The People’s Princess pleases with Her catchy generic pop
Cheryl Cole, the People’s Princess and National Treasure, possibly inspired by the general adulation she receives as a judge on The X-Factor, has broken the bonds tying her to the other commoners in Girls Aloud with a debut solo album. Now, say what you want about her less regal girl band colleagues, they still churned out some of the best factory-line pop of the past decade. ‘Biology’ for example, is better than The Beatles, modern medicine and soup.
While there’s nothing to match those heights on this record, it’s a tuneful, danceable concoction nonetheless, opening with the title-track, a blast of phasing acoustic guitar samples over a four-to-the-floor drumbeat, to which she duets with Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. Generally the producers of her royal court play it straight. She’s got an assertive, tuneful voice rather than a pyrotechnic Whitneyesque warble, so she’s accompanied by simple synth lines and given soulful but unfussy melodies and snappy lyrical hooks (“I don’t need a parachute, baby if I got you,” she sings on ‘Parachute’). ‘Heaven’ (also featuring Will.i.am) on the other hand kicks off like Laurie Anderson’s ‘Oh Superman’ with looped and effected vocal hooks before establishing a straight Janet Jackson-style groove. Then ‘Don’t Talk About This Love’ cuts straight through the catchiness centres of the brain like a classic Gloria Estefan ballad.
The only major disappointment really is that Cole sings in a generic, slightly nasal mid-Atlantic accent rather than in her native Geordie. But that’s her royal prerogative.