The Problem With... Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back"
See also: The problem with... Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"
The United Kingdom is revving up songs on U.S. charts this summer, likely in tandem with the 2012 London Olympics. However, instead of promoting fresh British artists like Michael Kiwanuka and Emeli Sandé, they're giving America by-the-numbers pop from One Direction and The Wanted. They even refurbished Ellie Goulding's 2011 single "Lights" for American Top 40 charts. The latest on this bandwagon is the single "Want U Back," the U.S. debut for Cher Lloyd.
Lloyd placed last as a finalist on The X Factor in 2010, after auditioning in seasons past. She's probably The X Factor's response to Canadian Idol alum Carly Rae Jepsen. Like the "Call Me Maybe" singer, Lloyd got a record deal in her country for effort.
"Want U Back" has funky pop-rock guitar and it's catchy if taken at face value. Austin-raised songwriter Savan Kotecha's lyrics include rote lines, a squeaky rise in the pre-chorus and guttural, Nicki Minaj-ish interjections.
Kelsea Ballerini - The First Time Tour
TicketsTue., Dec. 13, 8:00pm
TicketsWed., Dec. 14, 7:00pm
K LOVE CHRISTMAS 2016
TicketsThu., Dec. 15, 7:00pm
Flosstradamus - Hi Def Youth Tour 2016
TicketsThu., Dec. 15, 8:00pm
MercyMe with The Dallas Pops Holiday Concert
TicketsFri., Dec. 16, 7:30pm
The problem with "Want U Back" is that it sounds and looks borrowed. Her punkish attitude and pop-rock composition call up a younger, higher octave ringer for fellow UK singer Jessie J. The song also treads the breakup theme Adele popularized. (At this rate, Adele should be knighted in 20 years for saving the music industry; I'm calling it!)
The U.S. music video used the same retro diner setting as the video for Cee Lo's 2010 single "Fuck You," and employs the same cascading layers of ye olde British pop. This Cher won't grind my heart of stone anytime soon.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.