Monday, September 6, 2010

A massively over-written post about Nadine Coyle's new solo material

Careful, you'll break your teethBy now you've probably had the chance to listen to Nadine's first solo effort. It's very good, isn't it? A thundering, juddering juggernaut of VERY LOUD pop music. I like it a lot.

I got the chance to spend half-an-hour listening to a few tracks from Nadine's album last week. Quite brilliantly, the whole affair took place in an expensive central London recording studio, where the songs were played in crystal clear hi-fidelity quality from... er, an iPhone plugged into speakers through its headphone socket.

It was one of those situations where various people involved with making the album watch you expectantly while the tracks are played at ear-damaging volumes. I did that thing that music journalists do of staring intently at the floor, tapping my foot and trying to pull the "I am enjoying this song very much" face.

Result: I looked like someone had stuck a fork in my leg and I was frantically trying to shake it off.

Luckily, though, the songs are very good indeed. They're almost exclusively recorded with "real" instruments, providing a chunky, organic backdrop to that powerhouse Derry voice. As you can hear on Insatiable, Nadine really lets rip, in a way she could only hint at on Girls Aloud tracks like Wake Me Up. And, without the need to harmonise with four English girls, her Norn Iron accent comes through more strongly than ever before. This is a good thing.

Irn Bru - made in Scotland from girdersApparently, Nadine wrote and recorded most of the basic tracks by herself in her flat in London. She used Apple's free music creator Garage Band to put them together - and then had to call in a bunch of top name producers (Toby Gad, William Orbit) to replace the copyrighted samples. This is not, it is safe to say, how Cheryl Cole goes about it.

I'm not really allowed to say much about the other songs I heard (not even their names!) but one was a choppy, staccato R&B-type number that you'll almost certainly want to dance to.

Another was the BIG BALLAD - which someone referred to as "an X Factor winner's song". That's massively underselling it, though, because the melody plunges and drops dramatically, taking the song far away from the safe waters of The Climb or A Moment Like This.

So, the big question is: Will this be a hit? The songs are definitely there. Insatiable, in particular, has lodged in my head after only two listens. But the tabloids seem to have settled on their angle already: Nadine snubs Cheryl; Girls Aloud to reform without Nadine; Top producer Labrinth turns down Nadine (hilariously, Labrinth later denied the quotes he'd supposedly given the Mirror). Nadine needs to spend a lot time spreading good will in Fleet Street if she wants to rewrite that narrative.

On the plus side, Insatiable is bound to get a jaw-dropping, hair-tossing video courtesy of Wayne Isham (Britney, Aaliyah, N*Sync, Shayne Bloody Ward). And the decision to release the album through Tesco is forward-thinking and perfectly suited to Nadine's fanbase. It all shows that she has the smarts, the talent and the drive to get herself heard... Let's hope she manages it.

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