Diana Vickers: ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’ - Album review
Of all the post-X Factor debuts, Diana Vicker’s Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree is up there with the very best. An album of cutesy electro folk-pop that topped the charts and - despite the occasional over-insistence to impress her ‘kookiness’ - felt genuine, not least because she co-wrote the bulk of the collection. Fast-forward three years, and the singer has parted ways with her label Sony to pursue what she calls a - uh oh - ‘less commercial route’ for album two.
The result is indeed not as chart-friendly, but not in the way you’d necessarily expect. Lead single 'Cinderella' delves even deeper into ’80s-styled electropop even more than its predecessor, which, if you didn’t know any better, could be mistaken as the first offering from a female fresh off the Disney circuit. The glittery choruses and huge melodies continue on the title track 'Music To Make Boys Cry' and 'Lightning Strikes'; the latter a breezy and uplifting number that skips along to a hook not-too-dissimilar to Dario G’s ‘Sunchyme’.
The effect is far from sickly though; the fairy tale youthfulness of some of the songs being offset by the likes of 'Better In French', a thumping techno-pop number about hooking up with a Frenchman that’s a dead ringer for Kylie. Similarly, the Madonna-esque 'Dead Heat' hears her purr seductively over a chorus that immediately implants itself in the brain, while 'Mad At Me' sees Diana in full-on Blondie mode to glorious effect.
However, amongst all of the album’s obvious influences, one thing the collection sorely lacks is Diana’s own stamp. Whereas her debut dealt with the gripes of teenagedom with clever and insightful lyrics, Music To Make Boys Cry feels overly concerned with being kitsch and ultimately loses its way by the finish; especially when veering into dubstep on 'Smoke' and ’60s-pop pastiche on 'Mr Postman'. But while the focus may be confused, there’s little denying Vickers’s knack for a giant pop hook. - GW