By Eileen Tilson
If you take a look at the most intriguing female singers to emerge this past year, every one of them seems to have taken Alison Goldfrapp’s Electronica Princess class. From Lady Gaga’s other-worldliness, La Roux’s 80’s synth pop, to Ladyhawke’s electro sound, sparkles of Goldfrapp’s past can be found swimming in today’s club scene. However, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have never been shy about their costume changes, and on their fifth album, Head First, they are pulling out the spandex and “getting physical.” Electro-glam to the core, if this album was released in the Reagan-days, it might have gone platinum, but unfortunately, there is not enough blue eyeshadow to make this album distinguish itself from the overall feel of a Jane Fonda workout video.
The album is surprisingly optimistic, contrasting 2008’s moody Seventh Tree, with songs like “Alive,” “Believer”, and “Dreaming” showing Olivia Newton John optimism. Alison’s voice is still sweetly husky, while remaining versatile, while Gregory’s fist pumping electro-beats provide the perfect Jefferson Starship dance floor.
The lead track and single “Rocket” brings out the Van Halen “jump” in us all, with its feel good chorus ever so scandalously smirking “Oh oh oh, I’ve got a rocket/Oh, oh, oh/You’re going on it/You’re never coming back.”
Bottom line, if you don’t like the 80’s, you probably are not going to like this album. In fact, even the hardcore Goldfrapp fans might show some resistance to this aerobically-fueled record. Rest assured though, the world according to Alison Goldfrapp is just as it should be, she just is scoffing at the Urban Outfitted world, and bringing back her Hyper-colors and scrunchies. Always a true renegade, Head First, is still worth a spin in the 8-track.