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Goldfrapp - 'Rocket'

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:18 UK time, Monday, 1 March 2010


Remember when the name Goldfrapp conjured up images of horses with glitterball heads? Remember when Goldfrapp scared the pants off you with their imperious, synthy glam rock? Remember when you'd see Alison Goldfrapp out on stage or even in a TV interview and you were never quite sure if she wasn't about to rear up and bite someone's head off with some previously-hidden mandibles...just like a preying mantis does?

Yeah, me too. In retrospect, it's hard to remember quite what was so unsettling about this lot in the first place. They made a trip hop album (five years too late), then they made a sexy synthpopglamrock album (enter the mirrored horses), then they made another one which wasn't quite as good (or felt like a repetition, which is always a bit disappointing), then they made a folkier, more pastoral album which restored their artistic reputation but didn't win everyone round.

Scary? Thrilling? Must've just been a trick of the light.

(Here isn't the video. It's official though!)

Now they're back, and having presumably exhausted the '70s as a reference point, they've moved on to the '80s, an era of big hissy synths, big echoey voices, and big, beefy pop songs. Ever seen the film Top Gun? This would fit right in. It coos and beckons sexily in the verses, Alison seductively mooing a regretful come hither over, well it's Van Halen's 'Jump' again, isn't it?

But just as the bedroom door opens and Tom Cruise starts to take off his leather jacket, Alison - who is wearing a pink jumpsuit, presumably cos she's just got back from a trip to the marshmallow moon - starts skipping about and singing about having a rocket that he, Tom is going to have a lovely ride on.

Now, I'm no expert in sexual imagery in popular song - still a bit baffled by Kelis's 'Milkshake', if I'm honest - but if a girl is singing about having a rocket, right, and then goes on to say that you, the listener are "going on it", and THEN explains that this is a journey from which there will be no return, well that's...I mean...it's like...how would that even work?

Second thoughts, don't answer that. And ignore all that stuff I said earlier about Goldfrapp not being disturbing any more. There is still a cold, leather-bound, black heart at the core of even their most sugary confections.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: March 8th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    Hmmm, I think this song is worth three stars Fraser, but that's just my opinion.

    I think this song sounds to much like a less stellar and less complicated 'Remedy' in the verses, especially the lyrical line. And the chorus is a bit flacid tbh, it needs something like a massive ZOOM and then BOOM! lots of synthy layers for the chorus.
    Goldfrapp should've taken a leaf out of a certain song's book, a song which eventually became my favourite from 2009.

    You reviewed it. It's called 'Rain'

  • Comment number 2.

    Maybe Alison is hiding a discostick of her own.

    I like this song and I admire how Goldfrapp switch up their sound with every album. But nothing and I mean NOTHING will top their Seventh Tree album for me.

    And also is it just me or is "switching to an '80s sound" a bit unoriginal?

    Thankfully like Gabriella Cilmi, Goldfrapp have made it work despite unoriginally.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nice tune, I am a tad baffled by the fact that Radio 1 appear to have completely ignored the fact that Goldfrapp are back and not even bothered to play list the song, still I am not here to review the choices made by the people behind the scenes at Radio 1, but to review the track. It is a good solid grower of a song that with airplay could well be a hit however we are now in a period where Florence & the machine, Marina & the Diamonds and Bat For Lashes are around to occupy peoples ears, is there really still room for Alison Goldfrapp? Let's hope so.

  • Comment number 4.

    Catchy, aint it? Nothing special though, as per usual.

    Its worth 3 of my valuable stars.

  • Comment number 5.

    After following Goldfrapp since they began I feel this is a real return to form and a fantastic tune. I think people are forgetting that Goldfrapp were out glamming the 70's, out synthing the 80's and out trancing the 90's before such replicants as Florence or (cough) Lady Ga-Ga. Only Ladyhawke can compare when it comes to this type of retro revival rock. If the new album is half as good as this new single then a true gem awaits us. Vive Le Frapp!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Ha ha . Cuboid .

    Can't wait to hear Goldfrapp out rock n rollin the 50's , being too psychedelic for the 60's and out ravin the 90's !

    Bring it on Alison !

  • Comment number 7.

    @ 5
    Lol; glam, synth and trance are definately words I'd use to describe Florence and the Machine.

  • Comment number 8.

    Pop justice went to town on Radio1's lack of playing this song. Very justified I feel! Considering the ammount Radio1 do repeat songs, you'd think they could squeeze the odd, a bit different, new, British release in, such as this in.

  • Comment number 9.

    I presume when Cuboid said "out-glamming the 70s", he was referring to glam rock, some of the elements (rhythms, etc) of which Goldfrapp have borrowed in the past. I've don't think Florence & The Machine have gone anywhere near glam rock, have they?

  • Comment number 10.

    Blimey, you lot are touchy, aren't you! Let me clarify, the 'out-glamming' was aimed at Ga-Ga, the 'out-synthing' at Florence (not that I've got any problem with Florence, just saying that as a band they have used Goldfrapp as blue print). Spirit, if you want to hear Goldfrapp being too psychedelic for the 60's, check out their first album 'Felt Mountain', soz for omitting that decade. Personally I'm not surprised by the lack of airplay given to Rocket by stations like Radio One as they seem obssessed with such artists as Ga-Ga, but once the novelty has worn off she too will be discarded, unfortunately originality has a very short life span with these organisations. As for Mute's failure to promote the song, they did a similar thing with Depeche Mode's last single release so I'm guessing there may be more going on behind the scenes at that company than we are privy to at present.

  • Comment number 11.

    Oh yeah, and I'll give Rocket 5 stars, just to really put the cat amongst the pigeons!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Come on then Cuboid , let's hear your passion.

    Your ten favourite Goldfrapp songs and a sentence why , and if you were stuck on a desert island and could only listen to one Goldfrapp album , which would it be ?

    As an audience , we are ready to be charmed .

  • Comment number 13.

    OK Spirit, your wish is my command, although these are in no specific order: Ride a White Swan (nice mix of 70's ref and 90's trance), Ooh La La (contemporary 70's update), Strict Machine (electro pop with a risque twist), Happiness (wistful but poignant), Fly Me Away (chilled out break). Also like Twist, Black Cherry, A+E, Satin Chic, Crystaline Green.....and Rocket! As far as a desert island album is concerned......Black Cherry is a close runner, as is Seventh Tree, We Are Glitter is great, but would probably opt for Supernature.

  • Comment number 14.

    or Ride a White Horse even (typo!)

  • Comment number 15.

    Who's touchy? I was defending you, man.

    Tut. Some people...

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 10

    Fair enough saying that Goldfrapp have been out-glamming way before Gaga but glam rock isn't a new style, as you noted it started in the 70s, so it's unfair to say that Gaga's unoriginal and copying Goldfrapp. Also I doubt that Goldfrapp are a major influence for Florence and the Machine seeing as they sound nothing alike, since when has Florence been 'out-synthing' in any sense of the word.

    It's not that I don't like Goldfrapp, because I like them alot, but some of your statements are, in my opinion, incorrect. Sorry to sound like I'm being really touchy but I really like Florence, not so much Lady Gaga though some of her new stuff is great.

  • Comment number 17.

    The way things are going I'd better get on this rocket eh!? From experiencing 70/80's music first hand I can really appreciate it when retro band get it right. In my opinion (and feel free to disagree) Goldfrapp were one of the first, and remain one of the few, to REALLY get it right, which is epitomised with this new single. Whatever decade they swing their mind to they seem to hit the mark. For me Ladyhawke also get's it spot on regarding the 80's. Florence and the Machine are not far off but they are still covering similar ground as (if still managing to sound somewhat dis-similar to) Goldfrapp. Lady Ga-Ga I just do not get. OK, so she's not truly a retro artist but she does appear to have lifted elements from other artists who pre-date her, in particular Blondie, Goldfrapp and Madonna. Again, in my opinion, those artists did it ALOT better than Ga-Ga and hence I find her about as original as a 12 pack of Tesco's own variety crisps. OK, maybe that's being a bit unfair on the crisps!(?)

  • Comment number 18.

    Ha ha ! Glad I am not the only one who does funny typos .

    Wasn't Ride a white Swan a number 2 hit for Marc Bolan and T Rex back in the early 70's .?

    Moving the conversation onto Goldfrapp ,, they are responsible for 2 songs that really strike a chord with me .I do really like Happiness , Ooh La La and Number 1 , but the following 2 ,for me , really produce the cream.

    A and E is a wonderfully , mournful , melancholy slice of understated melody , that reached for the heart strings and strummed them , the way our Florence strums her harps . It has a chorus and a vocal delivery from Alison that is absolutely movingly beautiful . Divine.

    Strict Machine is a rhythmic slice of sexual glory , wrapped up in an electro blast of cosmic naughtiness , This song could be a long lost cousin of some of GaGa's naughty ambiguous moments .
    You want a catchy song with sexual double entendres ?
    Well Alison Goldfrapp will give you one !

  • Comment number 19.

    Im not going to get into the debate, just thought I'd say I pissing love LadyHawke.

  • Comment number 20.

    Perhaps not the best wording there.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yeah for LADYHAWKE !!

    Paris is Burning
    My Delirium
    Back of the Van .

    3 brilliant pop singles !

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.


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