This article is about the self-titled album by musician Ladyhawke. For the soundtrack to the 1985 fantasy film, see Ladyhawke#Soundtrack. For the self-titled album by the band Ladyhawk, see Ladyhawk (album).
The album reached number one in Ladyhawke's home country and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. It also charted at number sixteen in Australia and the United Kingdom, attaining gold status in both countries. It was met with positive acclaim from contemporary music critics, who commended Ladyhawke for her ability to reproduce the music of the '80s. Additionally, Ladyhawke won six awards at the 2009 New Zealand Music Awards—the most awards won since 2004—and two at the ARIA Music Awards of 2009.
Lead single "Back of the Van" was originally released as a digital download in 2008. It was re-released in the UK on 19 May 2009, reaching number ninety-three on the UK Singles Chart. "Paris Is Burning" was released on 30 June 2008 as the second single from the album. It is the second best-performing single of Ladyhawke's career so far, peaking at number forty in New Zealand, number fifty-two in Australia and number sixty-one in the UK. Following a re-release on 2 March 2009, "Paris Is Burning" reached a new peak position of number forty-seven on the UK Singles Chart. "Dusk Till Dawn" was released as the third single on 15 September 2008, peaking just outside the top seventy-five of the UK Singles Chart at number seventy-eight.
Released on 8 December 2008, fourth single "My Delirium" earned Ladyhawke her most successful hit to date, charting at number eight in Australia, number nine in New Zealand, number nineteen in the UK and number thirty-six in Denmark. "Magic" was sent to Australian radio stations on 10 June 2009 and began receiving airplay on the Nova network. It was released as the album's fifth and final single in the UK on 28 September 2009, but failed to chart there. Nevertheless, it became Ladyhawke's second highest-peaking single in New Zealand, reaching number thirty-one.
Ladyhawke received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 70, based on 17 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". In a review for Time Off, Ben Preece referred to the album as "a glorious ride through 80s-flavoured pop, electro-fused beats and brilliantly infectious melodies". Simon Price of The Independent noted that the album is "simultaneously very then and very now: it couldn't have been made any later than 1985, or any earlier than 2001."The Sunday Times reviewer Dan Cairns wrote that "the record is awash with the sonic squiggles, thumping beats and lethal chord sequences of classic 1980s chart pop and electro." Cairns continued, "Each of the 13 tracks has a chorus to kill for, and Brown's voice—Kim Wilde meets PJ Harvey—features an end-of-phrase exhalation that is sex on a microphone stand." Jon O'Brien of Allmusic felt that "despite its blatant retro vibe, [the album] still manages to sound fresh thanks to its clever production and Brown's fiery and vibrant vocals." Nadine O'Regan of Spin magazine praised the album as "a confection of synth-infused, mammoth-chorused tunes that sound surprisingly and thrillingly fresh", adding that "[t]he trick lies in Brown's blissfully irony-free attitude: Through the digital wizardry and pumping beats, you can hear an unabashedly heartfelt and occasionally vulnerable artist."The Guardian's Jude Rogers raved that the song "Magic" "may be the best opening track on any album this year", while describing tracks like "Dusk Till Dawn", "My Delirium" and "Another Runaway" as "monumental".
Elvissia Williams of BBC Music compared the album to the 1985 teen comedy film The Breakfast Club, stating, "Just like the John Hughes movie classic, her debut album blends love, anxiety and youthful bashfulness. Any scenester with a Casiotone can Xerox the 'sound' of the 80s; Ladyhawke's genius lays in her ability to distill the *spirit* of Brat Pack-era America—its innocence, its wide-eyed euphoria, its unshakeable faith in happy endings." Mark Beaumont of the NME opined that Ladyhawke's "louche synthetic pop is brazenly Bananarama, ridiculously Rio, and wonderfully [Pete] Waterman, but the lack of posing—her sheer scruffiness—makes it the first credible '80s pop record since ABC's The Lexicon Of Love."The Observer's Peter Robinson viewed the album as "an accessible but immensely rewarding listen, and while some of this singer's influences may be middle of the road, her album isn't even on the road. It's storming across the desert on a nice red motorbike."Pitchfork Media's commented that "Ladyhawke is brimming with ideas whose worst moments quantify this past and whose best build upon it." Despite calling Ladyhawke a "skillful craftswoman", Rolling Stone's Jody Rosen concluded that "as with so much Eighties revivalism, there is a chilly emptiness to the exercise; most of the songs feel like fashion statements." Similarly, Emily Tartanella of PopMatters argued that the album is "willfully, occasionally wonderfully, over-the-top. But it's all style, and no substance, and so without the style, well, there's really nothing there."
The album earned Ladyhawke six New Zealand Music Awards in 2009 for Album of the Year, Single of the Year for "My Delirium", Best Female Solo Artist, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album and International Achievement Award (shared with Brooke Fraser), in addition to a nomination for Peoples' Choice Award. This was the most awards won at a ceremony since 2004, when rapper Scribe also won six. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, she won Breakthrough Artist – Album and Breakthrough Artist – Single, and was nominated for Single of the Year for "My Delirium", Best Female Artist, Best Pop Release and Best Cover Art.
The album debuted at number fifteen in Ladyhawke's native New Zealand, reaching number one for one week the following year, on 19 October 2009. It spent forty non-consecutive weeks on the chart and earned a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) on 20 December 2009, denoting sales of over 15,000 copies. In Australia, Ladyhawke debuted and peaked at number sixteen on the ARIA Albums Chart, slipping to number twenty-eight the following week. The album spent twenty-five non-consecutive weeks in the top fifty and was eventually certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), selling over 35,000 copies.
Ladyhawke entered the UK Albums Chart at number forty-seven with first-week sales of 3,500 copies, falling off the top one hundred the following week. The album subsequently made a re-entry on 4 January 2009 at number ninety-five for two separate chart runs, following the release of "My Delirium" and the re-issue of "Paris Is Burning", re-climbing to a new peak position of number sixteen for the chart commencing 3 May 2009. The album remained in the top 100 for thirty-three non-consecutive weeks, and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 17 April 2009 for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies.