Thursday, May 12, 2011

10 good things about Nicola Roberts' sampler

1) The chorus of Beat Of My Drum sounds like M.I.A. covering Daphne & Celeste - i.e. unquestionably excellent.

2) Nicola has studiously avoided making a record for the sort of people who write glossy magazine articles about Pippa Middleton's miracle diet or different sorts of people who sit in radio station playlist meetings pretending to be 14 years younger than they actually are. Instead, she's followed her heart and made a bold and experimental pop album that's a huge personal statement. At times it's uncomfortably personal - and it's all the better for it.

3) She's got a sense of humour, too. "I hope that one day we'll stop striving for perfection / I hope that everybody loves my new direction." That is a good lyric.

4) A sitar! On a solo album by one of Girls Aloud! And it's not even a lazy Beatles' pastiche! Amazing.

5) The verses of Yo Yo echo of the bittersweet melody of Dusty Springfield's I Only Want To Be With You - a song that, tonally and lyrically, seems to be a touchstone for the entire project.

6) The explicit references to how she battled with her self-image during the early days of Girls Aloud: "I don't like nasty words / They hurt me like you'd never know / But don't think I won't put on a smiley face and do the show." (Or indeed, "do The Show", as in epic Girls Aloud tune, "The Show"). Bless her cotton socks.

7) Nicola is not afraid to make her voice sound ugly at the service of a song.

8) The lyrics reveal a girl who took public criticism to heart, and had that insecurity interpreted as stand-offishness. The music reveals a girl who no longer gives a flying fuck what you think, bitches.

9) First you'll hate it. Then you'll get it. Then you'll love it.

10) Or not. I'm a terrible judge of this stuff.

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