Gabriella Cilmi is a bit of a funny one when it comes to the pop big league. Her Xenomania produced debut single Sweet About Me was as slow burning sensation, becoming a hit on the charts and raido internationally. Despite her obvious vocal chops and being a star in her early teens (what a way to spend age 14-16 eh?) it was hard to get a sense of anything solid out of Cilmi.
Thankfully her new album Ten solves that problem. It’s easy to roll your eyes when a popstar claims to be all grown up with a sexy new image when they want people to pay attention but this time there are the tunes to back things up. You may already know the thumping lead single On A Mission. It’s anthemic pop with bags of attitude and a fantastic calling card for that big voice to shine.
There are plenty more highlights throughout the album. The true standout is the sole Xenomania produced Hearts Don’t Lie, a sultry and impressive disco number that should hopefully be a huge hit. If it’s not the world is missing out as this is one of the strongest things Xenomania have worked on in quite awhile.
There’s plenty more to enjoy however, including Love Me Cos which sees Ellie Goulding crop up on the co-writing credits (in fact it doesn’t sound a million miles away from something that would crop up on Lights) and Superhot which is a nice slice of Moroder style synth pop. It’s nice to hear someone with Cilmi’s pipes tackle these songs too as opposed as to the Amy Winehouse lite of her first release.
Sadly the odd dud crops up here and there, Defender is a limp would be power ballad and What If You Knew is a tad cheesy. Still these are merely blips on the radar of an otherwise fantastic pop album. Dripping with sass and a sense of fun, this should hopefully place Cilmi firmly in the middle of the pop heap.