Read My Lips (Sophie Ellis-Bextor album)

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Read My Lips
Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Read My Lips.png
Studio album by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Released 27 August 2001 (2001-08-27)
Recorded 2000–01
Length 50:04
Label Polydor
Sophie Ellis-Bextor chronology
Read My Lips
Shoot from the Hip
Singles from Read My Lips
  1. "Take Me Home"
    Released: 13 August 2001
  2. "Murder on the Dancefloor"
    Released: 3 December 2001
  3. "Get Over You"/"Move This Mountain"
    Released: 10 June 2002
  4. "Music Gets the Best of Me"
    Released: 4 November 2002

Read My Lips is the debut studio album by English singer and songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor, released on 27 August 2001 by Polydor Records. After the disbandment of the Britpop group Theaudience, in which Ellis-Bextor served as its vocalist, she was signed to Polydor. Prior to the LP's completion, the singer collaborated with several musicians, including band Blur's bassist Alex James, Moby and New Radicals frontman Gregg Alexander. The record was described as a "collection" of 1980s electronica and 1970s disco music.

Critical response to Read My Lips was polarized, with music critics denouncing its content that was, according to many of whom, of lesser quality than "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)"—the singer's collaboration with Italian DJ Spiller. The album reached number two on the UK Albums Chart, and has since been certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry. It spawned four singles: "Take Me Home", "Murder on the Dancefloor", double A-side single "Get Over You"/"Move This Mountain" and "Music Gets the Best of Me".


American musician Moby (pictured) sought Ellis-Bextor, so they could work together, due to her "amazing" voice[1]

Following the disbandment of Britpop group Theaudience, Ellis-Bextor provided vocals for the song "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" by Italian DJ Spiller.[2] The song was a commercial success,[3] and Ellis-Bextor signed to Polydor. She was contacted by director Baz Luhrmann, who offered her a role in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!, but the singer refused in order to focus on her career as a recording artist.[4] The success of "Groovejet" also prompted American musician Moby to notice Ellis-Bextor, and revealed interest in working with her due to her "amazing" voice, as he described it.[1] He instructed his record company to "track" Ellis-Bextor "down" so they could start working as soon as Moby finished his tour.[1] The two ultimately wrote five songs in New York, which did not make the final cut of Read My Lips.[4][5] Furthermore, she also recorded with band Blur bassist Alex James, former frontman of the New Radicals, while Damian LeGassick was recruited for working with programming and keyboards.[5]

The album title was chosen due to the fact of the singer had used strong lipstick for the video of "Take Me Home" and for the LP artwork.[6] The album photography was shot by Mert Alas.[7]


An "eclectic" album, Read My Lips, is a collection of 1980s electronica and 1970s disco.[4] The album opener and first single is a cover version of Cher's 1979 song "Take Me Home", described as a "disco groove".[8] Betty Clarke from The Guardian observed that her voice in the song is reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle (in the movie My Fair Lady).[9] "Move This Mountain", co-written by Alex James, is a "vibrant" ballad with a trip hop-influenced sound.[8] Following track and second single, "Murder on the Dancefloor", is a dance-pop and disco record, that utilizes bass guitar and piano in its instrumental.[9][10][11] "Sparkle" has "speeding beats and equally speeding keyboards",[9] while "Final Move" contains "tinny beats" and "electro swirls".[9] The latter was deemed a "subdued version" of "Murder on the Dancefloor" with "similar kaleidoscope synth".[12] "I Believe" was described as "funky" and "live-sounding",[9] while "Leave the Others Alone" involves "cold beats" and "big, full-throttle keyboards".[9] "By Chance" was particularly noted for showcasing Ellis-Bextor's accent.[12] Rerelease new song "Get Over You" is a "polite" Euro disco take on "I Will Survive".[13]

Singles and promotion[edit]

Main article: Read My Lips Tour

Promotion for Read My Lips launched with the release of "Take Me Home", a cover of the song by singer Cher, which was released on 13 August 2001.[14] Although its production and Ellis-Bextor's vocal performance in the song were heavily criticized,[15] the single reached number two on the UK Singles Chart.[16] After the release of the album, "Murder on the Dancefloor" was serviced as its second single on 3 December 2001.[17] It peaked within the top 10 of the charts in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.[18][19] A double A-side single including new re-release song "Get Over You" and original album track "Move This Mountain" was released on 10 June 2002, in a set of two CD singles.[20][21]

Ellis-Bextor, who had previously felt uncomfortable with the idea of touring, confirmed a UK-only tour in January 2001, to go on from April to May.[22] Later, in July 2002, other dates of the tour were revealed for 2003.[23]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[12]
Blue Coupe Positive[8] 3/5 stars[24]
The Guardian Negative[9]
The Independent Mixed[25]
Q 2/5 stars[26]
Yahoo! Music 5/10 stars[27]

Toby Manning from Q cited "Take Me Home" and "Move This Mountain" as the album's highlights, but, overall, he thought that the record failed to live up to the standard set by the previous collaboration with Spiller.[26] He also found that the album's music and the distinctive pronunciation of Ellis-Bextor's vocal delivery did not work to complimentary effect.[26] Betty Clarke from The Guardian described the album as a "sophisticated package" but said "there's little to love and even less fun to be had".[28] Kelvin Hayes from AllMusic dubbed it "a disappointing debut from Ellis-Bextor, fusing Human League synth with beats and cinematic strings", but described "Murder on the Dancefloor" as the "shimmering highlight" from the album.[12] A critic from said "the material on her debut solo album only rarely does justice to her distinctive upper-crust voice", and said that "most of the songs sound laboured and plod where they should swing".[24]

In contrast to the previous reviews, Andrew Arora from Blue Coupe had a more positive response to the record. Arora said "it lands somewhere between Pet Shop Boys' synth-pop faculty and Blondie's Parallel Lines album", although he claimed that fans of "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" "should not expect much from this album, but it does deliver a dynamic electro disco sound that is sometimes analogous to her breakthrough-hit single".[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

Read My Lips debuted at number four on the UK Albums Chart with first-week sales of 23,023 copies, peaking 41 weeks later at number two.[29] On 21 June 2002, the album was certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[30] Read My Lips had sold 833,968 copies as of January 2014.[29]

Track listing[edit]

Original release
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Take Me Home"  
2. "Lover"  
  • Ellis-Bextor
  • Andy Boyd
  • Ross Newell
  • Gary Wilkinson
  • Marco Rakascan[a]
3. "Move This Mountain"  
  • Hillier
  • James
4. "Murder on the Dancefloor"  
  • Matt Rowe
  • Alexander
5. "I Believe"  
  • James
  • Hillier
  • Wheatley[a]
6. "Leave the Others Alone"  
  • Ellis-Bextor
  • Boyd
  • Newell
Rakascan 4:09
7. "By Chance"  
  • Ellis-Bextor
  • Rez
  • Rakascan
  • Wheatley[a]
8. "The Universe Is You"  
  • Ellis-Bextor
  • Boyd
  • Newell
Rakascan 3:37
9. "Is It Any Wonder"  
  • Hall
  • Rakascan[a]
10. "Everything Falls Into Place"  
  • Ellis-Bextor
  • Boyd
  • Newell
Rakascan 3:44




Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[59] Platinum 70,000^
France (SNEP)[60] Gold 78,400[61]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[62] Platinum 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[63] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] 2× Platinum 833,968[29]
Europe (IFPI)[64] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


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  3. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing - Sophie Ellis-Bextor". BBC One. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
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External links[edit]