Cher Lloyd, the 16 year old who blew us away with her first X Factor performance, only to transform herself into a stroppy, angsty, try-hard teenager in front of our very eyes throughout the rest of the competition, has something to say, but that’s nothing new.
Her debut album, Sticks + Stones, is finally here, and whilst those young people I see on twitter, who collectively term themselves “Cher’s Brats” (vom) and constantly TALK IN CAPITALS are wetting themselves with excitement, the music industry however, is experiencing that marmite effect only ex reality TV stars seem able to elicit.
Her cover art sets her up as very much as the edgy teen star, there are bright colours, kisses, stars, she’s even got a hash on her tights for God’s sake! No doubt a reference to the hand Twitter has had in nurturing her fan base. Don’t dismiss this girl; she’s going to mess with the discourse no end, she’s even upside down, against a brick wall!
As for content, unfortunately even the talents of the crème de la crème of producing unprecedented hits, max Martin, Red One, The Runners, aren’t going to be able to silence some of the critics out there who take great offense at Cher.
You thought Lloyd had a chip on her shoulder with Swagger Jagger declaring “You can’t stop looking at me so get off of my face”? Wait until she’s shouting at you about how she’s going to “finish off these MCs like they were my cup of tea” in “Grow Up.” Unfortunately, Nicki Minaj she is not and this track certainly isn’t my cup of tea.
“Playa Boi”, a reboot of the 80s classic Neneh Cherry ‘Buffalo Stance’ is a convincing rework of the original 1988 hit, but coming from the young Cher, seems to do nothing to convince of her musical prowess.
But between the misses there are some strong tracks in there. I’m unashamed in admitting I can’t get enough of “Want U Back”, a good, old fashioned pop song, and the single “With Ur Love”, with a helping hand from Mike Posner, will be a good performer on the charts later today. It is this unadulterated pop where Cher undoubtedly performs best.
Overall the album performs very much like a box of celebrations. You’ve got some Malteasers and Truffles in there yes, but then there are also Bountys. And no one really likes them, or do they?