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Cheryl Cole - '3 Words'

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Vicki Vicki | 10:10 UK time, Monday, 21 December 2009

Cheryl Cole

When I was in year 7, we were asked to write a song for our music class. Everyone's was pretty good, but mine (even if I do say so myself) was really rather something to behold, featuring the lyrics: "Take me up to the sky, oh baby/take me up where the eagles fly". I know. Deep, right? One of the proudest moments of that year and indeed of my LIFE for me was when we were chosen to perform it in assembly with just a bongo drum that none of us knew how to play for accompaniment.

Why do I bring this up now? Well, other than to prove my incredible song writing credentials to the world ("music's always been my life, y'know, even from like the age of 12"), it's because for all the haunting effects and dark undertones of '3 Words', at the end of the day it does sound like something you could have made up when you were at school, doesn't it?

(Here's the video.)

Like a good percentage of the nation, I've a lot of love and time for Cheryl. She's charming, beautiful and very sweet. But, increasingly, I'm questioning this 'solo pop star' move...

This is a song that absolutely, 100%, relies on the backing track. Luckily this track is actually really good: it's dark, eerie and cold in a chilling way; in an infectious way. However, that's really not enough when the vocal arrangement and the actual vocals themselves do nothing more for the song. Yes, it's a brave song choice, but it's hap-hazard vocal line seems to scream "look at me! I'm edgy! I'm being brave and edgy!", and as we all know (Avril Lavigne, I'm looking at you) there's nothing edgy about doing that.

Adding to this is the fact the lyrics are the opposite of edgy - bordering on eggy. In fact they're so blunt and clunky I could hit someone over the head with them and cause serious injury. I mean, "I said I L-O-V-E Y-O-U/I'm so into you girl/She said M-E T-O-O"? I say C-R-I-N-G-E. That's on par with my earlier lyrics, surely?!

Look, I hate to say the obvious, but if this song wasn't by Miss Cole, would anyone care? Would it be on the radio? Would it end up at number one? Of course it wouldn't.

Not that commercial success should dictate whether a song is good. A good song dictates whether it's a good song. And I do not believe this is a good song. Although on the plus side, it has inspired me to keep up the song writing...

Two starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: December 21st
BBC Music page

(Vicki Lutas)


  • Comment number 1.

    Definitely keep up the guitar and the song writing Vicki !

    That moment when I saw you serenade Jeff Brazier , was one of my highlights of 2009 !

  • Comment number 2.

    Absolute tripe. This is her favourite song on the album too. It speaks volumes for her actual musical talent really.

    Like Vicki said, the backing track is great. Sadly everything thrown on top of it is awful. Will.i.am sounds dreadful too. So bad I asked if it was Ashley Cole doing the backing when I first heard it.

    C-R-I-N-G-E . Love it!

  • Comment number 3.

    I seriously don't get this song, the lyrics aren't quite as cliche as Fight For This Love but are still really bad and it sounds like something Goldfrapp would do - except Goldfrapp would do it better.

  • Comment number 4.

    Awful song, i was expecting better from Mrs Cole to be honest. Maybe she doesnt have much musical talent. Or maybe her musical taste is equal to her taste in men! It has none of the structure or lyrical intelligence of Fight For This Love, and the vocal from both just seems annoying and bland. Completely agree that if anyone but Cheryl Cole did this, not one person would listen to it and try their hardest to enjoy it, like many will with this...

  • Comment number 5.

    "lyrical intelligence of Fight For This Love"

    Not serious right?

  • Comment number 6.

    "lyrical intelligence of Fight for this Love" Very much LOL

    To be fair though, "3 Words" has all the brooding intensity of "Wombling Merry Christmas" and the sing along catchiness of "Paranoid Android".

  • Comment number 7.

    Jax , do you get paid a commission , every time you mention the Wombles on Chartblog ?

    That's twice in 2 days !

    Or are you having a clandestine affair with Great Uncle Bulgaria ?

  • Comment number 8.

    Music: really very good, and a surprise, since not having listened to the album i was expecting her next single to sound exactly the same as fight for this love (which was all-round poor)

    Lyrics: some of the worst i've heard in quite a long time, and that's quite an achievement in the pop world. add to that a poor vocal performance (mainly from Will.i.am)

    Bonus point for a decent video, in particular blonde Cheryl looking amazing, but overall a distinctly unimpressive effort.

  • Comment number 9.

    Spirit, there's nothing clandestine about it ;)

  • Comment number 10.

    Too damn right Vicki. This song highlights everything that's wrong with Cheryl as an 'artist'.

    I read a review of this song the other week, in which the reviewer acknowledged that while Cheryl doesn't have the best voice, being a great popstar is about more than just having an amazing voice, as the likes of Madonna and Kylie have proved - which is true, but then the reviewer basically said that the fact that Cheryl's album has sold well (don't get me started on why) proves that she is talented, which just made me laugh. Cheryl has no musical talent HERSELF, but just because she's seen as a major 'celebrity', she has producers like will.i.am handing her help on a plate.

    Not that that saves this particular song from being bad. Not only are the lyrics embarrassingly crap, but they don't suit the song's style at all. The only decent part is when will.i.am drops a decent beat, but even that takes way too long to arrive, doesn't last long, and over the top of it is a chorus of 'I love you, I love you, I love you, you are the love of my life'. Oh wow, that's so inspired. Lyrics aside, Cheryl's singing doesn't exactly shine again, I mean, when she goes for some of those big(ish) notes towards the song's climax, it only serves to expose that lack of ability, it's quite painful to listen to! And the video is just downright pretentious. I could go on. Ok it's not the worst song ever but in my opinion it just does not work.

    Is it not blindingly obvious that Cheryl's ridiculous sales are mostly down to the fact that there are many thousands of young girls in this country who for some reason see her as an 'icon' (which is worrying in itself) and will buy her music just because it's got her name on it? You can't honestly say it's down to her songs being any good - anyone who's heard Fight For This Love and seen how much it's sold in the uk could tell you that. Sorry, i just don't get it. As Vicki said - hardly anyone would care if it didn't have Cheryl Cole's name on it. I hope Girls Aloud's current hiatus ends as soon as possible.

    There. Rant over. Nothing personal :)

  • Comment number 11.

    In my defence, i couldnt think of a word to describe the lyrical level of FFTS compared to this awful song. Having listened to FFTS again, i realise i completely agree with you, its no work of Alex Turner etc.

  • Comment number 12.

    Or Frank Turner ....

  • Comment number 13.

    Or Tina Turner..

  • Comment number 14.

    Or Bachman - Turner - Overdrive....

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, I like it.

    At first I didn't but I really think it's a grower. It's grown.

    I didn't like Fight for this love though, that was awful!

  • Comment number 16.

    According to Wikipedia Cheryl's next single will be Parachute.

  • Comment number 17.

    The best bit of the song was when the beat was dropped, as mentioned, but that's only a small portion of the song.

  • Comment number 18.

    how does she get away with this?

  • Comment number 19.

    Because she's hot

  • Comment number 20.

    fair play

  • Comment number 21.

    Actually , I'm with you Dan .
    This song is a grower .
    It will have been in the charts for almost ten weeks on Sunday , and still be in the top ten , so this proves it has support at retail , consistently week by week .
    It resounds more with me ,the more I hear it.

    I will post more on Cheryl after Christmas....

  • Comment number 22.

    Right , time to post on Cheryl Cole . Let's deal with Fight for this love first .

    Yeah Fight for this love was a fantastic pop song . ( despite the lyrics being written by Mr and Mrs Cliche and no work of Alex Turner etc .Loved that line Jonesy , distracted us from your saying FFTL had lyrical intelligence ! And then Liam asking you if you were serious ! Boy did I laugh at that moment. Classic ! )

    The melodic hooks in Fight For This Love, and the way T.v and RADIO embraced it , made it difficult to escape . And no it wasn't just young girls who liked this song , I had mature friends approaching me , and humming the tune of FFTL to me , for me to tell them who it was by so that they could buy it !. Forgetting the fact of whether you like Cheryl Cole or not , and putting the lyrics to one side , it is one hell of a pop record that had immense appeal.

    I know loads of you probably hated it for many reasons, but there are approx I million people who liked it enough to buy it , and as anyone around music knows , getting lots of people to buy your song is very important.

    It was a shame the Chartblog review , suggested that Fight For This Love would not match success of Girls Aloud SINGLES , but it has now outsold EVERY SINGLE ONE . The appeal of this single was seriously under-estimated then . At the time in it's first week it sold 284,00 copies.

    Does 1 million people buying a song make it good ?

    Of course not , whether a song is good or not is purely personal taste .
    It's up to you !
    There is no one person or magazine that dictates to everyone which songs are good and which songs are bad.
    You choose for yourself what is good.
    It's individual choice , and hey , you can even change your mind if you like.

    If we take the only proveable way that people can show other people that they think a song is good , is that people actually pay money to get that song in their life ( I know some of you probably don't ! ), then the official chart shows us how many people think each song is good .

    Basically the chart shows us how many people think each song is good. When a song is at NUMBER 1 , more people think this song is good than ANY other song.

    So we know about a million people bought Fight For This Love and definitely think FFTL is good , and in these terms as pop is short for popular , it is a fantastic pop song.

    I also get the impression that if there was a BAD chart and people could pay money to say that a song is bad , then FFTL would feature quite highly in that chart too !

    Swings and roundabouts etc.

  • Comment number 23.

    Right here is my take on 3 WORDS .

    Vicki and Kutox look away now !

    If I was asked to do a review after hearing the song once , it would be similar to Vicki's , I never got it and it passed me by . The only hook was the backing track for me .

    However as any good reviewer knows ( and I have have heard this many times , ) you have got to hear a song at least 5-6 times , over a period of time , and ideally in at least 2 different settings . Not just in your lounge on headphones . Play it in your car , hear it in a club , see other peoples reactions to it .

    I have heard it many times now , and each time I hear it I like it more than the time before , the videos great too !

    "This is a song that 100% relies on the backing track "

    Er .. no For me the vocal lines are subtle , and the hooks creep up on you slowly . For me vocal and instrumentation go together well . and in the end , the vocal lines are extremely memorable . Extremely ! Can't get the chorus out of my head .

    I also like the hypnotic club groove .

    This song sounds fantastic on the radio .

    It is also the second most popular video in the country right now .

    "If the song wasn't by Miss Cole would anyone care ?
    Would it be on the radio ? "

    Er yes and probably yes !

    For me this is a good song , and I and I expect thousands of others like songs irrespective of who they are by . I hear loads of songs that I like , and don't know much about the artist .
    I will never be a victim of musical predujice , that says I can only like songs in certain styles and by certain bands or singers.
    I will choose what I like .

    Also Radio 1 have not A listed 3 Words just because it is Cheryl Cole .
    Irrespective of who it is , it sounds like a Radio 1 A list single .
    It fits the criteria of the station .

    I would also buy this single , no matter who it was by.
    Because I like it !

    Why during the review there is a slur on the multi-talented and writer of many successful pop songs, Avril Lavigne is also beyond me ?

    There is also critisism of the vocal lines .

    "Oh look at me I'm edgy , I'm being brave and edgy ! "

    Yep after the straight forward pop of Fight for this love , to me it's refreshing to hear a totally different type of song from Miss Cole . Is she not allowed to try a different style ?
    Do we not want to hear differing styles from singers ?
    It's great to hear , and will galvanise further interest in her album .

    Of course , I am aware that a lot of you don't like it , and that is your choice . I like it and that is my choice .

    One thing that I can be sure of is thousands of other people thinking this song is good too .
    In tomorrows chart , although not quite up to where the eagles fly ,I strongly expect 3 WORDS to be in the UK top 5 .

    Let's see .

  • Comment number 24.


    nope, i still dont like it.

    but it will be No 1 tomorrow, no question. But is that because of the song or because its Mrs Cole?

    Lets see . ;)

  • Comment number 25.

    I expect joe to be number 1 tomorrow but mrs cole to be in the top 5 . I think there will be a lot of people who think this song is good to make this happen .

  • Comment number 26.

    Top 5? Not sure.

  • Comment number 27.

    * mrs cole . Sorry ash .

  • Comment number 28.

    I think top 5 sounds about right for this song, also expecting to see journey somewhere around the top 10 seeing as it's got a massive revival due to Joe and Glee.

  • Comment number 29.

    Apparetnly Glee is the best thing ever. I've not got around to watching it yet.

  • Comment number 30.

    That's what my sister keep telling me.

  • Comment number 31.

    sorry 'sisters' there's two of them.

  • Comment number 32.

    Housemate told me.. I told my sister .. now both of them are telling me.

  • Comment number 33.

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Glee is taking over the WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    " Although not quite up where the eagles fly , I expect 3 Words by Cheryl Cole to be in the TOP 5 on Sunday "

    3 Words is now at NUMBER 4 !

    Liam , cannot believe you doubted me ?

    Sheeeeeeesh !

  • Comment number 35.


    I now doubt the public's ears.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ah , great retort ! lol

  • Comment number 37.

    The Glee kids could do this so much better.

  • Comment number 38.

    The Glee kids have proven they do most things better.

    (Apart from Defying Gravity).

  • Comment number 39.

    Has Glee even started? I kinda wanna watch it... isn't it a musical?

    Just got around to reading your mammoth Cheryl & 3 Words post, Spirit and I totally agree with what you said about it's hypnotic style. I think Will.I.Am compliments the full track well. It would be no where near as good without him.
    I've not seen much of the video but I'll be sure to youtube it when I get a chance - I'm so busy lately!

    I recommend to anyone who hasn't, to youtube Cheryl Cole singing with Snow Patrol - Set fire to the third bar.

    I was pretty impressed by Chezza's vocals on this and, after doubting her vocal ability, I now think she is a really good singer - not excellent, just really good.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think glee starts in January but I'm not sure, I keep getting different information from different people.

  • Comment number 41.

    I saw it advertised on E4.. didnt look when it was on though. I found it online. It's brilliant.

  • Comment number 42.

    It is brilliant isn't it, I watched it last night on 4od thinking I wasn't going to like it but sure enough ten minutes in and I'd already decided it was the best thing on E4 at the moment (only because the inbetweeners isn't on).

  • Comment number 43.

    Yep ! Cheryl and Snow Patrol doing "Set the fire to the third bar " at the Royal Albert Hall for Children in Need is very , very good.

    Available on You tube .

    Are we able to post links now ?

  • Comment number 44.

    Why? Were we not allowed to post them before?

  • Comment number 45.

    Nope. Ive had plenty deleted. Best thing to do is just tell people exactly what to search.

  • Comment number 46.

    The Drums - I Felt Stupid / Let's go Surfing

    Marina and the Diamonds - Hollywood

    Hurts - Wonderful Life

    Plan B - Stay too long

    I am lovin these at the mo... lol

  • Comment number 47.

    And it was alrite. Not that brilliant :p

  • Comment number 48.

    Cheryl Cole - "3 Words" kind of just puts me in mind of her L'Oreal campaign - "Limp, Weak, Lifeless" ....

  • Comment number 49.

    My hair's got it's mojo back

  • Comment number 50.

    Thranjax just set me up for a whole hosts of jokes about a certain part of me anatomy. Shame I cant make them here.

  • Comment number 51.

    limp , weak , lifeless ? I thought you could take tablets for that . . . .

  • Comment number 52.

    It was going down the lines of what Cheryl Cole doesnt make me feel.

  • Comment number 53.

    " Thranjax has just set me up for a whole host of jokes about my anatomy ! "

    Look you two ... GET A ROOM !

  • Comment number 54.

    Is anybody else on the blog from Newcastle? Does anybody else think Cheryl puts her accent on?

    I am and I certainly do. Nobody talks like that and I really doubt that if she spoke like that before being famous she'd keep it up even after much media training.

    It just kinda grinds on me. I know a few other geordies who think she puts her accent on too...

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    "Limp, Weak, Lifeless"

    Names rejected by Walt Disney for the Seven Dwarves?

  • Comment number 57.

    Ha ha at 55 , holier than thou , and a strict Catholic upbringing , Thranjax referred to the Mods.

    Love it !

  • Comment number 58.

    I read it! No s words allowed. Or in refernce to celebirties. Or maybe threesomes.

    Either way, yeh I would be up for it :p

  • Comment number 59.

    Lol he's had another one deleted on Gaga's too.

  • Comment number 60.

    Oh and I've done Glee now (I binged all 12/13 whatever episodes). It's amazing. Watch it.


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