Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Cheryl – Love Made Me Do It

Love: suggestions about on par with country music


Katherine St Asaph: So much pop writing, whether old-school stuffy or reaction-GIFed-out, is just an ongoing version, periodically reassessed for shifting artist cred, of the fundamental attribution error. Context changes everything. Announce that a song’s written by Nicola Roberts, Kylie Minogue, TashBed and Miranda of Xenomania, and half of Popjustice would be found dead the next day. Credit that song to Cheryl, and suddenly it becomes a tepid comeback attempt whose lyrics blatantly bait the tabloids. Listen to it, and while the subdued grotto production on the verses, the shiny vocoded chorus, and the cheeky backing-vocal asides are appealing, they’re also nothing Tove Styrke hasn’t done lately. And remove the sass, and the result veers close to an iced-tea jingle.

Tobi Tella: I really wanted to like this, because the way people talk about Cheryl is gross, sexist, and ageist in so many ways (the YouTube comments for this song are a cesspool). But unfortunately, I just can’t get into it. The lyrics are shallow and almost meaningless, and the minimalist production just highlights their weakness. Cheryl sounds fine, I guess, but there’s basically no song here.

Anthony Easton: Most of the points come from the lazy but charming rhyme of “sucker” and “fucker.” An extra point for the percussion, the only thing on the track at least slightly weird. 

Alfred Soto: It hits its marks, rhyming “sucker”/”fucker” and finding a spare insinuating backbeat. Yet I wish Shania Twain had written and sung it in 1997, preferably with exclamation points — two for good measure.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: “Love Made Me Do It” is pleasingly empty — it’s the rare dance-pop song where the bells and whistles of the beat feel like they’ve been given enough room to breathe, a track made with the confidence of a pop stalwart. Unfortunately, the opposite is true of the lyrics, which shoot for a manic energy but just seem in disarray. Yet “Love Made Me Do It” is salvaged by Cheryl’s own vocal performance, effortlessly moving between moods and selling them all.

John Seroff: Repeated snotty tween refrains of “it wasn’t my fault” and “I won’t apologize” in defense of being a jaded adult lover, alongside the oh-no-I-know-a-dirty-word sucker / fucker rhyme scheme barely buoyed by uninspired production, make this whole exercise feel painfully basic, a rant on the heels of drinking too much box wine on a Tuesday night. I have the sneaking suspicion that the shit Cheryl has seen actually might not make my head explode.

Pedro João Santos: When I reviewed “Girls” for the Jukebox–my very first entry–I more or less called it indigent pop. Though not typed for clout or cattiness, those words echoed in my head for days; had I been too harsh? (I’m sure Rita Ora can’t sleep at night.) But here, a descriptor like indigence really takes audible shape. The composition and its elements sound like they were reheated in the microwave, the center left frigid. The unexcitingly mechanical arrangement has no rhythmic variation, no aplomb or impetus in sight, and Cheryl provides the vocal equivalent of anonymity and imperturbability. The chorus comes closest to feigning some type of emotion, pushed by the layered, reverb-kissed vocals and a cheeky bassline, but then there’s the diabolical break and (my pet peeve) the faux-naïf “it wasn’t my fault”. But there’s a further problem: something that “Girls” didn’t have and that containing the word “fucker” doesn’t dissolve: insipidity, the real enemy of pop.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: A bunch of interesting production choices and an amusing “sucker”/”fucker” rhyme that all stays suspended in air, unable to find its footing. Less a song than sketch.

Reader average: [6] (2 votes)

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