While rummaging through The Medium’s collection of rejected albums, I found myself in awe at the album art of Alison Goldfrapp’s Head First. My attention was caught by the album’s stock image of a pink sunrise and close-up of a woman with her head in the clouds—literally. The cover art screamed cheesy and my immediate assumption was that this would be an awful, awful choice. So naturally, I had to listen to it.
The album begins with “Rocket”, a gentle electropop song that I couldn’t help but bob my head along to until I realized what it was about. The chorus sums up the horror in three lines: “Oh-Oh-Oh I’ve got a rocket/Oh-Oh-Oh you’re going on it/Oh-Oh-Oh you’re never coming back.” Goldfrapp never fails to sing her lyrics with a honey-sweet voice, making the song even creepier than it was to begin with. And still it’s the strongest song on the album. The tones of the synthesizer and the subtle power of the lyrics combine and captivate, but set the standard high for the rest of the album.
Goldfrapp’s soft voice carries on through the next two songs, “Believer” and “Alive”. After a fairly creepy intro, these songs contrast the first with stronger energy and choruses consisting of positive mantras. The retro sounds of classic pop inject a nostalgic quality.
The album’s titular song disappointed me. That’s the trouble with starting off too strong. Based on the title alone, “Head First” sounds like it would be an exciting tune to jump and dance to, but the single is a simple love song with the cliché concept of falling head first in love. In fact, that’s the refrain. “Head first in love.” Like I said, cliché.
My favourite song next to “Rocket” is “Hunt”. Where “Rocket” sounds cheerful despite the grim content, no effort is made to hide the emotions of the singer in “Hunt”. Goldfrapp sings hauntingly while ominous chanting joins her in the refrain. She warns her listener in the refrain, “Tonight they hunt for you.” She sets the scene in my head of being chased by the same murderer that wants to strap me to a rocket. The creepiest songs truly are the best. MMM