For a first time writer, Nicola Robert's handled the mammoth task of co-penning an entire album-bar the cover of The Korgis Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime- surprisingly well. Whereas most of our contemporary Diva's who write do so in a way that is general, cliched and somewhat detached, Nicola went the opposite way and kept her lyrics honest, interesting and unconventional.
Perhaps Nicola consciously wanted to change the ice queen persona that the media have given her by opening up because revelations are aplenty on Cinderella's Eyes. With each new song played another piece to the "Who is Nicola Robert's" jigsaw puzzle is subtly revealed to a listener, so that by the end of the album you feel like you've actually got to know the singer pretty well. The impression left is of a warm, sweet and slightly geeky individual who is still struggling with old insecurities that growing up in the media has only reinforced-listen to Sticks and Stones and I where she deal with the subject of her bulling and insecurities. It seems like Nicola Roberts has always been the underdog, and its a quality that only makes her more likeable.
Sticks and Stones:
Vocally, the album finds Nicola surprisingly capable with an adaptable voice that has many facets to it, though her slightly sharp and, at times, nasal tone may not be to everyone's liking. However, this isn't an album that is built on being vocal centric, so don't expect complex melisma or vocal flights of fancy. Its not because she isn't capable of doing so- see the belt in Porcelain Heart below- its more so that this is a body of work that has tired to insure it's strength lies in the compositions as a whole-the production, the writing and the voice- rather than a need for Nicola to show off, or prove something vocally if it doesn't fit with the song.
Porcelain Heart :
Cinderella's Eyes is without a doubt the strongest release by a Girls Aloud member to date, though that's a low hurdle to jump. It's in fact truer to say Nicola Roberts has given us one of the better pop albums of the year. Top notch production- provided by Diplo,Metronomy, Tikovoi and The Invisible Men- is one thing, but it's something that anyone can buy. The real surprise pull to this project is Nicola Roberts herself.
Beat of my Drum: