Album Review: Cher Lloyd (X Factor) Sticks + Stones – Track by Track Review
- Grow Up with Busta Rhymes – a song that has everything thrown at it opens Cher Lloyd’s debut LP – we’ve got fog horns, rapping, singing and bratty lyrics regarding never growing up. Busta also makes an appearance – if I would have saved the £40k and just left his rap off the track. Think small child let loose in a Pokemon Shop in 1999 and you’ve got the general vibe.
- Want U Back – the backing track on this sounds like a 90′s Super Mario Bros sound-track, the song tackles letting someone go then realising they have moved on really quickly and then wanted them back with Cher singing ‘well I still had you first.’ Her vocals sound impressively aggressive in places but it lacks the catchiness and instant remembrance of her singles. There’s also a bizarre bit about a helicopter at the end of the track.
- With Ur Love featuring Mike Posner – phew we get to take a breathe on this track, this is Cher’s second single which charted at number 4 this week. If you remember back to the X Factor Cher chose his song ‘Cooler Than Me’ to sing to Cheryl Cole at Judges Houses – here she gets to repay the favour to Mike allowing him a vocal that actually adds to the track. Excellent single we hope she continues to do these lighter fun and happy love tracks throughout her career.
- Swagger Jagger – of course Cher’s first single which reached Number 1 in the UK charts – a track full of attitude and well ‘swagger’! This track is like a guilty pleasure to me whenever I hear it I have to sing along in a dodgy Cher like accent. Brilliant stuff.
- Beautiful People featuring Caroline Liar – I would class this as the only ballad on this album which is a huge pity. This track is perhaps a little past Cher’s years but it’s one of my favourites from Sticks + Stones – very endearing and I’m sure it will strike a chord with many of her female fans.
- Player Boi – this will serve as the fourth single and it’s an excellent choice – it’s a track which will probably appeal to a wider audience. It’s a playful spin on a 1998 track called ‘Buffalo Stance’ by Neneh Cherry. Definitely one for the iPod.
- Superhero – Cher has performed this track a few times live already and it’s been picked as the follow up single from With Ur Love – her rolling vocals are interesting on the track but I think Player Boi should have been released before it as a single choice. The rap section comes off a bit Daphne and Celeste unfortunately with it’s traffic jam and jelly references.
- Over the Moon – it’s Christmas! Well it starts off with some bells anyway! Reminds of us Swagger Jagger with a bit of attitude taken out of it the structure of her singing on the ‘I’m over the Moo-ooon’ is insanely catchy. Great track.
- Dub on the Track featuring Feat. Mic Righteous, Dot Rotten & Ghetts – huge nod to Nicki Minaj on this track – it features 3 UK MC’s who will probably get accused of being ‘sell-outs’ because of the X Factor connection. Yes dubstep enthusiasts might be tearing their hair out at listening to this track but if the name wasn’t Cher Lloyd would they care as much? We think not.
- End Up Here – afraid this gets lost a bit in this album as the last track, especially following Dub on the Track which is such a different track to listen too. The album goes out with a fizzle rather than a bang, we would have switched the last two tracks over.
This Syco protege still has a bit of growing up to do – the record is in need of a bit more balance in places. Having said that Cher Lloyd displays immense promise and I’m really interested to see how her style develops over the coming years, definitely one to watch. As she matures I’m sure her music will do with her. It’s also great to see that Lloyd has song-writing credits on 80% of the LP. The producers including RedOne and Shellback have done a great job of balancing Cher’s obvious attitude with creating a record that is also ‘child-friendly’ in terms of the contents and the lyrics.
It’s high-energy bubblegum grime-pop – think of a cool teenager being given a load of skittles and set loose in a record studio and you get the general vibe. There are definitely enough good tracks on the album to justify a place on your Christmas list though. It’s an album which feels longer than it’s 33 minutes.
PopLedge: 7/10 – a highly impressive debut which gets us excited for Cher Lloyd’s career
Tracks you would keep on your iPod – Grow Up, With Ur Love, Swagger Jagger, Beautiful People, Player Boi and Over the Moon.
Listen to this if you like: Nicki Minaj, Daphne and Celeste, Katy B, Dev and Wynter Gordon.