I think I’m falling in love with Nicole Scherzinger. Her debut album (finally out, after that unfortunate hiccup with shelved LP Her Name Is Nicole a few years back) has got me bewitched. Her voice is stunning; laced with a really distinctive twang too, really helping to contribute a more human element to her songs. In terms of recent pop records, as great as it is, Britney’s album can seem a little robotic at times, the voice serving merely as a tool amidst the other instruments that make up the track. But on Killer Love, Nicole’s voice is pure personality; you can truly feel her in every track.
The overall feel is future disco – there’s so, so much energy here. Think back to her breathtaking X Factor performance of Poison if you want a sense of what’s going on. It feels like she might jump right out of your speakers, grab you and force you up on the dance-floor.
What marks Nicole out amidst the crowd is that there’s so much versatility in her voice. Technically it’s perfect; with the power to dominate big, epic dance tracks like Number One hit Don’t Hold Your Breath, to the delicate subtlety needed for gloriously beautiful piano ballads like AmenJena.
For so long Nicole was just ‘the lead singer out of the pussycat dolls’, then, come her brilliant role as a guest judge on X Factor last year, we begun to see her blossom into a fully fledged star in her own right. Killer Love is the culmination of that. Lead single Poison comes on like The Prodigy; bleepy techno synths and machine-gun-like beats snapping away. Nicole spits out the chorus with a passion that could set light to the coldest of hearts.
It’s nice that they’ve featured Nicole’s collab with Enrique Iglesias on the album too, interestingly in an edited and remixed form that injects it with a bit more dancey-ness. Basically a big fat bassline slapped on that helps the song slot in a little easier with the hype- energy of the rest of the album. I adored the track when it was released last year; all its spacey love-on-the-dancefloor vibes and late-night passion was transfixing. That hypnotic, floaty quality the track carries itself with. That piano hook hammers itself into your consciousness, the strongest of aural hooks; the literal heartbeat at the core of the song.
To be fair, there are a few weaker moments across the album. Take, Right There; while every inch the radio friendly single, it sounds like it could have been cut and pasted straight off a Rihanna album. Here, Nicole’s individually that carries so much of the rest of the album sinks and fades away.
Where Killer Love is at its absolute best is on the title track. Here, the beats stomp, stomp away like factory machinery – unstoppable, impossibly powerful. Any other artist would find themselves lost amidst the noise, drowning in it all. But Nicole rides the music like she’s having the time of her life. The chorus is incredible, anthemic; everything you want from a pop tune in 2011. It’s even got a big chanty bit that is custom-built to be shouted out across arenas and stadiums across the world. When I first heard Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance I described it as a discotheque getting fucked by a train, and Killer Love is like that, but ten times bigger... and dare I say it, potentially better.
And then there’s Club Banger Nation. Anyone who names a track on their album that wins a hell of a lot of points from me. Here, the euro-dance leanings reach their climax as Nicole cries ‘tell me can you feel it’ before chucking in the customary ‘RedOne!’ shoutout. But God yes can we feel it. There’s the wonderfully groovy ‘we can stay until the sun comes up’ bit that makes you wish you could be out partying away right this minute. Then there’s some wild and seemingly random guitar riffing and Nicole screams a bit – again the fun element. That’s what Killer Love as an album is; pure fun, pumped through the ‘club banger’ machine. And it’s delivered an absolutely cracking creation.