Monday, 8 August 2011

Cher Lloyd - Swagger Jagger

Whether you blame it on hype or raw talent, the nation awoke this morning to its first week of having Cher Lloyd's Swagger Jagger at number one in the official singles chart. It's a curious event, as she never seemed to get to the top spot on iTunes over the course of last week, suggesting physical CD sales might yet play a part in deciding how the finished chart evolves.

Either way, it's a result that's likely to fuel the fire in fans' hearts, while annoying Cher's haters to fever pitch. I was (and still am) a Katie Waissel fan, rather than a 'brat', but many of the Warriors on Twitter seem to support both - and there's nothing really wrong with that, is there?

It would be fairly pointless to review a song that's been everywhere for the past few weeks in the usual way, so the below takes a bit of a departure from our normal format.
Swagger Jagger - EP - Cher Lloyd
What does 'swagger jagger' mean?

The question on everybody's lips when Swagger Jagger was first announced related to its title. As POPSICULTURE's Dan points out, 'swagger' and 'Jagger' (as in Mick) have been rhymed with one another before - by both Ke$ha and the Black Eyed Peas - but if you trust UrbanDictionary, in Cher's case it's a slightly different reference.

According to the online reference source (which is slightly less reliable than Wikipedia...), the original term is 'swagger jacker' and refers to someone who steals - or 'jacks' - another's style, wardrobe, attitude etc - collectively, their 'swagger'. Hence the line "get some of your own".

Love or hate the song, it's actually a decent tie-in with Cher's streetwise image. It's just a shame nobody seems to know what the hell she's actually supposed to be singing about.

'Be true to who you are'

Swagger Jagger - EP - Cher Lloyd

The 2010 series of The X Factor was defined by its strong characters - Cher divided opinion. From the outside, it seemed like the media was excessively supportive of her. Talking to her fans during the series, they saw the opposite, telling me she was unfairly criticised in some parts of the media.

Like I said above, I was a Katie Waissel fan - although the term 'Waissel Warrior' only appeared partway through the series. I liked the contrast though, Cher with her clearly defined 'street' attitude and rap-focused performances, while Katie was always more of a chameleon, changing appearance and performance style from week to week.

The point is, I don't think either really got it wrong. Cher has obviously found a marketable style that's relevant to young people today. By contrast, Katie made it through (mostly) in one piece, without becoming pigeon-holed as a performer. If she'd been forced into singing Jungle Book tunes and the theme from Bewitched every single week, who knows how realistic the Red Velvet Lovers would now seem as a future chart prospect?

The Verdict

I'm no great Cher Lloyd fan - as you may have noticed above - but I always strangely like to see an act from The X Factor make it to number one without having won the show. I love Leona Lewis and I think, if she's the only winner to sustain a career for the long term, the past decade or so of competition has been worth it.

But it's the runners-up who are most compelling once the series ends. Not just Cher and Katie, but Olly Murs, Laura White, Ruth Lorenzo and Diana Vickers, not to mention Same Difference and Rhydian Roberts. And Lucie Jones, who has spent her time most recently modelling and appearing in theatre, rather than pursuing a pop career.

What should we expect from Cher in the future? I'm not sure... I could see her moving into a presenting gig on one of the more streetwise music television channels. I'm not sure her music itself can sustain enough variety for a long-term pop career, but a few well-timed collaborations with other artists could prove me wrong on that one. Like Cheryl Cole, Cher would benefit hugely from continuing support from someone like Let's watch this space, and see what happens.

Swagger Jagger - EP - Cher Lloyd

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