Avatar Four Word Reviews: 3 Words

Are you a fan of Our Cheryl? I have to admit I didn’t know much about her before 3 Words, her debut solo album from 2009, plopped onto my doormat in a padded envelope. Cheryl Cole (previously Cheryl Tweedy, now Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, future changes of surname TBC) started out in Girls Aloud, a band created by the ITV series “Popstars”. She then went solo and is now an X Factor judge.

This album was produced by will.i.am, who also sings on some tracks, does a bit of rapping, and even takes over completely on track 10 where Cheryl herself is nowhere to be found. With hindsight I kind of wish I’d done a three word review, but it’s too late now, so here is my four word review of an album called three words.

My main take away from listening to this album was the horrible realisation that the sort of music churned out by the X Factor actually exists in real life. Beyond the generic manufactured pop sound, this album specifically is starting to date a bit; eleven years on you realise what was in fashion then and sounds a bit rubbish now. Almost every track has lyrics almost in monotone, and underneath are some very samey looped beats and samples.

Track 1, for example, is a frankly nauseating love ballad, performed as a duet, over a repetitive acoustic guitar and some occasional use of extremely synthy bass. Track 3 is basically just a long chorus where the words “my heaven’s witchoo” are repeated for three minutes. Several tracks are “featuring will.i.am”, but track 8, “Stand Up”, also features him uncredited. Having listened to it, I can see why he might not want his name associated with it.

Let’s see how this plays out.

TrackWord 1Word 2Word 3Word 4
1. 3 Words (feat. will.i.am)Weirdsoppythumpyduet
2. ParachutePopwithmilitarydrums
3. Heaven (feat. will.i.am)Allproductionnosong
4. Fight For This LoveRecogniseandhatethis
5. Rain on MeShoutywailyindependenceballad
6. Make Me CryManycomplex“if”scenarios
7. Happy HourWealthofdrinkingpuns
8. Stand UpBasic“everyonedance”song
9. Don’t Talk About This LoveWeirdpleadingballadnonsense
10. Boy Like You (feat. will.i.am)Horriblesong,bizarresample
11. Heartbreaker (will.i.am feat. Cheryl Cole)Justawill.i.amsong

The thing that struck me most about this album was the choice of lyrics. There were some really odd things going on. Track 9, “Don’t Talk About This Love”, is the weirdest sentiment I’ve ever heard made into a song. The message seems to be asking your boyfriend not to tell anyone you’re together because you’re not sure you want to be with him yet. “Happy Hour” is just a load of bad puns – “how can I drive you crazy if I’ve got no gas” was a favourite, along with the hook line “I can’t help but drink you up because you’re my happy hour”.

“Make Me Cry” was especially complicated and quite baffling. Here’s its chorus: “if you’re trying to hurt me like I hurt you, then you win, and if you’re trying to love me like I love you, then we win, and if you’re trying to finish what we started, then we’ll lose the love, and I don’t wanna lose ya”. That’s a lot to think about and a lot of variables and dependencies to unpick for what should be an uncomplicated pop song. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been doing too much coding lately, but it occurred to me that all of this was easier to express in php.

if ($youtrying == 'to hurt me') {
    $you = win;
    } else if ($youtrying == 'love me like I love you') {
    $you = win;
    $me = win;
    } else if ($youtrying == 'finish') {
    die('Love is lost');

In summary then, my favourite thing about this album is that, while listening to it and making my notes, my handwriting was particularly neat. Perhaps if I ever decide to take up calligraphy I’ll listen to it again. My least favourite thing was that “Boy Like You” samples the floaty synthy bit from the intro to “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac, and when looped and pitch bent a bit it becomes very woozy and strange. If you’re going to do that to a song, I’d rather you did it to one I don’t quite like. Thanks.

14 comments on “Four Word Reviews: 3 Words

  • No. I can go further than that, and I will: there is no circumstance I can bring to mind, of any nature, in which I would have bought this of my own accord.

  • No, I didn’t. I’ve had years of experience with the sort of CD that gets fly-tipped through my letterbox and I didn’t think for a single second that there might be a song I liked on here. It’s never happened before and by gum I don’t expect it to happen now.

  • That’s not precisely what I’m saying, no. The trouble is that, being locked out of my flat and having to couchsurf with my unsuspecting other half, I don’t have any of the existing stockpile of CDs available. Even if I did one a month I’d have enough to see me through to autumn, and now I’m not getting through them at all. So I’m actually in a situation where I don’t need any more, nor do I want any more, and no more should arrive.

  • Can we have a new series of these, where you reduce songs to their representation in PHP? I liked that bit. Maybe to spice things up we could do a few in PowerShell too?

  • I’ll have to learn PowerShell to achieve that, but I reckon it could be a go-er. I could definitely do one in BASIC. There’s probably songs that would work in XML too.

    (I can hear Ian losing interest as I type this.)

  • Did someone mistype Powerful? There’s no ‘shell’ in powerful. Also basic is a normal word and doesn’t require capitals. Jeez, where did you guys learn English?

    I never liked XML. His remix of Elvis didn’t deserve to go to number one, silly prick.

  • I know basic is a normal word, I just wanted to shout it. Is there a problem with that? I can shout a SINGLE word from a sentence if I want.

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