HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: CHERYL ‘ONLY HUMAN’

28 02 2015

Here’s a reprint of my verdict on the new Cheryl Tweedy album that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago.Guess who’s still disappointed in her solo stuff?

CHERYL

Only Human (Polydor)

Key Track: ‘Goodbye Means Hello’

5/10

POP PRINCESS’ CROWN CONTINUES TO SLIP.

cheryl-cole-twitter

Only Human is something of a make or break album for “Cheryl.” Her first record since the split of Girls Aloud and her second since dumping any kind of surname, the former reality TV contestant and current talent show judge really needed to step up her game with her fourth solo outing. Unfortunately, her latest effort only sees her stumble and in some cases, spectacularly so.

Part of the problem is that her solo career has failed to yield a truly stellar hit, one which would do for her what ‘Crazy in Love’ did for Beyonce post Destiny’s Child. Whereas Girls Aloud unleashed some of the most exciting and inventive pop songs of their generation (thanks in part to production team Xenomania), Cheryl has struggled to release anything even remotely original and Only Human carries on that trend. Throwaway, club-tinged plastic pop songs like ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘It’s About Time’ are as dull as big band night on The X Factor while elsewhere her ballads (such as the title track) are mawkish and mediocre. The songs that are co-written by ex-Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts are worth your attention though (see a trend here?) and ‘Goodbye Means Hello’ in particular has a fiendish hook, but ultimately there’s nothing to rival the likes of former G.A. hits ‘The Promise’ or ‘The Show.’

OUT NOW

EDWIN McFEE

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Singles Of 2012

28 12 2012

At the end of ever year I have to send over a list of my favourite albums, singles and gigs of the year to the magazines I write for.Here’s my Top 10 singles of 2012.Warning-Genre Nazis should look away now…

1) Taylor Swift FT. The Civil Wars: ‘Safe And Sound’

2) Pure Love: ‘Handsome Devil’s Club’

3) Professor Green: ‘Remedy’

4) Girls Aloud: ‘Something New’

5) Grimes: ‘Oblivion’

6) The Gaslight Anthem: ’45’

7) Lana Del Rey: ‘Ride’

8) Best Coast: ‘Do You Love Me Like You Used To’

9) Pure Love: ‘Riot Song’

10) Bat For Lashes: ‘Laura’

 





Girls Girls Girls

7 05 2009

I fucking love Girls Aloud. A few weeks ago I was charged with the task of defending them in the Telegraph ahead of their gig at the Odyssey and here’s a reprint.

In Defense of Girls Aloud

I first fell for the all too obvious charms of Girls Aloud back in ’02. At the time, the band were formed right before my eyes by way of Pop Stars: the Rivals and, much to the chagrin of train-loving cheesy song merchant Pete Waterman, his boyband One True Voice never stood a chance when Louis Walsh’s five-piece (Kimberly, Nadine, Nicola, Sarah and Cheryl) belted out ‘Sound of the Underground’ for the very first time.

 Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re already assuming that my affection for the feisty pop band lies in a deep rooted (steady on!) appreciation for their gravity defying mini-skirts and pins that Bettie Page herself would have been proud, but you’re wrong. You see while admittedly the charms of Kimberly et al is as obvious as a high-waisted trouser joke round Simon Cowell’s gaff, it’s the band’s unique sound that gets this writer all hot and bothered.

 Up until Girls Aloud, commercial bands were a boring breed. Seemingly content with churning out covers of Bee Gees songs (courtesy of Stock, Aiken and Waterman) these translucent pop idols never put much thought into their music and were more concerned with pulling a cheeky pose for Smash Hits magazine and telling pre-pubescent girls they “love animals and stuff” than singing a song that make people want to dance. Girls Aloud changed all that. From their very first single, the quintet hit the ground running and ‘Sound of the Underground’ shocked everyone with its fusion of drum and bass, surf guitar and lyrics that made very little sense (but sounded oh so right).

Thanks to their writer/producer Xenomania, the band had a style all of their own and over the last decade they’ve rewritten the rule book on what you can and cannot do on a pop record. It also helps that four of the girls have really distinctive voices (sorry Sarah) and can take lyrics like “Baby, I miss you, so tell me, is she really that beautiful?” on ‘Whole Lotta History’ and sing them so passionately it would make Mr T break down in tears and blub like a baby.

And while the girls themselves have little in the way of musical training (bar childhood singing lessons and hands on experience performing throughout their youth) their keen ear for a tune has aided them in choosing some pretty stellar singles in the past and the final decision of which tracks they actually sing rests of their heads, proving they’re not merely songbirds for sale. Begrudgers may mock the idea of them working with a producer and giving little input into the actual songwriting process, but considering some of the best pop bands in the world had a similar sven gali behind them (the Supremes, the Shangri-Las, the Ronettes etc) I genuinely don’t care where the songs come from-just as long as they’re good.

I often find when I tell people of my love for Girls Aloud’s songs they look at me like I’m that dude who worked at the chicken factory on the X Factor. For some reason, there are a fraction of people who think it’s uncool to listen to hook-laden harmonies and inventive song structures simply because the teeny boppers like them too. Well it’s their loss, because Girls Aloud have been making some of the most exciting music in the last few years, splicing genres, experimenting with styles and generally never putting a Jimmy Choo clad foot wrong. So, ladies and gentlemen, I can unequivocally state with pride that I’ve been a Girls Aloud fan from day one and if you can’t hear the sheer genius of tracks like ‘the Promise,’ ‘Love Machine,’ ‘Something Kinda Ooooh’ and ‘Call the Shots,’ well then that’s your loss. You should probably go and share your feelings with Pete Waterman. I hear he has a lot of time on his hands too…

 Edwin McFee





FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

29 04 2009

Thankfully this week isn’t as crazy as last week, but there’s still a butt-load of stuff happening to ensur I’m never in my house for too long. Last night was the Wolverine screening (I give it four and a half claws out of six) tonight is Girls Aloud at the Odyssey and Friday and Saturday I’m covering Morrissey in Omagh and Belfast. If all goes well, I’ll also be able to make it to Fighting with Wire Vs And So I Watch You From Afar in a tent on Saturday too and I urge everyon to go-purely for the comic genius of FWW’s recent viral video.

More details here-http://www.cqaf.com/m_asiwyfa.html





Sucky Sucky

26 03 2009

Well today has sucked harder than Anabel Chong. Every now and again you get set-backs in this business and today most certainly has been “one of those days.” Still, it ain’t all bad. Today I got a badass Marvel Legends Crossbones action figure! If you don’t know him, he’s a member of  Captain America’s rogues gallery and a proper bad fucker he is too (and so he should be!). Have a look at him below. How cool is he? (I haven’t busted him outted the box though).

The other thing that made today go a bit better was the new Girls Aloud video for ‘Untouchable.’ Who doesn’t wanna be a beautiful robot dancing alone?





Albums of the Year

11 12 2008

Ok, so it’s that time of year when editors ask me to put together a list of records for their (ultimately) pontless end of year polls. I’m not really into lists/listing things in general. For some reason my brain doesn’t work that way and my idea of hell is when people ask me who my favourite interview was or what my favourite gig was. I usually draw a blank.

This week ,the new issue of AU is out and and as usual they have their end of year album poll (http://iheartau.com/features/great-in-2008/). Although I’m still a contributer (six years and counting next year) I didn’t enter into the spirit of things this time around and never compiled a list. “It’ll only end up the usual, predictable indie shite” was my take and guess what? I was right! Still, if that’s what people voted for, then who am I to argue? I should also add that there’s nothing wrong with indie music,it’s  just that too much of it makes Edwin an angry boy.

However, a month ago, while sitting in a Dublin hotel, I decided that since I’m still a new boy at Hot Press (nearly a year and counting) I’d put aside my misgivings on these things and send in my top 20 albums. It was all done anonymously through a feature on their website and I spent a LONG time putting it together because I just didn’t know where to start. Anyway, below is what I came up with. If you think I’ve missed something out let me know (it can be hard to remember everything when you review about 10records every single week of the year).

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Blogging a Dead Horse’s top 20 albums of the year.

1) Fight Like Apes-‘Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion.’

2)Sons and Daughters-‘This Gift.’

3)Valient Thorr-‘Immortaliser.’

4)Fighting with Wire-‘Man Vs Monster.’ (It’s been kicking around for a while but this year it was officially released).

5)Geoffrey Oi!Cott-‘The Good, the Bad and the Googly.’

6)Outl4w-‘Outl4w.’

7)Girls Aloud-‘Out of Control.’

8)Blaze Bayley-‘The Man Who Would Not Die.’

9)Johnny Foreinger-‘Waited Up ‘Til It Was Light.’

10)The Night Marchers-‘See You In Magic.’

11)Horrorpops-‘Kiss Kiss Kill Kill.’

12)Down-‘III.’

13)Black Kids-‘Partie Traumatic.’

14)The Sword-‘Gods of the Earth.’

15)Imelda May-‘Love Tattoo.’

16)Jaguar Love-‘Take Me to the Sea.’

17)Glasvegas-‘Glasvegas.’

18)Mindless Self Indulgence-‘If.’

19)Guns ‘N’ Roses-‘Chinese Democracy.’ (I’m probably the only one to vote for this but I love it because it’s as mad as a bag of hammers).

20)Story of Hair-‘Cheap Rate.’

 

So there you have it. It’s more than likely out of order and I’ve probably forgotten the odd thing, but fuck it. I’ve always been about looking ahead rather than looking back anyway.

Onwards and upwards!