Monday, July 28, 2014

Album Review: "Sorry I'm Late" by Cher Lloyd

As a popstar, you have to deal with a lot of shit. With all the gossip surrounding releases, credibility, and record label issues, popstars have a lot of stress in order to try and appease their fanbase. No one can attest to this problem better than X Factor alumni and world's best grunter Cher Lloyd

The just-turned 21 year old (Happy Birthday Cher!) has faced more than her fair share of criticism based on her supposedly "mediocre" performance on the Factor (the foolish public), her so-called "horrible" debut single "Swagger Jagger" (it's brilliant), and even her early marriage last year (do your thang honey!). And frankly all I can say is "BYE HATERS!" and it really wasn't nice to meet them. Cher is a certifiably amazing popstar and should be treated as such, especially since so many other "credible" acts haven't achieved nearly the same success. Her debut album had its hiccups, though "Want U Back" is legendary at this point, but everything about this girl is endearing and if you're part of #ChersBrats you would know that she truly cares about her fans.

Her devotion can be seen as she tried her hardest to release her sophomore album as soon as she could, despite multiple delays from Epic Records and Syco. The first taste of that album came in 2013 when her collaboration with T.I. "I Wish" became one of the best releases of the year. Cher was back with her infectious attitude but displayed a new level of relatability that kept you coming back for more. And really, who hasn't wanted to change themselves for a crush? Though the album was supposed to follow closely with that release, it annoyed Mrs. Lloyd to no end that it wasn't released until May of this year. I'm just imagining her putting all her frustration into a Want U Back grunt while touring with Demi Lovato.

Thankfully, the time spent away really paid off, as her appropriately-titled Sorry I'm Late is a really special record. You always expect an artist to grow up between albums but Cher has pretty much started a new life since her first album went international. This shift is reflected on about half of her sophomore record. The other half still shows the fun-loving young girl that made us fall in love with Cher Lloyd to begin with. Thank god someone gets how to move forward without completely changing their image to "please" taste makers. And the fans have ravenously enjoyed Cher's promotional releases leading up to the album release.

First off, her new mature sound can be attributed to her choice of working with some of the biggest names in pop right now. "Bind Your Love" among many other songs on the album was produced by Shellback and written with Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk, the masterminds behind most of Cher's previous competitors One Direction's biggest hits. The song blends all the spunk and charisma Cher is known for but also displays her wise outlook on life thanks to her new experiences. Songs like "Just Be Mine" and "Alone With Me" show that her lovestruck attitude continues to pervade her sound though it is nothing like the overt "come snog me fella" type writing that was on her first record. I guess marriage will do that to you.

However, nothing shows Cher's maturity than the ballads on the record. "Sweet Despair" and "Human" were written alongside expert singer-songwriters LP and Gossip's own Beth Ditto. While both songs do create a lull in the album's overall upbeat sound, they are stunning stories that depict Cher as looking wistfully back on love, proving that one can learn a lot despite being so young. Second single "Sirens" also portrays Lloyd as the romantic girl pleading her love to come back to her, if somewhat overdramatically. Written alongside Ask Embla's Ina Wroldsen (who wrote many songs for The Saturdays), Cher's voice has never sounded better and no one can deny the girl has what it takes to tackle any type of song, especially after that breathtaking "stays until the sirens' calling" bit in the chorus.

Nonetheless, the true highlights of the album come when we see Cher let loose her inner Brat. Promotional single "Dirty Love" was written with pop mastermind Max Martin's team and provides the fast-paced insanity that really is Lloyd's signature sound. Even though she craves "a bad boy," Cher makes her annoyance with nice boys sound like so much fun and that "when you put your clothes back on, something always feel so wrong" part is pure pop genius. Furthermore, Cher only went and wrote a song with Sweden's most promising talent TOVE LO! Paired with a Tove Lo signature howl, "Killin' It" is pretty much her best song since Want U Back and should really be released as a single.

The album is not as perfect as the wait time would lead you to expect. But that's part of its charm. The rough and tumble attitude that makes Cher Lloyd the amazing popstar that she is would have been lost if every song was a "Sirens." You need the "M.F.P.O.T.Y" (or MotherFucking Party Of The Year) and "Dirty Love" songs on the album otherwise it might be a snoozefest. But if there's one thing you can count on, it's that Cher Lloyd will keep everyone on their toes. Sorry I'm Late is one of the most pleasant surprises this year and hopefully Cher continue to be "Killin it, killin it, killin it" throughout 2014.

Best listened to: In front of your mirror with a hairbrush microphone
Standout Tracks: "Dirty Love" "Killin' It" "Alone With Me"

NSOTPop Rating: 8.2/10

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