Head First

Album Review of Head First by Goldfrapp.

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Head First

Goldfrapp

Head First by Goldfrapp

Release Date: Mar 23, 2010
Record label: Mute
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Electronic

66 Music Critic Score
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Head First - Fairly Good, Based on 10 Critics

Alternative Press - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Goldfrapp stepped off the dancefloor with The Seventh Tree’s folky reveries, but the duo couldn’t stay away for long. Head First dives into luscious, eminently danceable synth pop that's almost as far removed from the sleek shuffle beats of Black Cherry and Supernature as their previous album was. This time, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory look to the ‘80s for inspiration, but not the brittle sound that was fashionable to ape in the late 2000s, like La Roux and Little Boots.

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Slant Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4.0/5
80

When the lead single from Goldfrapp’s 2008 album Seventh Tree premiered, a certain tabloid blogger lamented the duo’s new sound, publicly pining for the “old Goldfrapp. ” Well, the “old” Goldfrapp was more like “A&E” than “Oh La La. ” Following two dance records, Seventh Tree found the pair playing with more organic textures and a softer palette more akin to the trip-hop posture of their debut, Felt Mountain, than the disco strut of follow-ups Black Cherry and Supernature.

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AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Goldfrapp stepped off the dancefloor with The Seventh Tree’s folky reveries, but the duo couldn’t stay away for long. Head First dives into luscious, eminently danceable synth pop that's almost as far removed from the sleek shuffle beats of Black Cherry and Supernature as their previous album was. This time, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory look to the ‘80s for inspiration, but not the brittle sound that was fashionable to ape in the late 2000s, like La Roux and Little Boots.

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Entertainment Weekly - 72
Based on rating B
72

Having deserted the dozy comedown of 2008’s muted Seventh Tree, U.K. duo Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory return to the dance floor with nine tracks of glitter-strewn glam pop. Head First sounds as if they’ve been commissioned ?to paint the inside of Olivia Newton-John’s mind, circa 1980: all strobe-lit synths, feathery vocals, and goofy synonyms for sex.

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Pitchfork - 66
Based on rating 6.6/10
66

Yup, another wardrobe change. Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have always valued style along with song, and on most of the fifth Goldfrapp album, Head First, pink spandex turns out to be a great look. Bringing 1980s roller-disco synth-pop motifs out of mothballs has given the UK duo their most immediately entertaining album since 2005 electro-glam juggernaut Supernature.

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Paste Magazine - 62
Based on rating 6.2/10
62

Thinking man’s diva revels in ’80s-pop artifice Alison Goldfrapp never does anything halfway. From the icy, otherworldly electro-acoustic soundscapes of 2000’s Felt Mountain to her subsequent romps through dance-pop and leering glam, she’s become a more dangerous and dignified counterpart to the look-at-me theatrics of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Now, following an unexpected shift toward pastoral psych-pop on 2008’s Seventh Tree, she and collaborator Will Gregory have circled back to dance music, this time with a pronounced emphasis on ’80s synth-pop and Italo disco.

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The Guardian - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

There has been much recent debate as to whether or not record companies still have a role to play in the gleaming, internet-driven 21st century. What, the naysayers ask, can they alone do that nobody else would? Head First provides an answer: they can send out the new Goldfrapp album for review with a two-page confidentiality agreement, which delightfully refers to Alison Goldfrapp and her musical partner, Will Gregory, as "the Project" and demands your lips remain sealed not only on the subject of "recordings, musical works, sound recordings, vocals", but also "discoveries, ideas, concepts, techniques" and something mysteriously referred to only as "know-how". "You shall restrict disclosure of the Information solely to your employees, principals, agents, directors and contractors with a need to know such Information," it thunders.

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Drowned In Sound - 50
Based on rating 5/10
50

Of the many illogical and semi-specious rules that dictate musical taste, one of the biggies is that if an artist changes their sound then someone, somewhere will definitely praise them for it. Now, we could get into a big semantic kerfuffle on the whys and the wherefores of that statement, but let’s cut to the chase re: Goldfrapp. While the mid-Noughties commercial heyday of Black Cherry and Supernature saw them stabilise and grow into a sort of vaguely kinky electro-glam Seventies affair, the duo's reputation amongst their broadsheet-ish fanbase now substantially rests on a penchant for reinvention.

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PopMatters - 40
Based on rating 4/10
40

The synthesizer is a beautiful thing. Not constrained by the the limitations of natural sources for vibration, it can give an almost endless expression to that which the composer should wish to express. A beautiful female voice should be the catalyst for an entire universe of emotion, inspiration, observation; the whole of the human condition, in fact.

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BBC Music
Their review was positive

Free of anything in the slightest bit terrible, Head First is amazing stuff. Ian Wade 2010 Poor Goldfrapp. For the last decade they’ve been making extremely listenable music, from the austere chill of 2000’s debut Felt Mountain, via the Black Forest electro-Weimar wolf porn of 2003’s Black Cherry, to the retro-futuristic electro disco glitter of Supernature in 2005 – but it’s always seemed as though Alison and Will have been the ones to hold open a door for others.

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