Review : Cheryl - A Million Lights
GuardianWe're witnessing the Guettaisation of chart music: everything sounding like David Guetta made it. Or, indeed, Calvin Harris (who produced Call My Name here): both he and Guetta pump out indeterminate Euro-house club bangers devoid of personality. That is also a problem facing Britain's sweetheart, the impossibly beautiful Cheryl Cole. Her wobbly performance at the jubilee concert was as unconvincing as a lot of these tracks, particularly post-break-up posturings such as Screw You and Sexy Den a Mutha. She seems less of a cypher when balladeering, as on the quietly persuasive title track....full text
BbcAs she releases her third solo album, it’s worth remembering that Cheryl (sans the Cole part, as her profile now declares a mundanity such as a surname redundant) came to the fore as a pop star. Amidst the personal dramas and the gossip fodder and the being chewed up by the X Factor machine, A Million Lights would do well to serve as a reminder of the singer at the heart of the ceaseless interest.
In practice, it gets halfway there. Lead single Call My Name is Calvin Harris by numbers, every beat foreseeable a mile off. And a handful of other songs subscribe to the safety of all-consuming radio-house, songs which could be attributed to anyone. It’s an exercise which doesn’t do her justice – for instance, the middle-eight of Sexy Den a Mutha, the only part where she sounds discernibly like herself, is the track’s high point.
For a woman whose every move is scrutinised by the murkier corners of the press, it’s understandable that she doesn’t want to lay herself entirely bare. But the infrequent flurries of sincerity provide the standout moments of the album.
The title track, an epic trance ballad which displays a genuine sensitivity, goes some way to depicting unfeigned individuality, something replicated on the stripped-down All Is Fair. And even the hip hop truisms that fill Ghetto Baby only heighten its lingering, brassy character....full text
TimeoutIt was a relief that 2011 came and went without an album from Cheryl Cole, née Tweedy, now just Cheryl. Although it scored Chezza her second Number One, following her 2009 debut ‘3 Words’, 2010’s ‘Messy Little Raindrops’ seemed rushed, made in a haze of malaria and heartbreak as she juggled judging on ‘The X Factor’ with recording.
Not that she’s had a moment’s respite since. Much of last year was consumed by her disastrous Stateside ‘X Factor’ sojourn and working on this latest LP with a raft of new collaborators.
Wisely, manager/Black Eyed Pea Will.i.am’s input is kept to a minimum – he pops up just once on the repetitive ‘Craziest Things’ which flaunts pop’s latest craze for a dampened dubstep bass whomp (see also ‘Love Killer’). Another recurrent dance-to-pop motif recurs thanks to Calvin Harris (who else?) and his migraine-inducing synths stabs (‘Call My Name’).
There is a slight tendency here for the 28-year-old to too closely recall her peers: ‘Sexy Den a Mutha’ is a Rihanna cast-off, ‘Ghetto Baby’, penned by Lana Del Rey, should have remained a demo and ‘Under the Sun’ is Lily Allen-lite, cheapened instantly to a Magaluf anthem by an inexplicable football chant refrain....full text
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