Single Review: Sophie Ellis-Bextor – ‘Starlight’

“It’s hard not to want to join her in this fantasy she paints so vividly with such little effort”


Digital Release: June 5, 2011

Physical Release: June 12, 2011

They say the early bird catches the worm. But then again, they also say good things come to those who wait, but those glorious prophets we’ve come to know as “They” don’t seem to have done much good for one Sophie Ellis-Bextor who, over the last two years, has been struggling to get her fourth solo album on the shelves since ‘Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)’ first graced the airwaves all the way back in 2008. After releasing single after single, with no sign of the chart success she enjoyed on her past three albums, the classiest Dame in the business is now onto her fifth lead single from ‘Make A Scene’, the laid-back, chilled-out electropop romancer, ‘Starlight’.

And as with most songs Sophie puts her all-too-often underrated vocal talents to, her voice can sound very out-of-place, contrived, and at times it has the great capacity to make her sound very bored. On ‘Starlight’ though, Sophie’s regal pronunciation blends smoothly into a beautifully subtle mid-tempo ballad, “We are one/Find us under the starlight”, she sings dreamily, lost among cushions of spongy synths. It sounds almost as if Sophie’s husky, whispery voice is being carried along with the current of the song, but that’s not at all a bad thing: she’s happily dwelling somewhere in between consciousness and floating away amongst the ethereal atmosphere, and it only adds to the overall feel of it.

However, not all that glitters is gold it seems – and this track glitters dazzlingly – because among the undoubtedly expensive production from Richard X, ‘Starlight’ just doesn’t stick in the mind very well. It seems that the consequence of such an airily light production is that it leaves no impression a few minutes after the song finishes; it too floats away to the back of the mind and is left to be forgotten. It’s not the best single choice to draw in the casual listeners either, and it’s not the kind that’ll make radio want to re-kindle their love with Sophie, after having abandoned her since 2007’s critically and commercially acclaimed ‘Trip The Light Fantastic’, and even then radio stations were losing interest. 

Sophie appears to acknowledge this, and simply continues to deliver a classy, albeit somewhat perfunctory, vocal right through till the track’s modest closure, and with lyrics like “’Cause tonight, we found Heaven in the dark”, it’s hard not to want to join her in this fantasy she paints so vividly with such little effort.

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