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The Album "Eliza Doolittle" is a big relief from conventional pop. It fits under the genre of Indie pop with influences of ska and folk music. What I love about this album, is that it is so carefree and quirky and upbeat without being over the top. Eliza Doolittle is an icon for Britain because she is so creative at such a young age.
She manages to be innocent and cheeky at the same time as well as being sophisticated but down to earth. I think the way that she reconciles these opposites is what makes the album come to life.(Singing in a British accent is also pretty special!)
1. 'Moneybox' - 3:04
2. 'Rollerblades' - 3:03
3. 'Go Home' - 2:57
4. 'Skinny Genes' - 3:04
5. 'Mr Medicine' - 3:27
6. 'Missing' - 3:42
7. 'Back To Front' - 3:41
8. 'A Smokey Room' - 2:53
9. 'So High' - 2:41
10. 'Nobody' - 3:00
11. 'Pack Up' - 3:11
12. 'Police Car' - 3:21
13. 'Empty Hand' - 3:05
My favourite tracks are 'Skinny genes', 'Rollerblades' and of course 'Pack up'.
Lyrically, "Skinny Genes" refers to how one can dislike all the personality traits of a partner but still enjoy the sexual chemistry one shares with them. Above all, the song is humorous from start to end and it gives a refreshing perspective on relationships which are often stereotypically romantic when portrayed in musical albums.
Skinny genes will make you blush out of shame and laugh at the same time at a situation where it is really the woman who is in control. (I love the whistling bit too!)
'Rollerblades' is all about carefree fun and the song is quite relaxing actually. The lyrical content of the song is probably more complex than it first appears to be:
"I know you say you're ready to change
But I need to get it down on paper
It's in your face you're ready to blame
The first guy in line to catch the train
I'll save your seat
'Cause you don't stand for what you preach"
Clearly it is about a troublesome relationship, but in an effortless way, Eliza seems to convey that she can roll on and move on. If only everyone could do that, then the world would be an easier place to live in!
Pack up is the perfect song for people who are stressed out and always grumbling about things. Sometimes we fall into this trap and don't realise that we are making too big a deal about trivial things.
It has that free non-chalance about it which is infectious and really puts a spring in your step.
I first heard of Eliza Doolittle through Radio One. Driving along in my car, I found myself humming along to "Pack Up". A few weeks later, I finally decided to pop on to iTunes and purchase just this song - but after flicking through a few other clips of the rest of her album, I decided to purchase the lot. Ever since, it's been brightening my day, as I have it set on random for my alarm in the morning. And one little listen gets each song stuck in my head for the rest of the day - the sign of a good album, I think?
Who is Eliza Doolittle?
I confess, I like listening to music, but I'm not one for knowing things about singers and musicians. So, a little bit of research tells me that Eliza Doolittle was born in London, and is the daughter of director John Caird, and singer Frances Ruffelle. She's also the grandchild of Sylvia Young. She released a four-track EP in November 2009, but her debut single was in 2010. She has toured with Jamie Cullum and Alphabeat, and her self-named album is her first, following the release of her second single earlier this year.
What does the album look like?
The front cover of Eliza Doolittle is bright, colourful, and features Eliza, holding a dice, and surrounded/sitting on various random pictures - these pictures include a cat, a lion, a volcano, a plane and lots of buildings. An interesting and eye catching design.
How many tracks are on the album?
Eliza Doolittle features thirteen tracks:
3. Go Home
4. Skinny Genes
5. Mr Medicine
7. Back to Front
8. A Smokey Room
9. So High
11. Pack Up
12. Police Car
13. Empty Hand
Each song is typically pop, similar to that of Lily Allen - in fact, when I first played the album for my ex boyfriend (who had been away for a year and never heard of Eliza Doolittle), he thought it was Lily Allen. Her accent reminds me a bit of Kate Nash as well, as she has a fantastic London accent, which really comes through in her work.
Moneybox is an enjoyable song, with lyrics that you really want to listen to, and a catchy chorus. This is the same with Mr Medicine, which I think is also great for driving through the country with - it has a really nice, fresh sound. A Smokey Room demonstrates a quirkiness which is delightful to listen to, and breaks up the album quite nicely from the cheerful tunes that fill it. Pack Up and Nobody offer sing-a-long style choruses ("What's wrong wth being a nobody..."/"Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag") whilst joining Police Car, Rollerblades and Back to Front as cheerful good morning tunes which launch me out of bed in a fantastic mood each morning, and So High shows off the unique quality which Eliza Doolittle has in her voice - a controlled. relaxed style which leaves me feeling relaxed and in the perfect mood for doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the afternoon.
Any personal favourites?
As I am sure everybody does, I have some personal favourites on this album - those songs which I flick straight to, and don't mind listening to over and over. Firstly, I find the tune to Go Home really fun, cheerful and quirky. It's the type of song which can be played over and over, with more to find with each repeat, be it the backing singers, the multiple different bells, drums and other instruments playing plenty of different tunes, or the lyrics, which are clever and fun. Definately one of my top three! Oh, and being able to sing "cha cha cha!" at the end puts a smile on my face every time :)
Skinny Genes, which was the first single Eliza Doolittle brought out, and this chorus is certainly my favourite, and I can't help whistling along! It also has a playful message in the song, and I love things like this - I enjoy wondering what the songs all mean. Finally, I have to put in a special mention for the final song on the album: Empty Hand. A sucker for beautiful pieces of music, this is one of the most stunning slow songs I have heard in a long while. The piece is so simple, and so gentle, and the lyrics are fitting to the son being placed at the end of the abum. A beautiful ending to the other twelve songs before it, I could listen to this one song all day, and never get bored. It truly is, in my opinion, a stunningly wonderful piece of music. Ten out of ten.
So how would you rate the album overall?
A spur of the moment purchase, I am more than pleased, and feel that is was £7.99 (iTunes) well spent. Each song is original and well thought out, and the album runs smoothly from one song to the next. There is a good mix of slow, fast, cheesy and quirky tunes, with thoughtful lyrics sung by a very talented young artist. Her voice is not exactly unique, but rare - as I mentioned before, she has a similar sound to that of Lily Allen or Kate Nash - and a joy to listen to. She has a relaxing tone, which makes me want to kick off my shoes, lay back with a cup of tea, and do nothing all except listen. The sign, I feel, of a very good album indeed.
Personally, I rate this nine out of ten - for her first album, I think she demonstrates that she is going to be a roaring success, and I look forward to new material from her in the future. A definate recommendation to everybody.
Eliza Doolittle is the debut album from Eliza Doolittle. The album was released in the United Kingdom in July 2010 and so is recent. The album is currently available from Amazon for a price of £6.93 which I think is good value for money.
~* Tracklist *~
1)Moneybox 2)Rollerblades 3)Go Home 4)Skinny Genes 5)Mr Medicine 6)Missing 7)Back To Front 8) A Smokey Roon 9)So High 10)Nobody 11)Pack Up 12)Police Car
At first, Eliza Doolittle was one of them 'in the background' kind of popstars, popular, but not so popular as the likes of Cheryl Cole. It was only recently that I actually had a proper listen to a couple of her songs and that is what made me buy the album.
The album is very unique and has a 'positive vibe'. There are lots of catchy songs on here. My favourites songs are 'Skinny Genes' as it is really catchy, although it is kind of 'annoying catchy'. I also like the song, 'Back To Front' as it is quite emotional and is relaxing to listen to. I thought that the song 'Empty Hand' was a clever way to end the album; with a goodbye to the listeners. I wouldn't say that I absolutely love the songs on here, but they are very likeable. I like the 'summer sound/feel' that the album has, and some of the songs remind me of Corinne Baileys 'Girl Put Your Record On' song, which has always reminded me of summer.
I didn't know anything about Eliza Doolittle, and so googled her and discovered that she is the grand-daughter of 'Sylvia Young' ; the lady who set up the 'Sylvia Young performing arts school', and so it's no wonder Eliza has a record deal (more of who you know rather than what you know!).
Eliza has quite a unique voice which is quite raw and rough, yet it still pleasurable to listen to. When I first heard her songs, I had imagined that she was quite young, say about sixteen or seventeen, although I later discovered that she is twenty two. I like the fact that her happy personality shines through on the album ; she comes across as really bubbly, and I love the 'feminine' sound the album has, as though it is a CD just for girls!
If your looking for a 'pick-me-up', then this album is sure to cheer you up, as it is an instant mood booster. These are the kind of songs that you could imagine someone whistling to ; they're very addictive! Once you have a song, it stays in your head! It's definately a CD for the car, and is a CD which is sure to have you singing along!
If you are looking for a happy CD , then this is ideal!
Thanks for reading!
November 19th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on dooyoo under xd-o-n-z-x)
Eliza Doolittle is a pretty new name in the music industry but is already hitting some good notes with music fans on the radio.
The self named album was released on July 12th , not long after Eliza signed with Parlophone records and has succesfully made it to a gold record, along with all her tracks making it to the top 25 singles. Not a bad job for the 22 year old from westminster.
Being her first album it needed to get her image, style and quality across, and being the sort of person who listens to anything but knows what he likes, I was extremely pleased with this debut.
Her style is definatley in the pop/folk category and seems to me like a family freindly lily allen for want of a better idea. The talky style fits in well with the jazz and bouncy feel of her top tracks, Pack up and Skinny genes.
Part of her appeal also comes with her support of my beloved Arsenal FC.
So on with the music ....
As I said the first song needs to show the style to come, Moneybox is filled with percussion, happiness and a crisp clear voice which is relaxing to listen to.
Thrown in are some strange lyrics which show the songwriting talent of Eliza as they actually work, " Instead of going out to dinner tonight, we can grow vegtables underneath the skylight ".
But what is really great with the song is it's ability to stick in your head, the chorus is snappy and repetitive and also has a nice meaning behind it, that you don't need money and that it's those around you who make you happy.
As an opening track it does the job of easing you into the album and I can't really find any faults 5/5
This song takes the pace down a little and has a simple few piano notes in the background. I'm not completely sure this song really goes well with Eliza, the verse feels a little off and the chorus doesn't hit home as much.
It's not that it isn't a nice song, but it just doesn't feel good in the album. 3/5
3. Go home
Back in her element , this song has a repetitive beat that Eliza's voice seems to hold and brings everything together.
The lyrics tell of Eliza hiding out in a house far from home, listening to music and dancing, whilst trying to evade the choppers and police cars. "Looking out the window , see a chopper a flying, wonder what their doing if there looking for a girl with curly hair"
The whole song has a good ring to it and is a nice summer tune, the rhytmic singing whisks you away to another world and it makes the commute a lot easier. 5/5
4. Skinny Genes
The first song that really propelled Eliza into the music world and once again it's playing within her range and keeping to the formula thats made her songs popular.
Her vocals in Skinny genes seem flawless and the way she says "I really don't like your arrogance" is wonderful as she shows a childish voice mixed in with the innuendo's of the "Take off your skinny genes, so we can do this properly".
Again a song with a life learnt meaning, the song is all about that person you love who is a complete ass but you can't live without, im sure we all have one, and if you don't , it's probabley you. 5/5
5. Mr medicine
Drums and acoustic guitar are an important part of a summer tune and Mr medicine plays up to this to provide a great tune.
The song builds up nicely raising into chorus, vocal wise its a good job although there are certain moments which show up the roughness of the track and voice, it works in a way as it personalises the track and shows its a true peice of the artists work and not a shopped peice of rubbish.
Eliza's ability to write lyrics which stick in your head keeps appearing and soon you will be walking around singing a mash-up of the album. 5/5
This track has a elevator music style backing and it just doesn't sit right, the lyrics are stop start in fitting with the tune and doesn't work with Eliza's voice.
The lyrics still stick , especially the opening line of "I'm called dolittle, but I do a lot" but this song has an annoying edge to it rather than the coolness and acoustic feel of the rest of the album. 3/5
7. Back to front
A really pleasent song and one with a more emotional, love feel to it. The lyrics are clever and have some nice imagery "I wouldn't mind walking backwards with you, at least we'd know where we were going to".
It shows the artist can put across a different style rather than bouncy and happy, the slightly more serious approach shows there is some growth to be had in future albums if she chose to go in this direction. 4/5
8. Smokey room
Another tune that doesn't work in her favour as the movement of the song makes her sound a little croakey, add into this a horrible backing singer in the chorus it leads to it being the worst of the album. 2/5
9. So high
A slow paced song which is a nice evening song, it shows Eliza can project her voice a little and hit some nice notes. Again this is a direction she can work on and could take a album in this direction.
The lyrics and sound is nice and works as a taster of different abilities and style. 4/5
An upbeat song with nice lyrics and the bog standard Eliza does. The lyrics are fun and carry a good message, "I can be A , I can be C , multiple choice don't fit in with me".
It's a song about being yourself and finding your own style, unfortunatley the song doesn't seem to build throughout the track and just seems to carry on. 4/5
11. Pack up
Now this , this is the standout track of the album and no doubt the one you have heard. Everything about this song is good, it's upbeat, it shows Eliza's songwriting and singing ability and it is something different.
The song builds and the chorus has a wonderful blues style backing which is missed in much of todays music, you can really feel that this is the song that she's truly proud of as her voice is really thrown into it.
The music and lyrics will stick in your head and is heavily addictive, the song also carries a message which seemed very personal to me. "I get tired and upset, Im trying to care a little less" and this song really does pack you up and say bring it on. 5/5 and song of the album.
12. Police car
Slowing up again but a nice progression and some smooth guitar playing, there is some hit and miss sections and a few of the lyrics seem a little random even for Eliza.
This seems like a little filler song to bring up the track numbers, it's nothing special and certainley not one of her best 2/5
13. Empty hand
The last song of the album and were not going out with a bang, this is a sad and solemn song which really ends the album on a sad note. However it's a clever song because it's Eliza saying goodbye to listeners and her being tired from the album, with todays music theres a good chance we may not hear from her again which is a shame.
A lovely and meaningful song, 4/5
The album is available on Amazon for £7 which is fair enough price, some songs are worth more than others which is why downloads are great. And of course free to listen to on spotify.
Overall it's a nice album for an exciting new artist that I hope to hear from again.
A review of the standard UK release for Eliza Doolittle. You can expect to pay around £7 for the physical format, featuring thirteen tracks, but there is also a download version on iTunes for the bargainous price of £5.99, which also features the videos for the first two singles.
==I Am Doolittle, But I Do A Lot==
There's a lot of snobbery in music. There always has been. It's unacceptable to come from a reality music show like X Factor, for example. Such contestants can't sing and don't really "care about the business" entirely. Another route into greatness is through familial links. Sophie Ellis-Bextor came from the arms of a Blue Peter presenter (and nobody ever seemed to let her forget it). Lily Allen's father was an actor, musician and TV presenter, and in spite of the fact that she has proven that she's a credible singer and song writer, she still gets a lot of stick for it. So you've got to hand it to 22 year-old Eliza Sophie Caird, otherwise known as Eliza Doolittle. Both her parents are in the business (father John Caird, director, mother Frances Ruffelle, singer) and her grandmother is Sylvia Young, who was made an OBE in 2005 for her services to theatre and the arts.
Eliza Doolittle, the self-titled debut album was released in July of this year, both in digital and physical format. Having so far scaled the heights of number three in the UK album chart, it can certainly be seen as something of a success, but more so one of those 'quiet phenomena' than a storming, runaway train. Indeed, the two singles released commercially to date have been equally gentle successes, with Skinny Genes reaching number 22 and the follow-up seeing rather more success with a top 5 position in the same month that the album was released. Perhaps it's my age, or the fact that I'm just not 'down with the kids' these days, but Doolittle seems to have quietly slipped into the mainstream. The album's quirky, rather harmless sound could hardly offend anyone (Lily Allen does so like to use the f-word, for example) and the album is an affectionate, rather charming antidote to the teen angst so often found in recording artists of this age.
==Pack Up Your Troubles==
That explosive, rather chaotic cover art pretty much sums up this album, which somehow manages to squeeze in countless different styles and sounds into what is, by any account, an impressive debut. This is Doolittle's work through and through. She co-wrote all thirteen of the tracks here, alongside an assortment of writers and producers who have been in the business for, well, let's just say a total of lots of years. At a time when the music industry is pretty uninspiring, Doolittle's quirky zest for music and life and love is unquestionably refreshing. It's easy to dwell on those family connections, and suggest that she has had a kick start here, but the fact is that this is an incredibly accomplished debut and it would be hard for anybody to take that away from her.
I'm not sure I'd exactly know where to begin in describing the sound of Eliza Doolittle. It's that archetypal combination of new and old, a sort of retro-modern cornucopia of big band, jazz, ska, reggae and countless other vintage styles. For the most part, it's an upbeat, rather summery affair that simply demands to be played at huge volume on a day out to the beach, and that's probably where its pretensions end. It doesn't seem that Doolittle has delusions of anything other than her own skill at making music seem like fun all over again. Fusing samples of classic tracks with contemporary beats and rhythms and a curiously old school production style, it's rather less demanding than most of her peers. The most likely comparisons are with her UK counterpart Lily Allen (for obvious reasons) but also because they share a similar age and, at first listen, lyrical style. But the material here isn't bitter and self-important like Lily Allen. It's not all about everybody else being at fault. The sugary, pop music style of Katy Perry also draws comparisons here, but the production is very different. Perry is very polished, very mainstream and, in spite of her success with that song about kissing a girl, actually not particularly daring. Doolittle is more innocent, but cheekier and really rather more endearing. Whereas the logical progression for Perry and Allen is to find their singles remixed and filling up the dance floors, Doolittle will almost certainly never make this transition. It just isn't the vibe of the album. Music festivals, maybe, pounding night club speakers - no way.
There's one very obvious, very inherent issue with the album of course, and that's the very superficial nature of everything going on here. As one joyful, upbeat little tune segues seamlessly into the next, it all rather starts to wash over you. One track merges into its successor and before you know, all thirteen tracks have been and gone. It's unlikely that this is an album that will on future classic play lists. It's a soundtrack of the moment, full of songs that are joyful but almost instantly unmemorable. That very undemanding nature of the sound here works as much against it as it does for it. As much as it's easy to instantly fall in love with Eliza Doolittle and all those utterly infectious hooks, she couldn't really hold you responsible for falling out of love with her again almost as quickly, as the next big thing comes hurtling along.
==I've Got Lots and Lots of What I Need Right Here==
Lyrically, these aren't sophisticated songs, but there is a certain cleverness here. Pop culture references abound, with things like Sega Megadrives and skinny jeans somehow managing to find their way into various tunes. This is the soundtrack to the lives of your average twenty-something, falling in and out of love (and bed) at the drop of a hat, but still holding on to that belief that life is great and that's all you need to know. A world-weary, miserable old cynic might find that all a bit too sugary, but that aside, it just makes this a happy, uplifting album, full of curiously profound words and lyrics.
Skinny Genes (can you see what she did there?), for example is a song about what it's like to be with somebody that you can't stand in pretty much every way but you can't deny that there's an amazing physical spark between the sheets. Doolittle handles this with a sort of cheeky grin (Christina Aguilera take note) where she tells somebody that she really doesn't like his skinny jeans but she does like what's underneath. Nobody is an exercise in simple humility, in which Doolittle discusses the merits of just being somebody not particularly spectacular. "What's wrong with being a nobody" questions the singer as, ironically, she makes the journey from being just that to being somebody really rather famous. But it's an insight into the singer's psyche. She's not on a celebrity trip here - she's just enjoying her music. Sometimes, you wish she'd go a bit further. Moneybox is an obvious swipe at consumer culture, but it's all coated in a slightly wacky, musical candy-floss that rather softens the blow.
But do you know what the best thing about Doolittle is? It's her voice. It's authentic and youthful, simple, expressive and honest. It's not a perfect, powerful voice (occasionally it sounds slightly rough around the edges) but that just adds to the appeal. This doesn't sound like a singer that has been right through the Simon Cowell sausage machine, with a veneer of gloss and polish that effectively shrouds anything 'real'. You could be forgiven for thinking that Doolittle has just stepped out of bed. It's as though she just had a cup of tea, cleared her throat and then grabbed a microphone to sing her heart out. And *that's* the crack here. Whatever she sings about, there's some heart to it. It's not until you hear it here that you realise how often it's missing elsewhere in the contemporary music scene.
==Do You Know What You Are?==
The fact is that this is an album destined to feature in countless television dramas, romantic comedies and advertising campaigns. It's *that* sort of album. You can almost see the studio/television executives sitting around making their creative decisions and insisting that their show/film should feature 'that Eliza Doolittle song - you know the one with the whistle'. This isn't necessarily an insult. It's testament to the fact that this is music that the world will connect with. Indeed, Skinny Genes has already started the trend, featuring as the theme music for the adverts for fashion catalogue Very. If you think the song sounds familiar, that's because it features a sample from Andy Williams' Butterfly. It's testament to Doolittle's skill that she can feature something from a song from the 1950s on a 2010 album. It's not the only sample, of course. Pack Up features an even older sample, from 1915, where Lloyd Wade sings the main chorus from Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag.
Three To Download
Skinny Genes - This is the most endearing and instantly likeable tune on the album. The jaunty piano instrumental plonks away alongside that Andy Williams' sample and is pretty much genius in every way. The cheeky lyrics are subtle but pertinent and will make a connection with a huge proportion of the audience.
Rollerblades - The song kicks off with a slightly melancholy piano introduction and there's a wistful nature to the lyric here that makes this one of the most heartfelt tunes on the album. It's a little rough around the edges, but that unpolished nature gives it real substance as Doolittle lyrically loses her patience.
A Smokey Room - One of the slower songs on the album, A Smokey Room evokes the likes of Adele, both vocally and in terms of the jazzy arrangement. It's probably one of the more daring tracks on the album and demonstrates the singer's potential versatility.
This is an unquestionably strong, innovative and stylish debut that showcases Doolittle's talents as both singer and songwriter. This is a wonderfully uplifting debut, full of quirky, summery tunes that are undemanding and instantly accessible. Conversely, that makes it all a little *too* easy to forget and you can't help thinking that this is just the beginning of something much bigger and much better. But you certainly won't mind satisfying yourself with this collection of songs whilst you wait and see.
==Full Track Listing==
3. Go Home
4. Skinny Genes
5. Mr Medicine
7. Back To Front
8. A Smokey Room
9. So High
11. Pack Up
12. Police Car
13. Empty Hand
One day at work during the early days of August I was listening to Eliza Doolittle's "Pack up your troubles" on Radio 2 and was worrying about my future, so I decided to 'pack up my troubles in my old kit bag' and go Amazon shopping to cheer myself up (these days are numbered, as I will soon be resigned to a life of being a poor person - I really don't want to be a poor person), and one of the things I purchased was this album for the price of £7.
I first heard "Pack up your troubles" on some daytime TV programme that was on in the background while I was 'Facebooking', and I was immediately drawn to it. I loved the contagious enthusiasm of both Eliza Doolittle and the bloke (Lloyd Wade) singing the "pack up your troubles" chorus (although for some reason he reminds me of someone who is slightly constipated). Soon after, I first heard the song on the radio, and quite frankly it hasn't stopped playing since...but you know what, I think it's going to be one of those songs that I just don't get tired of, like Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and BWO's "Sunshine in the Rain" (without these songs I don't know where I'd be - perhaps a gibbering wreck in some corner somewhere)...
---Let's Google Her---
At work I am the font of all knowledge. It took a couple of years for my colleagues to get wise to the fact that every time they
didn't know the answer to something and within seconds I had all the answers, that I was actually using Google. Having revealed my guilty secret nowadays I just say "I'll Google It" - this happens at least several times a day - they still think I'm amazing to be able to find the answers so quickly on Google though.
Incidentally I remember it well as the day I Googled Eliza Doolittle was the same day I Googled Bejam (British frozen food retailer established in 1968) in order to find out when it was taken over by Iceland (it was 1989 for those who are interested).
I'm not going to bore you with details, you might as well Google her yourself (I really am starting to sound like a bit of an advert for Google!), but she was born with her real name Eliza Caird in 1988 in Westminster (ooooh, I used to work in Westminster), her mother is singer Frances Ruffelle (of Eurovision fame), and grandmother is Sylvia Young (theatre school founder)...
Having read a couple of reviews of the album and I decided that the time had come for me to take the CD out of its plastic wrapper and bung it in the DVD player to have a listen - initially things started to go horribly wrong as for some reason I couldn't turn the volume down and I had both an episode of 'Friends' blaring out, and the first song on the CD bizarrely playing at double speed (I don't know what Mona next door must've thought).
But once the crisis had adverted and the CD was playing on its own and at normal speed and volume I listened to it whilst reading some reviews.
The one track which stuck in my head after listening to the album was "Rollerblades", and I found that even though it was the first time I'd heard the song I was singing along.
---A track by track analysis...---
1. Moneybox (3:04) - "Instead of goin' out to dinner tonight
We can grow vegetables underneath our sky light" - a very catchy tune with quirky lyrics and a simple beat. Definitely a good start to the album. - 8/10
2. Rollerblades (3:03) - my favourite track on the album, it reminds me of my commute every day what with the talk of trains...."The first guy in line to catch the train, I'll save your seat 'Cause you don't stand for what you preach" - The chorus is absolutely fantastic" While beating up on yesterday, I was on my rollerblades, Rolling on, moving on" - I love it! I love the piano intro, makes me want to have a little tinker on mine. - 10/10
3. Go Home (2:57) - pretty non-descript song really, a nice tune enough to listen to, but nothing particularly special. "I just want to go home, Unlock these handcuffs and let me go" - 7/10
4. Skinny Genes (3:05) - this was apparently Eliza's first single. "I really don't like your skinny jeans So take them off for me Show me what you've got underneath So we can do this properly I really don't like your point of view" - It sounds a bit similar to "Pack up your troubles" in terms of tune and beat especially at the beginning. Normally whistling bothers me (it reminds me of window cleaners, and I have a slightly irrational fear of window cleaners), but it doesn't bother me in the chorus of this song. - 8/10
5. Mr Medicine (3:27) - sounds more like she's singing Mr Madison, but still it's a good song, another really catchy tune. "Oh, Mr Medicine, oh, Mr Medicine, Oh, Mr Medicine, oh, Mr Medicine" - 8/10
6. Missing (3:42) - this is a song about herself really "I am Doolittle but I do a lot I try to do the best with what I've got" - I don't think is a track which you'll end up having in your head for weeks on end, but it's another nice easy-listening piece. - 7/10
7. Back to Front (3:41) - I love this song, it reminds me of primary school singing a song which went "Wouldn't it be funny if the sky was green and the grass such a lovely shade of blue. We'd be walking along with gloves upon our feet, in Topsy Turvey Town!"
"I wouldn't mind walkin' backwards with you At least we'd always know where we'd be goin' to, We could talk till we forget how to talk , And we could learn to laugh again, Like when we were children , We could learn to dance again , Like nobody is watchin'" - In some ways it makes me a bit sad listening to this song (maybe the minor key doesn't help), reminiscing on the past, and what would happen if things went backwards. But it's a song, and real-life is real-life...and such is life... - 9/10
8. A Smokey Room (2:53) - I have to say I find the chorus of this song a bit annoying with the funny noises. I know it's meant to be original and all that, but it's originally irritating! This is the album's weakest link! - 6/10
9. So High (2:41) - this is a nice ballad.
"My time is up I need you to know, that I need you, Don't you walk away, I'm feeling so high From my arms, from my lips to my eyes"
This isn't one that you'll be singing along to on first listen, but it's a really nice song. - 8/10
10. Nobody (3:00) - Is this Lily Allen or Eliza Doolittle? They do sound pretty similar at times. Thankfully I like both. I love the happy upbeat melody on this song.
"The whole world's tryin' to be somebody Kickin' themselves 'bout what could've been What's wrong with bein' a nobody? I'm not pretendin' I am what I'll never be" - This song will have you singing along...the tune is well, lovely..... - 9/10
11. Pack Up (3:11) - some people say that this song includes an interesting remix of the old WW1 (or the Great War as it is alternatively known) song "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag" - but you can listen to that here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqeeb6P1j_w) ("Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag And smile, smile, smile. "
Really though it's only one line taken from the song, and sung to a different tune too. However, this truly is an amazing song, it's one I'm going to be singing for weeks on end. It's worth buying this album just for this song alone! -10/10
12. Police Car (3:21) "Didn't think you'd hear a wrong note, I'm like a pencil load and blunt, And writing in a bolder font, And I'm steady losing your boat" - not sure where the police car comes into it, but still, love it though - 8/10
13. Empty Hand (3:05) - "I don't have the reflection, Of anybody checking their face"another one I love, I guess I'd describe it as a pretty little song. Starts with the sound of a music box....a bit like track number 7 all in all. - 8/10
---On the computer---
There's a bonus content area if you put the CD in your computer. Having filled in my name and details I had to install some Java thingy-do, and then had to 'validate' my CD. Up pops a video with extracts from the videos of Moneybox (with dancing flowers), Go Home, and Rollerblades. There's also some desktop wallpapers. It says there's some behind the scenes videos for Pack Up and Skinny Genes, but if I click on that link it just starts playing the Moneybox song...I'm not particularly bothered, I only bought the CD for the music, not any special features!
If you like Lily Allen and Kate Nash, then you're pretty much bound to like the sound of Eliza Doolittle. That said, even if you don't like the others you might well still like Eliza, her voice seems less harsh than the others can.
One other point, the text inside the album is FAR too small......nice to have the lyrics written down, but a bit pointless if you need a magnifying glass to read them!
Certainly the sound of summer 2010 - listen and enjoy :o)
THE SOUND OF SUMMER
These days, Summer is associated with a particular musical sound, a light and airy radio friendly semi-pop which delights and infuriates in equal measure - the self-titled album from London born Eliza Doolittle (real name Eliza Sophie Caird) is one such example. Fitting halfway between the quirky vibe of both Lily Allen and Kate Nash, Eliza Doolittle isn't all about piggybacking the success of the aforementioned artists - her carefree approach mixed with an occasionally retro instrumental backing means that she has been able to forge an interesting style of her own - but is her debut album any good?
THE TRACKS - thirteen songs to sink your teeth into
The album opens with 'Moneybox', a relaxed and catchy track with a ska feel. The song seems to tell the story of how Eliza Doolittle (from here on in known as 'ED') doesn't need money to have fun, and is willing to stay home and play Monopoly rather than going for a night out in London - easily entertained eh! As a whole, the song represents a pleasant start to the LP, and provides the listener with and early example of the following tracks' catchiness. Eliza's vocals are charmingly simple, hitting all the right notes without ever overstretching her voice - "Don't need your moneybox, cause I got lots and lots, of what I need right here, right here with you, my dear". Second track 'Rollerblades' gradually builds, beginning with a simple piano-based run-down, before introducing a subtle horn backing by the end. It's the kind of carefree summer track that Corinne Bailey Rae found success with a few years back in the form of "Put Your Records On". Definitely a relaxing number, which manages to incorporate a 60's vibe into the overall sound - "See you with a broken string tell me what you really mean, do you know what you want?".
Starting with an old sounding vinyl crackle, the musical backing to 'Go Home' wouldn't seem out of place on an Amy Winehouse album - obviously, the vocal differences between the two artists means that the end result is a fairly unique sound for ED, and ultimately a pleasing composition. I like the use of piano during the verse, and also the delicate use of occasional picked acoustic guitar - "Slidin' up the rail up 'till the top of the staircase, never gonna happen, not the way we're actin', not in a million years". As Doolittle's debut single, 'Skinny Genes' is another crowd-pleaser - that said, it's very similar in arrangement to the album's second single 'Pack Up', which follows seven tracks later. The song features a whistled section which I actually find rather annoying (whistling in songs is up there with popcorn-rustling in the cinema!) - "I like it when you... [whistles], can I have some please... [whistles], satisfy my needs..."
Fifth track 'Mr Medicine' is incredibly catchy due to the general simplicity of the vocal arrangement in the chorus. Unfortunately it's also one of those tracks that gets stuck in your head all day, and is nigh on impossible to get out again! - I suppose it's a decent example of easy-listening song writing - a basic percussive beat, combined with a liberal infusion of simple chords and a peppering of vocal harmony throughout - "Oh, Mr Medicine, I feel so much better, my friend's a pessimist, but you still impress her". 'Missing' tells the story of the difficulties faced by those who go unnoticed in the world. The song features a low-key instrumental backing, but on the whole it is very much vocal driven - it opens with a male vocal riff which loops throughout the track's chorus, setting the relaxed acapella feel perfectly. Overall it's a thoughtful and perfectly arranged song, and ultimately an enjoyable listen - "I am Doolittle but I do a lot, I try to do the best with what I've got, sometimes nobody notices at all, if I stood on a chair, I'd be taller".
'Back to Front' is the paradoxical tale of what the world would be like if people 'grew young' instead of growing old - i suppose it's the musical equivalent of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'! Yet another one of the album's tracks to feature whistling... grrrr! - whistling aside, the song isn't quite as uplifting as the tracks which surround it, although the use of minor chords helps to create an interesting and thoughtful feel - for some reason I actually find the song a little depressing, so it's not one which will remain on my iPod - "If I woke up in the mornin', and the world was back to front, there was sunshine in the evenin', and the moon came out for lunch". As the album's jazziest number, 'A Smokey Room' is perhaps my favourite track. The song explores the concept of originality, which is slightly ironic considering the fact that it's perhaps the most original arrangement. A riff featuring what sounds like a kazoo brings about an unusual quality to the song, and it works really well as a whole. The verse is accompanied by double bass (cementing the jazz sound firmly in place), and this promotes a quirkiness that is lacking in some of the other tracks. I would have actually liked to have seen more songs on the album in the mould of this one, as would take this style any day over the more sacchariney pop-numbers - "You got your hair in a do, yeah cause that's so original, you got your Gucci bag too, yeah cause that's so original".
Track nine, 'So High' could have been penned by Katie Melua, as the vocals and chords are reminiscent of the work of the aforementioned artist. Personally, I find that the song is one of the album's more forgettable numbers with a slow pace, and lethargic feel - "Time is up, I need you to know, that I need you, don't you walk away, I'm feeling so high, from my arms, from my lips to my eyes". If So High was Katie Melua then 'Nobody' is undoubtedly Lily Allen, both vocally and with the familiar chord changes. The chorus is more memorable than the verse, and overall it's a fairly decent song once it's had a chance to grown on you (after three or four listens) - "I walk in a lake, walk up the wall, I'm no Messiah, I'm nothin' at all, compared to the greatest people I see, I'm just me"
As the album's second single release, 'Pack Up' is infuriatingly catchy - definitely fitting into the category of a love-to-hate song or a 'guilty pleasure'. To be honest it comes exactly at the right time on the album, as its surrounding tracks are a little less uplifting than the album's openers. The reason for the song's critical success is obvious - it just an uber-familiar retro sound with an easy to follow chorus - "Don't worry, there's no doubt, there's always something to cry about, when you're stuck in an angry crowd, they don't think what they say, before they open their mouths". Penultimate track 'Police Car' utilises the lyrics "I thought that I could plinky-plonk" which actually sums up the song quite nicely as a whole - it's got a plinky-plonky vibe which makes it one my least favourite track on the album. It's a song which which meanders along without any significant highs or lows, and isn't especially creative - "I've got my head like a cello, Melancholy bows, If it goes, keep it mellow, baby, should I pay attention to the alarm?, the sirens going off in a police car"
Eliza Doolittle's final song 'Empty Hand' opens with subtle tune which sounds like it is drifting from a music box . The track remains uncluttered and minimal throughout, with no percussion, bass, or guitar. It's a slow-paced yet interesting close to the album, which, although pretty, doesn't give a clue to the uplifting nature of the album as a whole - "I could maybe read a novel, To push away the trouble, that sits in the pit of my tummy, but I know that it will find me, when I finish the last page"
FINAL WORD - an album to purchase, or an album to avoid?
Overall, although I imagined I that I would dislike Eliza Doolittle's debut album with a passion, I have to admit that I found it to be better than I expected, comprising a number of well written songs. That said, whilst I appreciate ED's ability to produce a catchy pop-tune, personally I feel that many of the tracks are little too samey for my liking - although 'Skinny Genes' and 'Pack Up' are interesting in their own right, they utilise an almost identical arrangement from the outset. What I do like about the album is the fact that unlike Lily Allen and Kate Nash, Eliza Doolittle doesn't try to work too hard at being controversial - instead focussing on producing songs that will perhaps have a lasting appeal. My honest verdict?... not an album that I would normally listen to, but undoubtedly a collection of very catchy pop tunes - I think that three dooyoo stars would represent a fitting award.
ADDITIONAL INFO - full track listing
1. 'Moneybox' - 3:04
2. 'Rollerblades' - 3:03
3. 'Go Home' - 2:57
4. 'Skinny Genes' - 3:04
5. 'Mr Medicine' - 3:27
6. 'Missing' - 3:42
7. 'Back To Front' - 3:41
8. 'A Smokey Room' - 2:53
9. 'So High' - 2:41
10. 'Nobody' - 3:00
11. 'Pack Up' - 3:11
12. 'Police Car' - 3:21
13. 'Empty Hand' - 3:05
PRICE & AVAILABILITY - where can I buy the album from?
Eliza Doolittle can currently be purchased in CD form for £7 from amazon.co.uk, or £5.99 as a digital download from the iTunes store. Individual tracks from the album can also be downloaded from iTunes at a cost of 79p each.
Not so long ago, I came across a decent song in an advert, but had no idea who it was by. By the style and sound, I thought the artist may have been Gabriella Cilmi, although the voice didn't sound quite right for her work. It turned out that the song was Eliza Doolittle's "Skinny Genes". This presented another quandary over whether to buy the album, as the last time I bought an album based on one decent song from an advert (Yael Naim's "New Soul", from the T-Mobile advert), I wasn't all that impressed with the rest of the album. But seeing as how the iTunes version of the album came with a couple of videos, including the one for "Skinny Genes", I was eventually tempted.
The album gets off to a promising start with "Moneybox", which is a jaunty little pop tune with a slightly folk-sounding backing track, although it does remind me slightly of some of Kate Nash's upbeat moments, but that may just be down to a similarity in the vocals and there are points where the music makes it sound like a clean version of Lily Allen's "Not Fair". The lyrics are worth listening to, as they raise a smile to do along with the very happy beat and music to the track. Interestingly, the ending to the chorus, "Do me a favour / Don't jingle your change, sir", always makes me think of Eliza's namesake from "Pygmalion" or "My Fair Lady", especially when it's delivered in her London accent.
There's a lovely laid-back groove to "Rollerblades", opening with the guitar and a tinkly piano backing. With Doolittle's clear voice, it reminds me very much of a Corinne Bailey Rae track, as it has that same sort of sound, which makes it the perfect summer record; something to have on in the background as you sip cocktails in the back garden. Once again, there are some very cute lyrical moments, with "Take your seat / 'Cause standing only wears out feet" being my favourite.
There's a lovely bass heavy piano line over the back of "Go Home", which has a very retro feel, almost sounding like a 60s rock 'n' roll beat slowed down. Strangely, the first line of the chorus "I just wanna go home", combined with that backbeat, sounds like a slower version of the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B". It's a sweet enough little song, but feels a little bland after what has gone before as there's nothing particularly special about it, although lyrically there's a couple of lines to raise a smile once more.
"Skinny Genes" has a very retro feel to it as well, with a jaunty backing that combines a little pop and a little jazz and a lot of sass and a lot of fun. The chorus sounds a little like Gabriella Cilmi, which was what attracted me to the song in the first place, but Doolittle's vocals are a little clearer. There's also a vocal line running through the back of the chorus that reminds me a little of some of Elvis Presley's work, which really adds to the retro feel. Ultimately, though, it's another fun summery song and the groove is such that I have to be careful not to forget myself when I'm listening to it walking down the road, such is the clarion call it puts out to dance along.
The guitar intro to "Mr. Medicine" has that lovely laid-back summer groove to it again that once more reminds me of Corinne Bailey Rae. The lyrics again add to the sense of fun in the whole song and this is generally quite a sweet sounding little pop track and another that proves quite difficult not to dance down the road to, especially when the sun is shining. Thankfully that doesn't happen too much around here.
There's a 60s style harmony vocal running over the back of "Missing" that I'm sure is lifted straight from an old song, but I can't remember which one. It does work really well, giving the song some spine and combining nicely with a simple down-tempo rock 'n' roll feel for a lovely laid back song. Although the song retains a largely 60s feel, some of the lyrical content has the sort of attitude you expect to hear from Lily Allen, especially with the early line "I'm sure a kick up the bum's all we need".
"Back to Front" is a collision of influences that works surprisingly well. The backing, especially the whistled backing vocal, retains that light summery pop feel, but the vocal delivery sounds more like Kate Nash. The idea is an entertaining one, although the lyrics have quite a simplistic feel which is also reminiscent of some of Kate Nash's work. It's an interesting song, although not one of my favourites, possibly because Kate Nash annoyed me so quickly.
"A Smokey Room" is a song that really didn't work for me at all. The guitar line is quite catchy, but the lyrics do seem to be pointing at someone, with the repeated refrain "Yeah, 'cause that's so original". The problem here is that the vocal delivery sounds more like petulance than sarcasm, which takes the edge off the lyrics and just makes it sound childish rather than barbed. There's also a horn and vocal section on the chorus that always makes me think of "Another Brick in the Wall" at various points, which hardly seems appropriate when you're criticising someone else's originality. Combined with someone saying "that's f**king beautiful" at the end, which was completely unnecessary (as well as totally inaccurate), this whole song felt like a wasted effort to impress to me and it's by far the one I like least on the album.
The pace slows right down for the first time for "So High", which is a down tempo pop ballad. It has a touch of the summer feel of Corinne Bailey Rae, but it's a song that just passes by rather than engages the listener. It's certainly adequately performed and you get a decent listen to Doolittle's voice, but there's nothing terribly special here and it's missing the sense of fun that permeates most of the album.
I love the irony that the daughter of singer and actress Frances Ruffelle and granddaughter of Sylvia Young, she of theatre school fame, should perform a song about people being a nobody. But that's exactly what "Nobody" is about and, thankfully we're back to Doolittle's strengths, with some quirky little lyrics, a lovely little pop groove and a Lily Allen sounding delivery, particularly over the chorus. Once again, this is a jaunty little pop tune and whilst it may not be one of the best on the album, it's a refreshing return to what Doolittle seems to do best after the previous couple of tracks.
"Pack Up" was the second and, thus far, most successful single taken from the album and it's not difficult to see why the song was chosen to be a single. I love this one, as it's got a lovely jazz-soul horn section, combined with a gorgeous summery pop vocal and a really upbeat feel. The chorus contains a line from the First World War era song "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag", which with the soulful delivery and the combination of the vocals gives the song a lovely groove and it's back to the songs that you struggle not to dance down the road to when you're listening on the move.
On first listen, I thought it was very clever that a song called "Police Car" should have a siren over the intro. It wasn't until the second listen I realised that sound effect must have been coming through an open window. The lack of the clever effect doesn't take anything away from the song, which again has a lovely laid back pop groove very reminiscent of Corinne Bailey Rae and drifting you away with it. Once again, there are some quirky and fun lyrics that are worth a listen.
Given how well Doolittle performs the jaunty upbeat songs, ending the album on a slower down tempo note may have taken the edge off, but "Empty Hand" is a better effort than "So High". Yes, it's once again a simple pop ballad, but it's almost impossible not to be charmed by lyrics like "...losing both my dimples / The end to the ends of my smile". Whilst the ballads aren't Doolittle's strength, this is far from being the poor end to the album I thought it might have been.
Apart from a couple of slightly jarring notes that don't fit in so well, what Eliza Doolittle has created here is a perfect summer album. It's the kind of thing you can have playing along in the background when you're having drinks on the patio in the evening, or to underpin the drone of conversation at a BBQ or dinner party. Sadly, summer in England is so short and so infrequent that she may well have created an album that works best in combination with weather that barely exists.
There are quite a few influences here, from the modern music and vocal delivery that evokes Bailey Rae and Lily Allen, through to the near century old sample and 60s musical influences on some other songs. This does mean that the album doesn't sound terribly original at points, but that doesn't stop it sounding rather good for the most part. Sadly, however, whilst the album is fun and quirky for the first few listens, there isn't a great deal of depth to it, which means it does get a little twee and annoying after multiple listens; some songs more so than others. There are, however, a few tracks (the singles especially) that don't grow old in a hurry. Fortunately, as the season the album fits into most perfectly doesn't some around too often or stay too long, it may not get enough playing time to get too annoying too quickly.
The album is 13 tracks and 41 minutes of fun little pop tracks and it's reasonable value at £7.00 from Amazon, especially as you're likely to pull it off the CD rack more or less annually. It can be found even more cheaply at eBay and money can be saved by downloading a copy instead of a physical purchase. Amazon has the album on download for £5.49 and iTunes has it for £5.99, which includes the videos for "Pack Up" and Skinny Genes". Whilst the videos are fun, they're not really worth the extra 50 pence, given that they'll most likely be available on You Tube for free. But one way or another, this is a fun little album and it's well worth a listen. It's certainly not an essential album and possibly not even a great album, but it is rather good.
Eliza Doolittle's self titled debut album was released on 10th July this year. It is a really fantastic, chirpy, if slightly wacky album that if you like happy pop music you are sure to enjoy. Myself, I'm not normally into that 'happy pop' as I'm going to call it. But occassionally I do tend to listen to, and really enjoy, something that you can't help but crack a smile at when listening to.
~Who is Eliza Doolittle?~
Eliza Doolittle was born in Camden, North London on 15th April, 1988, which means she is currently twenty two years old. She comes from a famous background; her dad is the famous stage director of Les Miserables, John Caird, her mum is Tony Award-winning actress Frances Ruffelle, who represented the UK in Eurovision in 1994, and her gran is Sylvia Young of theatre-school fame.
She made her first mark on the music scene in April this year with her first single, Skinny Genes. It is a typical Eliza song; with chirpy pop-soul tunes. Before this she had also suported Alphabeat and Jamie Cullum on tour, and back in February she was a big face at London Fashion Week, playing a live set for fashion deisgner Eun Jeong's show.
Because of her London accent she has been compared to Lily Allen, and the press has branded her as 'the new Lily Allen'. But in July she told Company magazine, "I'm not as rowdy . . . I won't be mean about anyone". In my opinion she seems like a really nice, cheerful person and I liked her first song, and loved her second - Pack Up - so after hearing that on the radio I went out and brought her album.
Eliza's voice is sweet and expressive. It is soft and lively, sort of fun, and she sings all of her songs in a really happy way, as though she is in the middle of a dream - or perhaps as though she has just taken an overdose on the happy pills! She brings a kind of child's innocence into her songs, the kind of music style that most people will either love or hate. But at the same time as doing this she still brings an element of modern life, with the occassional swear word or hint of sarcasm chucked in, which edges it up a little.
The tracks on the album in my opinion are just fine. The quality is great, the consistency is good. There are a couple of weak links but for a first album this is surely only to be expected.
This track is definitely a feel good track. It's basically about not needing money to have a good time. This is an example of one of her songs that has a child's innocence about it. The chorus has a great, chirpy melody to it - the kind of chorus where you can pick up the lyrics straight away from the first time you hear it and just sing or hum along with it.
This one is a bit slower than her other songs, but still quite cheerful. The first thing you hear is light tapping on a piano. You can hear the words really clearly in this one because of its slowness. The chorus is again really catchy and has a great tune to it, it isn't as chirpy as the first song but like the first song you can pick up the lyrics and sing along from the first time you hear it.
03. Go Home
I really like her voice in this song. Its very consistent but with a few emotional cracks which just make it all the better and nicer to listen to. A really great melody to it which is very original.
04. Skinny Genes
Released on 5th July as the first single from this album, this is another really cheerful, catchy song. The start of this one actually reminds me of The lion sleeps tonight by The Tokens! But once it gets going you soon realise it's completely different. For a start its a lot more modern, and with sex references in the chorus. I love the catchy tune and just how happy it is. You can't help but feel uplifted.
05. Mr Medicine
This is one of the tracks I'm referring to when I say there are a couple of weak links on the album. I found this one a bit more boring than the rest, as its quite slow and not very original. I have to say though it is growing on me.
This song reminds me of Kate Nash quite a lot. She sings in the same style and has a similar accent. This is another song I would say is one of the weaker tracks on the album.
07. Back To Front
There's only one word I can think of to describe the lyrics in this song: crazy! It is quite strange, definitely original, and very lovely. I quite enjoy listening to this one, its sort of dreamy which makes it really nice and a good listen.
08. A Smokey Room
This song is one of the most modern songs off the album, the child's innocence is gone from this one and so is the chirpy, happy feeling that the others all have. She brings a bit of sarcasm into this song, "Yeah, cause thats so original."
09. So High
I think the lyrics to this song are about being in love. Its quite mellow and has a relaxing tune to it. Its really lovely and I really enjoy listening to it.
This song is about being original. The chorus goes, "What's wrong with being a nobody, everyone's trying to be a somebody". I like the lyrics to this one more than the lyrics to the other songs, even though this isn't my favourite song on the album because I'm not that keen on the tune. Its definitely a pretty, enjoyable song.
11. Pack Up
I'm sure everyone has heard this song by now. It is brilliant, my favourite song on the album. I can't believe she didn't release this first as her first single, instead of Skinny Genes because I only found out about Skinny Genes after listening to this one.
12. Police Car
I like this song. I like her voice in this song and I like the tune, even though it is quite vaguely familiar and not original at all. She's copied the tune from somewhere I'm sure, but I just can't think where. Its still a great track though. Its really mellow and chilled out.
13. Empty Hand
A great song which finishes off the album nicely.
~Price & Availability~
The album is available to buy widely online, including HMV.co.uk where it costs £6.99 with free delivery. It is the same from Play.com. It is also available to buy from most good supermarkets, the normal listing price for the album is £11.99, or for the best deals you could look on auction websites such as eBay and amazon.co.uk.
When I bought the album I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. I expected it to be quite good, because I liked her two singles, but as this isn't the genre of music I would normally choose to listen to I didn't expect to like all of the tracks and must admit I was a bit cynical. But after listening to it all the way through just once I realised I couldn't have been more wrong. Now I think the album is really fantastic which is why I have given it 5 stars out of 5.
The album art is a little strange and I must say I'm not too keen on the crazy album cover. I mean I like it but I still think it looks a bit childish and if I was judging this album purely on the cover then I would have never in a million years chosen to buy it - so the lesson learnt here is to never judge an album by its cover!
I think that Eliza's voice is really beautiful and I have a lot of respect for her as a musician. I really like how she can make a good impression and get herself noticed, without having to get half naked like a lot of other artists out there. I really enjoy listening to this album and would recommend it in a heart beat. It is really uplifting and cheerful. It is chirpy and fun and basically it is just fantastic.
I haven't bought many albums lately, but flicking between TV music channels one day, I came across a song I really liked. Waiting until the end, I discovered it was called Pack Up and the young singer was a girl called Eliza Doolittle. I did some research online and discovered she is 22 and the daughter of Frances Ruffelle.
While a lot of you won't know who Frances Ruffelle is, she is my favourite ever Eurovision entry for the UK! Back in 1994, she sang the beautiful Lonely Symphony, which is a stunning song. She was pretty stunning herself with her long wavy red hair and I began to collect cuttings on her (as was my hobby at the time).
Looking at Eliza, she is like a mini copy of her mum, the resemblance is obvious. But not only does she have a famous mum, but Eliza's father is a director called John Caird (hadn't heard of him) and her grandma is Sylvia Young, the owner of the famous theatre school!
I went to Amazon UK to listen to the other tracks on the album (well, clips of them anyway) and it all sounded good, if a tad Lily Allen. (I don't mind Lily's music, but can't stand her or her father!) So I bought her album - imaginatively titled Eliza Doolittle - and waited for it to arrive.
Around the same time, I bought Pixie Lott's album. Normally, I either hate an album so only play it once or love it so much it gets played for days and days, until I can't listen to it any more! Well, I heard Pixie's album the once and apart from the singles, I wasn't impressed, so that went off to the Land of Middle Daughter.
Eliza's album was a different matter. I would put it on in the morning when I got up and play it on repeat until someone else came in and wanted to watch TV. It was a definite success and has remained my CD of choice for a couple of weeks now. I'm still not fed up of it!
It's all a lot of fun really. The cover is bright, cheerful, funky and a bit crazy, as is her website. She is a regular on Twitter and her whole album is free to listen to on her Facebook page. She comes across as being open, chatty and just lovely!
Her music is quite different too. While it may be slightly Lily Allen (and they both have a similar accent, so that probably encourages comparison even more), it is very definitely Eliza Doolittle and she has her own unique style which is young, but doesn't alienate oldies [huh!] like me. Her songs aren't soppy love songs, they reference contemporary culture and if there is a common thread amongst the songs, I would suggest it is identity - growing up, conforming, discovering who you are and what you want to be.
There are thirteen tracks on here, all of which she co-wrote. The album begins with Moneybox, which is typically catchy and toe-tapping. It begins with a great beat then her kooky voice kicks in, which has that distinctive London twang coming through her vocals.
This kicks off a selection of songs which are all distinctive from each other, while maintaining the Eliza style. There really is not a bad track on here. The only song I knew before buying the album was Pack Up and while this stands out for being the most recognisable, I love each track.
Go Home is one I often find myself singing, especially the "dance a little harder" bit which sticks in my brain. It is such a cleverly constructed song too. Her songs seem quite complex; very rarely are they simple rhymes in a repetitive rhythm, but instead the lines flow into each other, then stop for a few choppy phrases, before becoming more melodic again. Hard to explain, but great to listen to and Go Home is particularly good at illustrating this. This could be a good single, I think. I also love the bold "cha-cha-cha" to conclude the track.
Skinny Genes incorporates whistling into the lyrics - not in an obvious Katy Perry way, but much subtler. It seems that Eliza is not afraid to try new things in her songs, pushing the boundaries and taking risks. This comes out in the structure of the songs, sudden endings and what must be one of the most interesting samples - part of the old wartime favourite Pack Up Your Troubles (In Your Old Kit Bag) with a jazz kick!
Missing is an interesting song. It begins with a laidback start followed by quite choppy, staccato kind of lyrics which then dissolve into quite a sad chorus which repeats 'missing' and 'find me' until it becomes stuck in your mind. It's a strange mixture of cute and pleading, but works beautifully. ("I'm missing, Can you find me? I can't afford a big reward, but baby I'm reliable.") This is the kind of song that could get Eliza the label of 'genius' if she's not careful.
Back to Front is another beautiful song which seems to have a deep sadness underneath the catchy beat. Although she is only 22, this song showcases her 'adultness' and how even at her young age, she looks back on her childhood with nostalgia. The line "If all the friends that passed away came back to this place" shows a depth of emotion and this song works really well with the little crack in her voice that comes through at times.
A Smokey Room is lighter and more laid-back, with a jazz/swing feel and a chorus of human voices replicating a kind of trumpeting fanfare at appropriate places. One of the lyrics here is "cos that's so original" and if I had to describe Eliza's album in one word, that works brilliantly - original. While it has suggestions of other singers, other genres, the mix that comes out is completely unique and I love it.
So High is probably the most ambitious song for her vocal range and it is quite a straight-forward slow song, stripped back to a slow beat, gentle backing choir-like vocals, basic instrumental beat and her vocals are rightfully the star. I would love to hear this one live.
The next track, Nobody, is back up to catchy, faster paced, poppy and fun. But despite the upbeat sound, the lyrics are quite deep and the theme of identity is explored here too. "What's wrong with being a nobody?" Well, she's unlikely to be a nobody with a talent like hers.
Pack Up is the eleventh track here and does stand out, but for all the right reasons. Lloyd Wade delivers the jazzy Pack Up bits and these contrast beautifully with Eliza's vocal parts, producing one of the best songs released this year. Trying to review this track without using the word 'genius' is impossible. How many songs are there that combine a loud, rich male jazz voice and a female singing bird tweets, without it sounding strange? This is perfect.
Empty Hand is the last track on the album and is another which is stripped back to basics. Her voice is so pretty and this is almost a lullaby in style. It feels almost as if she is saying goodnight before the album finishes. "An empty hand I wave goodbye, I feel a tickle in my eye..."
So, any bad bits? Well, not really. As you can tell, I love it! I'm still playing it regularly and I'm not bored yet. Mr. Medicine and Police Car are tracks which tend to fade into the background a bit, but they certainly aren't bad songs. They are maybe my least favourite songs on the album though, if I had to choose.
Overall though, Eliza Doolittle is original, talented and has produced a wonderful album. She writes her own songs, has a genuine stunning voice and I would recommend everyone checks out her work. My favourite album of the year so far and yes, I'm a fan!
"I am Doolittle, but I do a lot,
I try to do the best with what I got"
Eliza Doolittle by Eliza Doolittle was released in July 2010 and is currently available from Amazon UK for £7. Individual tracks are 89p each to download.
A fresh name in the music world, Eliza Doolittle found herself on the radar of the industry when she released a four-track EP at the end of 2009. However, it wasn't until the following year when she was able to make her big splash. The Pop singer dropped her eponymous début to critical acclaim in summer 2010 and saw her career skyrocket as her singles "Skinny Genes" and "Pack Up" climbed the charts, and the rest of the album followed in its path.
You need not go back and cop her old stuff as all the songs from the EP are included here too. They aren't all lumped together as they've been scattered through the album and still sound on-trend. The first of these is the Folk-edged opening track. It seems as though it set the scene for the album well and invited the listeners in gently before she develops towards a purer Pop sound. The release is made up of just over a dozen songs put together by herself and nearby affiliates who've had this one of the biggest British Pop releases of the summer.
The London-based singer-songwriter displays her versatility as she brings in lots of light and engaging imagery in her lyrics to connect with listeners and get them to take notice of what she's doing. As many female singer-songwriters have immerged over recent times, it appears as though it would be a little difficult to call her music all the way original, but at the same time it doesn't appear to take on the qualities of anyone else's style. An example of where she triumphs most with creative ways to compose her songs comes on "Go Home" and especially on her big singles.
It would appear that the singles are really the biggest talking points of the record. Early on she treats listeners to a rather jovial song in "Skinny Genes". On the face of it, it's a bright and lively song, but it has meaningfully-deep lyrics to go along with it. She shows a great ability to suit mainstream tastes for naive listeners and at the same time has a little more worth getting into if the listener is a bit more 'aware'. However, it has to be "Pack Up" that stands out as the best the album has to offer. The song is catchier than almost any other Pop song of 2010 and has the qualities to be enjoyed by all. Using a Great War marching song in the hook (sung by Lloyd Wade in a very Jackie Wilson-like manner), she creates an uplifting song which even manages to outdo all the other brave efforts she puts in elsewhere with the release. In addition, "So High" and "Mr. Medicine" also stand out amongst the songs as must-listens.
It seems as though she's always trying to challenge herself to do things bigger and better as she goes along. The ideas which she works from don't appear to have especially-new characteristics, but instead are still on-trend and are explored in a bit of a different way to set her apart from others. "A Smokey Room" - a jazzy track, shows this quality as she sings about a lack of originality in the world today and also finds her attempting to move away from more conventional contemporary 'Pop'.
The album just seems right. It may be the way that she continually hits listeners with songs which they won't be able to get out of their heads or how she gives it a story-like feel as we move from an energetic start to a lullaby on "Empty Hand". It's a great one and does just as any good Pop album should. She doesn't feel the need to jump on the sorts of trends that overly-sexual female recording artists often do and instead opt for a much humbler character when presenting this quality work to the world.
Overall, this is a Pop album of a very high standard. Although it may have its Folk-y elements to it, it doesn't come across as a really earthy release and instead is much more of a device to ground her. She never overdoes anything and ensures that she just sticks to her capabilities and so brings a release of just over a dozen solid, catchy songs which will put anyone in a good mood. It's certainly recommended, and as she's only 22, you can expect to see much more good stuff coming from her in the future.
1. "Moneybox" **Four Stars**
2. "Rollerblades" **Four Stars**
3. "Go Home" **Five Stars**
4. "Skinny Genes" **Five Stars**
5. "Mr Medicine" **Five Stars**
6. "Missing" **Five Stars**
7. "Back to Front" **Five Stars**
8. "A Smokey Room" **Four Stars**
9. "So High" **Five Stars**
10. "Nobody" **Five Stars**
11. "Pack Up" **Five Stars**
12. "Police Car" **Five Stars**
13. "Empty Hand" **Four Stars**
Disc #1 Tracklisting
3 Go Home
4 Skinny Genes
5 Mr Medicine
7 Back To Front
8 Smokey Room, A
9 So High
11 Pack Up
12 Police Car
13 Empty Hand