Only Human (Cheryl album)
|Studio album by|
|Released||7 November 2014|
|Singles from Only Human|
Only Human is the fourth studio album by English recording artist Cheryl. It was released on 7 November 2014, through Polydor Records. Following a slew of media invasion, Cheryl took a one-year hiatus from music. Following her hiatus, Cheryl confirmed that Girls Aloud would reunite and release a greatest hits compilation. After its release, the group embarked on their last tour and announced their permanent split. In July 2013 Cheryl began recording Only Human; the recording was later completed in August 2014.
Only Human explores themes of being at peace with oneself, banishing bad influences and living life to the full. Musically, the album follows in the same vein as Cheryl's previous work, taking influence from pop and R&B, however the album contains a diverse musical style ranging from the 1980s, disco-pop to electro. The album's production is characterised as being sparsely-produced. Cheryl worked with a variety of writers and producers including frequent collaborators and new ones to create her desired sound, she also contributed a large amount of writing herself.
The album was preceded by lead single "Crazy Stupid Love", which featured British rapper Tinie Tempah, released on 18 July 2014. The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, selling 118,000 copies in its first week, becoming Cole's fourth number one single. The album's second single, "I Don't Care", was released before the album on 31 October 2014 and became Cheryl's fifth number one making chart history as she is the first ever British female solo artist to have five number ones in the UK. The album was released on 16 February 2015 in the USA.  Only Human entered the UK Albums Chart at number seven.
Cheryl released her third studio album, A Million Lights, on 18 June 2012. The album was supported with the release of the lead single, "Call My Name" (2012), which became Cheryl's third number one single on the UK Singles Chart, with the sales of 152,001 digital copies. The song also became 2012's fastest selling number one single on the UK Singles Chart until December of the same year. During this time, Cheryl also embarked on her first solo concert tour, A Million Lights Tour, which started on 3 October 2012 and concluded on 17 October 2012.
Following months of speculation, Cheryl confirmed that Girls Aloud's reunion would occur in November 2012. To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Girls Aloud reunited for the release of their second greatest hits compilation, Ten (2012). In March 2013, following the completion of the Ten: The Hits Tour, the group released a statement, confirming their permanent split.
In July 2013, Cheryl uploaded a picture of a music studio to her official Instagram with the caption: "Back with my first true love", hinting that new material could potentially be on its way. In September 2013, it was reported in that Cheryl might collaborate with former Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts. Cheryl revealed she had recorded a hip-hop song, co-written by Bellion, who had recently worked with Eminem and Rihanna; producer Jesse Shatkin confirmed the collaboration during an interview with MuuMuse, and also revealed that Cheryl had worked on a new ballad, saying, "It's strong, it's powerful and really from the heart." In June 2014, Cheryl revealed that Australian singer-songwriter, Sia Furler, had written a couple of songs for Only Human. Cheryl commented, "The song, when I first heard it, was just full of personality. The girl is a genius. I'm just glad I got the chance to work with her."
During the recording of the album Cheryl contributed to the album's writing, including: "Bombs", "One Love", "We Could All Be Stars", "Throwback" and "Coming Up for Air" Only Human's lead single was originally recorded by Kylie Minogue for her twelfth studio album Kiss Me Once (2014). She worked with Wilkins on the track and wanted it to be used on the album, but Minogue's management Roc Nation did not like it because it was "too pop". Wilkins later gave the track to Cheryl to record. Cheryl also worked with producers, such as Greg Kurstin and Invisible Men on songs for the album, as well as new producers, including Red Triangle,Lucas Secon and Electric.
The album's lyrics explore themes of being at peace with oneself, banishing bad influences and living life to the full. Musically, the album is a mid-tempo pop and R&B album with electro leanings that explores a variety of genres ranging from 80s style disco-pop to sparsely-produced contemporary songs. Only Human opens was an introduction of a speech from the philosopher Alan Watts, the speech sees Watts discussing a profound dialogue that money doesn't equal happiness. "Live Life Now" is an electronic dance song. Like the introduction, "Live Life Now" continues to sample Watts speech, while Cheryl sings lyrics about money and desires. "It's About Time" lyrical revolves around Cheryl throwing "barbs" and a former lover. "Crazy Stupid Love" is a pop and dancey urban pop song built on a toe-tapping structure with plenty of saxophones and a "la la la la la" refrain. Lyrically, the song has Cheryl gushing about her uncontrollable feelings for her boyfriend, with lyrics like.
"I Don't Care" is a pop and dance song which lyrically finds Cole singing "It feels so fucking good to say, I swear that I don't care". Idolator website editor Bianca Gracie noted that the song carries "an 80s carefree vibe to it, thanks to the breezy synths and pumping bass line", and incontrast to her other songs like "Ghetto Baby", there are no "massive bass drops or an in-your-face dance theme". "Only Human" is an electro-ballad, with vocals layered in the style of Imogen Heap according to Bradley Stern of Idolator, the song contains encouraging lyrics built over a glittering production. "Stars" is a song Cheryl wrote for her fans, the songs lyrics are "inspiring" described by Stern of Idolator as "bright and self-empowering", "Stars" is an electronic song backed by shimmering and stomping production.
According to Bradley Stern of MuuMuse, "All in One Night" is a song described as is "a slow-burning R&B song" that is compared to Cheryl's song "Ghetto Baby" from her third studio album, A Million Lights (2012). "Coming Up For Air" featuring Joel Compass, is described as the album's most "adventurous" song and "carries just the vaguest hint of the creeping, skeletal production of BANKS and FKA Twigs." "Fight On" is backed by a choir and pounding percussion, with ethereal, tribal beats and lyrically sees Cheryl telling the story of a girl seeking sanctuary.
Release and promotion
During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Cheryl confirmed the album's title to be Only Human, stating: "I was exhausted, I’d had a solo tour and then toured with Girls Aloud so I took a year off to be with my family. It was the first time off I’d had in 10 years – it was a normal time. I did party a lot. I needed to let loose and it was the best thing I could do. The title sums up that time." On 3 October 2014, the official album artwork for Only Human was unveiled in both a standard and deluxe edition. While both covers featured the same headshot of Cheryl, the editions differed in their design aspects; the standard cover shows the singer with leopard print makeup around her left eye, while the deluxe shows a stripe across her left eye that is torn away, to reveal a face of a leopard.
Cheryl and Tempah performed "Crazy Stupid Love" for the first time on the final of the eighth series of Britain's Got Talent on 7 June 2014. Cole appeared on The Graham Norton Show on 20 June, and also performed the song as part of her set at Capital FM's Summertime Ball the following day, 21 June 2014. As part of the iTunes pre-order, Cheryl allowed a download of the title track, "Only Human", for those who pre-ordered the album. Bradley Stern of Idolator called the track an "impressive ballad" and also called the track "one of her best offerings from her back catalog". Cheryl also performed on the live results show during the eleventh series of The X Factor. On 4 November 2014, the track "Stars" was put on iTunes as part of a pre-order of the album. Stern of Idolator called the song a "bright and self-empowering number".
In June 2014, Cheryl announced the album's lead single, "Crazy Stupid Love", for release on 18 July 2014. The single features rapper Tinie Tempah. The single debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, securing the singer her fourth consecutive number one lead single from an album. On 30 September 2014, Cheryl announced that "I Don't Care" would receive its radio debut on the following day, 1 October on Capital FM Radio. The song was co-written by Bonnie McKee, Jocke Ahlund, John Newman and Cheryl, was released on the iTunes Store on 31 October 2014. Idolator.com editor Bianca Gracie described the song as, "a breezy, upbeat pop song built over a 80s production, breezy synths and a pumping bass". The song debuted at the top of the UK charts, setting a new record for most number-one singles by a British female solo artist for Cheryl, with five. On 1 February 2015, Cheryl announced on Twitter that the third single to be lifted from the album would be the title track, "Only Human". The official music video made its premiere on Vevo on 4 February, with an official digital release, featuring a new radio edit of the track by Wilkinson, released on 22 March 2015. The song, which originally peaked at number 70 as an album cut in October 2014, failed to reach the top 100 on the UK Singles Chart upon the single's release, therefore becoming the lowest-charting single of her career, surpassing 2011's "The Flood".
Upon its release, Only Human received mixed to positive reviews. Cheryl gave Dan Wootton of The Sun an exclusive first listen of her album, who described the new collection as "brilliant" and "her best work". Adrian Thrills of Daily Mail gave the album a mixed review, awarding it three out of five stars. Thrills stated that Cheryl had shown artistic growth during the course of her career and that the album is "much more expressive" than her previous work. He noted songs such as "It's About Time" and "Throwback" as examples, with lyrical connotations linking closely to Cole's personal life and divorce from footballer Ashley Cole. However, Thrills also noted how "her vocal limitations are exposed on ill-advised detours into R&B. All in One Night demands a swagger that Cheryl doesn't possess". They also said the album is "proof Cheryl isn't a mime act". The article praised songs "Coming Up For Air" which features guest vocals from Joel Compass, "Goodbye Means Hello" and "Fight On". Digital Spy editor Lewis Corner gave Only Human a predominately positive review, calling the album "one of her most focused and cohesive records to date". Corner criticised, however, that some songs should not have made it onto the album ("Beats N Bass") and that they "never really peaks the way it should"( "Coming Up for Air"); he even called one track "thin and limp" ("Throwback"). The website Entertainmentwise praised the singer's latest release, calling it "most cohesive collection' to date"; they even praised such songs as "I Don't Care", "Waiting For Lightning" and the title track, explaining that the latter had "affecting vulnerability that nicely counterbalances the brash confidence found elsewhere". Brendon Veevers of Renownedforsound.com described the album as a "strong collection", citing that the album had "promise". Ed Potton of The Times gives a largely positive review, citing Alan Watts and "the importance of doing what you love" as the driving force behind songs like "Live Life Now". Potton goes on to say "she's good at it too", especially on "Stars", which he calls "a soaring anthem to be".
Only Human debuted at number seven in the United Kingdom, becoming her lowest charting album to date, with a reported 20,000 units sold in the first week of release. The album also debuted at number nine in Ireland, also becoming her lowest charting album to date in that territory.
The official track list was unveiled on 6 October 2014.
|2.||"Live Life Now"||Electric||2:54|
|3.||"It's About Time"||3:49|
|4.||"Crazy Stupid Love" (featuring Tinie Tempah)||3:45|
|5.||"Waiting for Lightning"||Shatkin||3:56|
|6.||"I Don't Care"||4:00|
|10.||"All in One Night"||Electric||3:09|
|11.||"Goodbye Means Hello"||Secon||3:46|
|12.||"Coming Up for Air" (featuring Joel Compass)||4:21|
|13.||"Fight On"||Red Triangle||3:33|
|15.||"Beats N Bass"||Red Triangle||2:59|
|Deluxe edition – bonus tracks|
|18.||"I Won't Break"||Red Triangle||3:37|
|iTunes deluxe edition – bonus track|
|19.||"Only Human (Interview)"||2:41|
- Sampling credits
- "Goodbye Means Hello" contains interpolations of "Heads High" by Mr. Vegas and "School Yard" by The William Blakes.
The deluxe edition box set includes:
- Deluxe edition CD (exclusive digipak and gold disc)
- 5x7 photo prints individually housed in protective envelope
- One exclusive print signed by Cheryl
- All presented in a clam shell box with black foil logo
Charts and certifications
|Ireland||7 November 2014||
|United Kingdom||10 November 2014||
|Germany||14 November 2014||Universal Music|
|Spain||18 November 2014|
- "Cheryl Cole lands fourth solo chart topper". BBC News. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Corner, Lewis (28 August 2014). "Cheryl talks new single 'I Don't Care': "It's very fun pop"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- Moss, Liv (16 November 2014). "Pink Floyd score first Number 1 album in nearly 20 years!". United Kingdom: Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- Love, Ryan (18 April 2012). "Cheryl Cole announces comeback single, new album 'A Million Lights'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- Kreisler, Lauren (17 June 2012). "Cheryl's Call My Name becomes 2012's fastest selling Number 1 single!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- Daily Mail Reporter (12 June 2012). "Cheryl Cole announces first solo arena tour... but after that Diamond Jubilee performance, will she dare sing live?". Mail Online (Daily Mail). London. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- Dean, Sarah (12 October 2012). "Girls Aloud: Cheryl, Kimberley, Nadine, Sarah And Nicola Talk 2013 Tour, Greatest Hits Album". HuffPost. United Kingdom. AOL. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- All media coverage concerning the 2013 split of Girls Aloud:
- Guardian Music (21 March 2013). "Girls Aloud split after final UK show". The Guardian. London. Guardian Media Group (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Lancho, James (21 March 2013). "Girls Aloud split up after last night of tour". The Daily Telegraph. United Kingdom: telegraph.co.yk. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Adejobi, Alicia (5 July 2013). "Sorry Tre! Cheryl Cole Is 'Back With Her First True Love'". Entertainmentwise.com. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- Moodie, Clemmie (28 September 2013). "Cheryl Cole and Nicola Roberts to write songs together to keep spirit of Girls Aloud alive". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- Corner, Lewis (13 March 2014). "Cheryl Cole works with Eminem songwriter on hip-hop track". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
- Clickmusic News Desk (23 June 2014). "Sia has written two songs for Cheryl Cole's 'Only Human' album". Clickmusic.com. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
- "Cheryl Cole pens new album tracks". The Belfast Telegraph. Belfast. Independent News & Media. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Kylie Minogue 'recorded Crazy Stupid Love before it was even offered to Cheryl Cole'". Metro. UK. DMG Media. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- Davison, Rebecca (30 September 2014). "'Things don't bother me like they used to': Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is back with feisty new single I Don't Care". Daily Mail (Mail Online). London. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Kitchener, Shaun (8 November 2014). "REVIEW: Cheryl Makes Herself Heard On New Album 'Only Human'". Entertainmentwise. England: Giant Digital. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- Lim, David (10 November 2014). "Album Review: Cheryl – Only Human". So So Gay. United Kingdom: SSG Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Thrills, Adrian (6 November 2014). "Proof that Cheryl's not just a mime act: ADRIAN THRILLS reviews Only Human, the latest album by the X Factor judge". Daily Mail. London. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Corner, Lewis (8 November 2014). "Cheryl: Only Human album review – "Her most focused and cohesive LP"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- Lee, Christina (28 May 2014). "Cheryl Cole Announces New Single 'Crazy Stupid Love'". Idolator. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Veevers, Brendon (29 July 2014). "Single Review: Cheryl Cole – 'Crazy Stupid Love'". Renownedforsound.com. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Daw, Robbie (2 June 2014). "Cheryl Cole's "Crazy Stupid Love": Watch The Lyric Video". Idolator. SpinMedia. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Gracie, Bianca (1 October 2014). "Cheryl Cole Is Unbothered On "I Don't Care": Listen To Her New Single". Idolator. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Bagwell, Matt (1 October 2014). "Cheryl Cole 'I Don't Care': Listen To 'X Factor' Star's Sweary New Single". HuffPost. United Kingdom. AOL. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Stern, Bradley (7 October 2014). "Cheryl Unveils 'Only Human' Title Track: Listen To The Impressive Ballad". Idolator. SpinMedia. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- Stern, Bradley (4 November 2014). "Cheryl Debuts New 'Only Human' Track, "Stars": Listen". Idolator. Los Angeles: SpinMedia. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Stern, Bradley (10 November 2014). "'ONLY HUMAN': CHERYL SHOULD PROBABLY START CARING AGAIN (ALBUM REVIEW)". United States: MuuMuse. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Lee, Christina (9 November 2014). "Cheryl Cole Debuts New 'Only Human' Song "Fight On": Listen". Idolator. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- MTV News U.K. (20 June 2014). "Cheryl Cole Confirms New Album Title 'Only Human'". MTV News. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- Rowley, Alison (3 October 2014). "Cheryl unveils new album 'Only Human' standard and deluxe artwork". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Ingham, James (22 May 2014). "Cheryl's got talent! Miss Cole to make live music comeback on BGT live final". Daily Star. United Kingdom. Northern & Shell. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- Klompus, Jack (3 June 2014). "Cheryl Cole confirmed for Graham Norton Show interview". Digital Spy. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- Mapstone, Lucy (25 October 2014). "She's Only Human: Cheryl Fernandez-Versini sings haunting acoustic rendition of track from her new album... as she prepares to perform live on Sunday's X Factor". Daily Mail (Mail Online). London: dailymail.com. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- Corner, Lewis (2 June 2014). "Cheryl Cole premieres new single 'Crazy Stupid Love' – listen". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Corner, Lewis (30 September 2014). "Cheryl unveils new single 'I Don't Care' artwork". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
- Finbow, Katy (1 October 2014). "Listen to Cheryl's new single 'I Don't Care'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Dorken, Joanne (1 October 2014). "Cheryl Premieres New Single 'I Don't Care'". MTV News. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Copsey, Rob (9 November 2014). "Cheryl scores record-breaking fifth Number 1 single with I Don't Care". United Kingdom: Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- Finbow, Katy (9 November 2014). "Cheryl claims record-breaking fifth UK number one with 'I Don't Care'". Digital Spy. United Kingdom. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- "Cheryl Confirms Her Next Song Release From 'Only Human' And It's A Corker!". Capital FM. United Kingdom: Global Group and Communicorp. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- Fahy, Colette (1 February 2015). "She's Only Human! Cheryl Fernandez-Versini gets emotional before flashing a smile (and her toned tum) in new music video". Daily Mail (Mail Online). United Kingdom. Daily Mail and General Trust. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- Duke, Simon (30 March 2015). "Disaster for Cheryl Fernandez-Versini as Only Human fails to reach the top 100". Chronicle Extra. United Kingdom. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- Allen, Lisa (17 November 2014). "Albums of the week including Pink Floyd's The Endless River". Gloucestershire Echo. United Kingdom: gloucestershireecho.co.uk. Local World. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Sullivan, Caroline (6 November 2014). "Cheryl: Only Human review – Auto-Tuned screw-you pepperiness". The Guardian. United Kingdom. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- McFee, Edwin (14 November 2014). "Cheryl 'Only Human' – Album Review". Hot Press. Ireland. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- McCormack, Richie (14 November 2014). "Cheryl – Only Human". Irish Independent. Ireland. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Wootton, Dan. "Chezza's Only Human Track-by-track guide". The Sun. United Kingdom. News UK. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Potton, Ed (8 November 2014). "Cheryl: Only Human". The Times. United Kingdom. News UK. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- Horton, Matthew (November 2014). "Cheryl: Only Human Album Review: Reviews: Music: Virgin Media". United Kingdom: Virginmedia.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Veevers, Brendon (18 November 2014). "Album Review: Cheryl – Only Human". Australia: Renownedforsound.com. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
- Sam (16 November 2014). "Cheryl Cole's 'Only Human' Album Debuts in Top 10…With Disappointing Sales". United States: Thatgrapejuice.net. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 46, 2014". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- All articles confirming the official tracklist of Only Human:
- Corner, Lewis (6 October 2014). "Cheryl reveals tracklist for new album Only Human". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Daw, Robbie (6 October 2014). "Cheryl Cole Reveals 'Only Human' Tracklist". Idolator. SpinMedia. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Sam (6 October 2014). "Album Tracklist: Cheryl Cole – 'Only Human'". Thatgrapejuice.net. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Ultratop.be – Cheryl – Only Human" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- November 2014/40/ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- November 2014/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- November 2014/7003/ "Official Album Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
- "British album certifications – Cheryl – Only Human". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Only Human in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- Irish release of Only Human:
- "iTunes – Music – Only Human by Cheryl". Ireland: iTunes Store. 7 November 2014.
- "iTunes – Music – Only Human (Deluxe Version) by Cheryl". Ireland: iTunes Store. 7 November 2014.
- Australian release of Only Human:
- British release of Only Human:
- "Only Human: Amazon.co.uk: Music". United Kingdom: Amazon.com. 10 November 2014.
- "Only Human (Deluxe Edition): Amazon.co.uk: Music". United Kingdom: Amazon.com. 10 November 2014.
- "iTunes – Music – Only Human by Cheryl". United Kingdom: iTunes Store. 10 November 2014.
- "iTunes – Music – Only Human (Deluxe Version) by Cheryl". United Kingdom: iTunes Store. 10 November 2014.
- German release of Only Human:
- New Zealand release of Only Human:
- "iTunes – Music – Only Human by Cheryl". New Zealand: iTunes Store. 14 November 2014.
- "iTunes – Music – Only Human (Deluxe Version) by Cheryl". New Zealand: iTunes Store. 14 November 2014.
- Spanish release of Only Human:
- "Only Human de Cheryl (CD) – Músicia – El Corte Inglés". Spain: El Corte Inglés. 18 November 2014.