Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me would know that ‘Yo-Yo’ is my everything. I have long sung the praises of Chairman Nicola but really, the bulk of my
appreciation obsession didn’t happen until I heard this emotional pop ballad.
The world has painfully slept on our Girls Aloud siren’s solo album Cinderella’s Eyes. Not even the catchy, front-running singles ‘Beat of My Drum’ and ‘Lucky Day’ could ignite commercial interest, so I’m not holding out for ‘Yo-Yo’ to save the day.
There was definitely a collective raising of eyebrows and throwing of side glances when Polydor went ahead with Nic‘s third single. Look, I am grateful that they saw enough promise in ‘Yo-Yo’ to give it a spin [Editor’s note: there goes your one free pass at a yo-yo pun] but making a video for a song I have spent months dreaming up a concept for will only end in tears.
The vision we’re treated to with ‘Yo-Yo’ couldn’t be further from the brief prepared in my head. The end result here is an effortlessly cool, hipster editorial video that’s more style than substance – which would be acceptable for any Cinderella’s Eyes track but ‘Yo-Yo’.
Why is it a complicated reality?
I am not sure what happened on set to cause this infuriating disconnect between Nicola, the camera, and the emotional lyrics.
I can accept that she’ll never be that dramatic show pony type but bitch, I saw you ripping out hearts in the acoustic performance of ‘Yo-Yo’ so I know you can connect better and I know you can bring out the appropriate emotional faces.
Nicola‘s overall on-screen presence feels redundant. Could she not have hired me to lip synch this song in her place? I’ve practiced in front of the mirror for months. She failed to deliver soap-level intensity in several key scenes like the one where she’s throwing dishes or the part where she’s sooking in the shower – I mean, it looks like she could’ve done with a bit more direction.
All of the things you promised, I’m trying so hard to make it work.
‘Yo-Yo’ at its climax is positively overpowering. When you hear Bossbitch Roberts desperately pleading in her falsetto, you automatically imagine some sort of hectic flashback sequence that plays like a montage of quick cuts. Think of Sophie Muller-directed videos.
The narrative in ‘Yo-Yo’ is extremely basic, depicting an infatuated and torn Nicola who catches her boyfriend cheating on her. It’s a good starting point but it’s not at all acceptable as a vehicle for such an emotional song.
They could’ve fleshed it out a little more by colouring the production with more scenes of Nicola and her man hanging out and having happier times. Y’know, that last shot of the pack of them leaving the apartment for a night out looked like a good opportunity for further development? I reckon having a variety of scenes would’ve given the story more depth and their relationship more complexity.
Voodoo, yoga, diet soda – look at me now.
Nicola Roberts is definitely the queen of quirky, youthful, designer messy chic. I am continually in awe of her visual presentation. I don’t think y’all give Nic enough credit for the brand and image she’s quietly building for herself here.
The 80s inspiration with the perm, velvet dress and various colours really pop on the brightly lit set. The fashion and the crowd of London model-types she’s hanging with remain the centrepiece throughout, effortlessly standing out from the bare walls and very ordinary apartment settings.
‘Yo-Yo’ will be released on 9 January in the UK.
Europe/UK residents, pre-order your exclusive signed CD copy of ‘Yo-Yo’ here – featuring live acoustic versions of ‘Yo-Yo’, ‘Lucky Day’, ‘i’ and ‘sticks + stones’. There will also be a demo version of the latter tacked on this.
Meanwhile, I will continue to be hysterical over Universal Music’s refusal to ship this to Australia.