Single Review: Patrick Wolf – Time of My Life

By on Friday, 3rd December 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Patrick Wolf (given name Patrick Denis Apps) is a renaissance man in the musician’s sense – he can play ever so many instruments and not only that, having been classically trained, he can incorporate strings, piano, you name it into a pop song and make it sound fresh and new, not outdated and stodgy like it belongs in your gran’s record collection. It’s with much disappointment that I could never introduce my dad to Wolf’s music, as I think he really would have appreciated and respected what he does like a sorcerer in the recording studio, mixing what are normally considered classical, non-rock instruments and arrangements into music he makes today.

Wolf’s latest offering is called ‘Time of My Life’, of which ‘my’ is the most important word of the title. Tempo-wise, it’s a wonderful contrast to the more emotionally depressing or combative material on last year’s ‘The Bachelor’. One wonders if this seemingly light-heartedness has to do with the fact that instead of releasing this and his next album on his own like ‘The Bachelor’, the releases will be through Mercury Records, a major.

But put record industry cynicism aside for a moment. The string arrangement, as usual for Patrick Wolf, is stunning. Like most of the upbeat songs on 2007’s ‘The Magic Position’, full of love and sexual innuendo that Wolf claimed was because it was conceived and written when he was in love, ‘Time of My Life’ is such a happy-sounding song. (Frankly, when I first heard it a while back, I wanted to run and do jazz hands.) But instead of being in love, this time he is singing from the rooftops not because of what he has, but what he has lost – or possibly more accurately, what he has been released from (a bad relationship?). It’s certainly an unusual take for a pop song, but you could never put ‘Patrick Wolf’ and ‘conventional’ comfortably in the same sentence.

To be honest, although I cried at sad songs like ‘Damaris’ and put my fists up in rebellious agreement to ‘Hard Times’ from ‘The Bachelor’, I hope this is an indication of the direction of the new album. Although he is still quite young, he has amassed an amazing back catalogue already and I for one will always equate ‘The Magic Position’ with happiness and a pure joy for life, not something you can find without suspicion in popular music often. ‘Time of My Life’ is an affirmation that the sun will shine again, and with Patrick Wolf giving us the forecast, I couldn’t be happier.

9/10

‘Time of My Life’ will be released on 6 December on Mercury Records.

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