Goldfrapp - The Singles

A triumph of compellingly brilliant classy pop.

Label: Parlophone

Rating: 9

The single’s collection has always been a staple piece of the discography of pop groups, and over their thirteen year career few groups have made such consistently great pop singles as Goldfrapp.

The duo, comprising vocalist Alison Goldfrapp and composer Will Gregory, have over the course of five studio albums produced a string of eclectic and memorable singles collected here on their first career spanning retrospective. It is easy to forget just how many great songs Goldfrapp have had. The compilation is front-loaded with their biggest hits, which makes for a particularly arresting opening. ‘Ooh La La’, with its brutally effective electro glam pop, remains their biggest single and its combination of pulsing synths and Alison Goldfrapp’s insouciant purr remains breathlessly exciting. ‘Number 1’ has a more dreamy electro pop sound and both these tracks, as well as the alluring ‘Ride A White Horse’, are taken from the duo’s highest charting album ‘Supernature’.

‘Lovely Head’ and ‘Utopia’, taken from their debut, the Mercury nominated ‘Felt Mountain’, are more filmic and atmospheric featuring Will Gregory’s wonderful string arrangements and grasp of dynamics. The contrast between these ethereal pieces of beautifully crafted music and the deep and sexy dance floor sound of their second album ‘Black Cherry’ is striking; both the filthily hypnotic ‘Train’ and the grinding electro of ‘Strict Machine’, which features Alison doing her best Donna Summer impression, are electro pop at its best.

The pastoral electro folk of ‘A&E’ still sounds impossibly beautiful but the floaty whimsical ‘Happiness’ is rather lightweight and forgettable. Far more exciting and arresting is ‘Rocket’, the lead single from the duo’s last album ‘Head First’. It remains baffling how this song was not a massive hit but its gloriously exuberant chorus and retro synths are utterly charming.

The album ends with two new tracks that bring together all the aspects that make Goldfrapp such a great group. ‘Yellow Halo’ is a nice piece of understated dance pop, but ‘Melancholy Sky’ is very special indeed. Over subtle strings and horns Alison Goldfrapp delivers one of her finest vocals tinged with an evocative sense of sadness; “Melancholy sky, you made me blue, still hanging on., there’s nothing I can do”.

For over thirteen years now Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have been making music, and Goldfrapp’s singles collection is a triumph of compellingly brilliant classy pop.