Head First - Goldfrapp

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. If the album seems somewhat slight, it’s purposefully so: Head First is a love letter to the frothy, fleeting, but very vital joys of pop music.
  2. Goldfrapp’s skill at adopting and fully embodying different styles is what makes them distinctive, not necessarily one signature sound. If the album seems somewhat slight, it’s purposefully so: Head First is a love letter to the frothy, fleeting, but very vital joys of pop music.
  3. At an economic 38 minutes and free of anything in the slightest bit terrible, you should welcome Head First like the first sun of spring, know it inside out by the time the band are slaying festival crowds mid-summer and possibly buying copies to give to close friends and family at Christmas.
  4. Lovely moments abound, but the overall effect is less intoxicating.
  5. For a band that has proven itself to be fearless, the idea of becoming hopelessly devoted to adult contemporary-friendly dance music is either the bravest--or craziest--move of its decade-long career.
  6. Let's be clear about this: Head First is by no means a bad record, with its lush pop gloss and flickers of melodic loveliness. But it is a bad Goldfrapp record, their flimsiest and least adventurous yet.
  7. Goldfrapp make another proficient genre hop, it simply feels like they’re failing to consolidate their last bout of proficiency. They've moved on, changed their sound, and it's just okay... again.
  8. Only "Shiny and Warm," a dark-disco burner, recalls the sootier allure of their early stuff; otherwise, ?this is pure Xanadu camp.
  9. 80
    Remarkably, the bold, full-on cheese works, because this is an album of classic pop. [Apr 2010, p.93]
  10. There are a couple of occasions when Goldfrapp's new relaxed attitude shades into lazy songwriting: Dreaming and Hunt are bland. But overall Head First is skilful pop designed for adults.
  11. Head First, enjoyable though much of it is, is disappointingly determined to return the favour.
  12. As both a concept and an insular set of songs, it works. But for an act that’s always found its footing in the future, it’s puzzling that the duo find their present rooted so firmly in the past.
  13. There's plenty of highly stylized fun to be had here. Just don't expect to remember many of the details when it's all over.
  14. It is difficult, even after repeated listenings to find something that breaks out of the formula. The only truly embarrassing moment on the album is the title track.
  15. While Head First more than delivers on its title's promise of instant sensation, like an uncorked bottle of champagne, it inevitably loses its fizz. [Apr 2010, p.110]
  16. This may be the most lovingly detailed synth-pop album since the golden days of Yaz and Kim Carnes. Yet expert execution doesn't always signal a good idea.
  17. As Will Gregory's superimposed sonic backgrounds flit by like the green-screen projections of some fickle, seemingly opportunist sci-fi magician, singer and namesake Alison Goldfrapp's voice--ethereal, otherworldly, but always human--remains a constant variable, the cord that connects all of Goldfrapp's disparate, but equally captivating, incarnations.
  18. 80
    On Head First, the singer's bandmate-producer Will Gregory creates a pitch-perfect neon-lit '80s wonderland with Hi-NRG bass lines and plenty of that fat synth sound made famous by Van Halen's "Jump."
  19. It’s one of the most unabashed love letters to anthemic ’80s synth-pop ever laid to hard disc....If that sounds like an unappealing clarion call from a dark musical period that you’re still trying to forget, this isn’t the album for you. But for those of us who weren’t beaten up by Harold Faltermeyer in a dream, Head First is a wondrous piece of creative anachronism.
  20. There are instances when the songwriting isn't that exciting, when the choruses don't ascend quite as stratospherically as they're supposed to, and you're left listening to what is, in essence, an MOR pop album.
  21. 60
    From a band as previously as stylishly provocative and adventurous as Goldfrapp, these knowing cliches and lush pastiches suggest a band playing it distinctly safe. [Apr 2010, p.88]
  22. The duo takes on Italo disco, going by the numbers to create uncharcateristically mixed results. [Winter 2010, p.63]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Tris
    Mar 23, 2010
    This is the first Goldfrapp album I haven't enjoyed at all. Making a tribute to corny 80's pop music results only in more corny 80's music. Full Review »
  2. Nov 13, 2013
    A wonderful synth album that only suffers for not being synth enough. There is a mellowness and lightness that could have been richer and deeper. Overall though it is quite strong. Download: Alive, Shiny and Warm, Rocket. Full Review »
  3. Jan 6, 2012
    In an era of synth junkies and electropop trashy artists it would seem like a bit of trend following what Goldfrapp did with 'Head first' although, there's always something about Alison and Will, they just seem to get away with it.

    Head first is the reflection of years and years of cutting edge production, lyrics and attitude from one of the greatest electronic bands in the world. The album itself is a fully loaded flashback to the 80's but with that single twist, that tiny thing that reminds us that our ears are being treated with something out of the ordinary.

    And yes, I might admit that making a synthpop album in 2010 is just running the same path as previous artists that conscious or unconsciously have been touched by Goldfrapp's influence, but I also think it's a bold and bad-ass decision, specially when a lot of people are making such amazing interpretations on the genre, but I'm guessing this is just a small part of the ingenious plan of Goldfrapp taking over the world with their music on the next few years, I'm guessing this is their way of saying they can do anything they want and getting away with it, but also beneath it all, I see this record, as a way of purging some feelings and the desire of making such music as this.

    And I say this right now, on the first week of January, 2012 after hearing the 2 new tracks on Goldfrapp's first compilation, and I might say that, even though they of course contain that electronic DNA, they seem more controlled, more refined, more appeased with their own identity as performers.

    Beautiful music will always come up, but let's just stop thinking about the future, and enjoy this amazing window to the past, that at the same time, can bring us much much further.
    Full Review »