Roisin Murphy 2007
It’s New Year's eve, a time to reflect on the past year. Where Roisin Murphy The Artist is concerned there’s quite a bit to reflect on. Let’s do that briefly…
The story of Roisin’s life as an artist in 2007 really begins somewhere in 2006. During a one-off Moloko reunion to promote Catalogue, a compilation of the band’s hits, Roisin announced that she was working on a new album, due for release in 2007. Roisin spent most of 2006 and early 2007 writing and recording the album in London, Miami and Barcelona. About 30 songs were recorded with a wide range of writers and producers. If anyone was expecting anything like Ruby Blue, her acclaimed 2005 debut solo album, they were wrong.
The release of Roisin’s new album was finally announced in the spring. Though the autumn release date was quite far away at the time, the album’s title track and first single Overpowered had already appeared on Roisin’s MySpace when the announcement was made. It was an instant favourite of fans and critics alike. The promotional pictures released by EMI, Roisin’s new label after leaving Echo, showed a sophisticated blonde diva posing in her garden or cuddling her dog Charlie in the park.
Early July, Overpowered was released as a single – as a digital download on the 2th and physically on the 9th. Various dance remixes were made, but the original version of the song and the two b-sides gave away what Roisin had in store with her new album. While Overpowered was a masterpiece of cool synthesizer pop, clearly inspired by the 1980s, the groovy Sweet Nothings had a distinct R&B flavour. Foolish on the other hand was pure disco. One thing was clear: for Ms Murphy it was time to dance!
So musically Roisin had moved in a more poppy direction. Visually though, she still had a lot of quirk to offer. On the cover of the Overpowered single, Roisin is depicted wearing an elaborate ensemble by the Dutch designers Victor & Rolf while doing her grocery shopping on a suburban high street. In the video for the same song she is sitting on a London bus wearing a Gareth Pugh outfit that could make someone look overdressed onstage. The whole concept seemed to be about art meeting everyday life. For Roisin herself it was about “the tension between the off-stage and on-stage persona”.
Leading up to the album’s release on October 15, Let Me Know was released as a single, an anthem about hedonism and casual sex. Musically it clearly took inspiration from early 1990s house music. In the song’s video, Roisin pops into a breakfast café dressed in a quircky Martin Margiela outfit. Before she is served her ‘full English’ she dances her way through the place. None of the café’s clients seem to even notice her. What is more (sur)real, everyday life or Roisin creating her “private disco” in a café? That’s the question she seems to be asking herself and her audience.
When the Overpowered album was finally released it proved to be a success with fans and critics. Though some missed the ‘artiness’ of Ruby Blue, a negative review was hard to come by. The standout tracks on Overpowered were the first two singles, You Know Me Better, Primitive and Tell Everybody.
To promote the album, Roisin extensively toured the UK, her native country Ireland and the European mainland. On stage, she brought the Overpowered disco experience to life in a show of nearly two hours. Roisin described the show as “a party from start to finish”. In October she had an unfortunate stage accident in Moscow. She was forced to cancel some of her gigs but was back on the road in less than a week.
What does Roisin Murphy The Artist have in store for us in 2008? Well, there’s the release of another single, You Know Me Better, scheduled for February. She may also perform at summer festivals and do some shows in the US. Who knows, the album might even be released there and bring Roisin global stardom. Whatever the case may be, I’m convinced Roisin will continue to create and inspire. Isn’t that what true artistry is all about?
Please feel free to leave your comments about Roisin in 2007 and your expectations for 2008.