Tuesday 23 October 2018

Cheryl - Only Human

Cheryl Only Human album cover
Cheryl Only Human album cover

Richie McCormack

On her previous solo efforts, the results have often lacked personality.

3*

Big singles like Call My Name and Fight For This Love - being honest - could have been anybody, no matter how infectious. And that's a shame, because no-one would really doubt there is a fiery personality lurking there. Only Human's conceit is of someone grasping their moment, taking control of their life, and it works in Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's favour.

From the Public Service Broadcasting-like intro, we move to the sparse but thumping EDM of Live Life Now. Cheryl's first appearance on the album is delivering an icey, robotic "what are you doing in this moment?" call to brass ring-grasping arms.

Nothing ever lingers so long that it grates, so we can forgive the sailing too close to Guetta winds of Stars. Likewise, Waiting For Lightning is an attempt at the big-chorused pop anthem so beloved of Katy Perry.

More interesting fare comes in the form of Crazy Stupid Love, on which Tinie Tempah adds guest vocals over tribal beats and wonky, parping horns. The tribal motif returns later on Fight On, a track that - somewhat bizarrely - is reminiscent of Peter Gabriel's Biko.

Tattoo is built over an old school hip-hop loop and the track is a success for its simplicity, ditto the giddy sugar-rush of Firecracker which recalls her superb Girls Aloud past. The loved-up Mrs. Fernandez-Versini comes out on the sensuous All In One Night, and Coming Up For Air.

While Only Human is never bad, it is occasionally bland, I Don't Care a case-in-point. But the overarching theme of positivity wins out.

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