Thursday, March 06, 2008

Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree

I'm fascinated by the new album. It's beautiful in every way.

I was a little nervous because I liked it the first time through. Usually for me albums I really like were more challenging the first time I heard them. It could be that it's immediately likable because it's simple-sounding, but as it turns out that's deceptive. It's a strange one, not that everyone hears albums the same way of course. But for me this album goes from likable, then with a couple listenings to disappointing, then with a couple more lovable. Why disappointing? Because it is so (deceptively) simple that you think you've heard it all. But with repeated listenings, the actual texture that's really there develops and you notice a much greater depth; there is actual complexity and lots of discovery moments.

In my opinion, the theme of the album is about transformation, transcendence, or something like that. In a poetic, enchanting way. And there has to be discovery moments in something like that.

"Clowns" starts off. The words are muffled but become clearer as we go. "Only clowns would play with those balloons...titties that go on and on." Pretty tune, and words that aren't clear (literally) or even as something to understand. But I can see connections.

"Little Bird" is next, so lovely. It seems that something happened in July. A little bird flew from A to B to see what she can see. Great freedom song, with two mouths for eyes.

"Happiness" is third. This is a happy sounding song, like we're all on a journey to "find the real inner you," and welcoming you..."floating in a magic world." There's good depth in the voices and everything is crystal clear in a sunshine world. I like the delicate instruments marching around at the edges. This is a trip I like to take!

"Road to Somewhere" next. "I'm on my way on the road to somewhere." The tone is more subdued on this one.

"Eat Yourself." This one has some subdued static effect that makes it sound older and more distant. It's like a processing effect that doesn't take away clarity but recalls (not explicitly) a rainy feeling. The words and tune sound sad and actually does say "She worse plastic boots for rain," which I hadn't noticed. But listen to this cool lyric: "If you don't eat yourself no doubt the pain will instead." She doesn't sing it so it's decipherable, but that's what the booklet says! Plus, there's some very rich layers here.

"Some People." "Some people feel they're in touch with spirit worlds, talking to you now." And some people have all kinds of troubles. "You know it, you owe it to yourself." This song has big expressive notes, expansive strings.

"A & E." We're back in happy town. I like hearing this song come on. It has a building-building pace, like we're going up, going toward something. The tip top is "I woken up surrounded by me. A & E" Then the second verse is more involved in intensity and the same trip is taken, progressively upward. Ends a little soon for my taste.

"Cologne Cerrone Houdini." The vocal on this track reminds me most of the tracks on "Felt Mountain," same kind of phrasing throughout. These big strings-notes that remind me of a horn section, which of course they're not, are a distinctive feature of the song. "Could we be together in another world." The little illustration in the booklet is a car heading down the road toward a heart and sun.

"Caravan Girl" (9th song). The most obviously pop sounding song on the album, with enough gypsy magic and mystery to remain forever enchanting. The tune is as beautiful as any cool, happy rock song. If you're on the treadmill listening to this song, beware that your heart-rate might get away from you, because you can't help rocking out! Such lovely voices toward the ending, oh my. "We'll run away!"

"Monster Love," last song. I like clicking on this song. There's some instrumentation that sounds like reversed music, but it fits in an excellent way, making it nicely complex. But everything sounds so simple. With the chorus, "Everything comes around," etc., there's this super heartbeat kind of plodding, not a good word I know. It's like a pulsing, the same bass note several times in a row. "I felt the earth could move. The folly of a monster love like you." Then back to the chorus, very rich and layered. This could be looped for eternity, if you catch the meaning... "where we start and where we end, everything comes around, bringing us back again."

What an album. A beautiful one.