A few days ago, one of my closest gal pals sent me an enraged text message regarding a KCRW interview with Alison Goldfrapp. Since this person and I usually agree on such matters, I had to watch the video for myself. And once again my friend was right.
As I've seen in past interviews, the singer once again comes off as a pretentious, affected jerk. Poor Nic Harcourt seems to be grasping for anything that resembles personality or warmth from the interview and regrettably it's nowhere to be found. True, she is suffering from a cold but she also appears to be suffering from bitch-itis as well.
Unsavory personality aside, I've always admired Goldfrapp's music and artistic moxie. It drips unapologetically with art-school pomp while delivering some very memorable songs. So I've been able to overlook the snotty behavior because the actual work was darn good. Until now, that is.
Their latest record, Seventh Tree, is a minimal, airy affair that aims to be a masterpiece but falls tragically short. Long gone are the glam-rock guitars and pulsating beats from Supernature. Floating acoustic instruments are used instead and Miss Goldfrapp's lyrics are front and center. And that's the heart of this record's problem.
Simplistic and at times just plain dumb, Goldfrapp's shortcomings as a writer have never been so obvious. If you're going to strip away the glitz and pounding basslines, you better have the balls lyrically to back it up. And you lady are no Bjork or Emilianna Torrini. Lacking any emotional center, the only message Goldfrapp seems to be conveying on Seventh Tree is "Aren't we brilliant and clever?"
Another issue with the record is that of originality. The public was willing to overlook Supernature's obvious T-Rex influence because it was loud, catchy, and easy to shake your ass to. But swiping direct moves from the Kate Bush Playbook while yielding such ho-hum results is darn near unforgivable.
And yet, Seventh Tree has glimpses of pure genius in songs like "Happiness" and "A&E". They're so good it makes you wish the duo would have scrapped the other tracks and went back to the drawing board.
So how do you solve a problem like Alison Goldfrapp? Well, avoiding interviews with her is a good place to start. Blaring The Hounds of Love in an act of defiance might be a wise move as well. Still, I think I need to temporarily break-up with Goldfrapp to get the icky taste out of my mouth.
Another friend of mine often reminds me to separate the art from the artist, in order to be objective. But in this case, as both the art and the artist are utterly infuriating, it's a hard task to complete.