My favorite 100 albums of all time: #15 ("Speak for Yourself")

"Speak for Yourself" album coverAfter developing an addiction to Frou Frou, it's not much of a surprise that I'd branch out to Imogen Heap immediately. Her second solo album, 2005's Speak for Yourself is everything I enjoyed about Frou Frou and then some.

There's not a huge difference in overall sound between Frou Frou and Heap's solo work. Not surprising since Heap's voice is sort of distinctive, likewise her songwriting.

Speak for Yourself features a similar ethereal, breezy approach with incredibly strong hooks. The music is beautiful, but it's her voice and delivery that completely steals the show. Consider the live version here of her second track from the album, "Say Goodnight and Go." The album version features percussion/drum machine, layers of additional instruments or synthesizers, and effects. Her live performance is every bit as entrancing, though, and it's all about her voice. Well, and the song itself.

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My favorite 100 albums of all time: #52 ("Details")

Album Cover "Details" by Frou FrouWere it not for Zach Braff, I might have missed out on Frou Frou, The Shins, and missed Colin Hay's solo career. So it's a damn good thing my friend Rikki suggested we catch Garden State when I was visiting Lawrence, Kansas many years ago.

The first song on Frou Frou's Details, "Let Go," is featured in the movie and on the Garden State soundtrack. It was some of the first new music I'd been enthused about in a while. Turns out, the entire album is at least as good as "Let Go," and a few of the tracks even better.

In some ways, it's a logical progression from Depeche Mode to Frou Frou. "Let Go" is composed primarily of synth, drum machine, though it also features violin and bowed double bass. But the vocals are the most important instrument, and Heap's voice is magical.

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