Remember Diana Vickers? Semi-finalist on The X Factor 2008? If not, perhaps you should, because take one glance at her impressive résumé and you’ll see a UK album chart-topper, original fashion line and acting roles in film, television and the West End marking her successes over the past five years. Back now with her second album Music To Make Boys Cry, Vickers claims it’s “the music [she’s] always wanted to make”. With the title in mind, reviewing it should be a piece of cake as 1) I am a boy and 2) I have tear ducts, so let’s see if the famously bare-footed songstress lives up to both her own glowing reputation and the promise made on the cover.
The first track on the album, also titled ‘Music To Make Boys Cry’ is a promising opener: an 80’s inspired slow synth-pop anthem for the self-possessed young woman. “Don’t need to make you love me/I got myself and I” sings Vickers, firmly setting the tone for the rest of the album to come.
This is followed up by the lead single ‘Cinderella’, an upbeat dance number which ticks all the boxes but for a few Taylor Swift fairytale clichés lyrics-wise. This is also a slight issue throughout the next segment of the album, notably on tracks ‘Dead Heat’ and ‘Boy In Paris’; synth-pop and dance numbers respectively. Again, both are musically successful, but lacking in the lyrical sincerity that Vickers can and does deliver elsewhere in her body of work.
Fortunately though, things quickly improve with funky head-bopper ‘Mad At Me’ and airy slow song ‘Mr. Postman’, two of the album’s real gems. Here we’re treated to a little more of Vickers’ Lily Allen-esque charm and cheekiness, which as her most endearing quality could perhaps have done with a slightly higher profile on the album as a whole. The quirkiness quota is filled in a little more however with track ‘Better In French’, as a string of Parisian references about “sexy garçons” and “disco dancing at the centre Pompidou” add some continental style to this Eurodisco-influenced number.
As for tearjerkers, Vickers stays so lovably optimistic throughout that it’s hard not to break into a smile rather than break down, but tracks ‘Lightning Strikes’ and ‘Smoke’ come closest to living up to the album’s title.
What comes across more than anything on this record is the artist’s own confidence and competence. Vickers’ voice is soft and sweet, but also carries with it a real sense of charm and elegance. Girls, this album should be a deserving addition to your pop collection, but boys, if you want to shed a tear, you’ll have to go looking elsewhere.