What does one grow to expect from Cheryl Cole's third album? Most would say not much. Others would expect A Million Lights to act as a sampler of current UK POP trends, mixing in dubstep, R&B & EDM & other elements (which it does). But I fell somewhere outside these positions. Finally, when my hunger for a summer anthem got the better of me, I decided to overlook Cheryl's dreadfully messy first single Call My Name & ordered the album, anxiously anticipating a follow-up to 2009's truly brilliant Fight For This Love. I didn't find it. What I did find were a few of the album's finer moments, listed below.
*Under the Sun - this blithe little song is easily the most adventurous track on the album. We have Alex da Kid to thank for the playful & elastic production. A good 'un.
*Love Killer - production duo Dada Life did an excellent job on this track, testing out a dubstep outfit on Cheryl that looks, & sounds, surprising good. We would love to hear this as a single.
*Sexy Den a Mutha - if the whole album sounded like this, we would have no complaints. This would also make a great single & is clearly eons better than Calvin's cop-out Call My Name. Also, how hard would Cheryl kill it in a dance number for this? Flawless.
A Million Lights has a few C+ moments, as in passable POP that could have benefitted from a few extra touches. The title track A Million Lights has a sweet melody but sounds strangely akin to rotten soft rock at times. Ghetto Baby, penned by It-Girl Lana Del Rey, is lush but lacks personality. Screw You's lyrics are perfect for swaggy Cheryl, but clearly need a different producer to sharpen her vocals (Jim Beanz should have produced it, since he did such a good job with her voice on Sexy Den a Mutha [a good song] & All is Fair [a bad song]).
And the rest? The rest is, well, close to hogwash. But don't hold it against Cheryl. There's really no need for that.