Tuesday 8 November 2011

Cher Lloyd - Sticks + Stones

This really was a battle.  I struggled to even press play.

I emerged from track one, the suitably titled Grow Up, battered and bruised, warm blood slowly dribbling from my ears.  Then came track two, Want U Back (luckily not a cover of the Jackson 5), a decent pop effort with more than a whiff of Miley Cyrus's Party in the USA (an infinitely better track).  Following this was the double whammy of With Ur Love and Swagger Jagger, two of the most annoying tracks of 2011 that come crashing out of the speakers to bludgeon your ears to near death.  And then something odd happened.  Rising from the bloody battlefield, I began to warm to the second half of the album.  It's surprisingly ok.

The main problem is its schizophrenic nature.  From the bubblegum pop of Want U Back, to the slow ballad Beautiful People (an ode to her muse Cheryl Cole?), the faux hip-hop of Playa Boi (which updates the classic 80s Buffalo Stance into "gangsta stance" - I do wish she'd learn to spell) and the pop-dubstep/Katy B inspired Dub On The Track, the influences are varied.  It proves that Lloyd (or at least the record label) are having something of an identity crisis and are unsure which direction to take her.  Then there's the featured artists, included in a desperate attempt to add some authenticity.  Of course, lyrically this is vacuous stuff, but it's all catchy enough for the pop market to lap up.

And at the least, its full of personality and youthful vibrancy - even if that personality is still trapped in the "X-Factor's annoyingly obnoxious brat" mode.  Still, the "first base...second base" rap in With Ur Love is slightly paedophilic.  Yes, her nasal, slightly autotuned whine is grating and her "rapping" is vexatious (though thankfully kept to a minimum).  But as an album aimed at her peers it succeeds.

So all in all, it's not so bad.  But it's also clear that Lloyd is simply a silly little girl who, after her five minutes of fame, will struggle to find her feet in the big wide world of music.  Perhaps this is proof that the music industry should be given an age limit?


Gizzle's Choice Track
* Want U Back