3 Words – it’s an invitation of an album title isn’t it? Could do better. You’re so ca-yute. Dubious trouser choice. But that’s to get away from the point isn’t it – and the point, after all, is the music. It being time to face it etc. Oh no, hang on, Cheryl is not an X Factor contestant, something it’s difficult to discern these days. Let’s get back to the music. Not the shredded MC Hammer trousers, the military garb, the Janet Jackson dance moves. The music. Following hot on the heels of Alexandra Burke’s debut last week which was more Leona than Leon, Cheryl Cole’s debut had better be a belter right? After an exhaustive week of listening in RealMusic Blog HQ, we can say that it’s no Girls Aloud. Instead, Cheryl’s plumped for military drumbeats, sleek R&B and production so shiny you could wear it round to your mum’s for tea and get a complement…
You can just imagine the sleepless nights Cheryl’s been having of late though: eyes propped open as she listens to Ashley snoring and runs through her dance routines and miming schedules. The theme of 3 Words is yes, you guessed it, love. Having it, losing it, fighting for it, with a sprinkling of dance thrown in. There’s a river of lyrical drivel gushing throughout the entire effort: witness ‘Love is brutal, my heart is fragile…’ and ‘Love ain’t no picnic in the park…’ and ‘My heaven’s witu…’ and ‘I’m gonna put my lovin’ on you’ ad infinitum. In fact, if it ain’t about love or dancing, Cheryl doesn’t want to know. If she could make love in da club she would – it would combine her two favourite pastimes. Alas, Usher beat her to it.
The whole effort shimmers with the gloss demanded of a US product – musically it’s a mix of Janet Jackson, Pussycat Dolls, Black Eyed Peas with a bit of Beyonce thrown in – no surprise when will.i.am has been twiddling the production knobs. Cheryl’s vocals have been buffed up to the max and when she’s not telling us about love and its perils – Fight For This Love, Parachute, Heaven, Make Me Cry, Don’t Talk About This Love – Cheryl is shakin’ her booty with dance-heavy tracks like Heartbreaker, Stand Up and Boy Like You which samples Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams.
If you like your pop sleek and sterile, 3 Words is definitely for you. For a pop/R&B crossover record it’s passable – but with Cheryl now crowned as the next People’s Princess we’d have liked more of her personality seeping through, more originality. As it is, this is another generic R&B album chugging off the production line. Three words: Not Girls Aloud. Must try harder.