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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. The 19-tracks-deep The Song Diaries will be officially available for purchase on March 15th, in a variety of formats with other accompanying goodies.
Ahead of its release next month, three 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,” “Take Me Home” and “Murder On The Dancefloor.”
“Love Is You,” the new track, affectionately peers back to the cinematic peak of the classic disco movement. “Take Me Home” and “Murder on the Dancefloor” are already recognizable to the casual listener and devoted Ellis-Bextor fan—both were hit singles from her platinum-selling solo debut Read My Lips (2001). The former—a cover of Cher’s Casablanca Records era gem—is returned to its lush roots; the latter, arguably Ellis-Bextor’s most well-known charter, is given a bit of a moodier, but still dynamic revision.
Until Ellis-Bextor's next studio album of new material, The Song Diaries promises to be a gorgeous and gratifying stopgap. Be sure to reserve your copy via the link below and for our readers in the UK, catch her on tour this June and beyond.