Sticks + Stones CD
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Recorded over eight months in Europe and the USA, Cher’s debut features the touch of some of music’s most illustrious producers and writers. Max Martin (Britney, Katy Perry, Usher), Red One (Lady Gaga, J-Lo), Shellback (Pink, Maroon 5,), Savan Kotecha (Britney, Usher), Kevin Rudolph (Lil Wayne) and TMS (Dappy, Professor Green, Lily Allen) have all collaborated with Cher to create a collection of contemporary, street-wise pop treasures, with the lady herself co-writing a number of the songs.
"With Ur Love", a Max Martin produced love song which features US singer/songwriter Mike Posner has big beats and soaring melodies. "Grow up" is a reggae influenced song Cher wrote for her generation which sees Cher hook up with legendary rapper Busta Rhymes. Elsewhere on the album Cher hooks up with Red One and samples the legendary Neneh Cherry on "Player Boi", reworking the lyrics of the classic "Buffalo Stance" and incorporating that unmistakeable hook. "Superhero", produced by Jukebox (Willow Smith - Whip My Hair) laments the end of a relationship over a rapturous 'throw back' beat, with Cher left tormented by love's anguish. Demonstrating a diverse sound, Cher partners with American indie rock band Carolina Liar for the emotional "Beautiful People", a powerful heart wrenching ballad.
Cher Lloyd's Swagger Jagger is perhaps the most unloved number one in recent memory. Understandably so – it's not just a clunky bunk-up between Black Eyed Peas-aping beats and the melody from Little Donkey, but also strangely defensive for a debut single. "You can't stop looking at me, so get up out my face" is not a line anyone wants to hear from an 18-year-old pop starlet who's supposed to be Living The Dream.
Fortunately, it's quite the worst thing on the X Factor scamp's debut album. Her current single With Ur Love, a bubblegum RnB number that's roughly as easy to resist as a pie sat cooling on your neighbour's windowsill, is more representative. Featuring songwriting contributions from RedOne and sundry graduates of the Max Martin School of Hitmaking, Sticks + Stones offers a veritable clew of earworms wrapped up in glossy pop rap packages.
That's not to say it lacks surprises. Beautiful People, a hook-up with Swedish pop-rockers Carolina Liar, could not inaccurately be described as an "emo power ballad". Dub on the Track is a gutsy dubstep nugget featuring cameos from a trio of grime MCs – enough, one suspects, to make Simon Cowell choke on his grass-fed sirloin. Then there's Lloyd's remake of Buffalo Stance, which is so brazen that it even renames Neneh Cherry's 1988 signature hit Playa Boi.
But there's more to the Syco tyke than chutzpah. Her flow won't set Nicki Minaj's surgically-enhanced buttocks aquiver, but she supplies some nice rhymes here and remains puckish enough to namecheck Mr Bean on Grow Up. Throughout, she's a natural and charismatic vocal presence, so much so that Want U Back even creates a recurring hook from – how to put this? – the sound of her ‘frustrated grunts’.
It all adds up to a sassy, splashy modern pop album that rattles through its 10 tracks in a dash under 35 minutes. And the cherry on top of the icing? That dreaded ‘s’ word, the one that rhymes with "brag", "snag" and, erm, "dog tag", appears on just three of them. --Nick Levine
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Top Customer Reviews
She won't be everyones cup of tea but it's nice to see someone with talent bring out their own album with new songs that are great rather than an album full of covers. Well done Cher.
Well it is amazing and is ideal for me. I must warn you that it is teen-pop and the album's singles give a great idea of what the album is like...EXCEPT Swagger Jagger which was purely for effect!
Stand out tracks include:
Beautiful People - which is heartfelt, calm but still so catchy.
End Up Here - a fantastic pop number, but also very true and from the soul. Cher wrote this herself, and that shows. Well done to her for experimenting!
Player Boi - pure pop and oh so fast and catch. My personal favourite!
And all the singles are great.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't be put off if you like pop, this album is great with amazing longevity. BUT IF you are expecting ballads and 10 soulful songs, don't buy it.
I said it was teen pop, but it is basically sugary pop, so don't let that put you off. My 40year old parents love it!
I hope this helps. :)
After a couple of months, she finally unleashed what would be her exquisite debut: 'Swagger Jagger'. The track oozed confidence and, fronted by a colourful image and catchy semi-hip hop beats mixed with heavy synths it definitely won my heart over and the UK's too - scoring herself a #1 smash hit on the back of it. 'With Ur Love', the album's -which was yet untitled back then- 2nd single was a creamy, pastel painted song that features US's Mike Posner, adding some extra flavour to it. Think a bump and grind background track with a carrousel tune and pulsating beats and there you have it - Cher, yet again, managed to captive the public whilts continuing her range of Top 5 hits with it. By this time, I was in complete love with that unnamed and soon to be released album. Gagging for it, her record company unleashed the rightly titled 'Sticks + Stones', addressing Cher's media criticisms and making some contrast with a playful, almost cartoony, album cover.
I remember the day I first got the album in my hands, I was excited and I didn't know what to expect besides the already released singles and found out some true pop gems in this particular listening journey. By that time, I was going to graduate from Med school, so I highly associate the bittersweet undertones of the record with that particular time of my life. I put the record in my car and 'Grow Up' came up, a sizzling semi-rap with a playful tune which is easily hummable and memorable after the very first time you hear it.Read more ›
WANT U BACK: The original, solo version of the track, which is the best out of all the versions, in my opinion. No need for any additional rapping from the likes of Snoop Dogg or Astro on this one. Perfect as it is. (10/10) GROW UP FT. BUSTA RHYMES: A nice catchy stuck-in-your-head kind of chorus and a good verse from Busta show a glimpse of Cher's urban side. However, for those who like the lighter, more pop-style Cher, this may not be for you. (8/10) WITH UR LOVE: An all-new, solo version of the track, and by removing the awful Mike Posner, the Americans have done what we failed to do, and make this track just 100% perfect. Play this one loud and you will feel a sense of satisfaction. (10/10) BEHIND THE MUSIC: One of the new tracks exclusive to the American edition. It's pretty good for what it is, but for me it doesn't quite stand up to the slightly more powerful anthem "Beautiful People". Good effort though. (8/10) OATH FT. BECKY G: Possibly Cher's best track to date. Becky and Cher work well together to produce a song about love and friendship with a twist. Check out the cool video for this too - Cher and Becky really do prove themselves to be the next generation of popstars. (10/10).
SWAGGER JAGGER: The less said about this awful drivel the better. (0/10) BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE FT. CAROLINA LIAR: Perhaps my favourite of the non-single tracks. A beautiful heartwarming ballad that blends the voices of both Cher and the lead singer of Carolina Liar together in beautiful harmony. Deserves to be a single.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous Album; we both loved it; although I must confess it was a Christmas present for my partner!Published 4 months ago by Jaynie