|Year of release||2023|
Is 2023 Róisín Murphy’s year? For me it certainly is. On the 8th of July of this year I saw her play at the North Sea Jazz Festival and was completely overwhelmed by her music, presence and her emtional electronics. Ofcourse, Murphy wasn’t a new name by far, who doesn’t know about Moloko? But in a live setting she was like an epiphany to me. Just the opening song was an entire brilliant show in itself: Can’t Replicate, coming off an upcoming album.
Flash Of Light
The last music Murphy had released was 2020’s Róisín Machine, in 2021 followed by the remix album Crooked Machine. Early 2023 the exciting single Flash Of Light was released, a 15 minute long live recording showing Murphy and band in their finest form.
On March 8, 2023, Murphy announced she had signed at Ninja Tune. which was celebrated by the release of a new single, CooCool. She also announced that a new album was underway. The single and the album were made and produced in cooperation with DJ Koze. Murphy stated: “There’s classic virtuosity and a lightness of touch, while DJ Koze’s hyper-modern production makes it bounce and glide. It’s a stupidly romantic little love poem… Can we fall in love and retain our sense of humour? ‘Embrace your inner child!’ Timeless, ageless, unavoidable love.”
A new album
On May 17 the new album was announced for a September 8th release. Another single was released on that date as well: The Universe. In a press statement Murphy addressed her working with DJ Koze. “We worked remotely, in different countries sending tracks/ideas back and forth for several years. I always have to approach a new collaboration with openness and a willingness to learn and never more so than with this. The studio in this case was imaginary, in the airspace between Hamburg and London. That meant we were both in a personal, private place when working on the songs. For me that brought out a more intimate approach to the songwriting, I told this album my secrets. For Koze it meant total freedom and absolute focus without the distraction of my presence. He too took a deep dive into himself and I believe that’s why the music is so vibrant and alive. It is just exploding with colour!
3 More singles were released in the time leading up to the album’s release, Fader (June 20), You Knew (July 18) and What Not To Do (August 9). The momentum for the album was built perfectly. Until…
On August 19, 2023, Murphy placed a post of Facebook, stating that puberty blockers (medication that prevent puberty from happening) are “FUCKED” and that “Little mixed up kids are vulnerable and need to be protected”. This didn’t go down well with (parts of) the trans community, who caused quite the stir on social media. Murphy felt compelled to issue a statement. “I am so sorry my comments have been directly hurtful to many of you. You must have felt a huge shock, blindsided by this so abruptly. I understand fixed views are not helpful but I really hope people can understand my concern was out of love for all of us.” She also stated that she understands that fans (have) left her.
After rumours that label Ninja Tune would want to boycot her album (not true), her music was to be boycot by the BBC (not true), her Hit Parade album was released on September 8th. All criticism immediately died down, the cancel culture luckily didn’t prevail, because the album is simply superb. It sold very well and the reviews were full of praise. Rightfully so?
Yes, more than merely rightful even. Hit Parade is an extremely danceable, happy (summery?) and varied album. Overall, it’s a mid-tempo album, on which Murphy seems to sing better than ever before. Her lyrics are great once again, the production is clear and, equally important when it comes to Murphy, the art direction is original and interesting.
More than ever, Murphy shows her soul side, probably inspired by the overall theme on the album, (re)new(ed) love and desire. The song Fader is thé example in that respect. But in songs like Free Will, You Knew and the highlight (for now) Can’t Replicate Murphy shows we are not done with her and she’s not done with us. Lucky us!
But then we end up at Eureka, the closing song. Do we need to take the lyrics seriously? What the doctor said / He took one look at me / Told me he could see / There was something there / And I can’t even say / What the surgeon’s gonna take away / And I don’t really care anyway / Just don’t let me wake when you’re underway / Just cut away / Like I’m made of clay. It can’t be, right?
All songs written by Róisín Murphy and DJ Koze, unless stated otherwise (complimentary writers mentioned in parentheses).
- What Not to Do (Mad Professor)
- CooCool (Mike James)
- The Universe (Dirk Berger)
- Hurtz So Bad
- The House
- Spacetime (Tadhg Properzi)
- Fader (Lawrence Gordon, Wayne Kaliff Gordon, Derek Nievergelt)
- Free Will
- You Knew (Mad Professor)
- Can’t Replicate
- Crazy Ants Reprise
- Two Ways
On September 15, 2023, Róisín Murphy announced a tour: “Me and the lads are going ON TOUR! I’m thrilled to announce both the UK and European tour to celebrate Hit Parade in February and March next year. With full band, exceptional visuals, new songs and old, a little something for everyone ???? General on sale 22nd of September.” Most certainly something to look forward to with great anticipation.
Hit Parade is the n-th highlight of Róisín Murphy’s career. Highly recommended!
What’s your take on the album? Let me know!
Róisín Murphy 2023 image: ft.com
Róisín Murphy – Flash Of Light & Róisín Murphy – Hit Parade images: spotify.com
Róisín Murphy – Hit Parade – The singles image: spotify.com/apoplife.nl
Róisín Murphy – Logo image: roisinmurphyofficial.com
Roisin Murphy – Tour 2024 announcement image: facebook.com/roisinmurphy