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07 - 13 July , 2012
ENGLISH MAGAZINE

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A Million Lights
Cheryl
As she releases her third solo album, it's worth remembering that Cheryl (sans the Cole part) came to the fore as a pop star. Amidst the personal dramas and the gossip fodder and the being chewed up by the X Factor machine, A Million Lights would do well to serve as a reminder of the singer at the heart of the ceaseless interest. Lead single Call My Name is Calvin Harris by numbers, every beat foreseeable a mile off. And a handful of other songs subscribe to the safety of all-consuming radio-house, songs which could be attributed to anyone. It's an exercise which doesn't do her justice – for instance, the middle of Sexy Den A Mutha, the only part where she sounds discernibly like herself, is the track's high point. For a woman whose every move is scrutinised by the murkier corners of the press, it's understandable that she doesn't want to lay herself entirely weak. The title track, an epic trance ballad which displays a genuine sensitivity, goes some way to depicting unfeigned individuality, something replicated on the stripped-down All Is Fair. And even the hip hop truisms that fill Ghetto Baby only heighten its lingering, brassy character. The bleating synths and gritty squelch of Love Killer are commanding when twinned with a frank vocal, while the casual, high-spirited Under The Sun boasts a playful, summery alternative. A Million Lights works well; there's far more going in the favour of Cheryl.

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