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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Track-by-Track: Cheryl Cole - Messy Little Raindrops

Messy indeed. As part of one of the UK's most prolific and successful girl bands, Girls Aloud, Cheryl Cole created (ok, participated in) some of this past decade's most essential pop music. Last year, her first solo album did very well even though it was mostly filler. Is the follow-up any better? Not sure, but at least it's got more high points.

1. Promise This - One of her better singles, this uptempo dance track hinted at a more aggressive album. And while that didn't come to pass, it's still a great kick-off. 9/10

2. Yeah Yeah - A ravey dance track that marks a perfect shift in sound from the last album. It's increasingly euphoric as it plays out, and features the kind of subtle hooks that stick with you. 8/10

3. Live Tonight - A strummy track that's saved from being skipable by a breathy, wordless hook at the end of the chorus. It's pleasant stuff, and continues the streak of strong tracks at the head of the album. Too bad the quality doesn't keep up. 8/10

4. The Flood - It's the best solo ballad I've heard from her, though the vocals in the chorus are clearly not all her own. It's a big sounding track and an obvious choice for a single. In fact, it's the only ballad on the album worth listening to. 8/10

5. Amnesia - And thus begins the saggy, midtempo center of the album. This is a lightweight pop track that sounds a lot like the songs on her first album. The chorus is particularly repetitive, and not in a good way. 6/10

6. Everyone - I thought having Dizzee Rascal on this track would make it stand out, but neither the production (which sounds a lot like the last song) nor the melody really catches. Just as you think the promising verses are going to blast into something worthwhile, the forgettable bridge and lame chorus disappoints. 6/10

7. Raindrops - Insipid. From the opening lyrics, I started rolling my eyes. It's the song that gives the album it's title and I guess that's why it's included. The chorus of this ballad couldn't be any more cloying, though I do like the high bits in the verses. 5/10

8. Hummingbird - By this time I was pretty much numbed from the previous tracks, and this is no better. Where is the passion? This is so incredibly boring, from plodding production to repetitive melody. It's barely even a song! 5/10

9. Better To Lie - Oh god. And now we've reached the nadir. This is so lazy. It sounds like about a million other tracks and is oddly detached (even a little bouncy?) considering the subject matter. 3/10

10. Let's Get Down - Finally, some tempo. The lyrics here are some of the worst on the album, but (importantly) the hook and, especially, the production here are great. The beat is easily the best on the album. A pity that and Cole's ridiculous lyrics keep this from being better. 8/10

11. Happy Tears - Back to boring midtempos. It's hard for me to imagine what Cole sees in this material. It's so incredibly forgettable. This is actually one of the worst tracks on the album, salvaged only by being sandwiched between two of the better. 4/10

12. Waiting - Why this ends the album completely confuses me. In fact, it would make a great single. It's probably the best song on the album -- a straightforward dance track with an ingenious piano sample and simple, yet addictive, hook. This is what she should be doing! 10/10

Album Grade: 6.7/10

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the waiting by her too. But i feel like it samples two songs in it. The first one sounds like vanessa carlton's but faster and then the chorus sounds like one too but i cant quite figure it that one out

3:02 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

"oddly detached" is a good description - I find Cheryl can be like that in interviews (ie. she says nothing), so I'm not sure how a whole album by her could play out well.

I imagine her label see her almost entirely as a singles' artist. It would be interesting to see them release several EP or shorter albums by her, rather than 1 long album a year.

5:50 AM  

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