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Trip The Light Fantastic

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Album Review

A welcome return from one of the most sophisticated and distinctive voices in British dance-pop, Trip The Light Fantastic is easily Sophie Ellis-Bextor's most dynamic album to date. Markedly more consistent than its enjoyable-but-spotty predecessors, but also — more importantly — far more gutsy, varied and vital, its many strong points are the most exciting of her career. It had been four years since her previous album — a considerable span in pop terms — but Ellis-Bextor's music has always hearkened to smartly classicist, new wave-informed synth-disco, even in the days when the Pet Shop Boys were practically the sole remaining practitioners of the style, so it didn't require much alteration for her to sound right in step with eighties-resuscitation that was in full swing by 2007. Even so, she sounds dramatically reinvigorated here, with a notable infusion of rock guitars and often a forceful, even menacing, electro edge to the productions, both evident right out the gate in the strident, barnstorming first single "Catch You." The highlights follow fast and furious: the immaculate disco glide of "Me and My Imagination" (whose canny lyrics advise an overeager suitor to play harder to get), the robotic, strobing "New York City Lights," the Xenomania-esque, Emma Goldman-quoting stomp of "If I Can't Dance" (the actual Xenomania contribution, "If You Go," is nearly as good), and the lovely pop ballad "Today the Sun's on Us," Ellis-Bextor's entrant in the late-2000s "Time After Time"-homage sweepstakes. Amazingly, despite that practically flawless opening sequence, the latter half of the album is nearly as strong, boasting the bouncy, fun-loving pop of "Love Is Here" and the twitchy electro of "China Heart," while the brashly optimistic disco-schmaltz apotheosis "Only One" stands as the album's most triumphantly over the top, life-affirming moment. In a banner year for British, female-fronted electronic chart pop, which saw excellent albums by Sugababes, Girls Aloud, Róisín Murphy, Siobhan Donaghy, Tracey Thorn, and Kylie Minogue, among others, Ellis-Bextor more than held her own with a classy, romantic, and, above all, tremendously enjoyable record that stands as a shining example of the state of the art. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Bextor's Back with a great pop album to rival all pop albums

Catch You, The Cathy Dennis penned stalker classic, upbeat disco, dancefloor knees up tune, 9/10 Me and my Imagination, The albums Murder on the dancefloor, with it's catchy chorus and uplifting Ibiza melody 9/10 Today The Sun's On Us, Middle of the road, Imbruglia-esque mid tempo track, ok b side 7/10 New York City Lights, Begins like Madonna's Hung up but then goes into an electro beat/pet shop boys inspired dance track, 8/10 If I can't Dance, Opens like the Spice Girls If you Can't dance, but then again breaks away into an blondie eletronica explosion 8/10 The Distance Between us, Very much a Read my lips ballad, sounds slightly Rick Astley but not in a bad way as it is an uplifting 80's style ballad 7/10 If you Go, The best song on the album, Up tempo, Great melody, this is how a pop song should sound, fab lyrics and an amazing Chorus 10/10 Only One, A bit of a filler track, bland and a forgettable, 6/10 Love is Here, Fantastic hook, really uplifting, fun and one of the higlights of the album. 9/10 New Flame, Very Feeling/brit pop inspired track, a song for the treadmill it's upbeat but a bit songwriting by numbers, nevertheless good, 7/10 China-Heart, Blondie inspired again, very samey but it compliments the rest of the album 7/10 What have we started?, a power ballad, heavy beat and emotive. 7 1/2 Can't have it all, the drum machine is slightly annoying in this track, quite bland, more of a b-side, 6/10 Supersonic, Fabulous disco, party track, great for getting you in the mood to dance and a floorfiller, 8 1/2

Fantastic Pop.

After the disappointing sales of Sophie's second album (the underrated 'Shoot From The Hip'), here she shows that there's always room in pop for a bit of class. Although when the majority of her pop contemporaries dress like low-rent hookers, that's not too hard a task. I digress. This album is a brilliant good-time pop album, very similar in feel to Rachel Steven's magnum opus 'Come And Get It'. Clever and catchy pop hooks swing at you with no let up, and Sophie's voice has never been stronger - if you're under the impression that she's incapable of blasting out a line in that delicious cut-glass tone of hers, think again. Unconvinced? Aside from the singles (which are to date 'Catch You' and the wonderful 'Me And My Imagination'), try out 'Today's The Sun's On Us', which is a great lost Cardigans song, or 'If I Can't Dance', which is worthy of Sophie's own 'Murder On The Dancefloor'. The best track though is the Blondie-meets-Kim-Wilde-at-an-80's-pop-reunion called 'China Heart' - simply brilliant. Sixteen pop tracks for under eight quid? Enjoy...

So glad you're back, Sophie!

‘Catch You’ and ‘Me and My Imagination’ – two of my favourite songs from this year so far. They serve as the perfect introduction to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s excellent third album. With music at the moment filled with endless indie rubbish and boring R&B shipped over from America this a wonderfully fresh piece of pure, fun pop music! Gone is the slightly cheesy disco sound of her first two albums and is replaced by synth heavy dance numbers with catchy lyrics delivered perfectly over the top of great basslines. This is a must for fan’s of Madonna’s Confessions album – stuff like ‘New York City Lights’ and ‘China Heart’ particularly reminiscent of it. Also look out for the fantastic mid-tempo album closer ‘What Have We Started?’ with some epic guitar chords.

Biography

Born: 10 April 1979 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Throughout the '90s, the U.K. music scene was filled to the brim with nerdy cockney types sporting messy threads and even messier hair. Fresh-faced Sophie Ellis-Bextor was among the first Brit-pop stars to break with this trend. She made it onto the stage in 1997 as the teenage vocalist behind new wave outfit theaudience. Smartly dressed (often in black) and boasting a sexy, posh voice, she caused quite a stir on London's alternative circuit. Theaudience became known the world over as a groundbreaking...
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Trip The Light Fantastic, Sophie Ellis-Bextor
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