English singer-songwriter-rapper Cher Lloyd has never been one to rest on her laurels. Starting out on the UK’s The X-Factor, Lloyd signed with Simon Cowell and found success with her début album Sticks & Stones. Pop hits “Want U Back” and “Swagger Jagger” gained her radio play, but the bubblegum pop image pushed by her label wasn’t working for her. Sophomore album Sorry I’m Late brought us a more mature sounding Lloyd, with songs like “Dirty Love” and “M.F.P.O.T.Y..” Her neon ensemble was toned down to black crop tops and sneakers, more in line with Lloyd’s true image. She began covering artists like the Arctic Monkeys in concert, showcasing her talent beyond the young pop scene.
“Everything is about to change,” Lloyd told RollingStone.com when they revealed her new single “Activated.” Even the choice of outlet confirms it, things are changing for Lloyd. With the pop machine generally cranking out about an album a year, it’s odd that Lloyd hasn’t released a new album since Sorry I’m Late in 2014. According to the same article, Lloyd was purposely taking her time, making sure each track is true to who she is as an artist. “I wasn’t going to just record something and release shit for the sake of having a song out,” she asserts. “I wanted to feel something when I heard [it], and I wanted to feel like I did when I first started, like when I used to sing in my bedroom when I was 15,” she explained to RollingStone.com.
Opening with Lloyd’s light rapping, “Activated” showcases a calmer, more confident Lloyd. While her previous singles were typically about love, her latest is all about herself. “Activated” is about being in the zone and ready to party; there’s a liberal sprinkling of language and allusions to drinking, but not so many that it feels unnatural. While it’s a pretty calm song, tempo-wise, the rhythm and lyrics keep it at a good tempo.
Listen to “Activated” here: