posted on November 12, 2008 19:00
Key Notes has been somewhat depressed lately. It could be any number of things; post holiday blues, the prospect of becoming a 'long-term unemployed' statistic or, most likely, because this blog has been reading far too much Kafka. Existentialism is not healthy in that dosage.
Whatever the reason, Key Notes has always taken comfort in music and it's been no different recently. To cheer himself up, this blog has started switching from his dated (no pun intended) chrono-biographical album filing system to a less manageable but more rewarding geographical filing system. Key Notes realised two things when doing this. Firstly, he clearly has far too much time on his hands and secondly, Irish artists take up a huge part of his record collection. Therefore, it's about time he started talking about his favourite Irish albums.
One thing this blog would like to make clear before he starts this series is that this is his personal opinion and so Key Notes doesn't want to read any comments telling him he's wrong. Right, now that we've got that out of the way lets start.
Key Notes Top Ten Irish Albums: 10
Róisín Murphy - Overpowered
This is the most recent and, to Key Notes' friends at least, most surprising entry on the list. Released a little over a year ago to much critical acclaim, Overpowered, as is often the case with albums that do, failed to trouble the chart compilers, reaching only 51 in the Irish charts. This is nothing new to Murphy whose 2005 solo debut, Ruby Blue, confounded even her own record company who, rather harshly, considered it a flop.
In 2006 she parted company with Echo Records and signed for EMI. It's surprising that a company as historically cagey as EMI took a risk on someone as eccentric as Murphy but with Overpowered she has rewarded their support ten-fold. Fair enough, it didn't sell that many records over here (about 40,000 in Britain) but upon its release in the US, penciled in for later this year or early 2009, Key Notes is sure Murphy's blend of arthouse disco will find a willing audience. Indeed, her double A-Side single of Movie Star and her version of the Brian Ferry song, Slave to Love, recently went to #3 in the Billboard Singles Chart.
Ironically, Movie Star is this blogs least favourite song on the album, sounding more like the work of Alison Goldfrapp than Arklow's most famous daughter. Indeed, despite all the great work put into this album by the likes of Groove Armada it is Murphy's own personality and extraordinary voice that makes it one of Key Notes favourite Irish records. At times gleeful (Footprints), at times chilling (Dear Miami), it is always entertaining, no more so than on Overpowered and on this blogs favourite song, You Know Me Better. Overpowered is the kind of album that Ray of Light era Madonna and Homogenic era Bjork would make if they invented a time machine and collaborated in the cloak room of some 70's roller-disco. That Murphy can sound that unique is a testement to her and Overpowered's genius.
I'll leave you with the brilliant Observer Music Monthly's description of Overpowered as being full of 'bubbling, sensual, and soulful glitterball gems (that) effortlessly tap into the perennial glory of feeling lost and lonely at the disco at the end of the world.' That it is only 10th on this blogs list shows the quality of albums to come.
Róisín Murphy - You Know Me Better