Single Reviews: Cheryl, Marina & the Diamonds, Clean Bandit and Joan Franka

Marina & the Diamonds Froot

There has been an enormous amount of new single releases in pop recently so it’s time to catch up with some reviews!

Cheryl – I Don’t Care
2014 has been a good year for Cheryl so far. Miss Fernandez-Versini got married, reclaimed her seat in the jury of the British X Factor and made a successful comeback in music. The pop star, formerly releasing as Cheryl Cole, released the single ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ and reached the first place in the British top 40. I was not a huge fan of the track, but it did not surprise me that a contemporary, catchy track like that did so well. Now Cheryl released the video for ‘I Don’t Care’, the second single from her album Only Human, to be released in November. To be honest the new song does not restore my faith in the album. Just like ‘Crazy Stupid Love’, it sounds quite unoriginal and uninspired. Not that ‘I Don’t Care’ is a totally bad song, as it is fun and catchy pop, but the careless vibe feels a bit forced and the lyrics of the track are quite weak and repetitive. ‘I don’t care and it feels so fucking good to say, I swear, that I don’t care’ is just not enough to make for a good chorus.

Marina & the Diamonds – Froot
It has been a while since Marina & the Diamonds finished her Electra Heart project, but now the singer is ready for a whole new era in her career, revolving around… fruit. Froo-oo-oo-oot! Diamandis announced new track ‘Froot’ as the first single of her new album with the same name. The song is quite long for a pop track with a duration of over 5 minutes, but it does not bore at all. Marina has already proven multiple times that she knows like no other how to write an earworm pop chorus and ‘Froot’ definitely has one of them. From the moment ‘livin’ la dolce vita’ kicks in, you just know she did it again. ‘Froot’ is fun, seductive, smart and sexy all at the same time. The fruit metaphor is nothing short of brilliant and lyrics like ‘my body is ready/my branches are heavy’ and ‘Leave it too long, I’ll go rot, like an apple you forgot. Birds and worms will come for me, the cycle of life is complete’ are some of the best I heard this year and the track is actually full of phrases like this. I adore her voice, I adore this song and I LOVE the fact that we will be having a third Marina album in a few months from now.

Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne – Real Love
The collaboration ‘Rather Be’ meant a big breakthrough for both Clean Bandit and guest vocalist Jess Glynne. The song went on to become a worldwide chart topper which enabled Clean Bandit to launch their debut album New Eyes and Jess Glynne released debut single ‘Right Here‘. There will be a new version of Clean Bandit’s album released soon and why not collaborate again with Jess Glynne? Never change a winning team, right? It may seem like a safe and predictable choice at first, but is the song any good? When the chorus starts with it’s ‘real, real, real, real love’line, you might be like, ‘is this it?’. At least that was what I thought. But then the ‘you give me that feeling!’ part came along and I was convinced. It is such a strong hook that takes the track to a whole other level. Of course the song is in a similar genre to ‘Rather Be’, but luckily it does never come close to being a worthless copy. This could actually become another big success for this match made in heaven!

Joan Franka – Nigel
Joan Franka represented the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 with the lovely song ‘You and Me’, but did not make it to the finals with a disappointing performance on the big night. The singer vanished from the lime light and later explained that she went through a difficult period in her life, but now she found her passion for music again, after travelling through Europe. She wrote her new single ‘Nigel’ about a guy she had a crush on. In the track she sings about what life could have been if they actually got together. This results in a touching and cute song that showcases Joan’s distinctive vocals in a nice manner. It sounds a lot less catchy and poppy compared to ‘You And Me’, but definitely showcases a more mature sound and growth as an artist. It might not be accessible enough to become a radio hit, but I hope it does well for Joan as she truly deserves it!

Joan Franka vertegenwoordigde Nederland tijdens het Eurovisie Songfestival 2012 met het pakkende liedje ‘You and Me’, maar wist de finale niet te halen met een tegenvallend optreden op het moment dat het moest. De zangeres verdween uit de spotlight en legde later uit dat ze door een moeilijke periode in haar leven ging. Nu heeft ze haar passie voor muziek hervonden, na een muzikale reis door Europa. Ze schreef haar nieuwe single ‘Nigel’ over een jongen waar ze ooit verliefd op was. De tekst gaat over hoe hun leven eruit zou kunnen hebben gezien als ze wel een stel waren geworden. Het resultaat is een lieve, emotionele ballade die het opvallende stemgeluid van Joan mooi naar voren brengt. Het is een stuk minder poppy dan ‘You and Me’, maar laat wel een stuk volwassener geluid horen en Franka heeft dan ook zeker een groei als artieste doorgemaakt. Het is misschien niet toegankelijk genoeg om een grote radiohit te worden, maar ik hoop dat Joan er wat succes mee behaalt, want dat verdient ze!

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