'3 Words' had pop banger Fight For This Love.
'Messy Little Raindrops' had crazy banger Promise This.
'A Million Lights' had club banger Call My Name.
And 'Only Human' has the "dickmatised" Crazy Stupid Love. The signs were there really.
Where her previous three albums at least had a strong lead single, 'Only Human' is her most consistent album to date - only in that it's consistently crap.
The overly long, fifteen track album takes its musical cues from the dance influenced electro pop that's already been done better by countless other artists. There's even a track here called Beats N Bass if you were unsure, by the very end, exactly what the album consists of. The production is frothy to the extreme, distinctly lacking in hooks, novelty or excitement.
The only other musical element is the vocal: bland, emotionless and with a limited range. Live Life Now features a distinct lack of melody as Cheryl essentially talks (I'm reluctant to call it rap) over the aforementioned beats "n" bass. Thematically and literally it's followed by It's About Time, a song about moving on written by fellow girl aloud Nicola Roberts. It's a fairly average funk track, but why Roberts' songwriting ability is idolised these days I'll never know. "I need a big explosion", she sings. No thanks Cheryl, you've already shat out this turd of an album.
It starts with an Intro consisting of a speech from philosopher Alan Watts, which fails to add any depth to an album that is beyond hope. He asks "what would you like to do if money were no object?". Cheryl continues with Live Life Now as if to answer his question (easy for her to say), a sentiment that continues throughout the album. Clearly she wants to move on from her past mistakes, but there's nothing anthemic or emotive about her words. Instead she simply screams "I don't care" on the fizzing track of the same name, which she later repeats on Throwback with the line "I've got zero f*cks to give". That track's preceded by Stars, which sounds like the theme tune to some shoddy piece of Saturday night 'entertainment' with its chorus lyric "we can all be stars", as if justifying her own rise to fame.
Cheryl Cole was a troubled soul. Fighting for love and record sales, she actually put a modicum of effort into her career and, with a very public love life, had something emotive to sing about. At the very least she released three memorable pop singles with a spark and an edge about them - enough to elevate her career.
Now we're stuck with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini: a dull woman who's in crazy stupid love, patronisingly tells us that "if money were no object" then "we can all be stars", and undermines herself by crying out "I don't care". Maybe if she cared a bit more she'd have an album worth listening to.
* It's About Time
* I Don't Care
* Only Human
Listen: 'Only Human' is available now.