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Friday, October 5, 2012

Cher Lloyd - Sticks & Stones

Cher Lloyd got her start on UK X Factor back in 2010. Placing forth in that season, it was easy to see that her and those One Direction boys had the best chance to break big. Maybe it’s best that you don’t win, after all? After signing to Simon Cowell’s label, Syco, Lloyd soon showed that her spunky attitude was more than just a short-lived fa├žade. “Swagger Jagger” propelled her into the artist limelight overseas, followed by “With Ur Love,” featuring that Posner guy who is always repping his Alma Mater, and “Want U Back.” Laying the foundation proved to be a smart move as Lloyd now finds herself trying to break it big Stateside. Her initial impression is strong with her US release of “Want U Back,” reaching the Top 40 on Billboard, with performances on “Ellen” and “Dancing With The Stars,” to help put her image out there to those who only know her by her voice. The title of her debut US album, Sticks & Stones, was released Oct. 2nd. Read on to get our thoughts.
            Just about everyone under the sun knows “Want U Back,” so let’s not beat a dead horse over it and move onto other tracks that deserve attention, good and bad.
“Oath” is Lloyd’s second single, featuring young rapper Becky G. It’s a fresh sounding track from the get-go, incorporating a California, feel good electric guitar progression, followed by Lloyd, whose vocals show a chip on her shoulder in the first verse. The chorus, however, is a different story. It’s a catchy hook that sounds a lot like Avril Lavigne. It’s not a bad song at all, but it does not reach the same level as “Want U Back.” Sure, the lyrical content is something that grief stricken teenage girls will flock to when in need of a happy sounding song that has “deep” lyrics, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a radio hit.  Check out the following lyrics from the chorus: “Wherever you go, just always remember/That you got a home for now and forever/And if you get low, just call me whenever/This is my oath to you.”  (See what I mean?) In terms of the Becky G feature, it isn’t necessarily a bad move, as it unites two songstresses that have a certain edginess about them, but it’s not necessary to bring the song to a whole.
            As it should continue to be stressed, the second single isn’t meant to follow in the coattails of the success of the first hit single. That said, “Oath,” is not a bad song, but it shouldn’t be the second single. “With Ur Love” should have been that choice, rather.
            “With Ur Love” has a very M.I.A. type feel to it. It’s pop, but not overly bubble gum sounding. The production and lyrics are spot on, but the real thing that makes the song is the melody. When this song was released back in the UK a year ago, featuring Posner, it seemed a little disconnected, a lot like “Payphone.” Here, however, Lloyd shows that she doesn’t need a vocal feature to keep someone listening. What makes her different from the other female solo acts out there is that she has this ability to be a cute, funky, edgy, brat all at once. This song proves that she has the gusto to be a multi-threat.
Check out her UK music video of "With Ur Love," featuring Mike Posner, below: 

            All in all, the album is a solid first effort from Lloyd. The real issue lies in her ability to tiptoe the lines between pop and “rappy.” Her best songs are when she successfully combines the two, with a moderate lean towards pop. Whenever her sophomore effort comes out, it will be received with open ears (from this person at least). Until then Druggernauts!

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