Ladyhawke (album)

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Ladyhawke (album).png
Studio album by
Released19 September 2008 (2008-09-19)
Ladyhawke chronology
Alternative cover
US special edition cover
US special edition cover
Singles from Ladyhawke
  1. "Back of the Van"
    Released: 1 April 2008
  2. "Paris Is Burning"
    Released: 6 July 2008
  3. "Dusk Till Dawn"
    Released: 8 September 2008
  4. "My Delirium"
    Released: 8 December 2008
  5. "Magic"
    Released: 28 September 2009

Ladyhawke is the debut album by New Zealand singer-songwriter Ladyhawke, released on 19 September 2008 by Modular Recordings. Featuring production by Pascal Gabriel, Greg Kurstin, Kid Gloves, Kish Mauve's Jim Eliot, Paul Harris and Van She's Michael Di Francesco, the album incorporates 1980s-influenced new wave and synthpop, as well as indie rock. It was promoted by five singles: "Back of the Van", "Paris Is Burning", "Dusk Till Dawn", "My Delirium" and "Magic".

Ladyhawke received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended Ladyhawke for her ability to reproduce the music of the 1980s. The album reached number one on the New Zealand Albums Chart and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). It also charted at number 16 in Australia and the United Kingdom, receiving gold certifications in both countries. The album 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.

Album cover[edit]

The cover artwork is a watercolor painting by Sydney-based illustrator and painter Sarah Larnach of a loosely dressed Ladyhawke intently playing a NES on an unseen television.[1] Also visible are three cats, a Super NES controller, a Genesis console, a microKORG synthesiser, and a NES Zapper holstered in her underwear.


The album's 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 93 on the UK Singles Chart.[2] "Paris Is Burning" was released on 30 June 2008 as the second single from the album, peaking at number 40 in New Zealand,[3] number 52 in Australia[4] and number 61 in the UK.[5] Following a reissue on 2 March 2009, "Paris Is Burning" reached a new peak position of number 47 on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

"Dusk Till Dawn" was released as the third single on 15 September 2008, peaking at number 78 on the UK Singles Chart.[2] "My Delirium" was released on 8 December 2008 as the album's fourth single. The song became Ladyhawke's best-performing single to date, charting at number eight in Australia, number nine in New Zealand, number 19 in the UK and number 36 in Denmark.[2][6] "Magic" was released on 28 September 2009 as the album's fifth and final single. It became Ladyhawke's second highest-peaking single in New Zealand, reaching number 31,[7] while failing to chart in the UK.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[9]
The Guardian4/5 stars[10]
The Independentfavourable[11]
The Observer4/5 stars[13]
Pitchfork Media6.6/10[14]
PopMatters5/10 stars[15]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[16]
The Sunday Times4/5 stars[18]

Ladyhawke received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean 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".[8] Ben Preece of Time Off lauded the album as "a glorious ride through 80s-flavoured pop, electro-fused beats and brilliantly infectious melodies".[19] 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."[11] Dan Cairns of The Sunday Times wrote, "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."[18] 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."[9] Nadine O'Regan of Spin 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."[17]

The Guardian's Jude Rogers raved that "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".[10] Elvissia Williams of BBC Music compared the album to John Hughes' 1985 teen film The Breakfast Club and stated that "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."[20] 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."[12] At The Observer, 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."[13] Pitchfork Media's Mike Orme commented that "Ladyhawke is brimming with ideas whose worst moments quantify this past and whose best build upon it."[14] Despite dubbing 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."[16] Similarly, Emily Tartanella of PopMatters found the album to be "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."[15]


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.[21] At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, she won Breakthrough Artist – Album and Breakthrough Artist – Single for "My Delirium", and was nominated for Single of the Year for "My Delirium", Best Female Artist, Best Pop Release and Best Cover Art.[22][23]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number 15 in Ladyhawke's native New Zealand, reaching number one for one week the following year, on 19 October 2009.[24] It spent 40 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 shipments of over 15,000 copies.[25] In Australia, Ladyhawke debuted and peaked at number 16 on the ARIA Albums Chart, slipping to number 28 the following week.[26] The album spent 25 non-consecutive weeks in the top 50 and was eventually certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), selling over 35,000 copies.[27]

Ladyhawke entered the UK Albums Chart at number 47,[28] falling off the top 100 the following week.[29] Following the release of "My Delirium" and the reissue of "Paris Is Burning", the album made a re-entry at number 95 on 4 January 2009,[30] reaching a new peak position of number 16 on the chart beginning 3 May 2009.[2][31] On 17 April 2009, the album was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies.[32]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Phillipa Brown; co-writers indicated.

1."Magic"Pascal GabrielGabriel3:27
2."Manipulating Woman"
  • Roy Kerr
  • Anu Pillai
Kid Gloves3:35
3."My Delirium"
4."Better Than Sunday"
  • Eliot
  • Harris
5."Another Runaway"
  • Gabriel
  • Gray
6."Love Don't Live Here"EliotEliot4:03
7."Back of the Van"Michael Di FrancescoDi Francesco3:40
8."Paris Is Burning"
  • Kerr
  • Pillai
Kid Gloves3:49
9."Professional Suicide"Greg KurstinKurstin3:43
10."Dusk Till Dawn"
  • Gabriel
  • Gray
  • Robinson
11."Crazy World"EliotEliot3:35
12."Morning Dreams"GabrielGabriel4:00


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Ladyhawke.[38]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[27] Gold 35,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[25] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref.
Australia 19 September 2008 Standard edition Modular [45]
New Zealand 22 September 2008 [46]
United Kingdom Island [33]
Germany 23 September 2008 Universal [47]
United States 18 November 2008 Modular [48]
Japan 17 December 2008 Universal [34]
Australia 10 April 2009 Collector's edition Modular [36]
New Zealand 13 April 2009 [35]
United States 31 August 2009 Special edition


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