Release date: November 2010
Messy Little Raindrops is the second studio album by British recording artist Cheryl Cole, released on 1 November 2010 by Fascination Records.
The album is the follow up to Cole's multiplatinum debut 3 Words (2009) and comes in the aftermath of Cole's divorce from footballer Ashley Cole and her life-threatening battle with malaria. Cole started recording sessions for her second album in February 2010. Recording continued in Los Angeles while Cole was recuperating from malaria. Cole described the album as "more exciting, very personal, very me," combining pop, R&B, and dance sounds. The album was largely produced by Wayne Wilkins, who previously produced Cole's number one debut solo single "Fight for This Love" and the album track "Rain on Me". Cole also reunited with will.i.am, who was the executive producer of 3 Words. American producer J. R. Rotem contributed "Better to Lie", while Cole worked with British electronic musician Starsmith, Al Shux, and Free School for the first time. Messy Little Raindrops features guest vocals from August Rigo, Dizzee Rascal, Travie McCoy, and will.i.am.
The album's title is taken from a lyric in the song "Raindrops." Cole said, "when it rains, everything, she's washed [...] it feels hopeful."
"Promise This", the album's lead single, serves as the opening track. Produced by Wayne Wilkins, it has been described as an "upbeat, pop track" with "more of a dance feel than previous releases." The song "finds her contemplating mortality with a cheerful morbidity, asking for prayers over a brutal march beat." Tabloids suggested that the lyrics were based upon her divorce from footballer Ashley Cole, and how her dancer friend Derek Hough nursed her to health while she was suffering from malaria. The song is followed by "Yeah Yeah", which was produced by Starsmith and features a rap from Travie McCoy. It was called "a big-sounding, house-influenced track." It has received comparisons to Madonna's Confessions on a Dancefloor era. "Live Tonight", produced by will.i.am, "shuns dance and nods to U2 and Queen." It includes a "Beach Boys-go-native breakdown completing the tug on the collective houseinflected heartstrings" and "a blissful synth line." The album's fourth track and second single, "The Flood", was described by X magazine as an "enormo-ballad" and "a massive, strong-laden, Christmasy tear-jerker about 'wreckage', 'drowning' and 'natural disaster love.'" The Wilkins-produced number is a "trip-hop ballad, with strong hooks and synthesised strings."
"Amnesia" was initially rumoured to be a Britney Spears cover; however, it is an original track produced by Wilkins and Steve Kipner. It was called a "jittery electro tack with an Oriental feel." "Everyone," also produced by Wilkins, features guest vocals from British rapper Dizzee Rascal and offers "serious soulful uplift." "Raindrops" is a ballad produced by Free School in which "guitars chime and jangle as Cheryl looks forlornly for love." "Hummingbird" was co-written and produced by Al Shux. "Better to Lie" was produced by J. R. Rotem and features guest vocals from August Rigo. "Let's Get Down," produced by and featuring will.i.am, is "another fast and furious dance number" with an "Eighties-style electronic rhythm." It was called "a celebratory jam aimed firmly at Friday night" and "a Freeze-sampling electro-stomper that makes the Geordie lass sound almost New York cool." "Happy Tears" is "acoustic-based pop," which tabloids have suggested references Cheryl Cole's divorce from Ashley Cole. It was produced by Wilkins. The album's closing track "Waiting" is a "disco track that samples the piano from Vanessa Carlton's A Thousand Miles." It was co-written by American singer Kelis and produced by Free School.