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Chart Chat Album Review : Foxes – ‘Glorious’ (12.05.14)


Chart Chat Album Review : Foxes – ‘Glorious (Deluxe Edition)’ (12.05.14)

‘Glorious’ marks the first full length album to be released by Louisa Allen, who is best known by her stage name Foxes.  Few can fail to have noticed her appearances on hits by Zedd and Rudimental which have then paved the way to top thirty hits in her own right. Her videos are eye-catching and the songs are well crafted.  She has yet to reach the top five, but based on these songs that feat can only be just around the corner.  What follows is a track by track guide to the sixteen tracks which feature on the deluxe version of the album, which along with the standard edition is released on the 12th May.

Talking To Ghosts

This track was co-written with Liam Howe, who has worked as a producer for Lana Del Rey, Marina & The Diamonds and Ellie Goulding among others. It samples the Propaganda song ‘Dr Mabuse’, and in particular the line “why does it hurt when my heart misses the beat”. The opening lyrics are “Glitter falls on the souls that were saved / a love lies cold and drowned in the waves” and such poetry is a feature of the tracks which are found throughout the remainder of the album.  Foxes has the art of the four minute pop single honed perfectly and this would sit well as a future single.

Youth

This was Foxes first hit single as a solo artist, following on from her appearances on Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ and Rudimental’s ‘Right Here’. It actually performed better than those two hits, going on to peak at no.12. It was co-written by Jonny Harris who also produced the track, and it has recently featured on a TV advertisement by Debenhams.  It had originally been released in 2011 but didn’t get a full commercial release until late last year. The video to the track has been viewed over 5.5m times and it served to introduce her to a much wider audience.

Holding On To Heaven

This has been selected as the new single, and it is destined to reach the top twenty on Sunday afternoon. Another fantastic slice of radio friendly pop, it will do well as a standalone track although for me it isn’t quite as good as ‘Let Go For Tonight’.  Toby Gad also worked on this track, and he is perhaps most famous for co-writing Fergie’s track ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and co-writing ‘If I Was A Boy’ for Beyonce. The eye catching video picked up 1.5m views following its upload to her Vevo account back at the start of April, and that will help to further spread her music to a new audience.

White Coats

Although not yet an official single it has had a full length promotional video made for it which was uploaded to her Vevo account on 30th April.  As momentum builds towards the album release, the label will be delighted to see it pick up 1.8m views over its first few days of upload.  “And if the men in white coats are coming / I know you’ll still be there for me” sings Foxes over a slightly slower track than her other singles.  Whether the video is an indication that this could become a future single remains to be seen.

Let Go For Tonight

This is by far the best track on the album, and as fans will know it comes with a colourful and eye-catching video.  It is now some four months since it first featured on her Vevo account and it is now fast approaching 9m views.  Even without the video it stands out on the radio and deservedly became a top ten hit upon its release.  You can’t help but smile and sing along when you hear this. It’s certainly one of my favourite tracks this year and regularly features on my MP3 playlist.

Night Glo

Liam Howe returns to co-writing duties here while Jonny Harris takes a break.  It’s much slower and dramatic than the tunes we have heard so far, but it shows Foxes voice off to perfection.  In her track by track guide to the album posted to YouTube and Facebook even Foxes fails to describe it, but it is one which should be considered for future single release as it certainly shows off a different side to her as an artist.

Night Owls Early Birds

The tempo moves more upbeat once again, and this is possibly my second favourite track on the album. It’s catchy hook grabs you from the start and it was co-written with Jarrad Rogers who also players drums, bass, piano, guitar and Wurlitzer on the track.  He is an Australian singer/ songwriter who has also worked with artists such as Demi Lovato, Lana Del Rey, Rebecca Ferguson and JLS. Overall I prefer the more upbeat tracks, but it is great to find an artist who is comfortably with slower tracks too.  In her words Foxes says the track was written about being out very late, and so late that others are in their work clothes ready for an early start.

Glorious

The album’s title track has an almost anthemic feel to it, with the “Don’t give it up / don’t give it up / it’s glorious” sticking in your mind after the very first listen.  The tracks title captures the upbeat feel to the album which Foxes describes as being about her childhood and growing up.  It was produced by Ghostwriter who has also worked with Rudimental and whose Twitter feed suggests that some call him “the middle 8 king”, although he admits that others don’t!

Echo

This is another upbeat and catchy tune which embeds itself in your brain after the first couple of listens. The highly rated up and coming Matt Wiggins provides some additional production on this track.  He was the recording engineer on Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ but has moved into production duties with bands such as O Children and The Milk.  With the exception of the drum kit, co-writer Jonny Harris is responsible for all of the other instruments on the track.

Shaking Heads

This was made available as a download ahead of the album’s release, even though it wasn’t an official single.  Clocking in at just under five minutes this is the longest track on the album. It was co-written by Liam Howe who also takes charge of production duties, and it’s perhaps not quite as commercial as some of the other songs here.

Count The Saints

This is the final track on the standard edition of the album, and it’s probably my least favourite.  There are so many great pop moments on the album that it feels like the album is closing with a whimper rather than a bang. It was co-written by Ben Mark who has worked with a variety of artists including most recently Mark Owen.  It’s probably the slowest song on the album, and as I mentioned earlier my preference is more towards the up-tempo tracks.

Clarity (Live)

Now we move onto tracks which you only get if you purchase the deluxe version.  It’s a live recording of the track which she recorded with Zedd, and so will already be familiar with this already.  The original version reached the top ten in the US, and also charted in several other countries around the world.  This provides a stunning alternative to the hit single version, but it fits right in with the other tracks featured on the album. Sometimes it can be fascinating to strip a dance track back down to basics, and it certainly works to good effect here.

Beauty Queen

This was co-written with Dan Radclyffe, who has previously worked with both Devlin and Maverick Sabre.  It’s a great song and is far from the kind of filler which often appear as bonus tracks on a deluxe album.  I’m not sure why this didn’t make the cut for the standard version as the total running time of the first eleven tracks is just under 45 minutes.

Home

Jonny Harris co-wrote this track, as he did with Rudimental’s no.1 hit ‘Waiting All Night’.  He is also responsible for programming / playing all the instruments on what is another slower track.  As with ‘Beauty Queen’ the standard remains high, and hopefully the listener will feel happy to have purchased the deluxe version of the album.

In Her Arms

Co-written by the same team behind ‘Beauty Queen’ though for me it isn’t quite as strong.  “She wants to hold you in her arms / she wants to tear you away from my heart” come the lyrics over a complex backing track.

The Unknown

“Walking with the humans / but I don’t think I’m like them at all” are the opening lines, and it draws the listener in straight away. It’s another Jonny Harris collaboration, and its up-tempo feel provides the perfect end to the album. This would have been another track which I would have thought would have been a possible single, though its omission from the standard edition seems to rule that out from the label’s perspective.

So that’s that.  This is an album which moves on from the hit singles to deliver a cohesive package of sixteen songs.  There will be different tracks that you like the best, but there are no real weak moments. I prefer Foxes when she is in up-tempo mood, but she has the quality of voice to deliver the slower tracks too.  She is a real find in 2013 / 14 and hopefully she will continue to brighten up the charts for some time to come.

 

Ian Anderson

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8 May, 2014 - Posted by | ChartChat

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