If you love synthy, ’80’s-inspired pop with sleek beats and beautiful electro-touches then you’re sure to immediately fall in love with Diana Vickers’ new album, Music To Make Boys Cry, her sophomore effort and first for the label So Recordings. Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. These 10 songs are sure to fire up fans of just about every kind of pop there is and in a big way. From lovers of synth pop to worshippers of electro-pop, to those who live to chew on bubblegum pop, this album is sure to garner heaps of adoration. It really is *that* good.
The album opens with the title track, “Music To Make Boys Cry,” which is like the audio equivalent of sweet cherry soda. Or whatever your favorite soda is. Or ice cream, even. “It’s all right, I’ve always liked my moments bittersweet / It’s what I need,” Diana purrs during the intoxicating bridge of the mid-tempo delight. “Some girls want a movie moment / Waiting by the wishing well / Don’t need to make you love me / I got myself / And I want to make music / To make the boys cry,” she proclaims during the manifesto of a chorus. If the glorious synth lines and magical melody don’t whisk you away to fairytale land then just keep on listening because surely other gems on this gleaming masterpiece of an album will.
It wasn’t going to be easy for Diana to top the maple syrupy goodness of her wonderful debut, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, but I’ll be damned if she doesn’t do it song after song here. She co-wrote all of these tasty treats with Xenomania’s writing and producing goddess Miranda Cooper, who’s written or co-written monstrous pop magnets for everyone from Kylie Minogue to Pet Shop Boys to Girls Aloud, and the results are like pop opiates sure to satisfy even the most hardcore junkies. Take lead single “Cinderella,” for example. It’s easily one of the best songs Diana or Miranda have ever written and it shows what a powerhouse songwriting team they make right out the gate. It’s ’80’s-tinged electro-pop paradise, really, and it packs one of the strongest choruses by any pop starlet ever. “If Cinderella was here tonight / She wouldn’t walk out the door leaving you behind / Midnight calling but she don’t care / She’d be a fool not to follow you everywhere,” Diana sings oh-so-passionately. “Because for you, I would lose both, both of my shoes / Day or night, see the light / It’s all I wanna do.” It’s sure to ignite your inner romantic like a burning candle falling on a pool of gasoline. Her inflection as she sings “both, both of my shoes” is especially sure to make your heart flutter. Unless you’re a sociopath.
Romance is the keyword here, as every song on the album is quite literally a love song. But Diana excels at delivering lovey dovey lyrics. Listening to these tunes is like listening to the inner monologue of Belle from Beauty & The Beast as she daydreams. But this isn’t a Disney album. NO. Granted, it’s more about love than lust, but it does have its steamy moments. During the funky, throbbing “Better in French,” for example, Diana sings about dancing and kissing while “wearing nothing but Coco number 5.” But it’s the other French-related song, the dazzling, club-ready stomper “Boy in Paris,” that wins the prize for hottest moment on the album as Diana sings, “Black and blue / Broke down on the floor in my bedroom / Right here, right now / I use my favorite trick to get me up.” OK, so that doesn’t sound very sexual, but unless you’re listening super attentively it sounds more like she’s singing “I use my favorite trick to get me off.” And I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s referring to anyway.
Finally, I have to mention the ballads. Of course, an album chock full of love songs has to have ballads. Obviously. And, as wonderful as her up-tempo pop songs were, the ballads were what initially made me fall in love with Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree. So, I’m quite happy to say that Diana delivers in the ballad department once again here. First comes “Smoke,” which starts off like a piano ballad but eventually morphs into dubstep-kissed bliss. If you liked Selena Gomez’s “Stars Dance” then this will make you swoon for sure. And it’s immediately followed by a very different sort of ballad in the form of “Mr. Postman,” which takes ’60’s pop-style melodies and lays them down on top of a modern beat perfectly. “I’m still waiting, Mr. Postman,” Diana sings dreamily after proclaiming technology boring and it’s easily the pop throwback of the year.
Diana, on vous aime.