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Sticks & Stones

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Album Review

Forget Jedward, Chico, Wagner, or the several other novelty acts that The X Factor has foisted upon unsuspecting viewers across the years, fourth-place finalist Cher Lloyd appeared to polarize audiences like no one else in the show's short history. Where some saw a confident demeanor, others saw a brattish attitude; where some viewed her as a voice of the streets, others believed she encapsulated everything that was wrong about today's youth; and where some marveled at her rap/singing versatility, others argued she was a jack of all trades but a master of none. It was always unlikely, therefore, that her debut album, Sticks + Stones, was going to be a shy and retiring MOR affair designed to appeal to the masses à la series winner Matt Cardle. However, there are times throughout its ten tracks when Lloyd does appear to be testing the patience of even her most ardent fans, none more so than on "Swagger Jagger," which may have hit the number one spot (albeit in a slow sales week) but is still a contrived mess, chaotically shifting from sub-Nicki Minaj hip-hop to nursery rhyme pop (its chorus samples "Oh My Darling Clementine") to Swedish House Mafia-esque trance, while its social media-baiting lyrics suggest her "haterz" are just jealous, completely discounting the fact that perhaps she just might not be everyone's cup of tea. Elsewhere, "Playa Boi" is an obnoxious slice of industrial R&B that should hang its head in shame for destroying the legacy of Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance" ("He got a lean in the gangsta stance/He needs to rock the sickest brands"), while "Dub on the Track," a collaboration with grime artists Mic Righteous, Dot Rotten, and Ghetts, is a rather unconvincing attempt to prove her street credentials, complete with the now ubiquitous gigantic dirty wobble bass drops. However, when Lloyd stops trying so hard, she's actually a pretty compelling pop star. "Want You Back" and "End Up Here" are both infectious examples of cutesy pure pop that recall Britney before she lost her innocence; "Beautiful People," a duet with U.S. teen drama staples Carolina Liar, is a sweet Ryan Tedder-style ballad; and the closest the album gets to showcasing the impressive vocals she displayed on her famous "Stay" X Factor performance; while "With Ur Love" is a charming M.I.A.-inspired ditty that fuses a lolloping childlike bassline with bouncy beats and some surprisingly sugary-sweet melodies, although Mike Posner's guest rap is the pure definition of "phoned-in." At times, Sticks + Stones sounds like such a calculated effort to copy everything that's hot in 2011 that it's likely to feel utterly irrelevant by the time the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve. But it's by no means the car crash its lead single suggested, and if Lloyd can tone down the whole "in yer face" schtick, she might begin to win over some of those "haterz" who apparently can't stop "clicking, writing, or tweeting" about her. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews



At last *Cries of joy!*

Do you know how long I have been waiting for this album to be out in Australia? Since November 2011, when the UK version was released.

Stick's and Stones may break my bones...

… but names will never hurt! This is such a diverse album and is truly amazing. It takes aspects from the teenage girl's life and incorporates it into the songs, whilst also revelling a bit about Cher herself. Yes, Cher is not everyones cup of tea, but she is mine- just like some don't like Susan Boyle and some do, each to their own, so you don't have to like everyone's music. Stick's and Stones is a girl and friendship anthem after anthem, there is a little something for everyone; rap, pop, ballads. Sad to see 'Over The Moon' did not make it onto this album, it honestly was one of my favourites, but 'Oath' is absolutely an incredible song. This album will stay on repeat for quite some time. Love it! Good work Cher!


Born: 28 July 1993 in Malvern, Worcestershire, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '10s

Britain's Cher Lloyd is an exuberant pop, rap, and R&B-influenced singer with a highly resonant voice and big, stage-friendly personality. Originally a contestant on the British version of The X Factor, Lloyd quickly rose to international stardom with the release of her 2011 debut album, Sticks + Stones. Born in Malvern, Worcestershire in 1993, Lloyd grew up singing and focused on the performing arts while in high school. In 2010, despite several earlier unsuccessful auditions, she won a spot on...
Full Bio
Sticks & Stones, Cher Lloyd
View In iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Rock
  • Released: 05 October 2012

Customer Ratings