It seems ages ago since Nicola Roberts released Beat Of My Drum, the electronic, Diplo produced track that started her career as a solo singer. The song would serve as the first reminder of Nicola’s singularity: it got positive reviews, but mixed reactions among the general public, with opinions going from “amazing” to “insufferable” (because some people are simply crazy and have no taste), if Youtube comments are anything to go by. Lucky Day followed, and it was generally thought of as more poppy and friendly, yet still got visibly neglected by radios which resulted in a bad chart position. Now, the album is out, and it looks like it will be top 20 tomorrow, a position that doesn’t feel equals the quality of the album.
Because the album, the music, is VERY good. Out of the new tracks (excluding the two singles and Porcelain Heart) it is hard to define a better track above the other. It is a mixture of styles and elements, from the most commercial sounding Yo-Yo, that becomes absolutely AMAZING during Nicola’s falsetto middle 8 before the last chorus, to the indie, quirky “i”, that makes you think of Kate Bush and is, for sure, an absolute gem. The acoustic version makes it sound even better:
Cinderella’s Eyes has something so catchy that makes you want to dance along, Say It Out Loud is dancey, fresh and liberating, sustained by its amazing instrumental. Gladiator very much sounds like the Gwen from Love Angel Music Baby, aka. the best kind of Gwen, showing off Nicola’s wide range of musical influences. Take A Bite is filled with a cutting sarcasm that would have challenged the Lily Allens of the world:
So when I got down to London/had the press on my case/Cause I didn’t walk ’round with a smile on my face /Called me a rude ginger bitch, and said I bought bigger tits/They’re gonna eat all their words, they’re talkin’ absolute shit.
Fish Out Of Water is about a childhood sweetheart that goes away and it could serve as a metaphor of the Girls Aloud break. The lovely Sticks + Stones is a sad and gentle, yet hopeful song about the bullying Nicola endured but that is easily relatable to everyone who’s gone through a similar experience.
Last, but not least, there is a cover of Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime, that is absolutely gorgeous. Here’s a live performance from her gig at G.A.Y:
In short, Nicola’s solo album is not only a good, listenable one. It showcases Nicola’s vocal range and capacity as a lyricist and it feels personal at the same time, every song tells a story, every song makes sense, and the combination of the parts makes a very wholesome piece of work. Congrats Queen Nicola.
Must listen to: Every single song
PS: Here’s that note from Porcelain Heart, LIVE.