Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on

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Cher Lloyd Starts Gaining Some American Traction with "Want U Back"

Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on the logic that just because a lot of the music on the radio is crap doesn't mean all the music on the radio is crap.

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The hit: "Want U Back," Cher Lloyd, off Sticks + Stones.

Current chart position: #66 on iTunes, uncharted on Billboard.

The team: "Want U Back," the third single off of Lloyd's debut album Sticks + Stones, was written by Shellback and Savan Kotecha, both of whom worked on the last Cher Lloyd hit I wrote about back in October, "With Ur Love." Since then, Kotecha's added a number of hits to his resume, including One Direction's "One Thing" and "What Makes You Beautiful" and Usher's "Scream." He's also written a Justin Bieber/Nicki Minaj collaboration called "Beauty and a Beat" that will appear on Bieber's forthcoming Believe album. Shellback, who also produced "Want U Back," recently repeated his successful Maroon 5 collaboration--he wrote and produced "Moves Like Jagger"--with "Payphone," which has been charting in iTunes' Top 10 since it was released in April.

Breakdown: Cher Lloyd is a little firecracker--while "With Ur Love" was a sweet piece of love-pop, "Want U Back" seems to be more representative of Lloyd's saucy nature. When the Jackson 5 sang "I Want You Back," it was because they were blind to let you go. When NSYNC sang "I Want You Back," it was because they were going crazy without you. When Cher Lloyd sings "Want U Back," it's because the game isn't going the way she planned, and she thinks your new girlfriend is ugly. "Hey/Boy you never had much game/Thought I needed to upgrade," she sings in the song's opening lines. "No one else can have you," she pouts in the chorus. "I broke it off thinking you'd be cryin'/Now I feel like shh looking at you flyin'." In other words, she'll be happy when you're miserable. It's insouciant, impish, and pretty hilarious.

I love that Lloyd embraces her bratty teenage self. She's 18, and even though she's tatted up and wearing hot pants in this video, her songs reflect that she's not in any rush to appear older than her actual age, in the way that someone like Miley Cyrus does by trying to vamp and sex up her songs and music videos uncomfortably past her age. Particularly with this song, you get the sense that Lloyd doesn't take herself too seriously--the explosive grunt that introduces the song and recurs throughout isn't a very attractive sound, but my guess is she's unconcerned with the sexiness of it because it's unique and funny. Her youth is so appealing that she pulls off the self-censuring swearing ("shh" instead of "shit"), something that usually irritates the hell out of me. It's all part of the song's humor. The song is silly but it's also refreshing--and that's on top of the fact that the song's chorus is wickedly infectious, she belts out an adorable high note at the end of the bridge, and she has an utterly awesome style (rainbow kicks, hair bows, leather skirts, metallic purple bandeaus? So fresh). I'm holding out for Lloyd to become a UK-to-US success story a la One Direction. She's dead fierce.

 
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