Cheryl is back with her fourth studio album Only Human and with the first singles having reached the summit of the UK Singles Chart already, expectations are very high!
The album gets off to a good start, with a an intro called, well, ‘Intro’, which is a speech by philosopher Alan Watts, who talks about how money does not necessarily buy happiness backed with a piano accompaniment. It leads into ‘Live Life Now’, which consists of spoken lyrics by Cheryl who continues to discuss the same theme. ‘It’s About Time’ is a clear middle finger to former husband Ashley Cole, as she sings about it being time to “start loving again” and incorporates clichÃƒ© lyrics. The final verses highlights the rather low ceiling in Cheryl’s voice and is slightly awkward to listen to.
‘Crazy Stupid Love’ hit the spots with a catchy sax hook and a well placed rap verse by Tinie Tempah, while ‘Waiting for Lightning’ has a thumping and hard-hitting drum beat and slightly pop-rocky feel, which surprisingly suits Cheryl’s voice. The title track contains an annoying auto-tune effect on her vocals which was clearly used to give the song a futuristic feel but it doesn’t quite work. ‘Stars’ is an up-tempo dance number which could be a potentially successful single, although the auto-tune effect is once again unnecessary.
‘Throwback’ is a mid-paced smooth jam but it slightly tainted by a cringe-worthy rap by Cheryl. ‘All In One Night’ is the obligatory sex track, while ‘Goodbye Means Hello’ sounds as though it borrows from Alexandra Burke‘s ‘Bad Boys’ composition. Similarly, ‘Coming Up For Air’ sounds like ‘Loveeeeeee Song’ by Rihanna and Future.
There’s no denying that Only Human is Cheryl’s most cohesive album to date. She has finally started to co-wrote, or contribute, to more than just two or three songs. Half of the album contains songwriting credits in Cheryl’s name and unlike on her previous three albums, it sounds like she has contributed more than just one word on them. Most of the songs are generally well placed in the sense that they do more of the work than Cheryl’s voice in order to not highlight her limited capability, which is a good thing. While it looks set to be her least successful to date on the charts, it’s certainly her most critically acclaimed by her standards.