The new princess of British pop returns with a new album this week, and it's messy. "Messy Little Raindrops", the second album by Cheryl Cole in just under a year, is a continuation of the approach that was used on "3 Words". That approach? Throw things at the wall and see what sticks. 

Not too much of the music here sticks. 

We've got the initial single, "Promise This", a hyperactive romp which showcases Cheryl's voice a bit better than anything on the previous album. You can actually hear an unprocessed, single voice on rare occasions in the song. 

Here's a caveat : in the last year, Cheryl has contracted malaria and divorced Ashley Cole, but if you're looking for any significance in these songs that describe her life, you'll search in vain - she only co-wrote two of them, and both of them are done with her demon of choice, Many of the reviews of the album that have appeared have noted an element of pathos that they attribute to Cheryl, but she's just a showroom dummy most of the time - these are not her sentiments. I'm not sure she has any. 

What we have here instead is modern pop, melted and blenderized into a messy little package that makes a lot of noise, but says nothing. Compare this to, for instance, the last two albums by Robyn, and see how much it suffers. Robyn has personality to spare, and everything on her records reflects that. Cheryl? Not so much. Maybe she casts no reflection. 

But don't be discouraged, pop fans - there's an occasional good one here! "Yeah Yeah" has whoopy synths and, um, Travie McCoy. "Amnesia" has some interesting production and a great vocal. "Hummingbird" holds itself together in a Beyonce-ish sort of way. "Happy Tears" features another good vocal, adequate instrumentation, and is barely marred by a sappy lyric. 

Unfortunately, all the good stuff tends to be outweighed by the soulless and/or just plain stupid decisions on many of the tunes. Cheryl has branched out her production to various sources, but she's managed to get mediocre work from many Big Names. "Better To Lie", for instance, is produced by the Modern American Pop producer of the moment, J.R. Rotem, and - no surprise - it sounds like a b-side by Jason DeRulo or Iyaz, complete with a clone of their vocals by the name of August Rigo. The two tunes range from average ("Live Tonight") to the absolutely intolerable "Let's Get Down", which manages to be both stupid and offensive. Someone PLEASE tell that the whole "popping bottles" thing is beyond cliche at this point? 

We've got "The Flood", the Big Ballad that goes through the motions. "Everyone" features a phoned-in rap from (sigh) Dizzee Rascal. The semi-title track "Raindrops" becomes obnoxious after a minute or so in - this one was produced by Jean-Baptiste, who was responsible for the dynamite "Acapella" by Kelis. Did Cheryl get a discount from these guys, in return for shoddy work? 

If Cheryl is ever going to reach the holy grail (i.e. the American market), she's going to have to do better than this. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, elsewhere and better. 

I'm thinking we're about a year out from the big Girls Aloud reunion. 

"Messy Little Raindrops" gets a messy little 4 on the England Swings scale of 1-10. 
3/22/2012 11:38:19 am

good post

5/30/2012 07:09:30 pm

THX for info

7/15/2012 03:20:52 am

THX for info


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