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Diana Vickers has come a long way since the X Factor back in 2008. We all knew her as the girl with the unique voice and a dangerous claw. About a year after losing to Eoghan Quigg, JLS, and Alexandra Burke, Diana Vickers signed to RCA and began building the foundations of Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree. While working on her album, Diana also starred in West End's revival of a 1992 play, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which bagged her the London Newcomer award at the Theatregoers' Choice Awards.

The album opens with #1 debut single Once, which is obviously a great start with its rich fusion of electropop and rock. To be completely honest, I was dumbfounded when I first heard the single, and I doubted if Miss Vickers could pull of the whole pop/rock genre, but when Once gets to the chorus, it just EXPLODES with the Cathy Dennis trademark repetition without being unnecessary. Then comes the Ellie Goulding co-written track, Remake Me & You, and for the more tedious listeners out there, there's a subtle hint of Ellie in the verses' line pausing. The Boy Who Murdered Love is very similar to the first two tracks, which is all the more reason why it's brilliant. It goes from amazing verses, to an even more amazing chorus, and, like Once, it's upbeat and fits into the pop/rock genre.

Just when I thought the LP couldn't get any more upbeat, Diana pulls out a beautiful, heartwrenching, acoustic-led Four Leaf Clover that is equally good in terms of quality to the previous tracks. Put It Back Together Again follows suit, this time piano-driven, and showcases Diana's vocal range. The album takes to a lighter tune with You'll Never Get To Heaven, which is a welcome change from the emotional ballads. Me & You is most probably the cheesiest song, lyrically speaking, in the LP. I can't get past the "It's me and you, stuck like glue" bits.

Back to the Once vibe, Diana warbles about a hand being back where it belongs on My Hip, and it's as fun-sounding as the first three albeit a little less satisfying. Diana Vickers and Chris Braide (Four Leaf Clover) make a deadly writing duo again with N.U.M.B, an incredibly wistful stunner. Björk and The Sugarcubes make an appearance in the writing process of the synth-powered Hit, which drags a bit throughout.

If the album had any album fillers, it would be Notice. Now, it's not an awful track at all, but it does nothing to stand out. Another track co-written by the lovely Ellie Goulding is Jumping Into Rivers, the better song in the last bits of Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree, with a mildly infectious chorus and a slightly happy beat perfect for shampoo commercials or any of that sort (think Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten). And finally the LP comes to a sluggish finish with Chasing You, which comes off quite bland after listening to the amazing first half.

In the end, Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree is an undeniably solid debut effort from Diana Vickers. Most decent albums these days have two to three outstanding tracks, about five tolerable ones, and a few disappointments, which Diana tremendously surpassed with the exception of some songs in the latter half. I would hail the album as one of the modern gems of pop music, with the LP giving every listener a delicious, almost flawless ride, making it irresistible to see Diana's potential in the industry.



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