Sunday, March 6, 2011

First Look: Nicole Scherzinger - "Killer Love" (Album Preview)

Not being a news source by definition, I still get a thrill when luck, timing and circumstance allows me to break a new story, or at least be among those doing so. It's even more fun when a post or opinion or suggestion proves prescient - the jokes about future-seeing abilities and/or some unlikely power that must have played a role are fun, especially because of that little part deep down that totally believes it. Well, all I know is that on February 25 I posted a meaty essay on the merits and circumstances of Nicole Scherzinger's valiant efforts toward a successful solo career despite a decade of obstacles even Dante might find impressive, and POOF! Within a week we get an album title, release date, cover art, track list, and even a seven-plus minute preview with clips from all fourteen tracks.

Seriously, they just appeared suddenly as if crafted using a mix of ink and magic wand; no forewarning, just "oh yeah, by the way, my album (which I've actually been working on in some form for, like, half a decade now, yeah, the first try got shelved so this is kind of a big effing deal) drops in two weeks, and it's called Killer Love, oh and here's the full tracklist and look here's the album cover, and look I know you apparently didn't like what I came up with a few years ago unless it was billed as the Pussycat Dolls which by the way was all me you know but anyway that's in the past now and this time I have good producers and two actual hit singles even though they've only come out in England but you know what I'll take it so yeah we also put together snippets of all the songs this time just like Britney Spears except all at once because we're a little behind schedule so have a listen, and there's all that for you, see you in a couple weeks!" It's not entirely dissimilar to a weekend last October when I posted an article musing over the potential next steps of Ke$ha's career, and the very next day - POOF! She announces a reissue of her debut with a new EP and a few days later drops what turns out to be a HUGE single. Perhaps I should get to work on getting things going for Richgirl, and Kelly Rowland...

Anyway, at the end of the day my smug pleasure at my coup of circumstance (and good taste, of course... I do get some credit) is entirely inconsequential; the big news is that it appears this Scherzinger solo thing is actually (finally) going to happen, and soon, too! Before I get to the track listing, a couple bits of bad news. The main bit is that this March 21 release date applies to - you guessed it - the United Kingdom alone; no release dates for the album or either of the two singles have been announced (or even acknowledged, as far as I can tell) in the good old insular Clear Channel/Dr. Luke/Ticketmaster-dominated confines of the U S of A. Better save up for those international stamps now*.

And secondly, I really, honestly, unequivocally dislike the album cover (see below). It's dull, it's hard to read, it looks like my pathetic attempts at this Photoshop perplexity, nothing about the headshot is terribly recognizable (considering her ongoing issues with image and identity), and most of all, in the wake of the legitimately fantastic cover for "Poison" and the more than solid art for "Don't Hold Your Breath," it is (in my opinion) a step backwards in a process where even constantly moving forward hasn't proven to guarantee success. Making a big deal about any of that, though, could only be counterproductive if anything, so I'll leave it at that (although Nicole, if you're listening, I don't think anyone would have a problem with one more wave of that magic wand). I stand by my assessment of the album cover as rather on the order of crap.

As for the stuff that actually matters - after all, no one really buys actual cds nowadays (confession: I do, but as a collector, not a consumer) - observe below, if you will, the track listing for Killer Love, the debut album from Nicole Scherzinger. A number of writers have been referring to this as a long-delayed release of Her Name is Nicole, the original 2007 solo project that was finally shelved in 2009, but aside from one track taken from the 2007 sessions, the music here is new, all created and recorded in entirely new sessions throughout 2010 for this specific album - this is not a potluck of new, used and refurbished music. Killer Love is really a do-over rather than an edit; after all, it doesn't take a genius to realize that starting from scratch is wiser than returning to material that hadn't worked after several years of effort - not to mention dated as hell by music standards. So if you see otherwise on some other site, you'll know someone was too lazy to do a little research, or worse...and either way you should smile smugly or write a little know-it-all comment or something pop-hipsterish like that. It's what poor Nicole would want, I'm sure.

Track List:

1. “Poison”
2. “Killer Love”
3. “Don’t Hold Your Breath”
4. “Right There”
5. “You Will Be Loved”
6. “Wet”
7. “Say Yes”
8. “Club Banger Nation”
9. “Power’s Out” feat. Sting
10. “Desperate”
11. “Everybody”
12. “Heartbeat (Rudi Wells’ Open Heart Remix)” feat. Enrique Iglesias
13. “Casualty”
14. “AmenJena”

Take a listen below, if you like, to the aforementioned collection of brief samples from each track. I'm not usually all that interested in these kinds of previews/teases; I try to be patient, perhaps, but the truth is they really don't do anything for me - if I like it, it's mildly exciting, and if I don't, I just forget it and hope the full track works better for me. Although it's not all that common a practice so far, the diabolically unprecedented new promotion strategy being used for Britney Spears' upcoming Femme Fatale, in which this kind of teaser preview plays a major part, seems increasingly likely to be a massive success, in which case we might find the practice becoming commonplace. What do you think, both of the music being teased and of this new practice of sneak peek-type previews? 

And, there you have it: once again, I've written far more about Nicole Scherzinger than I intended upon starting this post. For all this work I think it wouldn't be so much to ask for a goshdurn American release of this godforsaken album, am I right? I'll get on the phone right away.

Related Posts:

Read Nicole Scherzinger: Is an Elusive Solo Career Finally Taking Off? 
Also, listen to lead single "Poison"

Read Artists to Listen For in 2011: Kelly Rowland
I actually have written about the similarly beleaguered career of Kelly Rowland and the hope that her "Killer Love," if you please, may finally see daylight before the year is out. 
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