Cheryl Cole - 'Parachute'
So I was talking to someone this morning about Glee. He's not a fan. He doesn't like the TV show and he doesn't like the music. That's his choice. I like the music, and the TV show, but when I said so, he accused me of pandering to the lowest-common-denominator (*eyeroll*), and went on to say that as I'm normally so snooty about music, I must be just SAYING I like Glee to make some point or other.
Now, this is nonsense. For all that you can form an opinion about music before you hear it, based on factors which are not present in the music itself, once the song hits, it either works or it doesn't. You can't MAKE it work because all your friends love the song, any more than you can force yourself to hate a song you love, just because it is by someone whose work you do not normally enjoy.
Or to put it another way, there's no room for 'should' in popular song. There's only "yay!" or "boo!".*
(Here's the video. Can someone check if Cheryl can do the next series of Strictly...oh.)
So bearing in mind this is already a hit on downloads, was always going to be a hit and really does not require my or anyone else's help or commentary in order to achieve what it is going to achieve (apart from everyone who is buying it, obv), this leaves me with three choices.
I can hate on it, because it's, like, happening without my express permission and stuff.
I can love it, because it's going to be a hit and you can't argue with chart success, right? Lots of sales always means a very high quality product, dunnit? *cough*
Or I can listen to it and tell you about what happens. Guess which one I'm going for?
So what happens is this: Cheryl's pleading voice strikes home. Hard. I never really got 'Fight For This Love' because I never really believed her, but my GOODNESS I believe this. It's nothing to do with anything which is happening in her personal life, I don't need the back-story to get carried away, it's simply that she sings these tender, mournful lyrics as if she means every word.
And the strings wrap around her like a soft blanket - or an actual parachute, if you wanna go literal with it - and carry her aloft in a puff of warm harmonies. It's a beautifully made song, performed beautifully. There's even a vibraphone! I love those!
It's not technically perfect, that martial drumbeat could be a bit less drum-machiney, and hiding an autotuned vocal behind Cheryl's voice still counts as autotune to these ears...but flaws only really work as flaws when they spoil something, and this is unspoilable.
Better than Glee, even. I know!
* Although I reserve the right to use the word in future, because I, like all reviewers, am nothing if I'm not making it up as I go along.
PS: On Friday 12th March Cheryl will be performing this song and a cover in Radio 1's Live Lounge. You'll be able to see this LIVE on Radio 1 online from 10am.