It was hard to pinpoint what kind of sound Goldfrapp would produce for Head First. Especially after other celebrity pop tarts (read: Christina, Kylie, Glambert) had already emulated hit songs like ‘Strict Machine’ and ‘Ooh Lala’. So we wondered if the English duo would continue to perfect their sexy electronica or go into unchartered territory-like when they went film noir on Felt Mountain and folk-tronic on Seventh Tree.
They’ve taken the latter path on their 5th effort as Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory map out an 80s trajectory, going head on with high gloss, spacey laser synths and breathy vocals. It’s a bit like Flashdance and Xanadu from the get-go, with their retro stylings so authentic at times that anyone could easily mistake the tunes for actual ones from that era. In fact, the entire album makes you feel like you’re in one long MTV music video surrounded by bursts of neon, glitter dust and discoballs.
Opening track ‘Rocket’ is as familiar as Van Halen’s ‘Jump’, with its catchy chorus making you either want to do the roller derby or break into a dramatic dance routine. ‘I Wanna Life’ sounds suspiciously like something Jem and The Holograms would’ve sung in their lifetime, and would be a definite crowd-pleaser in a stadium arena with its sing-along “ooh”s and “aah”s. Familiar traces of Goldfrapp’s Black Cherry and Supernatural heydays can be traced on ‘Shiny And Warm’, but only ever so slightly.
Once closing track ‘Voicething’ is over and the glitter cloud settles, however, there isn’t much left to remember. Regrettably, the album isn’t as consistent as Goldfrapp’s past endeavours and half of the tracks are forgettable. But like the high rush of the 80s, it was good while it lasted and weeks, months or years later, could be fondly recalled or brought out of storage like them shoulder pads.
LISTEN TO: ‘I Wanna Life’
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Abba, Music Go Music, Van Halen
Listen to Head First at www.goldfrapp.com.
5. Head First
7. Shiny and Warm
8. I Wanna Life