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4.2 out of 5 stars
Trip The Light Fantastic
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2007
If you've heard one Sophie Ellis-Bextor album, you've heard them all. Mostly- true. Each album has a slightly different feel. "Read My Lips" was disco. "Shoot From the Hip" was more, hmmm experimental? atmospheric? With "Trip the Light Fantastic" she's treading steadily in the middle of the road with solid pop shoes on. More listenable than "Hip" and with more emotional diversity than "Lips", "Trip" delivers exactly the same Sophie vocals. Beautiful, distinct, and sultry - yes, but sadly prone to monotony if the song doesn't provide some strong musical moments.

Some have said that "Supersonic" is the 'worst' song on the album. I like it for providing a different feeling from the rest of the album. The song has energy. Most of the album is made up of synth beats that complement but blend with Sophie's already hypnotic, if not meditative, vocals. "Catch You", "Love is Here", "Only One", "China Heart", and "Today, the Sun's on Us" provide guitars, stanzas, choruses, bridges, and emotional changes in the vocals. They stand out, to me, as stronger songs than the likes of "If I Can't Dance", and "The Distance Between Us" which start with a generic synth sound and after 3 or 4 odd minutes of innocuous vocals you find yourself with no idea of what just passed.

I am a fan and am pleased as punch to have this album. However, I think that Sophie should break out of her shell a little more and take a few more risks with her vocal stylings. Not because I dislike "Lips", "Hip", and "Trip", but we have that sound already. Overall, It's beautiful, a good listen. There is certainly more positive than negative. "New Flame" has grown on me quickly. I could drop a couple of songs but, hey, I liked the ones others didn't, so- Something for everyone I suppose.

"Love is Here" is worth buying the album- This really ought to be a single. "What Have We Started" is gorgeous. It has violins, cymbals, a sort of 'later Abba' rock-pop melody and the best Vocals on the album.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I must admit, I wasn't a big fan of the lovely Sophie Ellis-Bextor's first album, although of course I liked 'Groovejet' - and I grew to like the rest in time. However, I must be rare among her admirers in that it was actually her second album, 'Shoot From The Hip', which got me interested. Now she's back with a super collection of infectious pop ditties which will appeal to anyone who likes the Eighties-influenced electro-pop of groups like The Sugababes and Girls Aloud, and she's proving there's more to her than just being a disco dolly.

The fabulous 'Catch You' opens proceedings, followed by not-quite-as-good current single 'Me and My Imagination', but there are plenty of other strong tracks here. 'Today the Sun's On Us', 'If You Go' and 'Can't Have It All' show a more moody, thoughtful side to Miss Ellis-Bextor, while 'Love Is Here' sounds like a long-lost Elton John pop classic from the Seventies and 'What Have We Started' has a definite Sixties sound. Back on the dancefloor, 'New York City Lights' and 'If I Can't Dance' are pure electro heaven and 'China Heart' is thumping Hi-NRG eurodisco, while 'New Flame' introduces a touch of ska and 'The Only One' a hint of latino rhythms. Despite all these different flavours and influences, the album hangs together remarkably well; every song has a memorably hummable hook and Sophie's icily posh vocals add a touch of class throughout. Perhaps the best track of all is saved for last (and bafflingly labelled 'Bonus Track'; surely this must be a future single?!!!): the pumping dance confection 'Supersonic', a giddy four-minute whirl in which dear Soph comes over all Barbarella and which features the unmistakable guest vocals of B-52 Fred Schneider.

Overall, an excellent collection of songs which has barely been off my IPod since release. Easily the best pop album of the year so far - in fact, it's possibly the best pure pop release since Madonna's 'Confessions', and in my opinion it's better than anything Kylie Minogue has put out since her deConstruction days. The only minor criticism I have is that the b-sides of the last two singles have been left off. Both 'Down With Love' (from 'Catch You') and 'Move to the Music' (from 'Me and My Imagination') are at least as good as anything here, and I strongly encourage fans to check them out, if they haven't already. Bravo Sophie - a job well done.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2007
If there is one thing about Sophie Ellis-Bextor's single 'Me and My Imagination' missed out on, it was the cross promotion that could've taken place with Nintendo's "Super Paper Mario" game. The florescent lighting effects used in the promo video conjures images reminiscent of the 'pixl' characters that populate the game.

Missed promotion aside, "Trip the Light Fantastic" sees Ellis-Bextor's return to pop stardom after a 3 year absense from music. And what a relief it is to listen to a record that has consistency instead of a standard singles and filler pop record (a problem that nortoriously plagued her "Read My Lips" album).

At its best, the record's bass thumps all the way through like Kylie Minogue's "Fever." Single "Me and My Imagination" should have been a huge hit; a kindred spirtit to Minogue's "Love At First Sight." "Today The Sun's On Us" grows after a few spins and "The Distance Between Us" vaguely resembles Berlin's 1985 hit, "Take My Breath Away" (which isn't a bad thing at all).

At its worst, however, the records lyrics go from intelligent to shockingly stupid, just like Kylie Minogue's "Fever". Ellis-Bextor's lyrical output has always been wildly inconsistent. Though it does tends to be a little better than her previous outings, it is definitely not something to be ignored easily. "Only One" commits the worst offense with an opening line "I don't know why you cry, you must have a windswept eye," following a bizarre reading from whatever rhyming dictionary she owns. Possible single "If You Go" needs its second verse lyrics completely redone, removing the banal readings of cliched sayings and despite its sunny disposition, Ellis-Bextor should be ashamed of rhyming dizzy with giddy on "Love Is Here."

If Ellis-Bextor does anything perfect she eloquently writes about unrequited love with a sense of desperation that almost seems cool. Hit single "Catch You" sears of creepy passion with a backing track that rocks hard and fast, but the more subdue songs though are where Ellis-Bextor really shine. "China Heart" breezes through and one could almost swear an isolated princess is singing it from the top of a tower. "Can't Have It All" takes "I Am Not Good At Not Getting What I Want" from her last record a step further. A woman wretchedly falling apart and on the verge of a breakdown sounds so realistic one's heart breaks along with the lady in the song.

"Trip The Light Fantastic" is definitely a step above her previous recordings. Despite its lyrical flaws (and the inexplicable bonus tracks tacked on that could've replaced the weaker songs, such as "Only One" and "Love Is Here"), this record could perfectly play at the next party. And if that is not enough, surly this record is better than 90% of the Super Paper Mario soundtrack, so Ms. Ellis-Bextor, look for that Nintendo endorsement soon.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2007
Anyone interested in good pop music should ignore Mark Reed's review that starts off this reviews list. It says far more about him than it does about this record. There are half a dozen wonderful tracks on this album and the rest are all good. Most albums are choc full of filler these days. That's not the case here. However many years it took to produce this collection, it was well worth the wait. There is a variety of styles on display and Ellis Bextor's lyrics are as acute, amusing and thoughtful as ever, if not better. Overall, the album shows an artist progressing, growing and fulfilling her early promise. The music, lyrics and singing are all top class. There is more overall depth to this than with her previous work and this is certainly her best album yet. In the past ten years, I've only come across two or three albums this good. In years to come, it'll be rightly seen as a classic. In the meantime, I'll be giving it as a present to anyone I know who has some musical taste.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 May 2007
With it now seeing pointless to wait for another Rachel Stevens album (sadly), the original finger pointing posh crumpet/disco diva/ice queen of pop, Sophie Ellis Bextor, returns with her third album and first new material since the rather underwhelming "Shoot From The Hip" LP from 2003, which, although had it's good moments like "Mixed Up World", didn't always reach the same glittering heights as "Murder On The Dancefloor" or "Get Over You".

So it is a relief to hear then, as the first proper album release under Polydor's new pop label, Fascination, that "Trip The Light Fantastic" is a stellar pop album that reaches classic status straight away. Opening on the album's two hit singles, "Catch You" (Debbie Harry covering No Good Advice) and "Me & My Imagination" (this summer's So Good), the levels of brilliance continue further as she makes her pointy heeled way through tracks like "New York City Lights", "Today The Sun's On Us" and should be third single "If You Go" which sees Xenomania blend the ragga-dancehall rhythm of Rihanna's "Pon De Replay" with the hypnotic vocal stylings of Sia or Imogen Heap to excellent effect.

It is very rare that a good pop album like this comes out in a month full of festival headliners and BRIT school indie bands or trashy summer dance anthems done by German tranceheads. Make sure this album is in your collection when it comes out.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2007
Have loathed Sophie Ellis-Bextor's back catalogue to be quite honest! Then I heard "Catch you" and loved it from the first listen. I purchased this album after hearing some of the other tracks (and didn't even feel the need to pretend I was buying it for someone else!!!).

If you'd told me I'd buy and album by her 12 months ago, I would have doubled up in laughter!! However, have to be fair. This is a corking pop album, which I have had on repeat since getting it this week! A really lively and appealing album with some cracking choruses. So it's had some poor reviews from the critics, ignore them! If you're after meaningful lyrics and mournful tunes, avoid like the plague. If you're after a good old pop album this will not disappoint.

A great little album for the long summer nights! You'll be bopping all night - honestly!

Sophie, you've amazed me.....
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 May 2007
Yet again Sophie delivers a pop album worthy of praise upon praise. This is a proper pop album, awash with great melodies and infectious hooks that only Sophie could write and only Sophie could deliver with her icy, sharp precision.

In 'Trip The Light Fantastic' Sophie touches upon some new musical territory with the likes of `Catch You' `New Flame' and `China Heart' all led by frenetic guitars and fronted with powerhouse vocals, sounding much like 80s Blondie and Kim Wilde. Additionally, there is the pulsating, overtly infectious electro-pop perfection of `New York City Lights' that sounds like it could only have ever been produced in the 21st century.

But never fear, Sophie also returns with her familiar brand of disco, with the string laden `Me And My Imagination' and the glittery `If I Can't Dance'. However, Sophie's lyrical ability truly shines in the heartfelt `What Have We Started' and the optimistic stance of `Today The Sun's On Us' as well as in the beautifully epic `The Distance Between Us'. A further highlight of the album are the two tracks Sophie wrote with The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells; whether it be the madcap `Only One' with its sing-a-long chorus or the slushy sentiment of `Love Is Here' that again gives more than a nod to the disco sound which Sophie is renowned for.

Last, but by no means least, are the two UK bonus tracks. `Can't Have It All' successfully fuses the disco and 80s influenced pop found throughout `Trip The Light Fantastic' with a powerful, single woman mantra style chorus. Now, `Supersonic' a collaboration with the B52's Fred Schnieder is utterly bonkers and complete fun and clearly a track that both Sophie and Fred enjoyed creating as is heard in their enthusiastic launch countdown.

Sophie has clearly given her all in this album and it's a real treat for anyone who is willing to listen. It certainly does not disappoint.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2007
Don't listen to the negative comments below, this is a fantastic pop album. very upbeat, warm and sunny and always puts you in a great mood. We need more quality pop in the charts like this. outstanding tracks are Catch you, If I can't dance, today the suns on us, love is here, china heart, to many to mention. She sings with a warmth to her voice and not all monotone as she has been accused of. This is her best work by far. long live Sophie and long live pop music.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2007
Wow!! Sophie has nailed it with this one! it deserves to be number 1! this album has all the stuff that a great pop record needs! its catching, creative, synths! guitars! great vocals! great lyrics! this is one hell of a pop album! and if you think the hit track 'catch you' was great! trust me, this isnt the best track on the album! it gets better! its full of gems, I'll mention just one track thats outstanding that I like alot! this would be 'what have we started', if Sophie doesn't go number 1 with this record, the British Public should be ashamed of themselves! Trip The Light Fantastic is a serious pop album
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2007
After reading a few reviews of this album, I finally pulled myself together and got it! I am a so called fan of Miss Ellis Bextor, but her sound as one review said is very constant.
This album IS VERY different from her other two, and I found myself tapping my foot to all tracks.
Do not listen to the other reviews!! This album shoots her back into the pop world with great force! I liked all the tracks, but if I had to choose a fav, it would have to be 'Supersonic'.
Listen to this if you are getting ready for a good night out!
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