University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Published September 28th 2012
Cheryl's down with the kids
You've got to hand it to Cheryl. She's contended with divorce, malaria, and the whims of Simon Cowell, and yet she's still found time to produce a #1 debut single on her newest release, A Million Lights.
Our Cheryl may have caused debate over whether or not she was 'big' enough a star to drop her surname, and she's certainly taken a big risk with this album, which comprises predominantly of feisty dubstep anthems and (arguably) sincere ballads.
Of course, the stand-out track has to be her debut, Call My Name; it's an irritatingly-catchy dance track which benefits largely from the genius of Calvin Harris, rather than any particularly memorable lyrics. Sadly for our Geordie jewel, however, Cheryl falls into her own trap of trying to be too down-with-the-kids, and between ballads, plays on the dubstep vibe far too much, causing tunes such as Ghetto Baby and Boys Lie to sound a bit samey.
A Million Lights is far from a total disappointment, however- in fact, Screw You is a refreshingly memorable up-yours to her estranged ex-husband Ashley, with a backing riff so addictive you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a remix of Tinie Tempah's Pass Out. It's certainly a far cry from the woman who claimed anything that's worth having is sure enough worth fighting for, instead biting hard with the rather awkward 'I loved you so much but you never gave a...' you get the idea.
The album does suffer a little from its predominant focus on letting Mr Cole know just what she thinks of him; Love Killer feels completely redundant amongst a plethora of other heavy bass tracks- while it showcases to some degree the extent of her vocal talents, (make your own judgement) frankly, it just sounds a little whiney.
Thank goodness, then, for the few and far between dance tunes- taking inspiration from her ex-(see what I did there?) X Factor buddies, Sexy Den A Mutha has a very JLS- She Makes Me Wanna/Alexandra Burke-Elephant feel to it, and certainly won't sound out of place in nightclubs, if listeners can figure out, or indeed care, what Sexy Den A Mutha means, of course.
Peppered throughout the album are Cheryl's valiant attempts at ballads- the eponymous A Million Lights knocks the socks off Messy Little Raindrops' The Flood, while Taoi Cruz's Mechanics of the Heart is undeniably powerful, even if the lyrics are a little strange- if you are not religious, then how will you ever believe? Getting a bit deep there for my liking Chezza.
All in all, A Million Lights is hardly to Cheryl Cole what Ray of Light was to Madonna Ciccone- the nation's favourite council-estate backgrounder will have to work a little harder to earn herself such surname-less status. While Call My Name will undeniably stay on our radars until next summer, Miss Tweedy should probably stop trying to be so cool and just stick to what she does best. Asides from miming.