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Chart Chat Album Review : ‘Diana Vickers – Music To Make Boys Cry’ (16.09.13)


Chart Chat Album Review : ‘Diana Vickers – Music To Make Boys Cry’ (16.09.13)

Diana initially came to the public’s attention as the semi finalist on the 2008 series of X Factor but she quickly showed her promise with a no.1 single ‘Once’ and no.1 album ‘Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree’.  Subsequent singles ‘The Boy Who Murdered Love’ (#36) and ‘My Wicked Heart’ (#13) performed less well but still helped to establish her as a credible artist in her own right. Despite her early success Diana left RCA in 2011 to move to SO Recordings, a label that would give her much more creative control over her output.  This week marks the release of her second album ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’ and below we trawl through each track to give our personal opinion on how it sounds :

Music To Make Boys Cry

The album opener, title track and second single.  It’s been viewed 250k times on YouTube and could well have been a hit in its own right if it had not been released the same week as the album.  Rumours had been rife of working with the likes of Starsailor frontman James Walsh to achieve a rockier sound but this sets the tone for the remainder of the release with a dance / pop sound very much in evidence here.

Cinderella

Diana’s comeback single, and despite being a great pop song it somehow fell short of the top forty, peaking at a lowly no.76 despite several daytime TV appearances. I’m not quite sure why it didn’t set the charts alight, particularly considering the fact that the video has been viewed almost 950k times on her Vevo channel.  As with the opening track it was co-written by Norwegian producer Simen Eriksrud and his wife Simone who fronts the band D’Sound along with Miranda Cooper from Xenomania, the production team behind the majority of Girls Aloud’s hits.

Lightning Strikes

Former Scritti Politti synth player David Gamson also gets a writing credit for this one.  He has written for a variety of artists including Ke$ha, Kelly Clarkson, Chaka Khan, George Benson and Luther Vandross.  It has an uptempo pop feel to it, and continues very much in the same vein as the opening two tracks.

Dead Heat

I like this track, and immediately it sounds different to the opening three tracks.  It has arguable more of a dance edge than a pop one and the lyrics “it’s not a matter of life and death / but if I had to choose between love and breath / I’d sacrifice the sun (rise)” really stuck in my head after just the first listen. Possibly the best song so far.

Boy In Paris

David Gamson is back here, and the synth side of the song really shines through.  He is the songs producer, and not just the co-writer.  It’s not as immediate as ‘Dead Heat’ and is not a song I would immediately return to.  It’s not that bad, just that for me there are stronger tracks on here.

Mad At Me

This really sticks out from the other tracks, and has almost an 80’s sound to it.  I could imagine someone like Wendy & Lisa or Sheena Easton singing this. This time around Diana has worked with Dan Radklyffe (also known as Utters) who co-wrote three tracks on the Maverick Sabre album and the new input certainly benefits the song. “So why ya mad at me? Mad at me? It wasn’t so bad of me, bad of me” are the lyrics that you most remember, and it’s one of the albums highlights.

Smoke

I was very interested in this track as it’s the only song not co-written by Diana on the whole album.  Instead Miranda Copper shares the credits with Sam Cramer, also known as Eyes who has remixed tracks for Ellie Goulding, Limp Bizkit, Jay-Z and B.o.B.  It has a much slower feel compared to the others although it’s not an out and out ballad.

Mr Postman

Not a cover of The Marvelettes classic, but a slower song with an input from American Golden Globe winning songwriter and producer Jimmy Harry. He has worked with Britney Spears, Madonna, Kelly Clarkson and Kylie Mingoue.  Also taking credit on the track is Gez O’Connell who has previously worked with Xenomania and has written for both The Wanted and The Saturdays. The start of the song has almost a jazzy feel to it, and immediately grabs your attention.

Better In French

This has a sexy and dancier feeling to it although the edge is still present thanks to Miranda Cooper and David Gamson. You could very much imagine Girls Aloud singing this, but that’s no bad thing. “Parlez vous francais / baby walk my way / love it when you say j’taime” hold the chorus together and I could well imagine this becoming a future single.

Blame Game

The album ends on a strong note with ‘Blame Game’ , another uptempo pop song which wouldn’t sound out of place on daytime radio. It was produced by Ant Whiting who also been working on the new album by Rizzle Kicks.

In summary, firstly Diana deserves some credit for delivering for an album of original material.  You look at some of the artists coming out of the reality shows such as Andrea Begley (The Voice) and Jahmene Douglas (X Factor) and you will find their albums full of cover versions. Some of the pop songs here do sound a little similar, but there are some real stand out moments such as ‘Dead Heat’, ‘Mad At Me’ and ‘Blame Game’ and it is always encouraging when the best tracks are not just the singles. The album doesn’t disappoint, and it may even win her over a few new fans as long as the commercial stations give the tracks the airplay that they deserve.

Ian Anderson

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15 September, 2013 - Posted by | ChartChat

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