Music Review: Sticks & Stones by Cher Lloyd

Cher Lloyd, a British pop star hailing from the 2010 X Factor UK season (the same season that created British boy band phenomenon One Direction), drops her album on this side of the pond tomorrow. Here’s a song by song review of the British copy as a preview!

  1. “Grow Up” – The opening track features Busta Rhymes (rather unexpectedly, considering Busta’s heyday occurred during Lloyd’s elementary school days), and has a rather island-y feel to it. This would make for a great summer song, though one that appeals to younger fans. Blending singing with Cher Lloyd’s own rapping, this song is a surprise for those that have only heard Cher Lloyd’s “Want U Back.”
  2. “Want U Back” – The lead single from the album has a classic pop sound, in the sense that it’s unbelievably catchy and fun. The lyrics sound rather bratty and selfish (but hey—her followers are called ‘brats’) and convey a simple idea—that of wanting someone back as soon as they have found someone else. Her voice takes on some quirk at random points, but a good amount of this song is rather melodic.
  3. “With Ur Love” – Featuring Mike Posner, Lloyd celebrates the love of a significant other in this tune. In my opinion, this song contains one of the best lines on the album, “Baby you the best/Cause you worked me out.” A bit more of Lloyd’s vocal power comes through on this track.
  4. “Swagger Jagger” – “Swagger Jagger” certainly takes the Quirkiest Song on the Album crown. Upon seeing the name, I thought the song was going to be completely ridiculous (and whatever, maybe it is) but it’s probably the catchiest song on the CD. This is in no small part to the fact that it samples “Oh My Darling, Clementine,” the words of which I now have issues remembering. Also, this song intensely references modern technology and the word “hater.”
  5. “Beautiful People” (featuring Carolina Liar) – Lloyd puts away the quirk and rapping for a pretty, collaborative ballad. I found that this track demonstrated more of her range as a singer rather than utilizing more of her hip hop abilities or bratty sound like the faster-paced songs.
  6. “Playa Boi” – This song has such a 90’s feel, and not only because it brings up a similar message to TLC’s “No Scrubs” or Destiny’s Child “Bugaboo.” There’s a few pop cultural references, including “Like a Twilight fan I’ma bite ya” (self-explanatory) and “Gimme love not a bad romance” (a nod to Lady Gaga perhaps?) to be found.
  7. “Superhero” – This was the only song on the album that I’m not entirely sold on. It contains my least favorite, saccharine sweet line on the album, “I kissed you/I kissed you/And gave you all my sugar.” I found the repetition of the “I” sound rather annoying throughout the chorus, this opinion coming from a fan of the syllable-repeating hits “Blow” by Ke$ha and “Til the World Ends” by Britney Spears. However, I do enjoy her pop culture-referencing rap in this one, talking about everything from Jet Li to Clark Kent’s glasses.
  8. “Over the Moon” – This song starts out with what sounds like Christmas bells jingling. When Lloyd begins singing, it takes on an old fashion feel, almost as if it should be coming out of a record player than my iTunes. The song takes a turn and goes directly into intense rapping. The mix of her more classic melodies and the modern-sounding raps worked perfectly together, creating a unique track. Overall the song discusses her glee at “making it” in the music industry, even referencing the creator and judge on The X Factor, Simon Cowell.
  9. “Dub on the Track” (featuring Mic Righteous, Dot Rotten, and Ghetts) – I adore this song and don’t have the words to explain why in a satisfactory way. I appreciate that the guest rappers reference Simon Cowell again and The X Factor itself; I feel like this demonstrates Lloyd’s awareness of where she came from. I feel that it’s also worth mentioning that the guest vocalists bark occasionally.
  10. “End Up Here” – This song is a slower jam, but certainly more of a pop ballad than her “Beautiful People” collaboration with Carolina Liar. It’s surprising that the album ends on a slower note—I prefer pop albums to end on an upper or a big band/burlesque-sounding number, a la the Spice Girls’ “Lady is a Vamp” that closes out Spice World. Regardless, a good track, even if a bit misplaced.

There are a few differences between the U.S. version and the UK version, namely that “Over the Moon” and “Dub on the Track” were cut in favor of a song called “Behind the Music” and a collaboration with Becky G called “Oath.” The tracks also appear in a different order.

Overall, if you’re a fan of pop music and good catchy fun, grab a copy of this CD. While I feel like Lloyd trends a bit younger with her fans right now, she has a different sort of sound worth hearing in the pop scene. The only detracting factor for me is the “text speak” utilized in the song titles. I hate that sort of thing. Nevertheless, Lloyd is certainly a pop artist to be watching!

Have you heard any of the tracks listed up here? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Brianna is a twenty four year old born and raised in the swamps of Jersey. Just kidding, she lives at least twenty minutes from those swamps. She’s a publishing professional that moonlights as a writer. She enjoys going to concerts (anything from Rooney to Springsteen to NKOTBSB), roadtripping, and complaining that she truly belongs in the 1950’s/early 1960’s (THE MUSIC! THE CLOTHES!), the 1920′s, or the 1980′s depending on her mood. She definitely owns more books than she should and reads every chance she gets. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night. You can contact her at bri@theyoungfolks.com. Twitter: @bri_lockhart