10 Tracks: 10 Years of Ladytron

by MV

So, yesterday I posted some remixes of the new Ladytron single Ace of Hz. I must be in a nostalgic mood this week, because it’s spurred me on to another retrospective post. So, in honour of the upcoming 00-10 best of, here are my favourite moments from Ladytron so far…

He Took Her To a Movie (1999)

If you were ahead of the curve and listening to Ladytron in the nineties, then well done you. You are very clever. If so, this might have been the first thing you heard by them, being the lead track on their first eponymous 12″. It’s still among my favourite tracks of theirs, and it’s worth remembering how alien this stilted electropop would have sounded in the barren wastelands of the post-Britpop era.

Playgirl (2000)

One year later, and some slightly more mainstream attention with the definitive ‘Playgirl’. Still very much out of step with what was going on around them, this nonetheless establishes the blueprint for the instantly recognisable sound that would take them through the next decade. Their first video, too.

The Way That I Found You (2001)

2001, and to accompany their debut 604, we have (for me) another career high point. Here accompanied by a truly terrible (and massively inappropriate) fan video. Apologies.

Seventeen (2002)

In retrospect, Light & Magic is to my mind an overrated album, punctuating two distinct and equally brilliant phases of Ladytron’s career with something not as satisfying as either. Seventeen, though, was their breakthrough single, and – on a personal level – evokes some wonderful memories.

While Ladytron had existed in a vacuum to a degree on their first album – to an indie kid, merely a weird indie band with synths – by 2002 they seemed like the human face of a synth/electro revival that was still finding its feet (with often ridiculous results). And from the dancefloor and (on occasion) behind the decks, I was deciding I liked This Sort of Thing. And therefore, while it’s not my favourite Ladytron song, it’s an important one for me.

Unsurprisingly, the Soulwax mix was also pretty ubiquitous around the time, and while the vocals are buried, it’s still fun.

Evil (Ewan Pearson Single Mix) (2003)

My favourite single lifted from Light & Magic. But only because of the rather brilliant refit the single version got from Ewan Pearson. The original is symptomatic of the rushed, half-finished feel that I feel the album suffers from, whereas this is glossy, punchy, brilliant. Video is the US version, because the UK version is trying to be clever but ends up spending far too long focusing on an old dude and it’s therefore all a bit blah and we’d rather be looking at Ladytron OK thanks.

Sugar (2004)

I’VE NEVER SEEN THIS VIDEO BEFORE. And it’s pretty awesome, because it effectively corrects the ‘Evil’ mistake and combines ‘story set in a big old house’ with ‘Ladytron looking cool’. Win. Anyway, I was pretty nonplussed about this when it came out. I was wrong.

Destroy Everything You Touch (2005)

Conversely, this is a pretty odd video. But, obviously, their greatest moment. Never get tired of this.

What I REALLY never get tired of though is watching this RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME Weebl & Bob parody of it. I think it’s possibly my favourite thing in the world ever.

All The Way… (2005)

Not a real video but I had to include this. The previous two singles, of course, are taken from their excellent Witching Hour album. Marking a generally darker sound, it also had much better production values than its predecessors. Great as its singles were, nothing can top the serene beauty of this closing track. Perfect, to my ears.

Ghosts (2007)

I’m not sure Ladytron are particularly great at picking lead singles. This lead track from Velocifero sounded a bit by-numbers to me at the time. It’s a definite grower though (once again I now love it), and the expensive looking video is pretty gorgeous.

Ladytron – Runaway (2008)

More sexy video action from Velocifero. Much more immediate than Ghosts, but perhaps ultimately less satisfying. Still ace though.

I’ve run out of tracks, but there are oh so many I’ve missed. In purely video terms, you could check out Blue Jeans from Light & Magic and Tomorrow from Velocifero. What Ladytron list would be complete without 604’s Paco! (clue: that one up there). And we need some Bulgarian in there somewhere, so the wonderful Kletva from Velocifero rounds things up.

I’ve done a Spotify playlist, but it’s pretty patchy due to weird lack of coverage in key areas. Nevermind – all the more reason to look forward to the upcoming Best Of!