I used to have Goldfrapp in high regard following Felt Mountain, an album that could only be described as a breath-taking introspective of whatever haunted Alison Goldfrapp’s mind back in the days when it was released. I was left a little bit disappointed with Black Cherry, as it departed completely from the sound and everything that represented Felt Mountain.
Supernature, while it featured a couple of great songs, wasn’t exactly the comeback I was expecting after all those years. 10 years later, however, while watching BBC’s Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, there she is again, performing in what seems to be a re-enactment of an 80s synth-pop song, which turned out to be Rocket.
The only surprising detail is that this is actually Goldfrapp’s latest album to date (yes, this sound comes from a record released just last year). Completely immersed in her new electronic synth-pop attitude, some might think that this is her new gimmick, and to some extent it is. The difference is that this is more than just a gimmick, this time there is some substance buried beneath layers and layers of hair spray and synthesizers.
Kudos to Alison Goldfrapp for reinventing herself (again), her ability to morph from what we were becoming used to after every new record is remarkable, and while just changing for the sake of doing it was not enough, she brought us some very interesting songs to enjoy for a while. Right from the beginning we have Rocket, a song that already haunted my past, and still to this day I try to avoid due to its catchy nature.
I would like to stress the fact that being a catchy nature does not make Rocket something that should be avoided, is just that I took things to a little extreme point and now I suffer from an acute over-exposure to that song. In moderated quantities it is actually a very enjoyable song.
Less catchy but with more substance, Head First truly deserves to be the song carrying the record’s name, being an incredibly sober song in the middle of this sea of gym-class-soundtrack songs. Once you are done with Rocket this will be the song you will spend most of your time with.
Believer, Alive and I Wanna Life are okay if you are just in an easy-listening mood, although not too much to write home about these. That’s probably my biggest complaint about this record, I already said that most of it feels like it was designed to be used as your new gym soundtrack, because it is great for that purpose (yes, countless hours at the gym with this proved it true), but it will feel completely out-of-place in almost any other situation.
The lack of memorable moments outside of the songs I already mentioned is what hurts this record the most. This, as a whole, is nowhere near to be epic, and that is just so sad. Those who have experienced how sublime Felt Mountain was, know the potential and incredible talent Goldfrapp has, too bad that we might never see a glimpse of that again.