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A trip down memory lane for me, with one glaring issue
on 24 August 2010
Welcome to my review of the La Roux - Sidetracked album,
it's a pleasure to share my thoughts with you, hopefully you will find my review interesting (or at least kill a few minutes if you are bored!).
First off, I am a big fan of 80's music, though being born in '86 I guess I was a little too young to be out and about in the neon clubs partying with new romantics!
I think it must be subliminal though as I seem to have developed an affinity with this era over the last decade of my life.
I've always strived to find an album that encapsulated what I thought the 80's were about, not so much the commercial music (that everyone has heard time after time) but rather the tunes that made a difference to someone's life.
I can't say I'd make the same choices if I were given the chance to make my own "Sidetracked" album but I do like the tracklisting for the most part.
Having listened to it three or four times all the way through (in different settings, in the car, mp3 player and just sitting at my computer doing some research) I have a mainly positive outlook, there isn't anything immediately grating (unless you don't like 80's music that is!).
The tracks seem to segue into one another quite well but, personally, I would have preferred to have had the songs played in full instead of mixed together, perhaps with an explanatory "intro" or "outro" with La Roux (either Elly or Ben) describing why that particular track was chosen. There aren't any cover notes to explain the choices or even a paragraph on the packaging, talking about the thoughts behind each song or the album as a whole construct.
Maybe it's just me but I would have liked to read a bit more "behind the scenes".
I know that certain tracks mean a lot to me, I could probably write an essay on some of my favourite songs! A sentence or two would have helped to understand the tracklisting as a whole.
Most of the tracks, to me at least, are not as well known as those that EVERYONE has heard before (and most likely think of when someone mentions the 80's). I particularly liked the first three tracks with Japan, Heaven 17 and Joyce Sims opening the album. All of them tinting my inner glasses a neon shade of electric pink!
For me though, the one glaring issue (it might just be my copy though) is the intro and subsequent Freur track, Doot Doot.
As a song (in any guise, "radio edit" or 12" original mix) that has formed part of my all time top 10 (sad I know) tracks that I love to listen to, you could say I have a bit of an attachment to it.
Unfortunately, in the mix with the previous Doris Troy track, the introductory "nightscape" sounds a little sped up, thinking it would settle I didn't give it much thought... until the track kicked in for good.
It seems that the whole track has been sped up to help it match up with the tracks on either side of it in the playlist.
The subtleties of the track are lost when it is sped up even by, I believe, around 1.5x it's normal speed. The track in itself would have been great as a "finale", an encore to a generation of music that has inspired so many of the twentysomethings of today, instead it seems to have been wedged in between two other tracks, that in my opinion, don't allow the song to stand on it's own merits and develop the "soundscape" it so rightly creates when listened to at a normal "speed".
All in all, I like the album, it's something that has grown on my since I bought it a few weeks ago but, as the Freur track has been effectively "neutered" of all it's meaning, I can't help but take off two stars. One for the speeding up of the track, the other for potentially ruining the chances of people finding out about this great tune!
To sum up:
Good track selection - enough to send me back to my early youth
No major "80's cheese" tracks - there are other album,s for that ;-)
Nice track length and mixing - although I would have preferred unmixed tracks it could have been a lot worse!
Some of the track mixing isn't as spot on as it could have been - going from "Under My Thumb" to "Right Down The Line" was a little bare to be frank! At it's best (and whilst it didn't really help the following tune) was the outro to "Just One Look" and the "Doot Doot" intro.
The apparent "speeding up" of Doot Doot - surely a crime in the musical community?
Tracklisting - whilst good (and varied) it didn't really pull me in as much as I would have liked (obviously this is subjective though as I am sure they each mean a lot to Elly and Ben).
Well if you are still reading this, treat yourself to a biscuit, I think your eyes have probably burned off a few hundred calories following my ramblings :-)
Worth a look for La Roux fans (to see some of the inspiration behind the group) and also for fans of 80's music, just do yourself a favour and switch over to the original 12" version of Doot Doot when it kicks in on track 7!