If you’ve managed to make it the last fifteen years without hearing about Goldfrapp, you came in at a GREAT time. The group recently released their sixth studio album which ventures into a much darker and self-explorative arena then they ever have before. Over the course of their last few releases, they’ve traveled further back to their debut roots, 2000’s Felt Mountain, than ever before with the creepy, ethereal, world-weary sound that we all initially fell in love with. Goldfrapp’s ability to translate complex emotions like jealousy, self-destruction and vanity into audible Valium has garnered them a legion of gay fans worldwide. Come on! We can certainly relate… Although this album is definitely on the scanty side when it comes to the dance hits that they are much better known for, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. On Tuesday, we were invited to a screening at Pacific Place of five unique music videos from the new album combined to create a short visual masterpiece of a movie, reminiscent of early David Lynch. This was followed by an exclusive performance of additional songs both off the current album and from previous ones. These five videos give an in depth insight into the thematic tone Goldfrapp has woven throughout Tales Of Us. Each track is named after the presumably fictitious character the song was written about: Stranger, Laurel, Jo, Drew and Annabel.
Alison Goldfrapp states “I am interested in horror, psychologically. Not blood and guts, that’s too literal. I like the horror of the mind.” This is chillingly evident in Jo, where she plays two versions of herself. One dressed in black driving a car, the other sleeping at her home in the country dressed in white. The car we discover is heading to her doppelganger at her home. On the way, you begin to realize that any pain one inflicts on themselves is also inflicted on her counterpart. In the end it becomes evident that she is hunting herself. They ultimately meet in a dark abandoned shed in the woods. Only one leaves the shed. The fantasy of self-destruction. The dark sides need to exterminate undesirable traits or emotions she identifies as weak within herself is overwhelming although it is ultimately her pride in her vulnerability that saves her from herself.
The theme of introspection continues in Annabel, the story of a gay, perhaps trans, youth trying to come to terms with his own feelings of the gender roles that have been forced upon him. He savors the experience of riding his bike through the woods – lingering on fallen tree branches, contemplating his surroundings. He winds through a path that leads to a bramble in the middle of the woods. He crawls through it to reveal a hideout he has filled with broken pieces of dolls and old discarded jewelry. He longingly embraces these treasures, contemplative once more, as if he may never be able to touch them again in the future. As he sits amongst his collection he opens a lunch that we are lead to believe his mother has packed for him. Inside he discovers a carefully wrapped sandwich and a sequined dress. He emerges from the bush proudly wearing the dress and twirls through the field in the light of a summer day.
The themes throughout all five clips leave you with a feeling of gratitude and acceptance of your own emotions – truly a beautiful cinematic experience to compliment the album Tales Of Us that should not be missed. If you have a chance to check out the album or view the videos I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what emotions it brings up. If you haven’t heard anything from Goldfrapp this is definitely music you should become better acquainted with.
You can catch the movie and the exclusive performance of classic songs on Thursday, March 27th at Pacific Place AMC Theater at 8pm. Advance tickets available now at Fandango.com