Goldfrapp: Head First


RIYL: Olivia Newton-John, ABBA, Giorgio Moroder

Based purely on the duo’s reputation, you might think a new Goldfrapp album would be filled with the kind of trendsetting, cutting-edge synthpop that led Christina Aguilera to hire them as collaborators, but with Head First, Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp don’t have the future on their minds; instead, they’ve hairsprayed Goldfrapp’s breathy vocals to a pillowy cloud of New Wave synths and turned the clock back to 1981. Close your eyes, and the resemblance to Olivia Newton-John is uncanny – the title track, in particular, sounds like a lost ON-J hit from decades ago. It’s kind of fitting that this album is coming out the same week as John Cusack’s “Hot Tub Time Machine.”

Goldfrapp_06

In the wrong hands, this would be empty-calorie cheese, but Head First doesn’t sound like a cheeky exercise in retro irony – it really sounds like it came from the era it’s imitating, and although it’s true that the era in question was responsible for plenty of cruddy synth disco, this is no guilty pleasure, nor does it fall prey to the genre’s many campy pitfalls. If you’ve ever wanted to lace up your roller skates and pretend “Can’t Stop the Music” never happened, Head First might very well be your new “Xanadu.”

Of course, there really was a “Can’t Stop the Music,” and in the long run, Goldfrapp can’t pretend the last 25 years never happened any more than you can, which ultimately makes Head First little more than a really well-crafted stylistic detour – and, as a result, something of an artistic dead end. But so what? Dig your leg warmers out of storage and enjoy one of the sweetest bursts of pure pop pleasure you’re likely to hear all year. The artists that fell along this particular axis of ‘80s synth pop had their drawbacks, but their near-total lack of cynicism or irony was one of their biggest charms, and Goldfrapp has recaptured that spirit perfectly here. Do yourself a favor and follow their lead. (Mute 2010)

Goldfrapp MySpace page

  

Rock and Roll Hall announces The Stooges, Genesis, and Abba as next inductees

Stooges

After getting snubbed seven times, The Stooges finally scored an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Swedish rock group ABBA, avant-garde rockers Genesis, British Invasion act The Hollies, and reggae musician Jimmy Cliff will join the group as the Hall’s 2010 class.

Led by the Iggy Pop, The Stooges came sneering out of Ann Arbor, Mich., in the late ’60s with a primal, growling sound that paved the way for punk, new wave, grunge and other, edgier music genres.

The Rock Hall also announced that its Ahmet Ertegun Award for non-performers would go to music industry executive David Geffen, the songwriting teams of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, and individual songwriters Jesse Stone, Mort Shuman and Otis Blackwell.

Ertegun, the founder and chairman of Atlantic Records, died in 2006.

Iggy Pop had this to say to Rolling Stone:

“We’ve been rejected seven times, and we would have set a record, I think, if it happened again. It started to feel like Charlie Brown and the football. I had about two hours of a strong emotional reaction after hearing the news. It felt like vindication. Then I kind of scratched my head and thought, ‘Am I still cool? Or is that over now?'”

The ceremony goes down on March 15 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. FUSE will broadcast the event live, which is actually pretty cool.

  

Let the Right Ones In: Ten bands that should be in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame

The 23rd annual induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is coming up, and with it comes the annual bitchfest by music fans and critics as to which bands deserve to get in and which do not. The general public has no say in the nomination or induction process; instead, an anonymous committee chooses the nominations, which are then voted on by an equally anonymous group of 500 “rock experts.” Bands are eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Usually there’s little controversy when it comes to the artists chosen for induction, with the real debates circling around those artists who have yet to be recognized by the Hall of Fame.

The Hall has its prejudices when it comes to selecting those worthy enough for induction. Heavy metal, punk and prog rock have a hard time getting in, while anyone with an obvious blues or country influence seems to be a shoe-in. It also helps to be American or British; no artists from mainland Europe, Africa, South America or Asia have been inducted yet.

With that in mind, Bullz-Eye has selected 10 artists, listed in chronological order of their eligibility, that we feel have been given the shaft by the Hall. These are by no means the 10 “best” artists who have failed to be inducted; just 10 “of the best” who have not yet gotten their due.

The Stooges
Eligible since: 1994

The Stooges self-titled debut came out in 1969 and it’s hard to imagine just how abrasive and loud the Stooges must have sounded to audiences at the time. Try putting them in context: the biggest albums of that year were Abbey Road, Blood, Sweat & Tears’ self-titled record that had the hit “Spinning Wheel” and the original cast recording of “Hair.” One of the biggest singles was “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. Contrast that with “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and a sense of just how far ahead of the times they were begins to develop.

Rush
Eligible since: 1999

We are loath to use album sales as a measure of a band’s true worth, but it’s worth noting that Rush’s first 16 studio albums, spanning 22 years, have sold a minimum of 500,000 copies each. The only band with a longer gold-or-better sales streak is the Stones. Aerosmith is just behind Rush, with 14 straight gold-or-better albums, and U2 will probably get there if the band doesn’t kill Bono first. Fittingly, Aerosmith, U2 and the Stones are all in the Hall; Rush, however, are not, and their exclusion can be boiled down to three words: critics hate prog.

Motorhead
Eligible since: 2002

They may have paved the way for Anthrax and their thrash metal ilk, but Motorhead’s influence can be heard in punk music of the ’80s and ’90s, alternative rock groups such as Queens of the Stone Age and even in electronic and new wave music (industrial music is basically thrash metal with keyboards). The Hall hates metal, for some reason – it even took them 11 years to get off their asses and induct Black Sabbath. And if Ozzy and company can barely squeak into the Hall of Fame, an underground act like Motorhead doesn’t have a prayer. Pity.

To read the rest of the bands that should be in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, click here

  

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