Sticks + Stones #1

myblogaboutcherlloydcom Sticks + Stones UK MashUp (1)

The debut album from Cher Lloyd was a fantastic (juke)box of tricks …

‘Sticks + Stones’

… released 07 November 2011 the album reached Number 4 in the UK album charts!
It was November 2011 when Cher Lloyd unveiled her debut album in the UK, ‘Sticks + Stones’. It was released on Syco Records (Simon Cowell’s venture with Sony) and described by Cher Lloyd herself as a ‘jukebox’ because each track is different! Which is certainly correct!
I think it’s a classy, sassy pop mix which contains slices of  bubblegum, synthpop, r&b, hip-hop, rap, dubstep and even a ballad! Cher has input on the writing on of 5 of the 10 tracks on the album – and ‘Sticks + Stones’ whizzes  along thru the 10 in a little over half an hour with a ton of swag! I just love every minute of it!
This post will talk about the first 5 tracks that make up ‘Sticks + Stones’!

myblogaboutcherlloydcom Sticks + Stones UK (10)

The opening track is ‘Grow Up’- a piece of peachy perfect bubblegum pop music. Cher opens the track by singing the chorus “We ain’t never gonna grow up, we just wanna get down” before launching into a quickfire rap “I got a flow that’ll make you drop, I got a flow that’ll make you pop!” – clearly demonstrating her ability to both sing and rap! Like Cher’s biggest selling single off the album; ‘Want U Back’, the track ‘Grow Up’ has Cher Lloyd written all over it!
Cutesy and cheeky, it is Cher Lloyd doing what she does best – with echos of Nikki Minaj and in terms of fun, Dizzee Rascal. It’s so good Busta Rhymes even hops on board as well to deliver a rap for Cher too! ‘Grow Up’ is a great choice of opening track for the album as Cher determinedly launches ‘Sticks + Stones’ and brand ‘Cher Lloyd’. The stall is set out – then it’s set on fire!!!
♥♥
Track 2 is ‘Want U Back’. A song which tells us of a girl whom having kissed her boy goodbye and walked away, is now wanting him back after spotting him around town with another girl. Perky, addictive – and from the opening “UHHN!” the track is loaded to the hilt with brattiness! And it’s that bratty attitude, which is no way is gonna just shine thru but positively blazes – as if looking into the sun – that just makes me love the song so much! I think of all the tracks on the album, ‘Want U Back’ captures the brat element the best of them all ha ha ha!
Musically, ‘Want U Back’ is an extremely catchy and sassy electro-pop tune. Cher opens the track with a loud “UHHN!”, and the song begins with synths and drums combining to produce a tune so incredibly lively and bouncy. After a nonchalant throwaway ‘la la la-la la la laaa’ Cher sings “Hey Boy u never had much game, thought I needed to upgrade so I went and walked away away away…” and off she goes, leaving boyfriend in her wake. But before long however, Cher then discovers her ex has moved on to someone new but still doing all the things he used to do with her. Cher reminisces “Remember all the things that u and I did first? And now you’re doing them with her?” and realizing she is feeling like “shh” wants her old boyfriend back!!!
‘Want U Back’ is beautifully produced, embellished with delicious electronic hooks and licks – and Cher’s own voice adding fun haughty backing vocals. It’s a delight and an incredibly strong track and has been likened to Jessie J and Rihanna. But I’m not gonna say that as to me it is a signature Cher Lloyd track! This leaves all the others miles behind!
♥♥♥
So Cher begins ‘Sticks + Stones’ with 2 lively and catchy synthpop tunes which are classic Cher tracks in extrovert mode. But what if we wanted to get nearer the centre? The nucleus? The heart? What would we find beating away at the centre of ‘Sticks + Stones’? What if we needed the album to provide something for our own hearts as well as for our dancing feet?
Well next up is ‘With Ur Love’ delivering just that. It’s a lovely crafted piece of pop music and an emotionally charming and inspirational lovesong. Ok though, but this is Cher Lloyd – and the first 2 tracks of the album were so loaded with attitude do we not get any here? Well yes we do! We get that at the beginning of the track with as Cher sings “I keep building walls up but u tear ’em down, I’m fighting … u got an AK and ur blowin’ through, explosive”. But the song is a love song so that’s what wins through and Cher gives into love and the track builds and builds and eventually lightens and really takes off. Cher’s vocal ‘da da da-da dum dum, da dum dum’, sets the melody which begins and ends the track and underpins throughout. Mike Posner hops on board to lend some vocal support too. It’s lovely!!!
Cher really gets to sing on ‘With Ur Love’, which she acknowledged herself ‘instead of jumping around’! It’s a wonderful piece of pure pop music with elements of r&b. So sassy!
♥♥♥♥
With track 4, we’re getting towards the middle of the album and in stark contrast to the track before, where we’re placed in a cosy place, Cher then removes our sense of security and gives us a punch in the chops with her tiny fist! As next up is lead single from the album ‘Swagger Jagger’! Probably one of the most divisive number 1’s that’s been in the charts for ages! The track opens with Cher singing “Swagger Jagger, Swagger Jagger, you should get some of your own,” over small crackles and pops – as if the recording was been played back on vinyl. Then kick in the drums and the  blaring airhorns, before Cher raps “you can’t stop looking at me, staring at me, be what I be…” and declares her swagger’s in check. ‘Swagger Jagger’ incorporates the melody from a famous traditional North American folk song called ‘Darling Clementine’ and  is a song about copycats who need to ‘get some [swag] of their own’. I interpret it as a rallying call for the listeners with their own “swagger in check” to face down the haters with the message to them been – just “let it go”… sticks + stones and all that yep?
You know, I think ‘Swagger Jagger’ is my all time favourite Cher Lloyd song, I just really really like that track. And I don’t care what anyone says about the song as I just love it’s blistering airhorns and catchy hooks – I think it’s fab – so if you hate it – just ‘get out of MY way’ ha ha!!! The tune really gets stuck in your head – like some kind of tentacle that goes into your ear and feels around the inside of your brain – I do love it!!!
♥♥♥♥♥
After ‘Swagger Jagger’ Cher calms it all back down again with ‘Beautiful People’ described by Nick Levine as “an emo power ballad”¹ which I think on one hand is an authentic sum up of the track. On the other it’s very accessible, like a track you could imagine from Avril Lavigne – so sitting just on the threshold of emo-land! The song is a collaboration with American/Swedish alternative rockers “Carolina Liar” and is a magnetizing and heart-breaking ballad. Acoustic guitars and piano combine to give the song a really human feel completely needed for the subject matter of the track, which I interpret to be unrequited love with a disturbing twist.
In the song, the object of the subjects love, who would usually be unaware of that love and so unreturning it unknowingly, is this time is fully aware and playing it all to their own advantage. This recognition of the dark side of unrequited love is what the track deals with as the subject realizes and prepares themselves sorrowfully for their inevitable fall.
It gives Cher the opportunity to really let her voice soar and when she does, she more than sends shivers down your spine! The emotion in her voice is incredible! When Cher sings about the life been sucked out of her heart I’ll challenge your own beating heart to stay within its ribcage and not be ripped from it. If it isn’t, you must either be clinically dead or a Zombie!
So Cher’s vocals give the song immense power and it’s clear this girl really can sing like an angel. Magnificent and melancholy, dramatic and dark all at the same time. The track is a real surprise and perfectly placed at the centre of the album where it wraps up the first half  leaving us in a very thoughtful place…
myblogaboutcherlloydcom Sticks + Stones UK Scan Detail (2)
Credits:
‘Grow Up’ was written by Cher Lloyd, Kevin Rudolf, Jacob Kasher, Savan Kotecha, A. Harr, J Jackson and Trevor Smith. It was produced by Kevin Rudolf and The Runners.
‘Want U Back’ was written by Shellback and Savan Kotecha. Produced by Shellback.
 ‘With Ur Love’ was written by Shellback, Max Miller, Savan Kotecha and Mike Posner. Produced by Shellback.
‘Swagger Jagger’ was written by Cher Lloyd, Autumn Rowe, Jermaine Jackson, Andrew Harr, Andre Davidson, Sean Davidson, Marcus Lomax and Clarence Coffee Jr. It was produced by The Runners.
‘Beautiful People’ was written by Chad Wolfinbarger, Alexander Kronlund and Tom Hamilton. Produced by Max Martin and Shellback.
myblogaboutcherlloydcom Sticks + Stones UK Scan Detail (6)
Lyrics:
(As “Want U Back”, “With Ur Love” & “Swagger Jagger” all have posts of their own, please see there for the lyrics to those songs x)
Grow Up’
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Tell the DJ turn it up real loud No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
I got a flow that’ll make you drop I got a flow that’ll make you pop
I got a flow that’ll make ur mother and ur father call the cops
We’re gonna make this thing go blow  We got a system overload
We’re gonna be the generation that makes everything explode
And when I say explode I don’t mean that we’re using bombs
We doing stuff that we don’t ever have to tell our moms
 Love this life we got we got it all up in our palms
Papers chasing yea we’re buying everything we want
Some how some way we’re gonna have it our way
We don’t give a what what u say No we don’t
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Tell the DJ turn it up real loud No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Show everybody who runs this town  No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
Do u Do u Do u know what I mean?
I’m princess I don’t want to be the queen
Please don’t say a thing Mr Bean
Everytime you talk it makes me wanna scream
I don’t know what u heard about me Don’t make me hold up my pinky
I’ma finish off all these mc’s Like they were my cup of tea
I got a flow that’ll make you drop I got a flow that’ll make you pop
I got a flow that’ll make ur mother and ur father call the cops
Some how some way we’re gonna have it our way
We don’t give a what what u say No we don’t
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Tell the DJ turn it up real loud No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Show everybody who runs this town No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
BUSTA RHYMES RAP
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Show everybody who runs this town No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Tell the DJ turn it up real loud No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
We ain’t ever gonna grow up We just wanna get down
Show everybody who runs this town No we’ll never grow up and if we had our way
We would do this every day
♥♥♥♥♥
‘Beautiful People’
x It’s my last big breath, what you want me to? x When you act all cool like you already knew x
x That I’ll be stuck here cold just waiting it through x Till ur heart starts beating for somebody new x
… U know that it’s true …
x Cause it’s Beautiful People  like u x Who gets whatever they want x
x And it’s Beautiful People like u x Who suck the life right out of my heart x
x And it’s Beautiful People like u x Who make my cry …
x Cause nobody else could be nearly as cruel as u … x
x It’s a wicked game that ur making me play x
x Where I crawl back home as ur walking way x
x And it’s all quite clear x What u want me to say x
But u’ll be so long gone if I ask you to stay
U know that it’s true
x Cause it’s Beautiful People  like u x Who gets whatever they want x
x And it’s Beautiful People like u x Who suck the life right out of my heart x
x And it’s Beautiful People like u x Who make my cry
x Cause nobody else could be nearly as cruel as ux
x Cruel as u x
x It’s my last big breath, what you want me to? x When you act all cool like you already knew x
x Cause it’s Beautiful People  like u x Who gets whatever they want x
x And it’s Beautiful People like u x Who suck the life right out of my heart x
x And it’s Beautiful People like u x Who make my cry
x Cause nobody else could be nearly as cruel as ux
x Nobody else could be nearly as cruel as u as ux
Notes:
¹ Nick Levine, in his 01/11/2011 review of ‘Sticks + Stones’ on the BBC website.
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