Okay, so Cher Lloyd isn’t exactly “new”, to me or otherwise. But the category seemed appropriate, given that I just realized how great she is. The 19 year-old English singer-songwriter and model is a former “X-Factor” contestant and she’s been on the charts since her first single, “Swagger Jagger”, was released in 2011. But although she’s been on my radar, I’ve never really paid any attention to her music.
That changed this week. I have a habit when I’m bored of browsing YouTube for music, something I’ve done for years. It’s how I discover a lot of my favorite bands. Lloyd cropped up as a “recommended view” when I was watching a Rihanna video and I clicked on it, even though I’d seen it before.
For whatever reason, “Want U Back” has two videos, and both are pretty fucking great. My favorite, though, is the US version (as opposed to the international version). No, this favoritism isn’t some misplaced sense of patriotism; the US version is just a lot more aggressive. That’s appropriate, given that “Want U Back” opens with a guttural-but-also-high-pitched grunt (a sound that peppers the song throughout). It tells the story of a girl who left her boyfriend, thinking she could do better, now suffering from jealousy because he’s got a new fling.
But it’s not a whiny, anti-feminist power ballad. It’s a catchy, upbeat, angry song about regretting a break-up. And the US version of the music video features Lloyd being loud as hell about that anger.
Admittedly, my knowledge of Lloyd is limited to her appearance and her songs, but from what I can see and hear, this girl is awesome. She sports a lot of ink and even an undercut — her femininity is in no way traditional and her entire personality is very in-your-face. Her music is aggressive and she writes blatantly about love and loss — but also about personal appearance, bodily autonomy, and freedom to be one’s self.
In the last few years, there’s been a huge spike in the number of female artists that bring aggressiveness to their music, and Cher Lloyd is definitely one of those artists. After listening to her album several times on Spotify last night, I’m hooked. I bought the record on iTunes today and several of its songs have already crawled onto my various “Songs To _____ To” playlists.
I’m a huge fan of girl power pop music, because I think it’s important. But it’s also just really fun. I’m always looking for female artists who challenge the status quo with their music — I’ve found that in spades with Cher Lloyd. I’m just surprised I managed to be mostly oblivious to her for so long.