Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nicola Roberts. Cinderella's Eyes (2011).

No one foresaw that during the Girls Aloud hiatus the most critically acclaimed solo release would be by the shy and slightly awkward red head of the group, yet that was exactly what happened when Nicola came out with Cinderella’s Eyes last year.  
For those unaware, Girls Aloud are the best selling female singing group in UK history, with over 20 top 10 singles, knocking Bananarama out of first place in that category.  Solo albums by Girls Aloud members, Cheryl and Nadine, sold well, but disappointed the critics who had formerly praised the group for their innovative pop songs, written and produced by the hit making machine, Xenomania.  

For her debut album, Nicole co-wrote all of the tracks, with the help of some top electronica musicians and producers, such as Diplo, Dragonette, and Metronomy.  Nicole’s appealingly quirky vocal style is reminiscent of Gwen Stefani, Kate Bush, and I even hear Katie White of the Ting Tings, and Marnie Stern to some degree.

This is the kind of Pop that doesn’t translate too well into the US markets.  It’s positive, has lots of energy, relies on melodic content, and it’s a little eccentric.  US Pop seems in contrast, to me, predominately stuck in wooden, faux R’n’B grooves, takes itself too seriously, and is afraid to branch out into something more idiosyncratic.

Well, however you look at it... Nicola Roberts has something special, no denying it.  Cinderella's Eyes is probably my most favorite release of 2011.