Monday, June 2, 2014

Sorry I'm Late | Cher Lloyd


★★★☆☆

Three years ago, the spunky Cher Lloyd rolled off her stint on The X Factor in the United Kingdom and released her debut album, Sticks & Stones, which was dropped a year later in the United States. She left us with "Swagger Jagger" and "Want U Back" stuck in our heads, and hid in the dark while she crafted her new record, Sorry I'm Late.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

Luckily, her energetic spirit and sassy attitude definitely haven't been dimmed in her absence, as seen in the opening tracks "Just Be Mine" and "Bind My Love." However, Lloyd has taken that sass with her from a bratty teenager to a lively young woman. "Just Be Mine" is a pop track that grows instrumental layers as it progresses, while "Bind My Love" is a driving track about eternal love.

Unlike Lloyd's debut album, most of this album is done solo. T.I. is the only artist to be featured on the album, in the song "I Wish." The song is almost completely fit for the likes of Ariana Grande, but Lloyd's bubbly voice suffices. The urban inspired song covers the things that Lloyd wishes she had to seem just as good as her crush.

The second single from the album, "Sirens," is a completely new side to Lloyd. It's mature, excludes any of her signature sing-rapping, and it's a hard-hitting power ballad. Lloyd brings her surprisingly powerful vocals back in another outstanding track, "Human." Much like the Christina Perri song of the same name, the song covers weakness and imperfections in life.

An electronic ballad, "Sweet Despair," and an acoustic song, "Goodnight" can be found in the second half of the album. "Sweet Despair" begins quite slowly with some low synths, but soon grows into a mid-tempo track with a half-spoken bridge. Being completely acoustic, "Goodnight" can be easily overlooked when standing next to all of the driving pop songs, and I feel like it's almost too slow for the album.

Classic half-rapper, half-singer Cher Lloyd eventually prevails for "M.F.P.O.T.Y.," "Dirty Love," and the album's closer, "Alone With Me." The first song's title stands for the "mother fucking party of the year" and I think it goes without saying that it's the ultimate party soundtrack. "Dirty Love" is a peppy track with a hyperactive instrumental track. Its lyrics cover the desire for a spontaneous boyfriend instead of a prim and proper bore. Finally, the album's closer is like the leftover lip-stick stain on your forehead after a party: it reminds you of what just happened (or the entire album you just listened to) and makes you smile.

OVERALL

I am thoroughly impressed with Lloyd's transformation that has been two years in the making. Minus a few fun songs, Lloyd's image has matured about ten years; titles no longer include unnecessary slang like "boi" and "ur" and she's no longer singing about "Swagger Jagger." Vocally, she's stretched herself and the results have been pretty solid. Her vocal range is kind of limited, but she makes the most of it. The will probably be a must-have album for tweens this summer, but I'm sure anybody outside of that demographic will find a few gems too.

Sorry I'm Late is available now under Epic Records.

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