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Tales of Us: Rank the Songs (Best to Worst)
  • I know that this is a little early for some of us, but for those of you who have heard the album, how would you rank the songs?
    I had a king in a tenement castle, lately he's taken to painting the pastel walls brown. He's taken the curtains down. He's swept with the broom of contempt, and the rooms have an empty ring. He's cleaned with the tears of an actor who fears for the laughter's sting...
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  • am I the only one that loves Simone? haha 
    and then all the rest...
  • This was difficult; I bought the album a week ago so after 7 days (of listening almost non stop!) I thought I'd try and put them in favourite order. I have written a little review of the songs along with my ranking order. Apologies if I go on a little! It's interesting reading everyone's difference in opinion :)

    01 CLAY  
    Probably one of my favourite ever Goldfrapp songs. I instantly loved it in Manchester and couldn't wait to hear the studio version. I can't really describe what exactly has made this my favourite song on Tales of Us; there are far too many reasons to note. The powerful and emotional vocal; the woeful yet hopeful lyrics; the celebration of something so beautifully tragic. I love the use of irony in her vocal and words, the disdain yet hope for something that never was. My boyfriend found the letter the song was inspired by and printed it out for me. I read it when I got back from buying the album and it brought a tear to our eyes! I love the ending, the crescendo in the strings; a sudden and dramatic finish, almost as if the hopeful door to an unlikely next chapter is being left open in the story. An epic ending to a fantastic album.

    02 DREW 
    Within the first bar of this song I instantly feel uplifted. It's not very often we hear or see Alison open up about something possibly quite dear to her but it's clear that this song is about past experiences; enjoyed through happy memories and accompanied by a stunning video to mirror it. The double bass / cello repeated phrases move the piece along eloquently and the timpani at the end add to the grandness of the piece. A complete winner! 

    03 ULLA
    Whoever mentioned that this is the perfect sequel to 'Drew' has got it spot on. The middle section of the song is beautiful; the 1st violin motif which is then repeated by the 2nd violins and then again by the viola, finally joined by the cello like little waves of overlapping melodies. Joined by Alison's doubled vocal in perfect harmony, the passing note phrases by the cello melt me every time. This mood divides me; making me feel rather sombre yet happy at the same time.

    04 JO
    The only piece in 3/4 time, like a slow and slightly demented waltz. A perfect opener for the album and I remember being stunned to silence when they opened the show with it. Very Satie inspired with the use of ornaments and embellishments on the piano, sailing along. I love the circular patterned melody in the vocals of the verse and the use of pizzicato in the strings add colour to this dark piece. The serenity is captivating.

    05 LAUREL
    This would fit right on 'Felt Mountain' and what a welcome return from her lower register that we are rarely treated to. Vocally similar to 'Human' and 'Pilots'; the music is very reminiscent of 'Deer Stop'. Drawn out notes that are flattened halfway through and intentionally weakened; I feel like I'm listening to something recorded over a century ago on a gramophone.  I don't remember it at all from the live shows and at the start of the week it was placed really low down in this list but every day it's creeping up. This is a slow burner that seductively engrosses me with every listen. The simplicity of using slight dissonance followed by resolution repeatedly in the chord pattern is naturally aesthetically pleasing on the ears.

    06 ALVAR 
    This one somehow lost me in the lives shows yet manages to hypnotise me on the record. I was convinced it would be the one I'd eventually skip and never warm to but the more I listen the more I hear something new every time. Both simplistic and complex; elements of 'Little Bird' draw me closer the more I listen. The line 'I want to swim your silk black skin to the floor' is one of Alison's finest lyrics. The motion of a piece in 6/8 time is always very captivating as it's a stand out time signature, just like 3/4 time of 'Jo'.

    07 STRANGER 
    Reminiscent of Lovely Head; I remember this fondly from the Manchester shows. Once again, the strings compliment this song, but it's the ghost-like whistling phrases answering Alison's words that make the piece what it is; mysteriously enchanting. The anonymity of the subject really sets it apart from the rest of the album.

    08 SIMONE 
    Hauntingly beautiful. The slurs / glissando in her voice during the verse sound really demonic and emphasise the mood, shock and possible anger behind the story. I love the whisper of 'Simone' at the end. It makes me feel on edge; not knowing where or how the story will end.

    09 ANNABEL 
    This grabs me a little less then the other 8 songs above but I still love how well the melody and the strings at the end blend together. The vocal in the last section makes this song for me and really leaves me wanting more. It may be 9th place here but I still really enjoy it and feel it'll grow over time. 

    10 THEA 
    The only track that I don't get much from at this point. At this time I would rather Tales mirror the 9 track entirety of Felt Mountain with the omittance of this song but I suppose I should admire how much of a red herring Thea is (even though Oompa Radar - the Felt stand out track - is another song I don't understand). Maybe I would feel differently hearing this live; I torn as to whether I think it needs a little more production to make it more interesting. it somehow sounds halfway between wanting to be stripped back or being heavily produced and pounding -  it's a little lost! I'm bored by the time the chorus kicks in.. I'm hoping it'll grow over time but for the moment, it's definitely weaker than the other 9 songs.
  • Oof, couldn't possibly do this until I've heard it in good quality.

  • Low said:

    Oof, couldn't possibly do this until I've heard it in good quality.

    Same here.
    Though we may deserve it, it will be worth it.
  • I need a few months with it first......

    But right now...

    1. Drew.
  • ^ as above :)
    Just Keep Things Simple.....
    Love Goldfrapp.....
  • I like so much  of the album but - like others - i want to hear it in good quality.

    All the tracks are earworms for me now so I'm trying not to over listen. This must be the honeymoon phase and I want it to last.

    1 DREW. Cold bed, glowing memories. Impossible not to get swept away on this one. The verse is so intimate, it's like waking up next to Alison and listening to her dreams. Soaring and cinematic in the chorus. The bittersweet thrill of reading old love letters. Echoes of Nancy Sinatra. A modern classic.

    2 STRANGER. Gave me chills at The Albert Hall (certain members of the audience were welling up) and transports me now. Love the banjo/koto motif. Magical, classical songwriting in the style of Ennio Morricone and Scott Walker. Straight back to the 60s. The song which inspires one-word reviews of the album - 'beautiful'.

    3 CLAY: Have to be careful how often I listen to this one. It's a kind of gently galloping anthem, playful cellos dancing over a real heart-breaker. Just builds with hope in the face of doom. It's the silence which follows the last note which makes me shiver. Gulp. Funny but I always get something in my eye when I hear this. A stately elegy for a lost soldier. Quietly stunning.

    4 ULLA: The theme to White Horses! This is dust in the sunbeams. Like a sequel to Drew. Again, classic sixties-style songwriting. Ponderous, reflective and with an uplifting chorus.

    5 JO: The opening of a child's book of fairytales, spellbinding Satie piano, innocent dread. An unsettling opener. Stunned silence for a few seconds after this one was performed live.

    6 ANNABEL: Lilting lullaby, magnificently crafted song. Goldfrapp have matured in their songwriting and this is effortless sophistication. Strong enough to be a movie theme.

    7 LAUREL: Unusual structure, this one. A verse of chanting incantations, and a prayer-like chorus. The sense of dread deepens. There is a signature vein of regret and sorrow which matures here in this homage to Felt Mountain.

    8 SIMONE: It's turning into a horror movie. This is the prowling shadow of the album, Alison growling like a big cat. 'You're insatiable' is probably her sexiest vocal yet, and the final hiss of 'Simone' is so sinister as to be positively murderous. Songs like this and Clay show a new versatility to a voice we all thought we knew so well.

    9 THEA: Roisin Murphy meets Blondie. On a horse. This is Boudicea galloping into battle. A pounding war cry, impatient for blood. This and Alvar seem to belong to a different album.

    10 ALVAR: The afterburn of Seventh Tree, this seems like a Pagan ritual, wreathes of lyrics and mandolins. 'A song of wolves baying loud.' A sense of foreboding. The horses are restless.

    *These are my impressions after quite a few listens. I may or may not be in possession of the leaked album or I may be clairvoyant. I don't condone piracy and will be buying myself a yummy box set, and the movie when it comes out.
    Post edited by Sparky at 2013-08-06 07:06:10

  • I think I won't be able to rank the songs for this album... It's barely impossible.
  • I have only heard Drew and that is a lovely song. I saw the album has already leaked, but I'll wait till the official release. Just one month away.
  • Loved your review Sparky, brilliantly descriptive, I can't wait to get intimate with Tales of Us...just over a month to go...*sigh* I can't wait to hear it.

  • 4 ULLA: The theme to White Horses! This is dust in the sunbeams. Like a sequel to Drew.

    Good to know I'm not the only one who thought this! The string melody also reminded me of Drew a bit in certain parts. Goldfrapp don't really seem to do songs that are direct continuations of others (unfortunately) but I think this is as close as they'll get.

  • Sparky, thanks for that. If anyone should do spoilers you are unsurpassed example;-D
    Your observations really enriched the feeling of album that I already love deeply and faithfully.
    Always good to read such stuff.
    I must finally check that legendary White Horses theme.
    I must say that for me Ulla is very compatible with Alvar so the latter fits very well.
    And with Thea there really is sense of completing Jo in a way,at least for me and that song has a special place in the album;-D
    Post edited by Jules at 2013-08-06 11:02:10
  • Simone
  • 1 Jo
    2 Drew
    5 Laurel
    6 Stranger
    8 Thea
    9 Simone
    10 Alvar

    Could be totally different @ release as they are all growers.
    Welcome back to great form Goldfrapp !. love ya x.
    (plz consider doing another live date in Rotterdam, Netherlands... you've skipped it twice since 2008 and i know you love this city -reading your twitter in january when you visited here, great pics you made an all-).
    Post edited by react010 at 2013-08-08 00:51:39

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