2001 saw the release of Nerina Pallot’s critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful debut Dear Frustrated Superstar. At the time, London-born, Jersey raise Pallot was signed to Polydor. Launched quietly, Pallot’s debut failed set the world alight. After her Polydor deal was ended, Pallot entered the music business wilderness, briefly seeing the light of day again when she guested on Delerium’s Chimera. Frustrated but not distracted, Pallot set about establishing her own label, Idaho and tried to set the world alight with her follow-up Fires. Though the album sold 100,000 copies, Pallot’s singles; the political “Everybody’s Gone To War” and the sublime “Sophia” didn’t storm up the charts. 2009, Pallot is back. Having attempted co-writing her material with big names including Linda Perry, Rob Davis and Rick Nowels, Pallot decided to brave it alone. Her third release, the aptly titled The Graduate contains eight self-penned, self-produced songs (two collaborations with new husband Andy Chatterley — “I Don’t Want To Go Out” and “The Right Side” — passed the test).
Pitched perfectly between the ballad heavy Fires and radio friendly Dear Frustrated Superstar, Pallot seems to have landed feet first on the ground. The Graduate finally shows Pallot’s diversity both as a songwriter and a performer. There are immediate highlights, such as the brutally honest “Cigarette” and comical “When Did I Become Such A Bitch”, but The Graduate sees Pallot moving past the stage needing a filler.
The Graduate is near on a perfect pop record.
Marriage is clearly serving Pallot well. Having become engaged within the first half hour of her first date with Grammy award nominated Andy Chatterley, Pallot has clear guidance on what is needed to finally establish herself as a superstar. Strangely, Chatterly shows less understanding of Pallot’s intricate individuality as an artist, with their co-written “The Right Side” providing the albums only true disappointment. He does however find his feet again on the up-tempo singalong “I Don’t Want To Go Out”.
Nerina Pallot at 34 is no Mrs Robinson, but her experience as both a performer and songwriter have added new flavours to The Graduate. Eight years after her debut album saw the light of day, Pallot appears to be comfortable with her musical capabilities. The Graduate is near on a perfect pop record.