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The Singles CD
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After more than 10 years of making catchy but sophisticated electro-pop together, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, also known as Goldfrapp, have released a greatest hits collection entitled The Singles. For Goldfrapp fans it is a chance to look back on a highly productive career, and for everyone else it's an opportunity to realise they know more Goldfrapp songs that they thought. The collection also includes two new tracks in the form of "Melancholy Sky" and "Yellow Halo".
One of the many fascinating things about Goldfrapp throughout their 12-year career has been the impossibility of pinning them down. Emerging from trip-hop’s ashes, debut Felt Mountain dealt in moody, manicured atmospherics, purpose-built for adverts and dinner parties. Then came their dramatic, wildly successful volte-face into Black Cherry’s sleazy, scuzzy electro. Just as they seemed to have settled down as dancefloor dominators with Supernature they mutated again, into the semi-acoustic, mumbling melancholy of Seventh Tree. This singles retrospective finally offers a chance to assess their wayward career as a whole. It makes one thing absolutely clear: whatever else they were up to, Goldfrapp have always delivered astonishing pop singles.
From the moment the swaggering Ooh La La begins its slow-building throb from the speakers until the moment the hushed, stunned Black Cherry staggers to its tear-stained denouement, Singles offers a master-class in how to write pop songs as alluring and adventurous in their sonic texture as they are addictive melodically. Alison Goldfrapp’s greatest achievement hasn’t been her power and range, which she has often concealed, but her willingness to surrender her voice to the needs of the songs she and Will Gregory so lovingly assembled. She’s the anti-Aguilera, enemy of X Factor showboaters everywhere.
On one of their biggest hits, the stately synth prowl of Number 1, Goldfrapp barely breaks a vocal sweat, restraining herself to a seductive, low-key purr throughout. It’s only in the dying seconds of Utopia, a song that is somehow both sinister and almost unbearably beautiful, that she finally unleashes an operatic wail so electrifying it paralyses the listener. Elsewhere, on the ravishing fusion of Moroder disco, glam strut and snarling electronica that is Strict Machine, Goldfrapp is all gasps, gulps and sexual ecstasy, while on Rocket she goes for the pop jugular, slamming home the monster "wo-oh-oh" chorus with glorious nonchalance.
It’s perhaps inevitable that a singles collection smoothes out the awkward edges and perversity that made Goldfrapp vastly more intriguing than their rivals, and which have profoundly influenced our best new pop stars, from Lady Gaga to Robyn. Only the buzz-saw synths that carry the lurching Train along and the shredding electronic howls that shatter Lovely Head’s narcotic sleepiness remind us of how deliciously odd they could be. If the lovely but meandering new songs Yellow Halo and Melancholy Sky are anything to go by, it’s an oddity that Goldfrapp may have left behind anyway.
Still, even minor criticisms of this collection seem not just churlish but flat-out ungrateful. Fourteen songs that veer between the perfect and the merely outstanding, The Singles is proof that Goldfrapp have been the most versatile and most consistently, glitteringly brilliant pop band of our new millennium.
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Top Customer Reviews
Never mind, "The Singles" flows well as an album, in part thanks to its sequencing - based on mood, as opposed to being in chronological order. The CD shows off the sheer breadth of Goldfrapp's (delete as appropriate) coffee table/glam/folk/prog -tronica work. The difference between the "Felt Mountain" singles and the rest is particularly marked. Overall they are, in my opinion, an important electronic act.
The new tracks are both downtempo and, both produced by Flood. They are excellent but no real hint here, I don't think, as to any possible future direction the duo may be considering. The liner notes include full lyrics and production credits which is good to see, as such things are often omitted on "best of" LPs.
Largely this is one for the newcomers or the real saddos (who, me?!) who buy compilations of songs they already own. If you ARE a newcomer and you enjoy this then do buy the source albums as there's much more to Goldfrapp than just the singles.
What a great duo they are - experimental, haunting, thought provoking, electronic funky soul with Alison Goldfrapp's voice sweet honey gliding over the top of the danceable, thumping shimmering electrobeat.
If you like groups like Moloko, Ladytron, New Order, and individual artists like Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and Kylie Minogue you will love them.
Sublime, Haunting and Beautiful.
If I could give it more than five stars I would.
Stunning and Essential, if only all music were as good as this.
this singles collection is good but it only includes the radio friendly 7" mixes.
this should have been a 5 disc box set to include the best full length remixes and a blu-ray of the sublime videos.
many people have never heard the 15 minute ride a white horse and their brilliant electro disko reinventions.
maybe next time?
The glam-rock of T-Rex is a dominant influence that comes to mind in songs like 'Ooh La La', 'Number 1' and 'Strict Machine', except that Goldfrapp's production also incorporates a sleek disco thud and bursts of measured synth (including the euphoric crescendo in 'Number 1'). Exceptions include 'A&E', a great acoustic track that stands out with its yearning simplicity and 'Black Cherry' that bathes in classical strings, a drum-machine tick and longing vocals.
This is a fantastic showcase for the group's pop sensibilities and I heartily recommend it.
But what this cd does do is show us the versatility and vibrancy that Goldfrapp have consistently given from ambienmt chill out to thumping post disco and glam rock right down to acoustic melancholy and 80's euphoria there is something for everyone and a reminder that Goldfrapp are much underrated but nothing if not inspired and briliant.
Actually, I'm amending my review slightly after having this cd for several months, and upgrading it from three to four stars. The songs hang together really well, and the two new songs are worth having, particularly (in my opinion) the haunting closing track.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
brilliant album cant fault it in any way , came on time its just brilliantPublished 2 months ago by tripod
Bursting with great pop tunes, brilliantly played and beautifully sung. Put it on before you get up, you'll be in a good mood all-day.Published 11 months ago by Punkton