Usually, when you think of 4th place in a talent competition like The X Factor, you think of, generally, nothing. That’s because they didn’t make it to the final three, or the final show, and, therefore, discharged from your memory. But following a lead role in London’s West End, Diana Vickers then put together her debut album, ready to show the world what they missed when they voted her out in the semi-finals. However, if she had won, Diana would not have had the opportunities she has gotten from finishing fourth. She would’ve lost all her uniqueness, and her own quirky personally, which would’ve been filtered out from the winner’s mainstream transformation. After having her debut single go to #1 in the UK Charts, Vickers released her album 2 weeks later on May 3rd 2009.

Her lead single, titled Once, begins the album, and although it sounds more pop than first expected when she releases her first single, it still has the highlights of quirkiness that Diana fans fell in love with on the show. Once has an electronic baseline, merged with the occasional piano added in there. Her chorus is catchy, going from a medium tempo with “I’m only gunna let you kill me once” before continuing the line where she repeats the word “once” where it explodes into life. I really love the chord pattern in the second half of the chorus. Remake Me & You has an intro that reminds me of Alphabeat’s Fascination. It’s a fast paced number that doesn’t really strike me as the Indie root that I thought Diana would go down. It’s another electro-pop song that would belong on radio. Sometimes the backing track overpowers Vickers’ fragile voice, and at other time it’s vice-versa, showing that Diana has power in her too. I love the little “ah'”s she sings along with the bridges. The pace is slowed down slightly with the next track, The Boy Who Murdered Love. The chorus uses a similar repetitive lyric pattern which never fails to be catchy (Cast your minds back to Rihanna’s Umbrella). The vocal style that was heard in X Factor is ever-present here. I really enjoy the chorus, and as the first two songs, it’s a real radio song too. Four Leaf Clover is the first song to really surprise me on the album. It’s a slow ballad, which, even though ballads are inevitable on any album, pleases me extremely. It shows her versatility. Her maturity. And her vulnerability. It’s a beautiful, haunting song filled with so much hurt and passion. Her vocals are soothing and gentle, something completely different from what is usually discovered on reality television. I love the acoustic guitar in the background too. Put It Back Together Again is another slow song. Her wispy voice on top of, what feels like, an atmosphere-building orchestra. Singing “I think we’ll be alright” in her upper register sounds magical, before continuing into her falsetto (“I think we will survive”) which, other than the occasional yodel-like sound (that I love by the way), is something that we’re not treated to that often. You’ll Never Get To Heaven brings the up-tempo songs back on track, and probably becomes one of my favourite songs on the album. It starts off pretty slowly, in energy rather than tempo, but builds up to a banging chorus. The baseline in the background is clearly dance-infused and added to her vocal melody forms a perfect chorus. The slower energy verses create the anticipation for a great chorus, in which it delivers. Me & You, a similarly named song to an earlier song, thankfully, has a completely different sound to it. It’s a slower song with an acoustic feel to it. “It’s me & you, stuck like glue” begins the chorus having the same melody, continuing on to the third line which also has the same melody, but the fourth line is a harmonical delight. The piano, tambourine and light drum beat gives the song an intimate feel to it. My Hip speeds up the pace dramatically, involving an unlikely brass sound in the intro. This song sounds like a summer radio hit. It’s probably one of my favourite’s on ‘…Cherry Tree‘. “Your hand is back where it belongs, on my hip, on my hip” is a catchy lyric and tune which won’t fail to get stuck on your head. I just love the trumpets in this song. N.U.M.B is another slow ballad. Another heartfelt, personal song. Yet, I don’t feel like it’s a repeated song, or feel cheated from the lack of originality. Because that’s exactly what it is. Original. The song is emotional and melodic, but it feels like Vickers is whispering her inner feelings to you, and only you. Like she’s trusting you with her own personal thoughts in song. The huge long note at the end is almost surprising, she can hold her own. Hit has an almost futuristic intro to it. Like you’ve been zapped by a robot! This song is an upbeat change from the previous song, the verses are silky and energetic, the musical bridge is funky and the baseline is dirty and electronic. The “hey, oh”s are also somewhat addictive. Notice switches back to the slow-quick pattern that Diana has going on during her album. When she gets into the end of the verse and start of the bridge, in her upper register, it reminds me of an Avril Lavigne ballad. But better. All of her ballads seem sincere and believable and that’s what really warms me to her slower songs on the album. Jumping Into Rivers was a track that was leaked mid-July last year and Vickers decided to put it on her album. I can’t say I was a huge fan at first, a little disappointed when I first heard it. But after a good long listen to it, I became, gradually, more positive about it. The song has a chilled out feel to it, definitely like it’s a ‘lay on the beach’ song. I love the sound of the acoustic guitar backing up Diana’s vocals. Chasing You finishes off the album. It’s a slower song, once more, but has an electro-pop baseline. I actually love the chorus, and the fact that the last song involves violins. I also enjoy the moment of silence between the verses and choruses.

I have to say that I’m extremely surprised over the quality of the album. It shows diversity, versatility and maturity beyond her 19 years. This album is currently at #1 on the iTunes album chart and possibly set to go #1 in the UK albums chart. This is far better than Alexandra Burke’s album of fillers (possibly due to the fact that she won and lost all originality) and JLS’ let-down of an album, prominently showcasing an R&B sound (rather than the old-school Soul “Boys II Men” feel I’d hoped for) and I’m not even going to mention the failure that is Eoghan Quigg. 9/10

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