18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2013
This is a beautiful album. I can't do it justice in a review, but I encourage anyone to listen to some samples of the tracks because as soon as you hear them you can tell that it's a special collection of song.
It's very unique, and at times it's quite a dark album (Right As Rain contains the following lyrics: "If you can't be happy with me, be unhappy with me, stay unhappy with me").
As I'm writing this review it is the bestselling album in "Electro and Synth". Personally I think it deserves to be the bestselling album full stop.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2013
I loved Alison Moyet since the 80s and I've bought all her albums in all that time noting a shift from the electro pop beginnings through some really beautiful songwriting to a truly artistic style that is able to exist beyond the demands of the current musical trends.
The Minutes sees her re-embrace her electro roots, brazenly proving that a "middle-aged woman" can be current filling a need for those of us of a certain age that want brilliant, confident, energising pop music without aggressive rap, drug culture and barely clad girls that seem to feel the need to accompany it these days.
There is a mix of songs here, some amazing and inspiring on first listen. Filigree in particular is a very harmonious number that immediately grabs the ear and Love Reign Supreme cannot fail to uplift while When I was Your Girl would not be out of place on one of Alison's early albums.
Others are slow burners like All Signs of Life (but oh! the last thirty seconds will have you raving round the living room!) but even the 'filler' on this album is of a good standard and I'm sure they'll all grow on me with time.
Some of the lyrics can be a bit random and the meanings unfathomable (is Changeling about taking your daughter to school?) but I guess good music is open to interpretation and this gives it a longer shelf.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
I've been a fan of Alison Moyet's work since she hit it big with Yazoo and her solo work over the past (30 years?) can't be! Her voice has always been her spade in the game and when I saw the two video's for the new stuff and starting reading the buzz, I knew something special was brewing and sure enough "the minutes" arrives. I got to hear it all on Huffington and I was floored, not only are her vocals daring and modern, but the music rides along with each other like they were made for one another. Even though I've been through the whole 80's scene as a 20 something in the states, I always have my ear out for something that is able to bring back the feelings from that period yet sound up to date, and like no one else, not an easy feat. I'm so impressed with all these songs. Alison makes these tunes so memorable, each time I listen to them I find a nice touch, I really can't say anything bad about this collaboration, most likely the album of the year and comeback of the year, an outstanding music classic. My favorites is "Filigree", but they all offer something special, I think they could really do something special with "Right as rain", the haunting gothic like touches on the closer "Rung by the tide" and the first single "When I was your girl" and also "Changeling" sound great with all these mixes. musical bliss ALISON MOYET!!!
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2013
`The Minutes' shoots down every hoary old preconception of what Alison Moyet is about. Of course, those who have been paying attention to the trajectory of her output will already have spotted that she doesn't repeat herself.
Ms. Moyet is a music lover's wet dream and a record company's nightmare. Labels seemed only interested in her if she'd channel Etta James for mumsy covers albums - and even then only if she'd prostitute herself on reality TV. Before that, a foolish label actively sat on the glorious Hometime album for three years, because it wasn't wall-to-wall Streisandesque power ballads. So her integrity comes at a price but, time and again, and especially with `The Minutes,' Moyet is vindicated.
The renewed spring in Alison's step can be traced to a new working relationship with the estimable Guy Sigsworth. With an eclectic catalogue of diverse recordings with an even more diverse range of artists under his stylish belt, his musicality and technical nous are a natural fit for the woman who influenced so many artists.
The new electronic edge contains plenty of the iconic Moyet DNA. Just don't expect `Alf II - The Sequel.'
The trademark moodiness and lyrical magic are present and correct throughout. Tuneful edginess abounds. `Remind Yourself' and `A Place To Stay' marry aching melody and abrasive beats. `Changeling,' `When I Was Your Girl,' `Apple Kisses' and `Filigree' gang up near the bike-sheds to inflict tune wedgies on all and sundry. The joyous pop of `Love Reign Supreme' is a shaft of light in proceedings and shouts "summer hit," while `Right As Rain' marks a dark and biting return to the dancefloor.
The Minutes is a cohesive and very musical album. It is cool without being arch or deliberately trendy, and commercial without treading the middle of the road. Immerse yourself and enjoy.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2013
So here we have it - the electronica album Alison Moyet has been promising fans for years. Never an artist to simply go with the flow just to keep record company suits smiling, even her return to a genre she helped invent isn't as straightforward as she could have so easily made it.
Teaming up with musical maestro Guy Sigsworth (Bjork, Robyn) , 'the minutes' takes us on a trip - Moyet mentioned several times that she thought the album sounded quite 'prog'....and she's not wrong. From the majestic Bond-like orchestral flourish that announces the album opener (and highlight) 'Horizon Flame' right through to the ethereal Cocteau Twins meets Enigma meets Pendulum closing bars of Rung by the Tide, this is an album that seductively coaxes us on a journey and ensures we stay with her right to the end.
'Horizon Flame' is an icy, gorgeous taste of things to come, more of a stream of thought than a structured song, it works on every single level. The undulating backing against a stunningly understated vocal, you have to admire an artist who despite being able to take the roof off most concert halls with her range (and I've been there and can stand witness that this is the case), is confident enough in her talent to begin a much-lauded 'comeback' album with a song that feels like a soothing lullaby that sometimes sounds like she's making it up as she goes along. Which is in no way a criticism, in fact far from it - in these days of everything being so hideously overblown and over-structured, to hear a singer of this magnitude so beautifully underplay the vocals on here, that's really quite something. It's on the opening track that the partnership between Moyet and Sigsworth REALLY works. Yes, it's akin to Madonna/William Orbit's opus `Frozen' with the sweeping strings.... But it's hands-down better. Simple. Every listen springs a new melody, a new sound.... the beautiful deftness of touch and craftsmanship here from both Alison and Mr Sigsworth is breathtaking. As album openers go, Horizon Flame really does take some beating. Possibly one of the greatest tracks this fine lady has ever recorded.
The baffling nay-sayers who moan about Alison using electronica on this album must have been asleep for the first half of the 80s - this is the genre she knows and loves and has unfortunately just not explored anywhere near enough throughout her career. The bright sheeny pop... if you think these 80s songs in any way explained Alison Moyet .... You'd best donate `the minutes' to charity and go hunting for something by Belinda Carlisle.
From Horizon Flame we move onto the jagged, stuttering 'Changeling', a song seemingly about the misery of getting stuck in traffic jams or the fright of losing your child in public. No Moyet lyric is that simple, though, so it probably means something else, but who knows? Uber-modern, squealy, abrasive sounding and damn funky in a Prince kinda way, Changeling was the first taste of this album when Alison premiered it through here website earlier this year. Collective jaws were dropped, and rightly so. It's a cracker of a song and there's some very tasty remixes of this out there now, too. Another great thing is that none of the minutes overstays its welcome - it's a relatively short album and the tracks are perfectly timed (and the running order has obviously been chosen with great care to ensure it flows. It does.)
Next up is the first single from `the minutes', the hmm... pleasant enough `When I Was Your Girl'. Sounding like a b-side from the `Essex' era, this left fans collectively drop-jawed when it was announced as the first single. Baffling. An electronica album with a jingly jangly lead single...hm... well it IS Alison Moyet - nothing is ever that straightforward. Which is half the appeal - life for an Alison Moyet fan has taken some decidedly unexpected turns over the years ;-). Some liked the first single, some hated it. Some were utterly unmoved by it. It is what it is - but it was a staggeringly strange choice for the first single from this album. Apparently Radio 2 loved this one most (which explains the prolonged a-listing), hence the decision to release this as the first single.
`Apple Kisses' is a snarling, electro glam stomper that channels Marc Bolan, early Roxy Music and Black Cherry/Supernature era Goldfrapp. One of Moyet's most seductive and come-hither vocals, this is a seriously brilliant track that would sound great on radio. And speaking of sounding great on radio - next we have `Right as Rain', the most sassy and electro-ey track Alison has recorded since Yazoo. Bold, brash, sassy and stylish - THIS is the one Ms M should have released. It's excellent, and one can only imagine how great the remixes of this could be. Featuring that famous wasp-in-a-bottle riff and a thumping, NYC-inspired bassline, yes, Ms Moyet - this is possibly the finest solo track you've made to date. With a sneering, spiteful lyric, Right as Rain is the obvious choice for single release, I think. It's seriously...well...brilliant. And just wait til you hear it live......
`Remind Yourself' is a gorgeous, lilting track about paranoia and trust, a song bursting with claustrophobia at times, and so sweet it makes you melt at others (just listen to the `drumbeat in your chest' line and listen to how genuinely overawed and actually happy this lady sounds). My only reservation with this one is Mr Sigsworth's backing track for the whole of the first 2 minutes is uneasily similar to Massive Attack's seminal `Teardrop'.
The second single from the album, `Love Reign Supreme' is as close to creamy pop perfection as it's legally allowed to be. A glorious, loved up summer anthem with some great teasing stop/start bits, this is another track that sounded simply magnificent on the radio. This is easily better than all the 80s hits she had rolled into one...... a classic single. Lyrically damn clever, too.
`A Place to Stay' is, I suppose, the only `real' ballad on here. It's a shockingly great track, but there are times when Guy's production almost drowns it - it's just a bit too `in your face' and a little noisy. Yes, I love high drama and crescendos, but sometimes less is definitely more. Not sure what effects they use on the Moyet vocals on this, either, but they sound a little too harsh. But it's such a truly brilliantly written song, it's hard to find real fault with it.
`Filigree' is probably the most Yazoo-sounding track here - written about a stoned visit to a cinema in Amsterdam to watch The Tree of Life. The song's a whole load more decipherable than the movie, but it's still one of the more twee, lighter moments on the album.... Again, almost lullaby-like, it's a track I must confess to always skipping.
`All Signs of Life' is a kind of lovesong to Alison's husband David, a brilliantly written observation of his full-on fitness training. Another fine and brave track, the final 30 seconds are nothing short of inspired and rather... well... bananas. Sounding like The Prodigy on M-Cat, it has to be heard to be believed. Brilliant.
Finally we have the gorgeously dark and brooding `Rung By The Tide', all majestic Game of Thrones-like imagery and the real centre of the `prog' end of this album. Musically it's blacker than black, lyrically it's astonishing (`salute me sentry hollyhock.... Exploding dandelion clock'). You have a glorious sense of relief that those people still wanting re-runs of `Invisible' and 12" mixes of `Love Resurrection' will have vacated the building by the time the last wheezes and crashes of this opus have ended.
This isn't a good album - it's a brilliant one. An essential purchase by one of THE greatest artists of our generation. Yes, Ms M looks fabulous at the moment.... But the important thing is that she sounds fabulous too, and for the first time in years, she sounds gloriously alive and rejuvenated. I dare anyone to buy this, play it, and to not love at least half of it.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2013
Some artists' talent burns out when they're young, some maintain it and some truly hit their peak with age. Alison Moyet is the definition of the latter.
From the opening orchestral chords of Horizon Flame, it's clear this album is a not merely a return to form, but sets the future form of what this amazing artist is capable of. Every track is different, yet they sit together beautifully. Sometimes collaborations fail, and sometimes they create something far greater than the sum total of their respective parts and this beautiful, emotive album is such a work. Guy Sigsworth's brisk, sharp, jarring, current, yet timeless production provides a backdrop to Alison's unique and heartfelt voice that somehow mixes it into the production, whilst bringing out its best and reminding the listener just how beautiful that voice always was and still is. It's a highly addictive body of work that serves to build upon, yet embrace everything both have done before. There are hints of Yazoo, her 80s 'peak' and her recent work on 'The Turn'. Yet, the overall feeling of this album is that this is an artist whose career has really only just begun. For an artist working in her fourth decade, that says it all...
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2013
Alison Moyet has found her perfect musical partner in Guy Sigsworth, who specialises in building an intricate wall of electronica that reveals ever more hooks and flourishes with each listen. It's clear that Alison has put her trust in Guy's production skills fully - this is not an album that hedges it's bets or feels in any way compromised. Alison's unique vocals are fantastic throughout the album, focusing on phrasing and the emotional feeling of each song.
Immediate standout track is the brooding, slightly disturbing 'Right As Rain'. The most bass-driven 'dance' production of the album comes complete with a nagging sense of unease and claustrophobia. "If you can't be happy with me, be unhappy with me, stay unhappy with me" sets the tone for a tense and bitter deconstruction of a relationship gone wrong. It's a brilliant, sour pop moment.
'Filigree' is the track most like Alison's earlier work as part of Yazoo, with a beautiful wistful melody and stirring retro-futurist synths (flashbacks to the original 'Brookside' theme!) The lyrics are lovely - sensitive and thoughtful but also full of poetic imagery. They tell a story (about a trip to the cinema) which illustrates the theme of the whole album - about appreciating small moments of joy by allowing things to unfold at their own pace.
'Love Reign Supreme' again utilises retro synths and has a fantastic chorus which starts delicately but then the beats and electronica wash all over you (if you liked Guy's earlier Frou Frou work, you will particularly enjoy this track).
Alison and Guy are both masters of the electronic ballad and there are several here. There is a breathtaking instrumental break in 'Rung By The Tide' (at around the 2:26 mark) where huge, fractured beats collide with haunting backing vocals and 'middle eastern' instrumentation.
Guy's production may be an acquired taste - as there are stutters, sudden stops and time changes, heavenly choirs, crashing beats, electronic atmospherics, bleeps, squiggles of synth etc - but all of these work in favour of each track, giving them additional emotional weight. Alison's voice is terrific and benefits from the space which is built around her here; for all the 'wall of sound' production it is never forgotton that Alison's vocals sit right in the centre of the track.
Album of the year so far.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2013
I was an Alison fan in the 80's but it was way unexpected for me to know that she was releasing another album in 2013. To me Alison was "Alf" and "Raindancing", and may be one or two songs from her follow ups. When I first heard the promo I thought "mmm, another not so young singer, trying to regain a glimpse of her former fame", but then I heard the DJ saying that her album is doing well on the charts already. I was curious to know what more she had to offer than just a couple of bluesy songs, or maybe some remakes of old classics, or even worse, remixes of her old songs. When I heard the album, I couldn't believe myself. The album is amazing, Alison's voice is as good as ever, the lyrics are very artistic, the music is very modern, yet very well mixed and conducted. The album is a piece of art. She uses unfamiliar melodies that no one else has thought of before, and the same applies to the lyrics. In brief, The Minutes is not just a 'cut-and-paste' album like most of what we hear nowadays. It is much more valuable than this, and I believe it will outlast many of what is currently on the charts.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2013
Wow is one of the many words I could use to describe this album. Alison ticks all the boxes with the minutes. It sounds new and fresh and I truely love every track. Alison's vocals are fantastic and it feels as if her range has increased with time. There is a richness to her singing to match her raw power. Alison takes the dance genre to new heights, as I'm not a fan of dance music and my partner is not a fan of Alison this album has brought us together musically and I have to wrestle with him to get it out of his car and into the house! Based on this amazing upbeat album he is coming to see Ms Moyet in concert which is something I would never have believed before the minutes album. The production is slick as always and the songs grip you. It's great to see that as always Alison is breaking new ground and changing her style to suit herself and not sticking to recording the same style of album because that's what sells. This album has it's roots in the 80s but is fresh and in todays style.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 May 2013
Have love Alison from the beginning but have struggled with some of her more recent alums. Happily this is a massive return to form and I cant wait to see her perform this live later in the year. Buy it because you will love it.