Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Cheryl Cole – Promise This



Iain Mew: It’s funny how sometimes the same musical idea turns up a more than once independently in quick succession, “Star to Fall” or “Daydream in Blue” style. This is the second Alouette-based UK hit in the space of six months, after Mark Ronson and company. The similarity to “Bang Bang Bang” is small though, and the double-time skipping of the Alouette bit is certainly the greatest asset of “Promise This”, taking another competently sleek midtempo pop song and elevating it way above “Fight for this Love” with its earcatching weirdness. The surrounds end up with an itching feeling of desperation, going further still into the emotional depths already lurking in “Parachute”. [8]

Martin Skidmore: My god the “Alouette” quotes here are annoying. The rest is not so much better. The dance-pop squawks away awkwardly and desperately, and Cheryl does her best to make the stiff song flow a bit, with moderate success except when “Alouette” comes into it. I guess it will appeal to the same people who liked “Fight for This Love”, but I just want her to get back to Girls Aloud.

Michaelangelo Matos: Who knows what I heard in “Fight For This Love” all that time ago — a whole year, gosh. At any rate, whatever that song had, this one doesn’t. It’s a trifle, which is fine; it’s just a frantic, busy, not all that compelling trifle.

Katherine St Asaph: What’s catchier than one hook? About thirteen! It’s as if whenever Wayne Wilkins thought up something catchy, he threw it in, lest the idea spoil or something. It’s an inch from becoming a mess, but it works; Cheryl doesn’t even have to do anything but let them bubble up one by two by five.

Jonathan Bradley: There is nothing here. The beat is metronome precise, with no propulsion; the vocals sound like the synths, and the synths sound like cellophane. The best thing I can tell you about it is that when I looked up the lyrics, I discovered that some of them were sung in French. If being bilingually boring is a triumph, this is Cole’s.

Jer Fairall: Those arcade-style bleeps, sadly abandoned at the midway point, are fun, but otherwise this is a rather ugly sonic assault and far too busy to be the kind of thing that I could ever dance to. Granted, the latter point might represent more of a personal defect than one on the part of the song, but even so this mass of throbs and noises isn’t enough to distract from the “walking through the shadows”/”hanging by a thread” lyrical triteness that we were probably never meant to notice in the first place.

Kat Stevens: Who knew that getting malaria would have such banging side effects? All the serious ‘die before I wake’ stuff is Well Goth but I think this particular piece of quinine-bosh benefits from the slower vocal line in the chorus. Cheryl’s words are smeared into a lovely floaty mush, leaving the piano to do the difficult twiddly delicate bits. It’s a shame that she sounds so out of breath at the beginning of each phrase, though. I would have preferred steely defiance to struggling emotion, especially as she WON, defeating the twin evils of Ashley Cole and a deadly disease affecting millions (which one is worse, ho-ho). I guess it’s understandable that Cheryl’s a bit knackered after all that and it’s still a good tune, but the megaphone middle 8 is so anaemic that the mosquitoes would have a job finding anything to suck.

Edward Okulicz: Alternately skittery and plodding but frequently annoying. Considering Cheryl was supposed to be the iconic one out of Girls Aloud, it’s amazing how much less personality her singles all have than the average ex-girlband solo fare. What sticks with you are the irritating “Alouette” lifts because her vocals have no bite and nor do the beats.

Alfred Soto: “On your knees, pray for me,” she orders, in an empty church.

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