Sometimes, in the grand scheme of life, you end up a bit disappointed, and these little disappointments come in all shapes and sizes. A bad grade, dire food or a rubbish night out, occasionally things just don’t cut the mustard. I am sure you can see what I am getting at here. Life is full of little, minor disappointments, but the world keeps turning. Diana Vickers’ new album is – unfortunately – one such thing.
It was all going so well; back in July the former X Factor contestant announced her comeback with her single, Cinderella, a straight up top-notch pop song that you almost would not expect to come from Vickers, given her previous 2010 album Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree which, along with her X Factor stint, tended to emphasise her ‘kookiness’. It was a brilliant song that gets better with each listen. Vickers followed that, the album’s second single and album opener, Music To Make Boys Cry which eases us in with chilled verses and a sparkling chorus, whilst Lightning Strikes is a silly little pop ditty about fate and love.
There is a sudden U-turn with the occurrence of Dead Heat, a surprisingly sultry number that has Vickers purring ‘If I had to choose between oxygen and you, it would be, a dead heat’; it is one of the strongest songs on the album and would make a good single. Similarly, Smoke – another slow song – sees Vickers experimenting with minor dubstep elements, which surprisingly makes a nice sound, before going a bit ‘Hadouken’ at the end when it begins to speed up. Buzzing synths mark Boy In Paris, the title of which tells you all that is of importance in the song; this is shallow pop music – but it is very catchy. Mad At Me – very surprisingly – throws up a very funky ’80’s influenced beat that can be comparable to some of Marina and the Diamonds’ efforts, albeit, with less meaningful lyrics.
The shallowness of the lyrics are perhaps the album’s major fault, so much so that at times it can be borderline cringey, for example, ‘Spill some coffee on some passing guy and I apologise, but he just kinda smiles’, courtesy of Lightning Strikes. This is an album of little substance but with catchy little hooks that wriggle their way into your brain and manage to stay there, whether you think the songs are good or not, such as the very ‘Kylie’ sounding Better In French, a club song that – if it were sung by the Aussie pop-princess – would probably chart rather high. Other songs however, such as the cutesy ballad Mr Postman, are better left forgotten.
That is not to say that Vickers has not found her niche. Her voice does work alongside such pop sentimentalities, it is just that the whole thing needs honing. There is promise for future efforts, were the song-writing and production to mature, but the knack for a hook is definitely present, and nowhere more so than in Cinderella – indeed, going full circle, Cinderella is this album’s saving grace. Vickers is so close to being at the ball, now she just needs to get her foot firmly in the door.
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