Cheryl Cole Cheryl ColeMessy Little Raindrops
Cheryl Cole is going to have a very hard time breaking into the American market that has so far thoroughly resisted her, and even more so with an album as decaffeinated as “Messy Little Raindrops”. Probably, if she had taken a little time—keep in mind that her debut, “3 Words”, only came out a year ago—the result would have been totally different. 2010 will be a year that Cheryl will remember her whole life: gossip magazines have spent the year airing the extramarital sexual encounters of her ex-husband, Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole, which led to their divorce in May. But in a surreal twist, the melodrama (broadcast on television, just as it should be) reached a new height when last summer she caught malaria after a mosquito bit her in Tanzania. For days, even we thought she had one foot in the grave. Is Cheryl unlucky, or is she totally useless for not having got a vaccine? I’m inclined to think the latter.
The public image of one of the members of the manufactured group Girls Aloud, has been so far been reinforced in spite of this series of dramas, in any case. Cheryl Cole is something of a candidate to become a new Lady Di, the –cheated-on– princess of a people who see her as an innocent soul with a lot of class—at least until she got carried away with the cocktails and had no hesitation about punching out a toilet attendant in a club. We all have bad days, and even more so if those predators disguised as paparazzi follow you around wherever you go. For this reason, I’m not going to ooze bile about Cole, basically because I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her, and because seeing her interviews and participation on “X Factor”, it’s clear that the woman is all love. But anyway, the tables are radically turned when it comes to her music.
As a good contender to the pop throne, Cole insists on sticking us with insubstantial ballads of the psychological depth worthy of a tortured teenager. And this is keeping in mind that her vocal chords, apart from being very limited, also go out more quickly than a lit match—I would pay big money without thinking twice to see how she has the lungs to sing “Raindrops” live without running out of breath. Everybody knows that the boss, the one with the singing voice in Girls Aloud was Nadine Coyle –who, by the way, will release her first solo album next month– so however much she makes an effort to convince us with “Hummingbird” or “Happy Tears” (this last song just by the hair of its chinny-chin-chin manages to save itself from being a total disaster) people want something else.
This is where we find “Yeah Yeah”, produced by Starsmith, the musical essence of what a single should sound like if you want it to burn up the charts. The vocal participation of Travie McCoy is unnecessary, but except for that detail, it’s clear that this is the song that marks the course that the other cuts on the album should have taken: it’s a cross between Madonna’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor” and “Neon Nights” from the ever- worthy of reappraisal younger Minogue sister. “Promise This” also saves itself, thanks to the infectious allusion to “Alouette” that Wayne Wilkins brings to it, in his second contribution to Cole’s repertoire after “Fight for this Love”, as does “Waiting”, so 90’s we can only fall at its feet, even though it samples the piano of “A Thousand Miles” ( Vanessa Carlton).
Beyond this, there isn’t much else worth mentioning here. Dizzee Rascal, who has gotten a taste for collaborating on mainstream products after Shakira’s “Loca”, is just passing through in the failed “Everyone”. And Will.i.am –thank god they haven’t let him get too close to the recording studio—continues to show us that he is one of the most overrated personalities in the recent history of pop with “Let’s Get Down”, which borrows “I.O.U” from Freeez. Although the final result leaves much to be desired, you must know one thing: we will continue to love Cheryl Cole and above all, we will suffer with her when the next pimp that she chooses cheats on her or resorts to bordellos to keep in shape, and hang on tenterhooks whenever little winged creatures fly by her on photo shoots. In Cole we trust. Even so, she had better get it together fast if she aspires to be an international pop icon for the masses, beyond being the princess of the people.
Sergio del Amo