Only Human (Cheryl song)

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"Only Human"
Cheryl - Only Human (Official Single Cover).png
Single by Cheryl
from the album Only Human
Released 22 March 2015 (2015-03-22)
Format Digital download
Genre Electronic
Length 3:34
Label Polydor
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Schwartz
Cheryl singles chronology
"I Don't Care"
(2014)
"Only Human"
(2015)
"I Don't Care"
(2014)
"Only Human"
(2015)

"Only Human" is a song recorded by English recording artist Cheryl for her fourth studio album, Only Human (2014). It was released on 22 March 2015 through Polydor Records as the third single from the album. "Only Human" is an electronic ballad, written by Matt Schwartz, Jo Perry and Cass Lowe, whilst produced by Schwartz. Lyrically, it finds Cheryl singing about the inspiration to forgive yourself for being human and live your best life in spite of everything. "Only Human" received positive reviews from music critics, who complimented its production and called it her best ballad to date.

"Only Human" was remixed for radio by British drum and bass producer Wilkinson and was a commercial failure, only peaking at number 70 on the UK Singles Chart as an album cut; after its official release as a single, it failed to reach the top 100, becoming the lowest-charting single of her career. The accompanying music video for "Only Human" was directed by Chris Sweeney and co-directed by Cheryl herself. It depicts the singer controlling the world opening her fingers to release energy, dust and glistening stars, and received positive reviews from critics. Cheryl performed the song on BBC's fundraising show Children in Need 2014 on 14 November 2014.

Background

Following the release of Cole's third studio album, A Million Lights, in June 2012 and embarking on her debut solo headlining tour, Cole confirmed that a Girls Aloud's reunion would occur in November 2012.[1][2] The group released their second greatest hits compilation, Ten on 26 November 2012 and In 2013, the group embarked on Ten: The Hits Tour.[3] In March 2013, following the completion of the tour, Girls Aloud released a statement via their official Twitter to confirm that they were splitting permanently.[4][5]

On 27 July 2014, "Crazy Stupid Love", a song featuring rapper Tinie Tempah which served as the lead single from her fourth studio album Only Human, became Cheryl's fourth number one single on the UK Singles Chart, tying her with Geri Halliwell and Rita Ora as the third British female to achieve four solo number ones.[6] Months later, second single "I Don't Care" also debuted at number one. In doing so, Cheryl achieved her ninth number-one single (including those from Girls Aloud), and fifth as a solo artist, therefore becoming the British female artist with the most solo UK number ones, overtaking previous record sharers Halliwell, Ora and Cheryl herself.[7][8] "Only Human" was premiered on 7 October 2014.[9] In early February 2015, the singer revealed that "Only Human" would be released as the third single from the album on 22 March 2015.[10]

Composition

"Only Human" is an electronic ballad, written by Matt Schwartz, Jo Perry and Cass Lowe, whilst produced by Schwartz.[11] It is layered with Imogen Heap-like vocoders, giving the song a rather alien feel, the opposite of human.[12] Cheryl sings about the inspiration to find a fook, forgive yourself for being human and live your best life in spite of everything. She sings, "It's only love /It's only dust /Making up the two of us /And we all fall down /You’re only human".[13] According to MuuMuse, "things stay very Immi 'Hide and Seek' in the verses", until the song suddenly explodes into its chorus.[12] Pip Elwood from Entertainment Focus noted that whilst singing the lyrics, Cheryl "reminds you that like everyone else she’s just a person behind the make-up, the fame and the money and that’s something that is often forgotten when it comes to celebrities".[14] For Lewis Corner from Digital Spy, the song has a "cosmic" production.[15]

Critical reception

"Only Human" received generally positive reviews from music critics. MuuMuse was positive, commenting that the song was "actually massive" and the first song from the era that did not sound like it might still be a demo.[12] Bradley Stern while writing for Idolator commented that the "encouraging" song marked a mature new direction for Cheryl, and though it was her "most gorgeous and assured ballad" to date.[11] Entertainmentwise's Shaun Kitchener was also positive, commenting that the "delicate title track provides an affecting vulnerability that nicely counterbalances the brash confidence found elsewhere".[16] Brendon Veevers noted that the album's title track showcased the singer's "pristine" vocals and her ability to switch from dance songs to a torch song with ease and confidence.[17] Deborah Weitzmann from Daily Mail noted that Cheryl proved why she has "the talent to make a top X Factor judge as she belts out the emotional tune".[13] Pip Elwood from Entertainment Focus was positive, noting that the track is one of the album's most emotive moments and one of the singer's most honest and passionate vocals on Only Human.[14]

Chart performance

On 18 October 2014, "Only Human" debuted and peaked at number 70 on the UK Singles Chart after it became available for those who pre-ordered the Only Human album, lasting for only one week.[18] Upon the single's release on 22 March 2015, it was at number 56 on the mid-week chart, but did not make the week's official top 100 and became the lowest-charting single of her career, surpassing 2011's "The Flood".[19] When the song was released, the singer's husband, Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, took to Instagram to express his frustration at the song not being played enough by radio stations.[19] In Scotland, "Only Human" also did not chart well, peaking at number 40 on its only week in the official charts.[20]

Music video

The accompanying music video for "Only Human" was directed by Chris Sweeney and co-directed by Cheryl herself.[21] On 2 February 2015, Cheryl shared a sneak peek of the video, along with pictures which saw her with very long hair extensions and a tummy-baring top, along with another one featuring her sitting in the sand wearing a T By Alexander Wang beige silk bralet and a pink tutu.[13][22] The music video officially premiered on 4 February 2015. It depicts the singer controlling the world opening her fingers to release energy, dust and glistening stars. The video also flicks from day to night through Cheryl's powers, whilst flames begin to light up the night's sky.[23] It received generally positive reviews from critics. Deborah Weitzmann from Daily Mail complimented the singer's look and commented that "the changing backdrop to the video is attention-grabbing and beautiful to watch".[13]

Live performance

Cheryl performed "Only Human" on BBC's fundraising show Children in Need 2014 on 14 November 2014, wearing a white one-shoulder gown with NOA Fine Jewellery, joined by a pianist and a trio of backing singers, whilst a video of kids benefiting from the charity played.[24] At the end of the performance, it received a "thunderous" applause from the studio audience.[25] The performance received positive reviews from critics, with Claire Rutter from Daily Mirror calling the performance "haunting".[26]

Track listing

  • Digital download[27]
  1. "Only Human (Radio Mix)" – 3:25
  • Digital download – The Remixes[28]
  1. "Only Human" (Club Mix) – 5:19
  2. "Only Human" (Super Stylers Remix) – 6:20
  3. "Only Human" (iLL BLU Remix) – 5:34

Credits and personnel

Credits are adapted from the Only Human liner notes.[29]

Locations

  • Mixed at the Destined Studios, Aquarium in London, United Kingdom.

Personnel

  • Matt Schwartz — writing, production, mixing, vocal recording, recording, mixing, engineering, keyboards, bass, guitar, vocoder, strings, bells, drums, FX
  • Jo Perry — writing, additional backing vocals
  • Cass Lowe — writing, recording, additional bells, strings, backing vocals
  • Graham Archer — vocal recording
  • Red Triangle — vocal recording,
  • Maegan Cottone — additional backing vocals

Charts

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[20] 40
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 70

References

  1. ^ "Cheryl Cole announces comeback single, new album 'A Million Lights'". Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Cheryl Cole confirms Girls Aloud Reunion will be in November 2012". Music Eyz. 
  3. ^ Savage, Mark (19 October 2012). "Girls Aloud reveal reunion plans". BBC News. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Guadian Music (21 March 2013). "Girls Aloud split after final UK show". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Lachno, James (21 March 2013). "Girls Aloud split up after last night of tour". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "BBC News - Cheryl Cole lands fourth solo chart topper". Bbc.co.uk. 2014-07-27. Retrieved 2014-08-17. 
  7. ^ Moss, Liv (5 November 2014). "Cheryl on track for fifth UK Number 1 with I Don't Care". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Cheryl scores record-breaking 5th Number 1 single with I Don't Care". Official Charts Company. 
  9. ^ "Listen to Cheryl's new song 'Only Human'". digitalspy.co.uk. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Digital Spy - Showbiz news, showbiz pictures, showbiz interviews". Digital Spy. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "Cheryl Unveils 'Only Human' Title Track: Listen To The Impressive Ballad - idolator". idolator.com. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c Stern, Bradley (7 October 2014). "Only Human": Cheryl Might Have Just Delivered Her Best Solo Ballad To Date". MuuMuse. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Cheryl Cole dons plunging crop top and coral tutu in video Only Human". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "Cheryl - Only Human album review - Entertainment Focus". www.entertainment-focus.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  15. ^ Corner, Lewis (8 November 2014). "Cheryl: Only Human album review - "Her most focused and cohesive LP"". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  16. ^ http://www.entertainmentwise.com/news/161666/1/REVIEW-Cheryl-Makes-Herself-Heard-On-New-Album-Only-Human
  17. ^ "Album Review: Cheryl - Only Human". renownedforsound.com. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  18. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  19. ^ a b Duke, Simon (30 March 2015). "Disaster for Cheryl Fernandez-Versini as Only Human fails to reach the top 100". chroniclelive.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  21. ^ Duke, Simon (4 February 2015). "Cheryl Fernandez-Versini unveils video for new single Only Human". chroniclelive.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  22. ^ Strang, Fay (2 February 2015). "Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is naturally sexy in sneak peak of video from third single Only Human". mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  23. ^ Roberts, Edward (4 February 2015). "Cheryl Fernandez-Versini gets ridiculously seductive in Only Human music video". mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  24. ^ "Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is angelic in white on BBC Children In Need". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  25. ^ https://uk.celebrity.yahoo.com/gossip/omg/cheryl-fernandez-versini-hits-back-at--cheryl-cole-mime--critics-with-children-in-need-performance--225918466.html
  26. ^ Rutter, Claire (14 November 2014). "Cheryl Fernandez-Versini sings stripped back version of Only Human live for Children in Need". mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  27. ^ "iTunes - Music -Only Human - Single by Cheryl". Apple iTunes (UK). 
  28. ^ "iTunes - Music - Only Human (The Remixes) by Cheryl". Apple iTunes (UK). 
  29. ^ Only Human (inlay cover). Cheryl. Polydor Records. 2014. p. 10. 
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