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Felt Mountain

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Felt Mountain
Feltmountain.PNG
Studio album by Goldfrapp
Released 11 September 2000 (2000-09-11)
Recorded September 1999 – February 2000 in Wiltshire, England
Genre
Length 39:32
Label Mute
Producer
Goldfrapp chronology
Felt Mountain
(2000)
Black Cherry
(2003)
Singles from Felt Mountain
  1. "Lovely Head"
    Released: 15 May 2000
  2. "Utopia"
    Released: 16 October 2000
  3. "Human"
    Released: 26 February 2001
  4. "Utopia (Genetically Enriched)"
    Released: 11 June 2001
  5. "Pilots"
    Released: 5 November 2001

Felt Mountain is the debut studio album by English electronic music duo Goldfrapp, released on 11 September 2000 by Mute Records. The album takes influence from a variety of music styles such as 1960s pop, cabaret, folk and electronica.

Felt Mountain peaked at number 57 in Goldfrapp's native United Kingdom, and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in October 2001. It was generally well received by music critics, and it was described as "simultaneously smarmy and seductive, yet elegant and graceful".[3] In 2001, the album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, an annual music prize awarded for the best British or Irish album from the previous year.

Recording and production[edit]

Goldfrapp signed a recording contract with London-based record label Mute Records in August 1999.[4] The pair began recording their debut album over a six-month period, beginning in September 1999, in a rented bungalow in the Wiltshire countryside.[4] The recording process was difficult for Alison Goldfrapp, who was often alone and disturbed by the mice and insects in the bungalow.[4] Gregory described their recording sessions as intense because he was unaccustomed to composing with others.[5] Goldfrapp contributed the album's lyrics, and Gregory and Goldfrapp composed the music together.[5] The lyrics are abstract obsessional tales inspired by films, Goldfrapp's childhood, and the loneliness she felt while recording the album.[4] Musically, the album takes influence from a variety of styles including 1960s pop, cabaret, folk, and electronica.[6]

Songs[edit]

"Lovely Head", Felt Mountain's opening track, features high lonesome whistling and heavily processed vocals. The song was described as influenced by Shirley Bassey and released as the album's lead single.[7] The second track, "Paper Bag", is about being obsessed with someone and not being able to have them.[8] It is followed by the third single "Human", a track with a mambo-style beat.[8] The fourth song, "Pilots", which describes travelers floating in the atmosphere above the earth, was inspired by John Barry's James Bond theme songs.[8] In the United Kingdom, a remixed version of the song was released as a single, reaching number 68 on the UK Singles Chart.[9]

The ballad "Deer Stop" features childlike vocals and sexually suggestive lyrics.[3] The title track was influenced by Goldfrapp's "idea of a wolf being whipped in this little Tudor house overlooking a snowy landscape".[8] "Oompa Radar", the seventh track, was inspired by Roman Polanski's 1966 film Cul-de-Sac.[8] The cabaret-influenced song uses a flugelhorn and a cuckoo clock to switch between tempos.[10][7] "Utopia" was released as the album's second single. The album closes with "Horse Tears", a minimalist piano ballad with filtered vocals.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
entertainment.ie Favourable[11]
Flak Magazine Favourable[10]
musicOMH Favourable[12]
NME 6/10[13]
Pitchfork 8.0/10[3]
Yahoo! Music Favourable[14]

AllMusic reviewer Heather Phares referred to the album as a "strange and beautiful mix of the romantic, eerie, and world-weary" and named it "one of 2000's most impressive debuts".[6] Eric Wittmershaus of Flak Magazine called Felt Mountain "an enchanting, accessible debut", citing "Human" and "Deer Stop" as its best songs.[10] In a review for Pitchfork, Matt LeMay described the album as "elegant and graceful", but felt that the "songs aren't all that different from one another."[3] Sacha Esterson of musicOMH compared Felt Mountain to Portishead and wrote that it could be a "contender for the year's best album".[12] Yahoo! Music's Ken Micallef commented that the duo "make elegiac music as elegant as 'Diamonds Are Forever' and as haunting as Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode to Billie Joe'", concluding that the album's "dark night of the soul is mostly bleak, beautiful, and deliciously bizarre."[14] Andrew Lynch of entertainment.ie noted that "[a]lthough at times it feel [sic] a little contrived, for the most part this is stylishly decadent music that should appeal to all fans of film noir."[11] The NME viewed the album as "cold, desolate and old-fashioned" and argued that Felt Mountain was not a "bad concept" except that "Portishead got there first, and managed to update the spy-film vibe with a hefty dose of break-driven twilight melancholia."[13]

Q magazine included the album on its list of the top 50 albums of 2000.[15] The following year, Felt Mountain was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, an annual music prize awarded for the best British or Irish album from the previous year.[16] In 2006, the album was included in Robert Dimery's book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[17] In November 2009, The Times ranked Felt Mountain at number 16 on its list of the 100 best pop albums of the 2000s.[18] The album was placed at number 94 on Slant Magazine's list of the best albums of the 2000s.[19]

Commercial performance[edit]

Felt Mountain debuted at number 144 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 914 copies in its first week.[20] In September 2001, the album peaked at number 57, and had sold 177,096 copies by August 2005.[20] Felt Mountain was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on 12 October 2001.[21] In France, the album reached number 48, and remained on the albums chart for 11 weeks.[22] It reached the top 40 in Germany[23] and the top 50 in Australia[24] and Austria.[25] Despite not appearing on any major charts in North America due to limited promotion, Felt Mountain had sold 52,000 copies in the United States as of August 2006.[26]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lovely Head"     3:49
2. "Paper Bag"     4:05
3. "Human"  
4:36
4. "Pilots"     4:29
5. "Deer Stop"     4:06
6. "Felt Mountain"     4:17
7. "Oompa Radar"     4:42
8. "Utopia"     4:18
9. "Horse Tears"     5:10

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Felt Mountain.[28]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2000–01) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[24] 44
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[25] 44
French Albums (SNEP)[22] 48
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[23] 36
Scottish Albums (OCC)[29] 50
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 98
UK Albums (OCC)[31] 57
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[32] 10

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[21] Gold 177,096[20]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Edition Label
United Kingdom[33] 11 September 2000 Standard Mute
United States[34] 19 September 2000
  • CD
  • digital download
United Kingdom 15 October 2001 2-CD Special

References[edit]

  1. ^ Koski, Genevieve (25 February 2008). "Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "Vibe Raters". Vibe 11 (9): 82. September 2003. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d LeMay, Matt (19 September 2000). "Goldfrapp: Felt Mountain". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 December 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d Simpson, Dave (4 May 2001). "Interview with Alison Goldfrapp". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Flinn, Sean (25 January 2002). "Scaling Felt Mountain". Choler Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 5 December 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c Phares, Heather. "Felt Mountain – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Reno, Brad. "Goldfrapp". Trouser Press. Retrieved 3 December 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Micallef, Ken (17 December 2000). "Whips, Wolves, & Tricky". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2008. 
  9. ^ "Goldfrapp". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d Wittmershaus, Eric (10 October 2000). "Review of Goldfrapp's Felt Mountain". Flak Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Lynch, Andrew (15 September 2000). "Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". entertainment.ie. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Esterson, Sacha (2000). "Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain (Mute)". musicOMH. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Felt Mountain". NME. Time Inc. UK. 12 September 2000. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  14. ^ a b Micallef, Ken (29 November 2000). "Felt Mountain". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Flynn, Mike (September 2000). "Felt Mountain – A Strange & Beautiful Place". Munkio. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2008. 
  16. ^ "Mercury Music Prize: The nominees". BBC News Online. 25 July 2001. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  17. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  18. ^ "The 100 best pop albums of the Noughties". The Times. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "Best of the Aughts: Albums". Slant Magazine. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c "Oasis score eighth number one hit single". Music Week. Intent Media. 30 August 2005. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  21. ^ a b "British album certifications – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". British Phonographic Industry. 12 October 2001. Retrieved 27 March 2013.  Enter Felt Mountain in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  22. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  24. ^ a b "Australiancharts.com – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  26. ^ Caulfield, Keith (3 August 2006). "Ask Billboard: 'Gold'finger". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "Felt Mountain [Bonus Disc] – Goldfrapp". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  28. ^ Felt Mountain (CD liner notes). Goldfrapp. Mute Records. 2000. CDSTUMM188. 
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  30. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain". Hung Medien. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  32. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  33. ^ "Felt Mountain". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  34. ^ "Felt Mountain – Goldfrapp (CD – Mute / Universal Music #9135)". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 21 July 2016.