We have identified a sad lack of “UNNH!”s.
Britt Alderfer: Shame that the follow-up to “Want U Back” is so unexciting. Well, maybe come late spring all the soon-to-be high school graduates will be moved by the unoriginal Best Friends Forever narrative and pick the song as their anthem. Cher, you could be the next Vitamin C.
Will Adams: This gives me an instant flashback to the end of the 2001 Rugrats TV-movie special, in which pop star Emica sings a friendship song so saccharine that it could only exist in a cartoon universe. Cher’s got more personality than Emica and is able to lift the chorus from eye-roll-worthy to endearing, but it’s still the sonic equivalent of taking a shot of Pixy Stix powder and chasing it down with a dollop of canned frosting.
Iain Forrester: Fun and uncomplicated (though very “Complicated”). The problem is that its bratty exuberance pales in comparison to most of the (UK) album, and a little added sweetness and Becky G’s spot-the-difference performance don’t compensate enough to lift things above throwaway.
Alex Ostroff: Sticks + Stones somehow managed to capture pretty much everything that was wonderful and exuberant and fun about Cher Lloyd while avoiding most potential pitfalls (save “Swagger Jagger” and that Mike Posner guest verse). Unfortunately, for the American release, someone seems to have (accurately, loathe though I am to admit it) decided that the best way to gain traction is to follow in the steps of Karmin and Best Damn Thing-era Avril. The problem with this is that Cher could simultaneously beat both of them in a brat-off AND charm-off with one hand tied behind her back, probably just by grunting and making that helicopter noise from the end of “Want U Back.” The real problem is that there’s already a perfect song about a girl named Becky and her best friend and it’s significantly less bloodless.
Anthony Easton: Vapid. But, you know, I find it genuine, and faking the genuine is enough to make it a worthwhile artifact.
Alfred Soto: It takes a while to get going, and is too derivative of Avril Lavigne and the L.A. enunciations of Ke$ha, but the guitars crunch and the melody is sweet.
Jonathan Bogart: I am doubtless underestimating the value of a song about friendship ties, especially between young women. Well, I’m neither young, a woman, or any good at friendship.
Katherine St Asaph: Hating this would be like hating a tween’s friendship bracelet made from glitter string and conversation hearts. It’s complete glurge, and we’re lucky if Cher and Becky got to exchange emoji DMs before heading off to separate meetings about Karmin’s castoff wardrobe (Cher) or the guest-spot lotto (Becky — actually, probably both), but the world needs more friendship anthems, not fewer.
Brad Shoup: Why don’t more non-metallers use the word “oath” in songs? The idea of Cher L. and Becky G. putting blood on the track is irresistible. Their bond is such that I can’t fucking tell who is who: I’m pretty sure Becky’s the one saying “you are my tuxedo/and I’m your bow tie” (NICE). The chorus, with those longing guitar chords, definitely has that graduation feel to it; it’s a much better message than production, but the production’s all right.
Patrick St. Michel: Sounds like “Boyfriend” except with the rock-and-roll chug replaced with sunny AM-radio guitar. I am cool with this combo.