There have been stirrings on Little Boots’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and I’m just SO EXCITED. If you’ll notice the funny-looking phone number, that’s a toll-free UK number you can call to get a recorded message about the new album, Working Girl, which is coming out July 10. I hope these song snippets we’re getting are the first single. I just want to buy something while I wait for the new album!
Well, in the meantime, I thought I’d take a look back at one of Little Boot’s past albums, since I’ve only written about her latest EP, Business Pleasure. Little Boots is one of my favorite artists, so it’s shocking that that’s all I’ve done!
Hands was Little Boots’s first album, released in 2009. I think I discovered her back when I was listening to last.fm regularly at work. Anyway, I loved her music right away! That was one album that didn’t take me long to buy. It was good fun electropop, catchy and danceable. Looking back on it now, though, there’s really only a handful of standout songs. She’s gone on to make much better music in her so far short career.
I can’t remember what my first song was…So let’s just start with the first track of the album, as usual! That would be “New in Town,” one of my favorite songs on this album (and a favorite Little Boots song in general) not just because it’s fun and catchy and danceable (as previously mentioned) but also because it’s about LA! Little Boots wrote this song as an anthem to this city, where she lived for a time when she was part of an indie band called Dead Disco. And both times that I’ve seen her play live, this one is a crowd pleaser!
I love that the music video doesn’t feature typical LA landmarks, like the Walk of Fame, the Hollywood sign, the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s) – in fact, there’s not even a single shot of palm trees or beaches! And yet it was all filmed in LA. Fantastic!
“Earthquake” is your standard stuck-in-a-relationship-gone-sour ditty. It’s not a remarkable song for me. The video has some nice visuals.
After that we’ve got one of the great stand-outs on this album, “Stuck On Repeat,” although I MUCH prefer the version she recorded on her 2008 EP Arecibo. It’s twice as long but somehow I feel like it’s simpler and better paced. It’s so hypnotic, which is perfect for this song. That’s exactly the feeling it’s supposed to evoke. Actually, this one might have been the first Little Boots song I heard, now that I think of it. The EP version is the version I remember hearing on last.fm. Anyway, if you get this album and like this song, get the Arecibo version too!
“Click” is another relationship-gone-sour song! This album has quite a few of them, now that I think of it. Funny, since synthpop is kind of a happy-go-lucky sound. I like “Click” better than “Earthquake” though. The chorus has a good beat.
“Remedy” is by far one of Little Boots’s most popular songs. I think it’s her highest charting single. It’s a wonderful, catchy song! It’s definitely one of my favorites – and another crowd pleaser, considering it’s about dancing. The music video visuals are awesome. She had a kaleidoscope theme going on with this album, as made very clear here. It also features her weapons of choice – the keyboard and the Tenori-on, which is the square thing that looks like that Lights Out game from the 90’s. I haven’t yet got to see her use it live! The first time, it wasn’t working so she left it out of the show. The second time, the show was slightly more…acoustic? Anyway, she didn’t have it then either. One day!
“Meddle” is another stand-out, though it doesn’t get as much attention. I distinctly remember her playing this one the second time I saw her and it was AMAZING because it was a sort of rock version. She had a drummer and an electric guitarist on stage with her. It was a brilliant rendition. I need to see if I can find a rock version of it somewhere – anywhere! Anyway, the album version is just fine too! Dig that Tenori-on.
“Ghost” – another bad relationship – yadda yadda – I’m not crazy about this one either! Sorry!
“Mathematics” is kind of fun. She goes though some of PEMDAS and some other math terms. I can hear a math nerd somewhere trying to work out the song in their head like an equation and just coming up with “That’s not how math works!” Anyway, it’s catchy and easy to sing along to.
“Symmetry” is a good one too! Not the best, but good! It’s a bit of a duet with Philip Oakey of The Human League – I don’t know who that is but I have a feeling someone out there will be mad at me for it. His voice fits nice with the melody though! I can feel the early 80’s new wave traveling across the decades to meet with the late oughties synthpop.
Next up we’ve got “Tune Into My Heart.” It’s sweet and I like it, but I don’t have much to say about it! Honestly, this one felt like it could have been the ending track. But there’s a reason it wasn’t, which we’ll get to later.
I like “Hearts Collide” too! The dark, almost seductive sound is very nice. There’s something sirenic about it. It feels like she’s drawing you in. It’s a nice change, and I think maybe an indicator of some of her later sounds.
“No Brakes” is just okay. I generally fast forward through it to get to the hidden track, “Hands,” a pleasant little acoustic track. It’s just Little Boots and a piano, something I really enjoy. I have a handful of songs like that, including a cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” It’s pretty cool when you can hear how her complex electropop songs are born on a good old-fashioned piano.
There are some extra songs on various “bonus track” versions of this album (gosh, I hate it when they do that) that include “Catch 22” (a great one!), “Love Kills” (a fantastic Freddie Mercury cover), an acoustic version of “Stuck On Repeat” (beautiful), a Tenori-on Piano version of Meddle (fun!), and various remixes.
Overall, it’s difficult to rank Little Boots’s various albums, EPs, and promotional singles, but I would say that, while I still enjoy Hands from time to time, it’s my least favorite of the lot. As I go from her oldest work to her most recent work, I can her more of her unique personality shining through. She sounds more like herself as time goes on, more natural. I brought this up before, but I’m certain I read somewhere that her record label at the time, Atlantic, was trying to make her into the next Kylie Minogue, and it just didn’t work for her. She had to break out and do her own thing for awhile. That explains the four year gap between albums – Nocturnes came out in 2013. Meanwhile, the Business Pleasure EP came out about a year and a half later, while Working Girl is due out less than a year after that. That’s not even including the various EPs and promotional singles I mentioned earlier. And I haven’t even mentioned her mixtapes (have I mentioned she’s a DJ?).
I’m so glad Little Boots decided to make her own record label and do her own thing. Her work just gets better and better. I just couldn’t get enough of Business Pleasure when it came out, and I’m really looking forward to Working Girl! She’s got a great future ahead, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!