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Pixie Lott - 'Gravity'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:11 UK time, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Pixie Lott

Being a polite, glass-half-full, supportive kind of person, I've held off commenting on this song for as long as possible, because really, I want Pixie Lott to get the most out of her time in the pop limelight.

OK, to some people she's a stage-school madam with a growly voice who represents all that is wrong with modern music. And when I say some people, I mainly mean old people. I'm not so sure. 'Boys And Girls' is still a firm fixture on my iPod, 'Cry Me Out' sounds more and more like a well-made high-quality modern pop song with every play (on Radio 2), and she's nowhere near as self-consciously THEATRICAL as Paloma Faith, for which we should all be grateful.

However, there's a big problem with this song, one which it will take more than an impassioned delivery and immaculate production to get around.

(Here's the video. If you liked the 'Single Ladies video, you should've put a tutu on it. Oh you did.)

The problem is, it's 'No Air' by Jordin Sparks. I mean it REALLY IS 'No Air' by Jordin Sparks. It's not a bad version of 'No Air' by Jordin Sparks, but that doesn't detract from the general air of 'No Air' (by Jordan Sparks) which puffs up whenever the song starts.

Normally, two songs being drawn from a similar pool in the great well of inspiration isn't a big deal. As any musicologist can tell you, there are only 12 notes, only so many combinations of those notes which are pleasing to the ear, and even fewer of those which can be strung together to sound so appealing that people are prepared to click on a download link and welcome them into their lives.

However, 'No Air' has recently been featured on Glee, so it's back in the public consciousness again, which makes this now come across like a photocopy of a painting of an original.

And according to the sleeve-notes, this song took four people to write. FOUR. None of whom wrote 'No Air' by Jordin Sparks, which was itself written by a further SIX people.

Life can be so confusing sometimes, even for an optimist.

Three starsDownload: Out now
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    It's No Air with a touch of Energy by Keri Hilson thrown into the mix in the chorus. And I have to say, I disagree with you, I think it IS a bad version. It lacks any real hook and if it had been released as a debut nobody would be paying any attention. She should stick to the lively pop numbers, rather than this faux-emotional tosh.
    Also, she looks surprisingly unattractive in the black wig, confirming my suspicions that she really is just all hair.

  • Comment number 2.

    Oh dear, exactly what DID Interscope have on their mind when they chose THIS SONG for single release?

    Not that it's bad or anything but there are three main gripes I have with this song:

    Thing 1: Interscope should've realised that after the MASSIVE greatness of the pop ballad 'Cry Me Out', this song doesn't have the savvy and swagger of 'Cry Me Out', where we saw what could alomst be 'Princess' Pixie telling a lad to get over his misery after she left him.
    It was an edgy move to play the one who was obviously the bigger one in the relationship even though she had been cheated on; she wasn't crying, in other words; she just got over it and dumped him without dwelling in her sorrows.

    But this song is more generic and predictable and all-together less stellar than 'Cry Me Out' was. Hence why it's probably not doing so well in the charts (about #29 isn't it?).

    Thing 2: There are MUCH better song on Pixie's album, a la the title track - 'Turn It Up', or my favourite 'Here We Go Again'. Both brilliant happy pop songs the could storm the charts, but instead they chose to release another 'ballad', which sound like a watered down 'No Air', as aforementioned by Fraser.

    Thing 3: It's like it's trying to be more than one genre, at one point, it's a pop ballad, and other's it's trying to achieve a more synthy sound, a la the intro or the post-chorus 'Gravity' repeated bit, via the use of vocoder and heavy drums. So the whole thing doesn't seem to work for me.

    Mind you, Pixie does have an amazing voice, and while this song shows it perfectly, I'll stick by my main point which is that she shouldn't have chosen a another ballad after 'Cry Me Out', which is far superior.

  • Comment number 3.

    Even though I'm sure it's just because they sound so alike but I'd like to think my comment on this song @ 245 on the Jedward thread prompted Fraser to see these glaring similarities.

    P.S: If Eddy Grant's trying to sue Gorillaz over Stylo then maybe Jordan Sparks should try to get some cash out of this song.

  • Comment number 4.

    Looks like she'll need the cash.

    What happened to the Battlefield album? Two singles and Jordin's disappeared on us.

  • Comment number 5.

    To be fair Random, Jordin's done better over here than most American Idol winners, including those I've preferred. A lot don't even bother trying to release stuff over here so she's probably still around in America I would guess.
    Poor Blake Lewis on the other hand, who came second to her, not doing so well :(

  • Comment number 6.

    Oh I wasn't really giving about Jordin. I just wanna know where she is! Yep, only herself and Kelly Clarkson have proven to be internationally successful. Maybe Carrie Underwood as well, but she's only really known by country fans.

    Nope Jordin's not doing anything in America. I haven't listened to Battlefield (album) but I hear there's good stuff on it and the two singles she did release from it, I liked a lot.

  • Comment number 7.

    Its an average song, agree that there are better on the album, but well, ya know, what ya gonna do? the album is light, sunshine pop without the sunshine, cos its still March and we live in this country.

  • Comment number 8.

    Agree with Olivia, I picked up on the similarity to Keri Hilson's Energy, i often hear one and get the other stuck in my head. although, on mentioning the no air link, i agree with that also.

    I only saw the video recently and instantly thought of beyonce too. So really, this whole thing reaks of copies, which is sad coz she's talented and i like pixie's stuff.

    I dont agree with the image comment, she's still hot as a brunette, but for some reason she looks a lot happier when blonde.

  • Comment number 9.

    I thought this was Katy Perry's new single when I saw Pixie in the video with that black bob wig. :\

  • Comment number 10.

    I imagine Jennifer Hudson comes under "Reasonably successful world wide"

  • Comment number 11.

    But she didn't win so I guess she doesn't count!

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh yeah Jennifer Hudson and Daughtry and there's a chance Carly Smithson will gain success as she's in a new mainstream rock band We Are The Fallen which is made up of her, some random bassist and former members of Evanescence.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think Pixie lott has a great voice and potential for the future ! Yet again Fraser you knock Paloma Faith ! did you know she has sold more records than Pixie and is having a sold out tour !! People love her - look on her fan facebook! I went to her Dublin gig and the crowd adored her - you and alot of other critics will definitely be proved wrong about her ...................... she has been snubbed by many influential music bods except of course jools holland but her fan base is from 7 year olds to 70 year olds - a breath of fressh air and so adorable on stage .THINK AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    The wonderful Reviews returns .

    As Fraser has decided not to review Paloma Faith's energetic new single Upside Down , maybe reviews can do a quick review for us ?

  • Comment number 15.

    I checked. Pixie has sold more records than Paloma.

    I checked. There's tickets available for her gig on the 29th. Not a sold out tour.

    Of course the crowd adored her, THEY HAD PAID MONEY TO SEE HER.

    Paloma is an easy target because she is a bit of a Winehouse rip off.

    (Pixie Lott is an easier target, I would argue, because she is crap).

    7 year olds to 70 year olds? Great. The young and the hearing impared.

    You're also wrong about Pixie Lott having great potential.

    I much much prefere Paloma to Pixie for the record.

  • Comment number 16.

    Hard to write on here !! So glad paloma has Jools Holland behind her - she needs someone !! bit nit picking about the sold out gigs - thats one gig NOT sold out because put on as an extra . I wonder who has been to see her on here !! I myself thought it great alot of children at the gigs - in Cambridge Palomas 85 year old grandmother went . People adored her - they could write CRAP if they didnt like her - and the gigs were not that expensive so its not just about having paid !! The Amy winehouse comparison very passe / now . every new soul singer seems to get that comparison even Rox who is just releasing her work and I have seen her live too - neither bit like her !! I wish all these girls luck !! Paloma is at the cheltenham jazz festival that sold out in 5 hours - she has a versatility which can only be admired !!

  • Comment number 17.

    Of Course , Pixie Lott has potential , she is only 18 , has had 2 number 1 singles , released a top 10 album , the wonderful ballad Cry Me Out , where she performed a fantastic mature vocal , and she has a fantastic team around her .

    When a singer of Pixie's look and ability has someone like the supremely talented Phil Thornalley as one of her songwriters and mentors , with all his knowledge and talent for pop music ,she is sure to grow as an artist.
    She is only a teenager , and I am sure she has the talent , to ride over negative comments , as she has a supportive , experienced team , who will nurture her career .
    Pixie , good luck on the journey .

  • Comment number 18.

    Reviews , how about a few lines on the brilliance of Upside Down ?

  • Comment number 19.

    If you don't like either artist, then think about which one you'd rather watch with the sound turned off...no debate methinks... ;)

  • Comment number 20.

    OOOH OOOH ! Now that is a tough one for me .
    Pixie is typically gorgeous , but Paloma is a lovely redhead with such mystique to her .

    Sorry , I can't decide . :)

  • Comment number 21.

    Pixie no question or shadow of doubt. With blonde hair though, not brunette.

  • Comment number 22.

    Paloma is an attractive Lady.. but it's gotta be Pixie.

    If you shut your eyes and listened to them in an interview, it'd be Paloma any day.

  • Comment number 23.

    I doubt Pixie's ever been known for her way with words.

  • Comment number 24.

    So there it is .

    Pixie gets Jonesy's vote with his headphones on .

    Paloma gets Liam's vote with his blindfold on .

    Fantastic . :)

  • Comment number 25.

    Surely his earplugs in? Headphones on implies listening to the music .. Paloma wins any day.

  • Comment number 26.

    Liam's right, Paloma is SOOOO much better than Pixie, so what if Pixie's had two #1 singles? Who here can put their hand on their heart and say (musically) 'Girls and Boys' is better than 'Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?', 'New York' or 'Upside Down'? It just got more promotional play.

    AND Paloma is MUCH MUCH MUCH better live, unlike that forced 'mature' drivel sliding out of Pixie's anguished vocals.

    And I like looking at Pixie, but I'd rather look at Paloma, plus she has a brillaintly kooky accent.

  • Comment number 27.

    That's the thing about Pixie Lott, lots of people like looking at her but a lot less enjoy listening to her.

  • Comment number 28.

    How great to AT LAST meet a fan of Paloma in Odd One and someone who has seen her live !! everyone google Paloma singing At Last vicar street dublin - says it all ...................

  • Comment number 29.

    At 24 .

    Jonesy is looking at Pixie Lott , while on the headphones , he is listening to We Are Golden by Mika .

    You are wearing a blindfold , listening to Paloma Faith , but on the inside of your eyelids , some bright spark , using neon paint , and shining an ultra violet light in your eyes, has drawn a revealing picture of Susan Boyle .

    Enjoy yourself you two !!!!!


  • Comment number 30.

    A safe and pleasant enough melody to earn TWO STARS, but very dull and predictable.

    Not only does it sound like No Air, the verses are basically the same ones as in "T-Shirt" by Shontelle. Which wasn't a very good song in the first place

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry spirit but I can't stand Mika. I'm sure the chorus to 'Rain' was the only song in history specially recorded for dogs.

    But as for looking at Pixie...yes. Just yes.

  • Comment number 32.

    Jonesy , your not liking Mika , was the joke !

    Staring at Pixie Lott , but having to listen to Mika on headphones at the same time , would prove uncomfortably bittersweet !


  • Comment number 33.

    Or funny if 'big girls you are beautiful' came on?

  • Comment number 34.

    @ 32

    Surely watching a Pixie Lott music video is bittersweet, unless you turn the sound off.

    On the opposite side I can't stand looking at Michael Jackson, he just creeps me out, but the music's great so watching one of his videos is kind of bittersweet.

  • Comment number 35.

    Some people say life is just a bittersweet symphony...

  • Comment number 36.

    I like this song and I think she looks stunning in that black wigg. If i had one thing to say thats a downside to this track from Pixie Lott is that im waiting to hear her sing and stop belting it out at the top of her lungs like every other singer this day and age that thinks that is what it is to be a singer...


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