Alison Moyet: The Minutes
Alison Moyet’s soulful voice might still be known mostly for her work with Vince Clarke in the 80’s synth pop group Yazoo (or Yaz in the States). Despite numerous pitfalls with record labels, she’s managed to sustain a notable solo career throughout her time with Yazoo and has collaborated along the way with many well-known artists, including Tricky, Jools Holland, and Sinead O’ Connor. She also performed at Live Aid and Lilith Fair.
To me, as a Yazoo fan, the most interesting thing about her current work is the fascinating mash-up between synths and the folk/blues genre. Given her connections to Massive Attack and Tricky and her background with Vince Clarke, it’s of no surprise that her songs have a sort of electronic grit to them. This can also be attributed to Moyet’s producer, Guy Sigsworth, who has worked with Bjork, Madonna, Seal, and Goldie, among others. Sigsworth seems to have a perfect understanding of how to sculpt electronica into memorable hits.
A favorite of mine, and the first single off the album, is the bittersweet ballad, “When I Was Your Girl.” Her voice takes center stage, as it should, amidst a backdrop of moody, bluesy electro-folk. Yet, if you picked up the tempo and added a few more synth blips and beeps, it could almost be a B-side off of Yazoo’s quintessential release Upstairs At Eric’s.
There’s a whimsical, dreamy quality to many of the songs on this album, such as the last track, “Rung By The Tide,” a haunting dirge, which gives you the feeling of being out at sea. “Love Reign Supreme” falls on the opposite side of the spectrum as an upbeat pop song with its snappy synth-organ intro.
For someone who once claimed she never wanted to be a solo artist, Alison Moyet does a hell of a job. She also said that when it came to writing this album, she didn’t listen to anything, because she wanted only to be influenced by her own voice. Well, it certainly works for her!