Sophie Ellis-Bextor. | Page 1170 | The Popjustice Forum

Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Discussion in 'Pop & Justice' started by Dazzle, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. In the Q&A, Sophie said she would like to do one more album with Ed, and she’s planning on a more electronic sound, but it’s very early stages.
  2. Just finished listening, I actually found a few tracks quite interesting. Some were obviously stylised more dramatic than others. I liked Mixed, Camera, Mountain and Young among others. I was dissappointed with NGUOL though, her vocals sounded as though it was recorded in the loo. It doesn't have that open 'live' sound like the other tracks (different mic maybe?). On some tracks I imagined how they would've sounded if they started off orchestral and midway through gradually mix in the original's instrumentation. All in all the album comes off as an (orchestral) celebration of her hits past and present. I am eagerly awaiting what she has to offer next. *Prays to the synth gods*
  3. So I've now listened to this three times and honestly it's a letdown.

    A few rambling thoughts:

    - This "orchestra" is basically just strings. I love strings, but damn you have to make good use of them. I think I've heard a trumpet in Mixed Up World, guitars in Murder, a flute in another song, a few drums but that's it. At this point an EP with just a string quartet would have been cheaper and have the same results.
    - The arrangements are not only extremely safe, but a lot of times they actually simplify the melody. Like, ???. Bittersweet is lowkey a disaster because of this.
    - She truly sounds like she's doing karaoke. Precise, tasteful karaoke. She sounds dead in most of these songs.
    - Thinking back, they kinda knew this whole affair was bland. The promo singles are litereally the 4 bonus tracks, 3 of which have disco production. The two Orchestral Disco Versions are the best thing here.
    - Ed needs to fucking go.

    A few thoughts song by song. Green=keeper, Red=disaster.

    Groovejet: never been a fan of the original so I was pleasantly surprised by this quite dramatic take. One of the few songs were the string arrangment is inventive enough.
    Take Me Home: very good, they were able to do the outro well. The Orchestral Disco Version is better of course.
    Murder On The Dancefloor: easily the best of the bunch and the only one which truly makes the whole concept work. The Orchestral Disco Version is stunning. Intricate instrumentation and believable delivery. A shame that it wasn't the blueprint for the whole thing.
    Move This Mountain: this is ok. Shame about the lack of bells.
    Music Gets The Best Of Me: one of the few tracks where the less is more treatment works. Very pleasant.
    Mixed Up World: Great intro, nice of them to use something more than strings.
    Catch You: they got the vibe of the verses right, they soung great! And then, and then, the chorus kicks in and my eyes rolled, oh god didn't they roll. I was afraid this would happen, as during the Familia tour she used to do a bit of acoustic Catch You and the chorus melody was, just like it is in here, changed compared to the original. Maybe it's easier to sing, but the result is underwhelming.
    Me and My Imagination: nice. The original never did much for me but this is cute. Again, everything could go off a bit more.
    Today the Sun's on Us is one of my favourite songs ever, so this is pretty heartbreaking as it's just so... empty and dull. I remember being so happy it was included and... ok.
    Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer): One of the few tracks that work. Would have given the last chorus even more oomph but I'll take it
    Bittersweet: the biggest crime of the bunch. How can you take the synths of Freemasons, which are made to sound like strings on steroids anyway, and make the new melody so monotone? They could have taken the synth pattern of the remix and voilà job done.
    Not Giving up on Love: same sins of Catch You; at least the ending has some drums and feels a tad more dramatic
    Young Blood: she said this was spiced up compared to the original. She lied. Useless then, useless now.
    Love is a Camera: this was actually going well and then of course they had to cut the outro which was the most interesting part of the original.
    Wild Forever: cute, the second half being kind of a little symphony help.
    Love Is You exists.
    New Flame, biffy77, LKane and 2 others like this.
  4. 2014

    2014 Moderator

    This collection sucks the life completely out of all the tracks. Sad.
    Wishlight, andru, relby and 5 others like this.
  5. Some of the choices are really baffling.
    Bittersweet is the biggest offender. Apart from them really watering down what was probably one of my favourite songs of hers...: What the holy hell is hapenning with her vocals in this one? Why can't she sing through a whole phrase, why is she breathing in the middle of a sentence, why does she just fizzle out on the higher notes?
    She does this through the whole album but on Bittersweet it's really noticeable.

    I hope she returns to disco-pop someday. I'm gonna listen to Move To The Music now. What. A. Song.
    Wishlight, If You Go and China_Heart like this.
  6. Ray


    My list of keepers:

    Move This Mountain

    This was my list of keepers.

    Didn't she say that the original Groovejet was supposed to be included in the bonus tracks? Or is it just on physical copies?
    biffy77 likes this.
  7. It was #10 in sales, it missed top 10 because of streaming.
  8. I think she recorded Love Is You when it turned out she still couldn't get the rights to publish Groovejet.
    Ray likes this.
  9. I just tried to listen to a few tracks on this, and fuck me is it boring.
  10. She sent out this mailer today

    The day is finally here! I'm so happy that The Song Diaries is out today and I am finally able to share it with you.

    This project has been completely lovely and indulgent. I think Amy Langley's arrangements are so clever and sensitive. She has kept the bounce and quirks of the original songs but added texture and romance.

    Revisiting these songs in their new costumes felt great. Some songs I haven't sung for a while so it was nice to wake them up. Ed Harcourt and David Arnold have produced the complexity of the orchestra with just the right care and we've had a lot of fun in the process.

    I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Everyone always says 'I hope you enjoy it' when they release a new album, but with a greatest hits it's particularly true. These songs are your songs and I was thinking of how you'd hear them all along. I hope you feel each song chosen has gained something new in this process. It's not my intention that you prefer the orchestral versions, but more that it puts the songs into a prism and you see some new colours in there.

    The Song Diaries - this one's for you.

    Lots of love as ever and eternal gratitude for your support. You're the best.

    Sophie x
  11. Like a few have mentioned already Kylie's orchestral album is a good example of how it should be done, as they really attempted to rework the songs and give them a fresh feel. The arrangements for these songs however are just so uninspired and it's a real shame as this could've been special.
    andru and Ray like this.
  12. Are they tho.
    Have they tho.
  13. I was wondering where the promised Groovejet went.
    biffy77, Ray and Verandi like this.
  14. Reading Sophie’s lovely and heartfelt words about the album is heartbreaking. Can’t she really see how bland this all is? I’m sorry, but it is really as bad as many here are pointing out. And, apart from the dullness of the arrangements, it’s the way she sings.

    I tried to listen to the album a second time and I couldn’t. It’s an excruciating experience. These new arrangements expose all the problems in Sophie’s voice. For some reason she sounds as if she lost her voice in most of them, and it sounds so feeble, it cracks and it goes falsetto and breathy on all the high notes (I mean, more than usual). I guess it’s been all this live touring. She should take some time to rest her voice a bit, I think.

    And she should definitely go back to disco-pop. I personally do not think it’s a good idea to make another album with Ed, as much as I Ioved both Wanderlust and Familia.
    Ed is amazing, but he does not understand disco/dance or pop music, in fact Come With Us was one of the weakest things on Familia. He takes music too seriously to enjoy writing and arranging with the anthemic disco sensibility that Sophie needs.
  15. The main thing I've got from this release is revisiting her singles (in their original form) and bopping to these classics with old friends.
  16. Did she ever say the original Groovejet was meant to be on this? I know she mentioned that she'd had it written into a contract years ago that she'd be able to include the song on any eventual greatest hits she released despite not being able to put it on Read My Lips, but given that she reworked the lot of them, I don't think it was ever intended be on there in the old version. It'd be a bit weird to only have one old song in it's original state.

    Although doing it like this makes that contract she negotiated a complete waste of time as she could have done this orchestral version 18 years ago and included it on her debut album with no issues.
    Ray and biffy77 like this.
  17. From what I know, because of the demand to have it on streaming platforms, she said recently something like "don't worry, I worked out a deal along time ago so this song would only be allowed on a greatest hits release". Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what the Song Diaries is supposed to be, but since it's all re-recorded, does this change that?
    This is just what I've picked up on, if it's wrong please correct me.
  18. I’m ready for the electronic album with Ed.
    speedyboi likes this.
  19. I'm enjoying this. I'll admit some of the arrangements are a bit samey, but honestly I wasn't exactly expecting a whole lot from this release anyways so I'm not bothered. Her voice is so well suited for strings and it has succeeded in finally making me enjoy "Young Blood."
  20. Hmm, same concept as Tori Amos's Gold Dust, probably not a good idea!
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