Friday, January 06, 2012

Best of 2011: Nicola Roberts

Best of 2011

Song: Lucky Day
Artist: Nicola Roberts
Album: Cinderella's Eyes

This year, more than any, I've been pretty in love with pop music.  And more specifically British or European dance pop.  I've always been a fan for sure, but there was just something about a handful of pop singles that had me stuck on repeat.  All year.

There were two Brit girls that really won me over, and neither have a five-letter name that starts with "A."  No, one was a fourth-runner-up British X-Factor teen who released one of my favorite pop songs of the year, has an amazing follow up that I've recently been obsessed with, and a UK number 1 that was pretty universally loathed, and of course is a crazy guilty pleasure of mine.  But bar those singles, the full album was a bit too juvenile, even for me. ;)

But edging out the others was a girl whom had been part of the post-millenium Spice Girls and was giving a go at the solo game.  Nicola Roberts was one-fifth of Girls Aloud, a wildly successful pop act formed on a singing talent show in the UK.  I know nothing about them, but was taken this year by the M.I.A. meets Ting Tings-esque debut single by their member Roberts.  "Beat of My Drum" was a scattershot Diplo dream that was equal party goofy and fierce, and engraved itself into my scull despite my reluctance.  I remember writing about the track at the time as more of a lark.  A fun goofy track.

At that time, her second single had just come out, I liked it... but highlighted "Drum."  Well, just a few days later I had "Lucky Day" on repeat, over and over.  This song consumed me this year, and it became one of my absolute favorites of 2011.  The video (see below) showed off Nicola's odd off-beat charm.  I was more than hooked.

When the album came out I was shocked at how solid it was.  Aside from the two singles we got the Stefani-esque "Gladiator," the Kylie-leaning, soaring, "Say it Out Loud," brash dance gems like "Yo-Yo," "I," and "Cinderella's Eyes," not to mention pretty amazing attempts at dramatic pop balladry that were more surprising given their lyrical depth, ("Porcelain Heart," "Sticks + Stones") as well as an out-of-nowhere electro take on James Warren's the Korgis' "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime."  Whoa.

I listened to this record a lot, and it edged out other pop albums like Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "Make a Scene" and Rihanna's "Talk That Talk" for inclusion.  It's not for all tastes, you might HATE it, but honestly, if nothing else... when it comes to sunny, feel-good pop music, "Lucky Day" is tops.


Lucky Day
Beat of My Drum

No comments: