Metaphors, similes, clichés – they’ve all been done before about Diana Vickers‘ “unique” voice and I really can’t be arsed to think of my own. Let’s just say that following her appearance on X Factor, I was firmly in the ‘strangled cat/baby in pain/nails down a blackboard/yodelling donkey’ camp and that was before I even noticed the crazed clutching action of The Claw™. So for me to be telling you that Diana Vickers’ album sampler (title: Songs From The Tainted Cherry Tree) is blow-me-away brilliant is quite something, right?
Not even that bleating goat’s wail can keep material this good down. It’s everything Ellie Goulding’s marketing men wish she was – and more. Refreshing, breezy and hang on, genuinely quite exciting pop? From an X Factor also-ran loopy enough to find man-child Eggnog Quigg attractive? Sorry, I think I just saw Lazarus re-gaining his sight over there…
Once – If you love this, I can safely say you’ll probably enjoy the rest of the sampler. This synthy, bleepy, breathy triumph was masterminded by Cathy Dennis (Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Toxic, About You Now) and Eg White (Leave Right Now); the killer stomp of the chorus is proof that pop pedigree like that will always out.
Remake Me And You – This is basically Once with its finger pressed firmly on the fast forward button. Frenzied and fantastic, it speeds by quicker than a boy-racer in a souped-up Volkswagen. The final strangulated ‘Yaaaaaaaaooooooooowwwww’ (translation: you) does remind you that this is a Diana Vickers record though.
The Boy Who Murdered Love – This is basically Once with its finger idling on the slo-mo button. The chorus is insanely catchy (‘Shot shot shot shot shot like a bullet/Stop stop stop stop stop all your loving’), there’s a nice lyric about roses turning from red to black and a wonderful last ten seconds of pounding drums. The whole track has a nice heartbroken throb to it.
My Hip – This song made me wonder if Vickers could be the UK’s answer to Shakira. There’s an exotic-sounding zesty brass segment set against Speedy Gonzales attacking the drum and bass, plus quirky lyrics (‘Your hand is back where it belongs/On my hip, on my hip!’) and the distinctive warbling llama voice. Now we just need Vickers to start comparing herself to a coffee machine with humble breasts and gyrate in a cage for the video for the transformation to be complete. Shakira comparisons apart, this song is breathtakingly awesome. If I had a press release for this album, this would be the title I’d be fluorescently-highlighting and drawing asterisks around manically.
Put It Back Together Again – Nerina Pallot penned. Take one listen and that much is obvious. Pallot manages to break my heart like no other songwriter of the moment. Sweeping, swooshy and a full-on seven shades of gorgeous, it doesn’t just make Vickers’ voice seem relatively inoffensive yet actually turns it into a thing of beauty. Starts off slowly before becoming a crashing whirl of epic lush-ness and just when you think it’s done getting better, it proves you wrong by adding some haunting ‘ooohs’. A masterclass in clever construction, it expertly applies the brakes and then slams down again full-throttle for maximum emotional impact aided by simple yet devastating lyrics. ‘If you think you’re sinking, you probably are… I never said I loved you quite enough, I hope it’s not too late… I’m going to tell you I love you one more time, again and again… you’ve got to fall apart and put it back together again.’ Jesus Pallot, you do it to me every time. *Wipes away tear something in my eye*
Article also available at Teentoday.