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SHOOT FROM THE HIP
Loin de la machine à tubes faciles, Sophie Ellis-Bextor est en train de construire lair de rien une carrière au long cours. Son premier album, lui-même renfermant quelques pépites scintillantes, avait signalé son talent décriture et une voix parfaite pour visiter tous les registres de lémotion. Shoot From The Hip confirme et mène encore plus loin ces intentions affirmées. Jouant des arrangements les plus malins, avec des contributions de Bernard Butler et dAlex James (Blur) sur "Love It Is Love", elle se glisse dans chaque chanson comme dans une robe fourreau. Bien malin qui pourrait alors extraire de la garde-robe une chanson plutôt quune autre. La Britannique se livre dans un désarmant "The Walls Keep Saying Your Name" et se lance sur le dancefloor avec "Mixed Up World" ou "I Wont Change You". Marquée par les sonorités de Goldfrapp, elle nous berce dune guitare nonchalante sur "Hello Hello" et affiche une maîtrise des tempos electro dance sur "Another Day". Mais on ne pourra résumer ce très bel album à lune de ses parties. On lappréhendera comme une boîte à malices où la pop coquine nous fait les yeux doux jusquau bout. --José Ruiz
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Il y a quelques chansons vers la fin de l'album qui ne sont pas à la hauteur des autres mais comme meme globalement vous ne serez pas deçus!
Pourvu que, malgré la crise du disque, sophie ellis-bextor puisse encore et pendant longtempts nous livrer des galettes aussi bonne !
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Where her debut album was really just an experiment into what style Sophie's future career would take, her sophomore release goes all the way basing its sound upon its predecessor, but twisting it slightly. Gone are the songs of disco pop that she became known for, replace with much more sophisticated, more mature real music. The songs on this album show Sophie in a totally different light. She now shines brighter than any other British female artist, and no one pulls off a raw English accent like Lady Bextor...
The album opener "Making Music" is brash, loud and infectious. The retro beats and twangy, with a manic beat that totally contrasts Sophie's brilliant voice. The song may take a while to grow on you, but once it does, it'll be in your head for days. "Mixed Up World" is the first single from this album and stormed into the UK Top 10 a month ago. With a typical beat that sparkle in true Bextor-style, this is a definite highlight in which Sophie raises the topic of the current state of the world, while combining it with a hopeful love story. "I Won't Change You" is one of my favourites on the album and just has to be released as a single! The beat on this song just totally bounces with simplicity, while the wonderful chorus is nothing short of perhaps Sophie's catchiest-ever tune.
"Nowhere Without You" starts off loud and in your face, before settling down in the verses for a chilled out and relaxing ballad. The guitar is wonderful and perfectly matches Sophie's sighing vocals of bliss. You could listen to this song while watching the sun rise, because it has that earthy quality that a lot of Sophie's music boasts. "Another Day" is a slight dip in the quality of the album, but the production makes up for it with some crafty and attention-seeking (and finding) beats. "Party In My Head" is a true highlight with a jangly-guitar and a superb beat that you will hum to for ages. Clapping in the parts before the choruses are very classy, while the backing-vocals from Sophie are also amazing in their melodic quality.
"Love It Is Love" begins like a racing steam train, intent on reaching its destination. The beat is heavy and very well-produced, and the bit in the middle where the whole song slows down is awesome. "You Get Yours" is perhaps the worst song on the album, but it is still absolutely brilliant! The beat starts off in a totally crazy way, demanding your attention. The chorus is a bit forgettable, so this song may need repeat-listening for you to truly appreciate it. "The Walls Keep Saying Your Name" is, simply put, a masterpiece. This song creates so many images in your mind that you can't help but go back again and again for repeat listens! A little violin arrangement totally makes this song so amazing, while the chorus are wonderful with the lines, "I can't sleep when the walls keep saying your name. Go from me and let me slumber again." It's one of those songs that is totally sky-high on the camp factor that the homosexuals will have a field day dancing to, and rightly so!
"I Won't Dance With You" is another one of my favourites from the album. The beat is hard hitting, and the sonic barrage of electro beats infects the song with that feeling that you just have to dance to. It's kinda cheesy, but ever so classy. Sophie's vocals are superb, but the clanger comes with the line, "You can wallow in praise until the cows come home!" Argh! "I Am Not Good At Not Getting What I Want" is awesome, and I thought only the Pet Shop Boys had long song titles! This song sees Sophie go back to the 1950's and don her best ball gown as she sings in a jazzy and smooth Big Band style of a spoilt and selfish girl who always gets what she wants. It's amazing, and you end up wondering why Sophie doesn't do more of this! "Hello Hello" is even more laid-back than the last song, with some good vocals but it's certainly not the best song on the album!
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
While her debut album had a few filler tracks that not many listeners cared for, Shoot From The Hip has no rubbish songs whatsoever. Here Miss Bextor has perfectly crafted a masterpiece dance/pop album that represents Britain at its best. If only the States were into her like the UK is! Hell, even her cover of Olivia Newton-John's "Let's Get Physical" as the hidden track on the album is great! This album has flopped in the UK so far, which is a great shame because talent like this is wasted on many people who want their music so commercial that you don't have to seek it out. All in all, well done Sophie! She's proven herself a true player on the British music scene. I look forward to her third album. I'm sure it will be fantastic!
This is probably one of the best pop records I've heard in sometime. It is a clean & strong record, no filler, just great songs. Clocking in at almost 40 minutes, "Shoot From the Hip" is a mixed bag of pop all grounded in her familiar sensual euro-disco sound, but isn't fixed there.
"Mixed Up World" opens up in a manic pop whirl, recalling the great styles of late 1980's electric dance music & early 1990's house respectively. It reminds me of vintage Cathy Dennis in some cases. Lyrically, this is one of the strongest songs, one that deals with perserverance & determination of the human spirit. Other highlights include the hopelessly romantic thump of "I Won't Change You", the rock inflected "You Get Yours", & robo-funk of "Another Day" come to mind.
There are two songs I will focus on in particular: the one-two ballad closers "I Am Not Good At Not Getting What I Want" & "Hello, Hello". Both find Ellis-Bextor utilizing her beautiful accented voice to it's emotive fullest, without sacrificing her icy demeanor. From an arrangement point of view "I Am Not..." recalls classic torch, & "Hello, Hello" sits pretty in an alternative setting that would do Tori Amos justice.
Ellis-Bextor is clearly someone who is slightly underrated. Not only does she write her own material, she possesses a very alluring stylist voice, & manages to surround herself with production talent who can bring out the best in her, without sacrificing her personae in the process.
I highly hope that Ellis-Bextor records a follow-up worthy to this masterpiece. I recommend this to anyone who likes good music, take a chance, I'm glad I did! Highly recommended!
Having a penchant for that retro feel, Bextor doesn't break new grounds on the faster songs. First single, Mixed Up World, is still a funky electronic-retro track that bears the Gregg Alexander trademark that's also found on Murder. Definitely a catchy song with a very 70-ish video. Album opener, Making Music, is a real club stormer with its rightly placed electronic bleeps and buzz. I Won't Change You and Party In My Head round up the by now standard retro-dance flair from Bextor. The only gripe is when the songwriters and Bextor play up the retro factor too much on Another Day which almost sounds passe and hard to bear. Another instance is where the lyrics are so embarassing on I Won't Dance With You, "Then you can wallow in praise until the cows come home", that even the good music can't hide them.
What's astonishing from Bextor this time round are the ballads, which I consider some of the best songs from her. I am Not Good at Not Getting What I Want and Hello Hello are such exquisite ballads that Bextor should perhaps invest more time on. The former is a low key Broadway style ballad that sweeps you off your feet. Finally there's a very familiar remake of a classic track tagged at the end of Hello Hello as a bonus track.
WARNING: There is a second edition of this album now available with only 10 tracks . DO NOT BUY THAT EDITION!!! It is the inferior version! Making Music and I Won't Dance With You are gone as is the bonus hidden track, a cover of The Olivia Newton-John classic Physical. While that bonus track was clearly not a good idea, Making Music alone is worth the extra money. Be sure you buy the proper version with the artist name and album title in WHITE lettering.