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Lyrics and beat make or break Ellis-Bextor's 3rd solo outing,
This review is from: Trip The Light Fantastic (Audio CD)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.