Judging by the hook-filled pop tracks in her much-delayed second studio album, “Sorry, I’m Late,” Cher Lloyd doesn’t sound like she grew up listening to country-music luminary Dolly Parton. But, the 21-year-old “X-Factor UK” alumna (“Want U Back”) possesses her idol’s vibrant spirit—from the youthful vibe of “Just Be Mine” and the electronica-tinged “Alone With Me” to the hip-hop hooks of “Killing It.”
She’s grateful that she’s had more ups (she married hairdresser Craig Monk last November) than downs (she parted ways with manager Simon Cowell over “creative” differences recently). Her sophomore set’s frustrating delays notwithstanding, Lloyd says she can now steer her career’s trajectory any direction she pleases.
The first thing you’ll notice about the album’s repertoire is its irresistible swagger, but its themes prove that they’re far from “disposable.” Don’t be fooled by the deceptively shallow sentiments in the carrier track, “I Wish” (with T.I.), because it actually tackles a jealous teenage girl’s self-loathing—she craves for the physical attributes of the pretty woman her crush is dating!
Written especially for her father, the muted elegiac quality of “Goodnight” is indelible and prayer-like: “What if there’s no forever?/ Would you kiss me good night/ So that I could remember?”
She explains to MTV reporter Christina Garibaldi: “I have to mentally prepare myself every time I sing it, because it always brings a lump to my throat. When my dad and mom are far away, I text them without fail—mostly to say good night.”
The emotion-packed “Sirens” is just as moving, because it deals with terrible loss as Lloyd recalls the horror of seeing her father arrested by cops—when she was only 5 years old! She enthuses, “I’ve done pop-music videos with lots of pretty colors shot on green screens, looking fantastic and without a strand of hair out of place. But, in this song, I just wanted to be me!”