First Impressions: Nicola Roberts – Cinderella’s Eyes

Forget Cheryl bloody Cole or any of the other dollies with the Oompa Loompa tans – Nicola Roberts was always as interesting as she was pale. The pretty one from Girls Aloud, she also turns out to have the best songs – and frankly a fairly impressive voice.  Let’s get this straight before we start: this is not what you’re expecting.

.

.

That’s really as sappy and ballady as this album gets: if the intention was to make an off-kilter and unexpected pop record, it’s one she pulls off with admirable aplomb.

.

.

There’s a kind of Godwin’s Law when it comes to female performers, but Roberts really did want to sound like Kate Bush – even going as far as trying to arrange a collaboration. Although she didn’t get her wish, she does a fair impression. Well, it’s more like Kate Bush fronting 80s Depeche Mode, which sounds as good as you think it will.

.

.

On the whole, Cinderella’s Eyes fits more comfortably in the Oh Land or Lykke Li niche than the likes of Kylie or Madonna.

.

.

That doesn’t mean that she can’t put together a radio-friendly blast of pure Katy Perry-style pop when she wants to, though.

.

.

OK, so there’s more than one ballad on the album, but the rage and torment in Sticks + Stones makes it stand out from the usual ooh-baby-you-left-me type sh*te you usually get. You’d need a heart of stone not to tear up at the lyrics: “Too young to buy my own bottle of vodka / So I begged the driver please I need another / How funny I was too young for so many things yet you thought I’d cope with being told I’m ugly / Over and over” – an allusion to her miserable stint in Girls Aloud, which makes me wonder why the f*** she rejoined the band.

.

.

What’s interesting about that clip is that it’s not fixed – it’s not autotuned – so you get the imperfections along with the beauty. It’s raw, honest and devastating.

The thing most wrong about Cinderella’s Eyes is that it only got to number 17 in spite of overwhelming critical acclaim. She made a brave record without paying too much heed to commercial considerations, and in doing so made the kind of release that makes you question why pop fans ever buy that sh*te from Glee. Like the unrepentantly flawed clip above, it’s the antithesis of the airbrushed Simon Cowell monoculture – ironic, given that Roberts was discovered on a TV talent show.

Regardless, it’s a fine album, and pleasantly surprising even to someone with high expectations to start with.

.

Advertisements

3 comments on “First Impressions: Nicola Roberts – Cinderella’s Eyes

  1. It’s weird really that the better the pop the less the pop fans go for it. Those people like utter crap not craft. This is indeed a spectacular album (well from these clips it seems so) and it’s some quality pop. So no surprise that it only got to 17. I would say that was the bigger achievement. One of my fave Christina Aguilera songs is called Little Dreamer. My friend in Ladytron wrote it for her and it sounds absolutely incredible. Suffice to say that album bombed in spite of it being musically amazing. I guess the thing is, as soon as pop starts to appeal to the likes of me on my terms, it’s a signal that it’s got on a whole other wavelength and is likely to start losing it’s original fans. A bit like how I can no longer stand Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the masses love them now. The selfish part of me wants more pop stars to ruin their careers this way, because then I’ll be spoilt with more music to my liking. ha ha But hey… I might even buy this record by Nicola Roberts… I’m in the middle of writing pop songs and the inside of my head is decidedly more glittery and sugary than ever. I am looking for bubbles and unicorns and maybe this stuff might be the drug of choice.

    • Sounds like I’ll have to check out that Christina album – I never even heard of it. The last thing I heard by her was Candyman, I think, which was OK but not amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s