track live at the following events:

Cover versions

Artists such as Mark Morriss, Smashing Pumpkins, David Jordan, Coldplay, Bloc Party and Malcolm Middleton have performed versions of "Call the Shots" at live performances.


  1. Girls Aloud Official Website
  2. Girls Aloud dish out X-Factor advice ITN
  3. The Stanhope Alliance Charity Ball 2007 (part 1 of 2) - 3:25 YouTube
  4. Digital Spy Music Review: 'Call The Shots'
  5. [1]
  6. - Slovenian Single Chart
  7. Irish Charts
  8. [2]
  9. α
  10. Estonian Charts
  11. European Hot 100 Singles,
  12. Romanian Top 100
  13. Slovenia Charts
  14. - Ukraine Charts
  15. YouTube - Call the Shots - Mark Morriss (Girls Aloud cover)
  16. YouTube - Smashing Pumpkins - Call The Shots
  17. Youtube - David Jordan - Call The Shots
  18. YouTube - Coldplay @ Brixton - End of Square One/Girls Aloud Cover
  19. YouTube - Call the Shots (Girls Aloud cover) - Bloc Party at Manchester Apollo - January 29th, 2009

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