Monday, October 17, 2011

The Genericization of Cher Lloyd

With no less than two acts on the current series of the X-Factor UK mining the same "great singer who can also rap" style, it's obvious that last year's fourth place finisher Cher Lloyd has left her mark on the competition. Not surprising given the amount of attention, both good and bad, she received during her tenure on the show. Where some people (such as myself) saw an original, a breath of fresh air, not only to the competition but also to the music industry as a whole, other saw Cher as a self-entitled little twat who didn't feel she deserved all the ego-boosting she was receiving. I understand why this perturbed some people, but I thought it only added to the allure of Cher. Here was this raging diva cunt who made a member of One Direction cry (I'm pretty sure it was Niall because, well, look at him) with her vicious temper and self-delusion. But then she opens her mouth to sing and not only does she have one of the most unique voices you've ever heard but she can also rap and break your heart when she wants to, at the same time even. Who cares if she's self-entitled? With that talent, she deserves to be. Cher's attitude may have killed her chances of coming in first on the X-Factor but she ultimately won the whole damn thing anyways.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Cher's inevitable stardom. In an attempt to broaden her appeal, it appears that her record label has genericized everything that made Cher unique in the first place. I thought her divisive first single "Swagger Jagger" was an interesting, if not quite cohesive, pop jam with a catchy hook and a killer post-chorus breakdown at the very end. The major problem with the song, however, was that despite its "Fuck the haters" theme, nothing about it felt truly like a Cher Lloyd song. Her newest single, "With Ur Love," suffers from the same problem except exacerbated tenfold. Everything about the whole campaign feels like it should belong to just about any generic young pop starlet out there rather than Cher Lloyd. The single cover shows Cher standing in front of a large, red cutout of a heart. At first, I thought its use was ironic, a cheeky comment on Cher's acidic personality and reputation. But the more I see of this campaign, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that it is merely a ridiculously simplistic attempt to turn Cher into a wholesome teenage pop star. Don't believe me? Watch the video:

The entire thing is a cutesy affair which shows Cher hanging with her girlfriends, in her bedroom and then walking down the street, warbling about her new love in the most plastic, non-interesting way. And then the balloons come. Yes, fucking balloons, like Cher has been transported into Up. I mean, what in the fuck is this shit? Is this the same woman who sang "No Diggity" one week and then "Stay" the very next? These awful attempts at making Cher more commercial may work in the short-run but it will ultimately kill any long-term interest we once had. Granted, I haven't heard the whole album, the wonderfully (and appropriately) titled Sticks & Stones yet, and maybe there are tracks that show off the Cher Lloyd we know and love best. But until I hear that for myself, I remain pessimistic about the whole thing.

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