Goldfrapp spanned luxe John Barry-style orchestral pop to dominatrix dancefloor moves to summery British folk and more over the course of their albums, but The Singles shows that their craftsmanship and good taste may have been their most defining quality.
That, and Alison Goldfrapp's stunning voice, which was flexible enough to not just fit any mold that her and Will Gregory's ideas required, but to redefine them; listen to her soaring highs and cooing lows on "Utopia" for a reminder.
While the duo's glam-disco hits like the sexy, low-slung "Ooh La La," "Train," and "Strict Machine" may have been most popular, The Singles is admirably egalitarian, a point emphasized by how its sequencing puts songs from different albums and eras side by side.
Hearing the timeless-feeling dark romanticism of Felt Mountain tracks such as "Lovely Head" next to the introspective, flower child, synth pop of The Seventh Tree's "A&E," and the spot-on '80s homage "Rocket" from Head First reaffirms that Goldfrapp were keen students of pop music of all styles and eras, but vibrantly creative in their own right.
Their style-hopping sounds less like searching for what will stick and more like the product of two restlessly creative artists who had the talent to do just about anything they wanted and tried a little of everything.
While it's disappointing that a few singles aren't here ("Pilots" and "Satin Chic" are particularly glaring omissions), the inclusion of two previously unreleased tracks makes up for that, especially since the reflective "Yellow Halo" and seductive "Melancholy Sky" rival the quality of any of their album tracks.