12 June 2015

Favourite artists: Sophie Ellis-Bextor. United Kingdom #1

It is time for a new Favourite Artists posts. In these posts I dedicate the post for one of my ultimate top favourite singers or bands. These posts do not usually differ from regular posts that much (since I sometimes also focus on just one artist in those too), though sometimes I end up making a top10 or something else special. In this current post I will be trying out something different.

The singer of this post comes from the United Kingdom and she is, like the title states,

Photo source
Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

I was first planning on making a top5 or top10, but changed my plans when I realised the following; In my posts I usually feature five songs and Sophie has released overall five studio albums. This felt like an opportunity that should not be wasted. So in this post I will feature each of Sophie's albums (that are all amongst my ultimate top favourite albums that I listen to all the time) by introducing the album and featuring my favourite single* from each album. I will also list my four other top favourites from each album, making it into a sort of a top5. *In the case of one of the albums, my top favourite song was not a single, but I decided rather to feature singles since they have music videos and such. I will of course talk about Sophie too in between everything else.

I am featuring Sophie's albums in a chronological order, first comes first. So let's get on with it.

Release date: 27.8.2001
Genres: Electronica, dance-pop, nu-disco
Read My Lips was Sophie's debut solo album. The original release featured ten tracks, but on the reissues and different versions there are more tracks to be found, including live version of Sophie's solo debut Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) that she did with an Italian DJ called DJ Spiller. There was four singles released from Read My Lips, one of those being a double A-side. The first single was cover of Cher's song Take Me Home, though with rewritten lyrics. Read My Lips is Sophie's best selling album to the date.

Sophie Michelle Ellis-Bextor was born in 1979 in London. Her mother Janet Ellis is a TV presenter and an actress, while her father Robin Bextor is a film producer and director, who has also directed one music video for Sophie. Sophie's half-sister Jackson Ellis-Leach is the drummer of Sophie's band. Sophie started her career in 1997 as a lead singer of a britpop / indie rock and called theaudience. The band was fairly short-lived and disbanded in 1999. After this Sophie started her solo career.

My favourite song from Read My Lips is Get Over You, that was released in 2002 as a double A-sided single, together with Move This Mountain. This was one of the very first songs I heard from Sophie. It is a bright dance-pop song. I find the music very catchy and fun. As you can guess by the name, it is a break-up song about Sophie leaving this arrogant dude. I actually also really love the music video, although even to me that other bride mannequin is a bit creepy.

The other four favourites from Read My Lips: Music Gets The Best Of Me, Move This Mountain, Final Move, Take Me Home.

Release date: 27.10.2003
Genres: Pop, dance-pop, alternative pop, pop rock, electronic, D&B
Sophie's sophomore album. During this era, Sophie tried out blonde hairstyle. I remember seeing an interview where she was a tad bit embarrassed of this colour choice and called it a weird phase. Even though she still looks beautiful, I prefer the dark hair and always find it confusing to see her as blonde; The album beared only two singles, so there is not that much to see of Sophie from this era anyway. Shoot From The Hip is my least favourite of Sophie's albums, but I still love it a lot.

Besides being a singer, Sophie has also worked as a model and DJ. She co-writes almost all of her song's lyrics, which makes me always respect the artist and feel like they actually care about what they sing. Sophie's music does usually feel like it has a deeper meaning to it. Sophie has collaborated with many artists during her career, including Armin Van Buuren, Bob Sinclair and Freemasons. In 2005 she married Richard Jones, who is bassist in a rock band called The Feeling (he has also played on Sophie's albums and tours). They have three sons and she is currently pregnant with their fourth child.

The favourite from Shoot From The Hip is I Won't Change You. It was the second and last single from the album, being released very late 2003. The single actually had b-side of Sophie covering the famous Baccara song Yes Sir, I Can Boogie, and I really like it too. I love the lyrics of this song: Sophie is describing how she use to change everything about herself until she found the right guy, who made her realise she was okay the way she is. That might sound a bit common and boring story, but the lyrics are actually very fun and quirky. The music video is also fun, with Sophie speed dating.

The other four favourites from Shoot From The Hip: Mixed Up World, You Get Yours, Nowhere Without You, The Walls Keep Saying Your Name

Release date: 21.5.2007
Genres: Pop, dance-pop, nu-disco, electropop, pop rock
MY PERSONAL FAVOURITE. I seriously had hard time picking out the favourites to feature: I simply love all the songs from this album, maybe except one. Between her second and third albums, Sophie took a break to have her first child. The time between these two albums is almost four years and I feel like Sophie's style changed a lot in this point. But definitely in a good way, like I said this is my favourite from her. The previous album failed to hit top10 in the charts (Shoot From The Hip charted 19 in the UK), but Trip The Light Fantastic brought Sophie back to the top10. Better than in the UK, the album charted number three in Russia. Oddly enough Sophie seems to be quite popular there.

The single is called Catch You. And this is the special case I mentioned in the start: My actual favourite from Trip The Light Fantastic is the song called Can't Have It All. But I rather featured singles in this post. Catch You, even though I absolutely love this song, did almost not even make it to the top5. This is quite rare case where I love bunch of the album tracks more than any of the three singles. For me so many of the album tracks feel very meaningful and amazing.

But about Catch You; It was released in 2007. The song is very fast paced to fit the theme of the song: Sophie sings about her love interest running away from her and she saying that he can run wherever he wants, but she will still catch him. It is kind of a stalkerish song with Sophie singing she lurks around behind curtains and in coffee spoons, in example. The lyrics are quite fun actually. In the music video Sophie is chasing somebody around in Venice and it is quite stylish video. It was directed by Sophie Muller, who has directed a huge percent of Sophie's music videos.

The other four favourites from Trip The Light Fantastic: Can't Have It All, If You Go, New York City Lights, The Distance Between Us

Release date: 18.4.2011
Genres: Dance-pop, house, nu-disco, synthpop
The Make A Scene era started of with Sophie collaborating with Freemasons and then with Junior Caldera for a single. Also the fourth single from the album was a collaboration, this time with Armin Van Buuren. The list of people working on this album is quite more wider than the other albums, so there is lots of variety in this album, though I feel there is also a distinct sound I connect with this album. During the making of this album, Sophie parted ways with her record label and with her father she started her own record label EBGBs in 2009. If you did not notice, the three first albums had one similar word in titles: Lips, Hip, Trip. I am quite disappointed that she stopped with this or did not start a new one, haha.

This album consists my number one favourite from Sophie, which was also perhaps the first song I heard from Sophie (give or take on Get Over You) and one of the reasons I fell in love with her music: Bittersweet. The song was released in 2010 and I heard it when it was fairly new. Ever since then I have been a fan and I immediately bought all three of her albums (Make A Scene was released a year later). I think my love for Sophie is partly due her interesting and different voice, partly due to great songs. There is actually not that many songs from her that I do not like. One reason too why I like her is that she has lots of variety in her music, so it never gets boring.

Like said, Bittersweet was released in 2010. It was the third single from Make A Scene. It is a dance-pop, nu-disco, house song. (On a side note, bittersweet is my favourite word in the English language.) Sophie sings about being in love with somebody, but her mind is saying it is not right. This is one of my ultimate favourite songs ever and so I am finding it hard to describe it without blabbering on for pages. So let's just say I absolutely love it. The music video is actually quite stylish, featuring weird dance moves and slow motion shots of the dancers being thrown colourful paint at. Does not sound that stylish, but it is.

The other four favourites from Make A Scene: Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer) [Freemasons featuring Sophie], Not Giving Up On Love [Armin Van Buuren vs Sophie], Synchronised, Magic

Release date: 20.1.2014
Genres: Pop, folk
This one is quite different from Sophie's other albums. As you can see, other one of the genres is folk and that describes the album quite well. Others of Sophie's album have been dancy pop albums, but Wanderlust has more of a natural and a bit old feel to it (I seem to be bad at describing it). The overall feel of the album is a bit darker than with the others, but there is also other kind of magic here. The album is produced by Ed Harcourt and all the lyrics are written by him and Sophie. Four singles were released from Wanderlust.

My favourite from Wanderlust is The Deer & The Wolf. It was released as a single last autumn and is currently her most recent single. Like other on the album, the song is a pop folk song. I do not know what the instrument is, but there is one that is very strong in this song and gives it a nice sound. In the lyrics Sophie describes her relationship as placing her and her partner in the roles of a deer and a wolf. I think Sophie references herself as the wolf, though that is hard to believe with her innocent and pretty look in the music video. Although the music video is very simple, I really love the look of it. Earlier this year I had The Deer & The Wolf on repeat for a long time and it might end up in my top10 for 2015 most listened songs.

Like mentioned before, Sophie is currently pregnant, so she is probably not releasing new material for now. But she is already working on new material for her sixth studio album. She is working again together with Ed Harcourt (with whom she made the entire Wanderlust album with), so I expect there is lots of interesting music to come. More folk? Who knows, but I think I will love it whatever genre she decides to sing (Still do not go heavy metal, Sophie! Your voice is too cute for it.). Sophie's music never fails to affect me and her albums remain as my most played ones even after many years.

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