Buried Bops & Bangers: Gabriella Cilmi’s ‘On A Mission’

Written By Sam Murphy on 07/10/2019

Buried Bops & Bangers is a weekly regular feature pulling unappreciated pop songs from the archives.

2010 and Aussie popstar Gabriella Cilmi had things to prove. Her 2008 debut Sweet About Me was a runaway hit, landing her six ARIAs for the song and her debut album Lessons Learned plus international success.

In 2008, the Amy Winehouse influence was in full effect. Vintage soul was handed to us by Duffy and Adele with Sweet About Me channelling a similar mode.

Two years later, however, that craze was well and truly over. Adele moved towards stadium-aimed ballads, Duffy tanked with her vintage follow-up and Cilmi moved into the pop world.

The quaint teen was gone and in her place was a budding pop superstar armed with a gigantic banger On A Mission.

On A Mission was the lead single from her sophomore album Ten and Cilmi described it as the I Will Survive of this generation.

Produced by The Invisible Men (Charli XCX, Zayn) it was a dramatic shift for Cilmi, one which she later said she felt forced into by the label.

Cilmi was a charismatic, instantly likeable popstar but the intergalactic visual seemed ill-conceived and ultimately tanked what is an otherwise A-grade pop song.

The song peaked just within the top 15 in Australia and despite cracking the top 10 in the UK, she failed to producer another hit after.

Let’s not let that, however, take away from the pop gold that is On A Mission. It’s a disco-tinged, hearty cut that powers on with the kind of ambition usually left for popstars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. British rapper Plan B later called it a “perfect pop song” and he’s right.

For the record TEN, is full of bangers but you all let it flop. You have to live with that. Cilmi is happy now making rootsy, country music.

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