Sophie Ellis Bextor – Not Giving Up On Love
I’d imagine one of the most exciting moments of being a popstar is sitting on a corker of a song, knowing it’s going to be your next single and planning the music video. Just how do you turn these lyrics and vocals and 808 drums into something people consume with their eyes? Just what kind of visuals bring the meaning of your song to life? A ton of dancers? As much CGI as your budget will allow? Telling a harrowing story through sad glances to the camera and/or a male model?
Sometimes the answer is “stuff it, let’s just go on holiday and film that”.
It’s a trick many a popstar has pulled, from Geri Halliwell’s Mi Chico Latino back in “the day” or Cheryl and The Saturdays both doing it within the space of a couple of months (funnily enough, they are both on Polydor).
Sophie Ellis-Bextor does it better than any of these acts. Because she is Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
Okay, the visual for Not Giving Up on Love isn’t fantastic. There’s only a handful of repeated shots, and the editing doesn’t ‘flow’ properly but I could spend ages watching this woman wave her arm about in the wind or act like she’d rather be anywhere else whilst the sun reflects off her perfectly porcelain skin.
The song itself is just so effortlessly incredible. The lyrics are gorgeous and Sophie delivers them with the right balance of warm and restraint, keeping this a classy, not cheesy, affair. Armin Van Buuren brings his A-game here too: the chorus is pure euphoria (but not in the ripping off Loreen way) and he knows that having a second verse would drag the energy right back down, so it builds back up with the dramatic “’cause the feeling inside, taking over tonight / I’ll be there when the storm is breaking” bit and carries on operating at maximum arms in the air bliss until the end.
Obviously this song wasn’t a hit, otherwise I wouldn’t be here writing about it and it’d be played in every bar and club on the weekends. By the time of this song’s release, Sophie‘s chart steam had run out. Previous single Bittersweet saw Sophie part with Polydor and release her fourth album, Make a Scene, under her own label EBGB’s. This song was released as Armin Van Buuren Vs Sophie Ellis-Bextor and released on the All Around the World label, hence the sun-drenched video. Or, you know, the fact there’s a video at all.
While part of me is obviously gutted this song was never a smash, I’m also kind of glad. By 2010 we were knee-deep in ‘club pop’: David Guetta was everywhere, LMFAO and Taio Cruz both happened, and you couldn’t have a night out without hearing someone like Usher, auto-tuned to all hell, telling us to put our drinks up. Imagine if Not Giving Up on Love was a hit of Guetta or Avicii proportions. The masses would jump on this trance sound, and dilute one of the best electronic dance music (notice the lower case there, dear reader) genres into the kind of hollowed out shell house music has become. Sorry Sophie, but this was probably for the best.
The album is still stunning though. Definitely go back to it if you haven’t given it a whirl in a while.
Entered chart: Did not chart – but 27 on the dance charts.
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Taylor Swift in a more poppier incarnation, or Adele in ballad form.