Two years ago, Carly Rae Jepsen released ‘Kiss’, an album that was unashamedly pop. It sounded like nothing that was in the charts in 2012 (aside from ‘Call Me Maybe’, but even that sounds a bit out-of-place on the album). Last year gave us another shimmery pop album in Diana Vickers’ ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’. Nine years ago, Rachel Stevens released ‘Come and Get It’, which should be the blueprint for the modern pop album, but isn’t.
This year’s “hey, I’m very pop and I couldn’t give a shit” album is Cher Lloyd’s ‘Sorry I’m Late’. It also happens to be the best album of 2014, although that generally happens when you release a brilliant pop album. Yes, I know I put Ellie Goulding’s ‘Halcyon’ and Jessie Ware’s ‘Devotion’ above ‘Kiss’ two years ago, but 2012 was a good year for music.
‘Sorry I’m Late’ isn’t just good because she’s clearly paying homage to ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ on the cover. Nor is it just good because she, or her team at least, have perfected the amazing pop star logo. It’s good because it contains good music, obviously.
Let’s start at the beginning. ‘Just Be Mine’, in true 2014-style, doesn’t have a proper chorus. Instead, she ‘ah-has’ over what could be a massive chorus. It also features Mike Posner on writing-duties. As a side-note-cum-fun-fact, Mike Posner also wrote ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’.
Fans of choruses can rejoice in ‘Bind Your Love’, a stalker anthem that has about three choruses. Seriously, the only album that can rival the melodies and monster choruses here from this year is Sia’s ‘1000 Forms of Fear’. ‘Bind Your Love’ sounds like the kind of song that would have been number one for five weeks back in 2005, which is not at all a bad thing.
Singles ‘I Wish’ and ‘Sirens’ complete the first third of the album. Having a good opening quartet can hide a multitude of sins further on in the album. Take Britney’s ‘Femme Fatale’ for example: strip away the first four songs and there really isn’t much there. ‘Sirens’ is particularly Sia-esque, and is really good if you have a fan to hand. Or a drugs den.
Song five is the song that perhaps speaks to me most: ‘Dirty Love’. I’m sure Cher and myself aren’t the only ones that suffer from the issues discussed in ‘Dirty Love’. We can’t be the only ones who don’t like perfectly groomed and chiselled men, right? She likes a bear, and she’s not afraid to sing it over a Rudimental-lite track.
The album veers off into ballad territory with ‘Human’ and ‘Sweet Despair’. Both are a bit of a comedown after the first five songs, but both are still very much in the good bracket. The latter is co-penned by Beth Ditto, which is all kinds of bizarre-yet-brilliant. If only it was as good as ‘I Wrote The Book’, but still. Tove Lo also has a credit on ‘Killin’ It’, which is the nearest thing to the sick bars spat on Cher’s debut.
Things get all emotional on ‘Goodnight’, which is probably about what she cried about during her X Factor performance of ‘Stay’. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker, be warned. Just cos she likes to fuck with your emotions, the penultimate song on the album is ‘M.F.P.O.T.Y’, which is probably only good when you’re drunk (drink responsibly etc). It’s the Brazil in the World Cup of the album. Shoe-horned in football reference aside, it’s a bit shit. But that’s rectified by closer ‘Alone With Me’, which is the most squeaky clean pop moment on the album. Imagine if Katy Perry released ‘Teenage Dream’ at eighteen and you’re there.
It’s going to flop when released here, and we probably won’t hear much from her again. But Cher Lloyd has the album of the year so far. And she probably will come December too. Let’s hold out hope for the Mercury Music Prize. Or failing that, the Matt Hooper award for being a fucking amazing popstar (The ‘Matt Hooper ‘Fucking Amazing’ Awards’ should be a thing, right).