Reading’s LGBT Pride may not be as well-established or on the same scale as the other major Pride events across the UK, but as one of the country’s largest towns its recognition is on the increase. Now in its ninth year, Reading Pride is releasing a special charity and anti-bullying campaign single entitled ‘Sticks & Stones’, for the first time.
‘Sticks & Stones’ is sung by pop-rock singer Nicolette Street (who has performed with Anastacia, Pixie Lott and Toyah Wilcox) with her band The Revs and was written and produced by Carl Engelmarc (who has previously worked with Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion and Britney Spears). Its soft folk-rock sound is reminiscent of Alanis Morissette while the song’s message about not letting bullies get to you will not of course escape comparisons to the Linda Perry-penned hit, ‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera.
The song’s guitar-driven melody is straightforward but it seems it was understandably sacrificed to allow the thought-provoking lyrics to deliver its obvious yet important message loud and clear. The bridge uses the famous quote: ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones / But words will never hurt me’, while the chorus directly and courageously addresses the bully: ‘Don’t turn to me say I’m a freak / Don’t look at me that way … What a stupid game you play / After all don’t you know / We’re only skin and bone’.
While the lyrics may not be the most original and creative, sometimes it’s the bluntest ones grab people’s attention more so than those that are too deep and ambiguous to decipher. The final one-and-a-half-minutes of the song brings in gospel elements and the repeated lines: ‘Won’t bring me down / Never, never, never / No, no, no’, which are sung with raw soul that helps breathe more life into it, albeit a little late.
‘Sticks & Stones’ is a simple song that is certainly no ‘Beautiful’, but is just as inspiring and full of heart. You can listen to the track below and it is available to download from iTunes, Amazon and Napster now and will also be on sale at Reading Pride on 3 September when Nicolette Street and The Revs will be performing it live. All profits from the single will go towards promoting and helping with anti-bullying in the LGBT community.