Pixie Lott - Turn It Up Review
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 09.15.2009
Is there anything in Pixie Lott's debut to set her apart from her female pop competitors? Plenty, actually.
Pixie Lott - Turn It Up
Review by Daniel Wilcox
1. Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)
2. Cry Me Out
3. Band Aid
4. Turn It Up
5. Boys and Girls
7. My Love
9. Nothing Compares
10. Here We Go Again
11. The Way the World Works
12. Hold Me in Your Arms
Pixie Lott has been getting some coverage on 411 this month, notably for some upskirt pictures that were deemed disappointing due to the girl’s “boring” choice of underwear. From that same news piece, you can also tell that the vast majority of people in North America has no idea who the hell this girl is. So they labeled her a crack whore along the lines of Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Britney et al. And if you look at the title of her debut album, Turn It Up, as well as some of the track titles, one would be forgiven for thinking that she is indeed another girl who’ll be chewed up and spit out by the industry, someone we’ll have totally forgotten about in five years time, a sex symbol used to sell albums for a label who encourages their girls to go out and not wear underwear to make those upskirt pictures that much more scandalous.
But hey, ignorance is bliss, right?
Pixie Lott’s debut album may be subject to many of the clichés of pop, but when you really get down to it and listen to this album, you’ll see an absolute ton of potential. Lott has already proved she has a lot of prowess as a songwriter. She’s written songs for various other artists, including Alexandra Burke, winner of the UK’s X Factor last year; the song has been approved by Simon Cowell, by all accounts. But more importantly she’s written every track on her album, and her skills as a songwriter are matched only by her impressive talent as a performer.
Real name Victoria, Lott was given the nickname “Pixie” by her mother, who thought she looked a lot like a fairy, but the power in her voice tells an entirely different story, although there is undoubtedly a spellbinding charm in her voices, which can sooth, serenade and soul-search, or belt out a ballad depending on just what’s required of it.
Lead single “Mama Do (Uh Oh, Uh Oh)” took the UK Singles Chart by storm, going straight in at number one. It’s a sassy and soulful number along the lines of Amy Winehouse’s bigger singles, only more powerful and sexy, and that much more vocally impressive. As accomplished as it is however, the stand out track for me is “Cry Me Out”, a ballad that showcases all of Pixie’s talents to the fullest, from the lyrical creativity (“I got your emails, you just don’t get females, now, do you?”), to the stunning vocals filled with soul, passion and heartbreak. And while it and other tracks on the album talk about all kinds of problems for young girls, it’s not a record that’s pretentious, but one that’s sophisticated and adorned with hope and promise as much as it is regret and sorrow.
Some of Lott’s more up-tempo numbers, however, lack originality. Notably the second single “Boys and Girls” is a track that could have been put out by any number of artists, and even though its tremendously fun and catchy, it’s ultimately forgettable and a below-average follow up to “Mama Do.” The album really only contains two other missteps, the uneventful “My Love” and too Adele-esque “Nothing Compares,” and Lott’s personality is stomped all over the rest of the album, meaning she is more than just an accessory to hooks and melody, unlike many of the other young female pop artists out there today. “Jack”, sandwiched between the two aforementioned disappointments, is one of the album’s true highlights, a blissful piano accompanying the sweetest and most cheerful vocal you’ll hear all year, reminiscent of one-hit wonder Sara Bareilles, who put out the happiest song of 2008, “Love Song”, if you’ll recall.
It’s not too retro that it’s not current, but Pixie Lott’s approach to pop is old school enough to completely outclass all of the competition she has out there right now, partially thanks to her dominating vocal but also in large thanks to the sassiness with which she writes her songs. While it’s not a perfect album, it’s far more original and competent than the vast majority of material out there on the radio right now. And if you’re one of those who had no idea who this girl was, I cannot recommend Turn It Up enough; Pixie Lott has unlimited potential and is worth knowing.
The 411: Turn It Up is a classy, if not classic, debut from a girl who has the potential to accomplish whatever she so desires in the music industry. She has enough soul to stand out from the rest of the pack, but enough skill in her song-writing to keep her on everyone's radar for a long time to come. If there's any one mainstream pop album I'd recommend this year, and off the top of my head there is only one, it'd definitely be this one.