Goldfrapp have returned from a four-year absence with something that’s as dark, eclectic and poppy as we’ve come to expect from the duo.
The current crop of pop music is pretty much a homogenised sludge. As a fan of pop music, I find myself going to great pains to explain that no, I am not unreservedly a fan of everything and anything that bears the ‘pop’ descriptor. I am not fan of Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez. Please keep all of that away from me.
Of course, the good stuff still is out there, but the real challenge is finding it. Between the overtly slick and polished production, the same canned and predictable EDM-house-pop templates, that weird obsession with tropical house, as well as those so-called artists who don’t actually contribute a thing to their art aside from their looks and their vocals, it can be a real uphill struggle to stay enthusiastic about pop music post-2010. So when an act like Goldfrapp returns to the scene, it’s an edifying lesson in what pop music can, and quite honestly, should be.
Much like their 2005 hit ‘Ooh La La‘, ‘Anymore’ brings back the punchy drum machine beats and buzzy, gritty synthesisers. Alison Goldfrapp’s sultry vocals accompany the proceedings, bringing us an appropriately dark and jaded take on a failing relationship. But as the verses progress, the production builds, giving us a chorus that at once soars and crawls. While not as pulsating as danceable as ‘Ooh La La’, it’s a terrific antidote to, well, pretty much everything I mentioned at the start.
There’s hope, after all. Pop music doesn’t have to be a focus-group tested product, and it doesn’t have to be melodically challenged or deliberately obscure and incomprehensible in order to score as much indie cred as possible (cough everything MGMT did after 2004 cough cough). There is a functional middle ground, and in achieving that middle ground, we are reminded of how pop music should sound – catchy and emotive, with production that manages to simultaneously straddle and push the boundaries.
Based in: London, England.
Upcoming album: Silver Eye, to be released 31 March 2017 via Mute.
Sounds like: Phantogram, Depeche Mode, the xx.
Say what? Believe it or not, Goldfrapp is not in fact just a stage name, but Alison’s Goldfrapp’s actual surname – inherited from her German father.
Over and out, Darren.