Pixie burst onto the pop scene in 2009 with lotts of success thanks to some aggressive marketing. Her first two singles hit number one on the UK charts, the debut album Turn It Up remained a fixture in the official album charts for well over a year and she earned a place in the Guinness World Book of Records. In the short interim, she’s launched multiple fashion lines, starred in movies and collaborated with a wide range of musicians and producers.
One might expect then that the talented youngster, who has turned herself to so many tasks successfully, would be able to deliver on the difficult second album: having promised a more mature sound and attacked those who branded her a manufactured pop puppet.
Unfortunately, Young, Foolish, Happy comes off as a clichéd attempt to find a niche in what has become a year eclipsed by Brit leading ladies, with the vocal prowess of Adele or sass of Jessie J. The innocent and fun pop of Turn It Up may have been an antidote to the dominating R’n’B Timbaland and synth partying Black Eyed Peas in 2009, but here the album struggles to find momentum or direction.
Take lead single ‘All About Tonight’, which reads much in the same vein as ‘Boys and Girls’. There is little hint of any progression or change, rather Pixie comes across rather unenthused, uninspired and uncommitted in the lack of middle eight, or the continuous need to remind us “It’s all about tonight” at every opportunity, verse or chorus. Follow up ‘What Do You Take Me For?’ only managed to 'make up' for this, at least for the boys, by providing a video of Pixie in tight leather.
This stereotypical pop base really prevents any movement. Cheesy centric ‘Kiss The Stars’, widely rumoured to be the next single, sounds like a track one may expect to here at a 5 year old’s birthday, but then jars with its euphemisms “Get in position: Put your plug in the socket… when you turn it on I can go for hours.” The rather contradictory tone almost dictates that Pixie doesn’t understand the direction of her new release; which is shame, as a reworking of lyrics and experiment with rock or dub influences (popular trends in the charts) may have proffered a much more interesting listen.
Similarly, numbers akin to ‘Perfect’ and ‘Birthday’, both harmless pieces in themselves, are instantly forgettable and commonplace filler material that the album could do without.
Most disappointingly, Pixie promised a more soulful album, and the maturity doesn’t shine through. Lyrics and ideals of her debut actually spoke more meaningfully about the troubles and strife of young love and life: ‘Gravity’ and ‘Broken Arrow’ both exceptional in this respect.
Where Pixie attempts to imitate this, there are glimmers of hope for the album. ‘Bright Lights’ with Tinchy Stryder actually reflects neatly on chart trends this year, speaking of the hopelessness of city life, its pitfalls and problems masked by the luring lights. ‘Dancing On My Own’ equally talks of the struggles of a relationship formed on dreams, but hit by the problems of money and job loss. These tracks connect with the audience for their true to life form and simplicity.
However, the focus on formulaic pop leaves Pixie out in the cold. Perhaps next time, she shouldn’t spread her career so thin, and consolidate efforts into the production of the album. The two very different sounds on Young, Foolish, Happy clash quite horribly and there needed be a greater exploration and development of one particular area. A mediocre album with only a handful of standout tracks and promise, we guess it’ll be another batch of material heavily promoted by sex appeal.