Life for Cheryl Cole may not have been smooth sailing over the past decade but that all seems to be in the past for the pint-sized starlet as she firmly embraces a revitalised return to music and in the process, a deserved return to the top of the charts as she delivers album #4 of her solo career.
Only Human is one of the year’s most highly anticipated pop records and for good reason! So far the record has delivered one of the years finest collaborations with Cheryl enlisting Brit rapper Tinie Tempah on the albums lead single, and Cheryl’s 4th #1 single, Crazy Stupid Love. The LP’s second single, I Don’t Care was also released this month to coincide with the album release and has since scored Cheryl with her 5th #1 single on the UK charts, making history along the way, naming Cheryl as the first British solo female artist to accomplish this. Not bad going for the early days of a new record, that’s for sure.
With all the hype surrounding the singles and the album’s release, we were keen to hear whether or not the singer had struck lucky with the tracks that have found their way as singles from the record or whether there was consistency to be found on new album Only Human. Thankfully it turns out that it’s the latter but then again we wouldn’t have really expected anything less from Cheryl who, aside from her latest single accomplishments, has had a career dotted with success. From her 2009 debut 3 Words which offered us tracks like her 1st solo #1 Fight For This Love and the impeccable Parachute; 2010’s Messy Little Raindrops which came peppered with hits including her 2nd #1 single Promise This and her 3rd #1 in the shape of Call My Name from 2012’s A Million Lights, the pop path has been very generous to Cheryl. And then there’s the consistent decade-long success of her former girl-group Girls Aloud to remember.
Only Human showcases a woman who has enjoyed the ups and downs of life and is confident and comfortable with laying it out like it is. The record boasts a theme of unrepentance of former choices and adopting a more carefree attitude toward the rumours and stories that swirl around someone in the public eye like Cheryl has been for the past 12 years.
This records theme is the most evident on tracks like her latest single, I Don’t Care which carries a powerful message of putting the stresses and worries of what people are saying to one side and focussing on the positive. The track is a full throttle pop hit with an energetic techno vein running through it which will lend itself easily to the club scene.
The records opening intro borrows Alan Watt’s famous speech ‘What If Money Was no Object’ to set a philosophical mood to Only Human before the song merges into the records first track, Live Life Now, a song which encourages us to look at life right in the eye and go for gold and knocks around a mostly spoken word delivery with a backbone of grinding, robotic electro-beats.
Nicola Roberts, Cheryl’s former Girls Aloud band member, offers her writing skills to It’s About Time while some of the standout tracks on Only Human emerge through Cheryl’s gentle ballads; numbers like Waiting For Lightening and the album’s title track showcase the singers pristine vocals and ability to switch from power-driven dance-floor number to sensitive torch song with ease and confidence.
Another standout comes in the shape of Stars and its quite an appropriate song given her time on the X Factor and her own rise to the top with the optimistic track telling listeners ‘just forget who you are, we can all be stars’. Cheryl also shows off her impressive rap skills on Throwback, adding a memorable R&B hit to the new record.
Only Human is a strong collection for Cheryl to return with after a couple of years out of the solo spotlight and is deserving of the chart attention that the record has already gained with its first 2 singles reaching the top spot in the UK. It will be interesting to see if Cheryl can keep the momentum up with future single releases but it certainly shows promise with the songs she has offered us here.