The Girls Aloud singer’s debut is lively and enjoyable in lots of ways.
Fraser McAlpine 2010
There’s a fine line between Heartfelt and A Bit Dim, and Nadine Coyle’s solo debut, while lively and enjoyable in lots of ways, does tend to skitter across it in quite a distracting fashion. The trick is to try and let the daft bits wash over you without taking out the red marker pen and channelling your inner Lynne Truss.
Take the album’s title-track – and Nadine’s first solo single – in which she sings about her unquenchable need for her man, all the while calling him insatiable. That’s a fairly basic misunderstanding of what the word means, surely? Or the way that Sexy Love Affair is basically all over the place, but in quite a loveable way. Its whispery, lisping falsetto and seductive strings have been hugely compromised by a too-fast, overly martial drum beat, which effectively takes a sensual, slow thing and makes it jolly.
Then there are these bizarre lyrics about sucking at math (yep, she left off the ‘s’), which is illustrated by a sudden count of "four, six, seven" so it can be made to rhyme with "I’m in heaven". And a love affair doesn’t really need to be described as sexy, does it? That’s a tautology.
Thankfully, all of these quirks and idiosyncrasies are wrapped up in immaculately produced, grown-up pop music, hand-tooled by experts. Unbroken, for example, is essentially a helium-voiced retooling of Primal Scream’s Loaded, while Rumours is a worthy sequel to one of those big military pop ballads Jordin Sparks did so well a couple of years back. I’ll Make A Man Out Of You Yet is a boy-beating ballad which owes Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful a pint, and which seeks to bulldoze Nadine’s fella into being a more thoughtful boyfriend, using a combination of brute force and emotive wailing.
So, while it’s easy to nitpick and scoff, there’s no reason to dismiss Nadine’s solo work as inferior to that of anyone else from Girls Aloud, naming no names. And that’s because there is also a fine line between enjoying a bit of daftness-spotting, and missing the whole point.