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“I Got the Wherewithal,” the first single from a little known band called theaudience, debuted to public consumption in the fall of 1997. At the climax of the Britpop movement, this talented sextet got lost in the shuffle. Their stellar eponymous LP, released the following summer, went onto to attain cult status. Not long after theaudience was commercially scuttled, the group quietly disbanded in tandem with Britpop's descent from the cultural zeitgeist. The frontwoman for theaudience, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, began to coolly plot her next musical move. She was unaware that she was about to set in motion a recording career that ended up stretching over 20 years.
That Ellis-Bextor has decided to assemble a retrospective to house her many stylistically expansive charters isn't surprising. Instead of a general curation of radio edits for “Murder on the Dancefloor,” “Mixed Up World,” “Catch You,” “Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer),” “Young Blood” and more, Ellis-Bextor has chosen to recreate them in a rich, inventive orchestral mode. She's even reaching back to her unsung roots with theaudience, looking toward their three singles for tracklist consideration.
In all, it's a decision that has gotten the singer's fanbase buzzing. Initially operating under the working title of Orchestral Greatest Hits, Ellis-Bextor's typical panache shined through to properly name her singles set The Song Diaries. With more information about the project available through Ellis-Bextor's PledgeMusic page, the 19-tracks-deep The Song Diaries will be officially available for purchase on March 15, 2019, in a variety of formats with other accompanying goodies.
Ahead of its release, two of the set’s tracks have been making the rounds and putting the orchestral-pop warchest at Ellis-Bextor’s disposal to good use: “Love Is You” and “Take Me Home.” The former is a brand new track that lovingly peers back to the cinematic peak of the classic disco movement. “Take Me Home” has a bit more of a storied past; initially, Ellis- Bextor’s cover of this Cher chestnut from 1979 was done for her debut album Read My Lips (2001) and served as its first single. On The Song Diaries, Ellis-Bextor returns the track to its Casablanca Records era roots.
Until Ellis-Bextor's next studio album of new material, The Song Diaries promises to be a gorgeous and gratifying stopgap.