Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Cher Lloyd ft. Astro – Want U Back

She’s young, but he’s younger…


Zach Lyon: I’d like to send a bouquet of flowers to whoever it was that decided the hook of this song should be a grunt. It’s gotta be my favorite hook of the infant year and my favorite grunt all decade. But aside from that and Cher’s A+ performance here, the rest of the song fails to match her urgency; Shellback, who is often A+ himself when working with guitars (“So What,” “What the Hell,” “Party at a Rich Dude’s House”), provides production that sucks the life out of the track and a jealousy narrative that doesn’t even try to exceed cliche. I’m definitely starting to understand the cult of adoration, though. 

Edward Okulicz: “With Ur Love” was great, but any singer could have made it work. “Want U Back” is even better, and gets additional points for the degree of difficulty — what other popstar could have pulled off the growls, grunts, half-rapped pre-choruses, huge pop chorus and do it with friskiness, charm and sex half as well as Lloyd does here? I can’t think of anyone. I love how the unapologetically brash, feisty Lloyd doesn’t promise to change or prostrate herself to get this boy back, which makes her doing a song about wanting some back seem believable and soppiness-free. Finally, Cher Lloyd arrives as someone with a single to match her gifts, rather than gifts good enough to carry a single.

Kat Stevens: Loveable, even if Cher sounds like she’s doing a hard poo at the end of every line.

Matt Cibula: Not even gonna front, had me from the very first grunt. Doesn’t come anywhere near classic status — too much repetition, not enough truth, etc. — but that’s beside the point here. This sounds like the way the best donut in the shop tastes.

Brad Shoup: First great single of the year, as far as I’m concerned. Shellback rigs up a stomping cycle of kickdrum and rhythm guitar, brilliantly punctuated with Lloyd’s expressions of exasperation. Repetition serves her here as well as it did in “With Ur Love”. With the latter, it was playful; here, it’s the stutter of an impulsive argument. Is anyone at fault? Can we even tell? Lloyd gets to put on all kinds of masks here, and each one looks exhilaratingly accurate. Astro’s counterpoint is marvelous, too — his everykid charm bowls me over. Shitting where you want to eat hasn’t been rendered this effectively since “How to Rob”.

Anthony Easton: You might like this for the monster chorus, or the pinchinko parlor of electronic details, but it’s the small details that won me over–how she says jean three times, how she pronounces the word restaurant, the phrase kiss me friends, and of course the helicopter noises. Super sweet, and super twee, but super delightful.

Katherine St Asaph: If music had a saturation knob, “Want U Back” would be the result of cranking “With Ur Love” up to bleeding. The track, once charming, is now trebly and garish, and Cher comes off like a mime doing Cher Lloyd — which, to be fair, is a caricature better than lots. Awesome that Astro’s getting work and that X Factor hasn’t permanently blacklisted him, but bubblegum’s as suited to him as his age is to Cher’s.

John Seroff: Young, dumb and full of fun, “Want U Back” is somewhat above average bubblegum strut-and-fret, lessened a bit by the littlest reality show rapper and leavened by the repetition of an endearingly squeaky and percussive GRRRR by Lloyd.  Nothing to write home about but just fine filling the space between ads on the vacation drive.

Michaela Drapes: Hey, even if Lily Allen did this kind Facebook-timeline-themed break up kiss-off jam first (and possibly better), the “personality” Cher Lloyd promised to deliver has finally arrived. Only problem is, it’s a little early for a summer jam, isn’t it? (ps — More of that adorbs Astro, please.)

Alex Ostroff: Why must people (read: Simon Cowell) insist on marring Cher’s perfect singles with mediocre guest raps? ‘Want U Back’ is even better than ‘With Ur Love‘ at showing why she’s ingratiating rather than grating – her irrepressible sense of fun, her ability to somehow make that looped grunting hilarious, her helicopter imitation. It helps that the thin line between sarcasm, taunting and jaunty playground rhymes is basically Cher’s sweet spot. (This is why Swagger Jagger should have worked, in theory.) I’ve said this about ‘With Ur Love’, but the same applies here: when so many people making pop seem to be so dour about it, it’s a blast just to listen to someone who’s clearly enjoying themselves.

Iain Mew: ERNGH! So, over a light and fizzy pop track, Cher is explaining her situation – ERNGH! – which is that she’s broken up with this guy (who “didn’t have much game”, ERNGH!) and now he’s with someone else and seeing them together has made her realise that she liked him more than she thought. ERNGH! She’s trying to sound alright with it (or as alright as she can whilst calling them clowns) but somehow – ERNGH! – her frustration is showing through. Yes, I love those growls. Between those, the way she sings “boo hoo hoo”, sounding like a helicopter and many other details, Cher’s vocal personality is all over the song and it’s really great fun. The only downside is the overly easy resolution offered by Astro’s reply, but that’s a small problem.

Alfred Soto: Evoking the best of early Britney and the spirit of Another Bad Creation, this bottled fizz really pops in the midsong ooh-oohs. I don’t care for the high fructose corn syrup though.

Jer Fairall: Everything about this track is bright to the point of fluorescence: its basic everyone-can-dance stomp, the Simple Simon synths, Astro’s bubblegum-hop verse and the sheer enthusiasm of Lloyd’s performance, its parade of “ugh!”s and “boo hoo hoo”s treating an adolescent break-up drama as a pitilessly sassy playground taunt. Why exactly was the UK trying so hard to force Jessie J on North America when they’ve had Cher Lloyd on reserve all this time, anyway?

14 Responses to “Cher Lloyd ft. Astro – Want U Back”

  1. I am pleased.

  2. Whew, was worried this would get Controversy’d out of the “Over Sevenelve in Twelve” list. Was on my Best of ’11 mix that I never shared with anyone (sorry):

    1. 212 by Azealia Banks
    2. I Luv Ur Sneakers by Poly Styrene
    3. What the Hell by Avril Lavigne
    4. Sucka For You by Anthony Hamilton
    5. Want U Back by Cher Lloyd
    6. Buzzin’ by Mann (w/o 50 Cent)
    7. You Be Killin Em by Fabolous
    8. Weed and Shoes by Soulja Boy
    9. Did Ya Mama by Lil’ Chuckee and Collipark
    10. Jump (Out The Window) by Nadia Oh
    11. In My Trunk by Dev
    12. Rocket Scientist by Teddybears feat. Eve
    13. I Wanna Go by Britney Spears
    14. Walking by Mary Mary
    15. Bubble Pop! by HyunA
    16. Fireball (feat. Nicki Minaj) by Willow
    17. Power On Me by Katy B
    18. The Look by Metronomy
    19. 1-800 Clap Your Hands (The Water Is Rising) by Emily Osment
    20. Fine Tune by Miranda Lambert
    21. Lemon Drop by Pistol Annies
    22. Gang Fight! by Bad Lip Reading

    Will actually share upon request.

  3. 7.67 is the current lowest scoring track that’s crept into the top ten over the past three years btw. That’s the score to beat for IMMORTALITY

  4. You guys, though. This is not great. “With Ur Love” was great. So great that I could overlook Mike Posner — MIKE POSNER, DUKE ALUMNUS — and love it anyway.

  5. It is great. It is so great. I don’t know if it’s “With Ur Love” great – I went from giving that a 9 to putting it in my year-end top 10 – but I suspect it’s a photo finish-type situation.

  6. I can’t decide if this or With Ur Love is better. I think this is a little better. They’re both so, so good, though. Dang.

  7. What I love about this is how unashamed it is to admit that the narrator is in the wrong for breaking up then crawling back. That’s why this could do without Astro’s verse, which is totally disconnected from the narrative.

  8. Agreed, astro is the weakest link

  9. The US version doesn’t have Astro! The video’s less fun, though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPgvNlrBfb0

  10. BOO to that. He is wonderful. Will check this link out when I get home.

  11. This song = still so so so good.

  12. HEARD ON AMERICAN POP RADIO. FREAKED. How did I only give this a [7]??

  13. because it’s not as good as “With Ur Love” :(

  14. You people are enchanted by the most charmless, unlikable songs.