I’ve never been much of a Doctor Who fan but I do sometimes find myself watching it with my girlfriend, who likes it. One of the better episodes I have seen was one called “Mummy on the Orient Express”. It was about a Mummy that was killing off passengers in a space version of the Orient Express. This was also the first time I’d heard the artist whose album I am now writing about – Foxes.
In the episode she performs a cover of Queen’s ” Don’t stop me now”. She has a knack for performing great covers, as I later discovered with her version of Pharrel’s happy, mixed with Massive Attack’s “Teardrops”.
“All I need” is the follow up to her debut album, “Glorious”. I didn’t hear the latter until it had been out for about a year and a half. But with “All I Need” I jumped straight in on the strength of that first album. And I wasn’t disappointed – I loved it immediately. There was no skipping through songs to hear the singles I was familiar with; I always listen to this album front to back.
The songs on this album sound huge. Many are unashamedly pop belters with big drums, strings and Louisa Rose Allen’s stunning vocals. Then there are some that take a step back with a slower and, dare I say, darker tone. In fact my favourite song on this album is “Devil Side” – A darker ballad about being in love with someone who has a darker, perhaps even violent, side. But that’s open to interpretation.
Run and hide, it’s gonna be bad tonight
Cause here comes your devil side
It’s gonna ruin me
It’s almost like, slow motion suicide
Watching your devil side, get between you and me
Devils Side, track 7 from All I Need
When you focus on the lyrics of this album, the theme comes through evidently – that of doomed love, and of loving someone that your heart says yes to, but your head is yelling no.
This is what I take from it anyway.
Burrowing a little deeper
Each song on All I Need is great, there’s no filler songs here. And the pacing across the album is just right. In one breath you’ll be hearing a catchy pop tune while in the next you’ll be hearing a stripped down piano ballad.
The opening of the album is an epic-sounding instrumental, which is later reprised on the album’s closing song.
Then we drop into “Better Love”, which starts with Louisa’s singing over simple piano, followed soon by a recurring sound from the album – a pulsing kick drum. This song, along with the following – the super-catchy single “Body Talk”, serve to give you a good idea of what to expect from Foxes – vast, layered, powerful songs.
Of course like any great artist there’s variety in this here album. As mentioned above, “Devils Side” slows things right down, as does “If You Leave Me Now” and “On My Way”.
With “On My Way” Louisa sings over piano backed with a light string arrangement and one of my favourite choruses on the album. The song is played light on the piano as she sings softly. Then the chorus drops deep and heavy as she sings:
Something I just need to learn
Every time I feel alone
I can’t keep running back to you again
Turned my gold into dust
Rain on me until I rust
All I do is run to you again
On My Way, track 12 from All I Need
This album has songs that would be great to get ready for a party to. Equally some others would be suited to lying in the dark, retrospectively.
If you’re looking for a modern pop album that isn’t afraid to dip into the darker side of love, then check this one out.