Despite favourable reviews and a shortlisting for the Mercury Prize, the ambient sound of their 2000 debut album Felt Mountain did not chart highly. Goldfrapp’s second album Black Cherry, which incorporated electroclash sounds into their music, was released in 2003. The album experienced success across nightclubs in North America and influenced the same electroclash experience of their third album Supernature. Supernature took Goldfrapp’s work further into dance music, and enjoyed international chart success. Supernature produced three number one US dance singles, and was nominated for “Best Electronic/Dance Album” at the 49th Grammy Awards. Their most recent album, Seventh Tree, was released in 2008.
Goldfrapp draws inspiration from a range of artists and genres. Alison Goldfrapp listened to T.Rex, Donna Summer and Iggy Pop as a teenager and discovered Serge Gainsbourg while working in Belgium. While traveling through Europe in the early 1990s, she also began listening to Polish disco music and cabaret music from the Weimar Republic. Will Gregory’s musical background was classical music and has cited Ennio Morricone as his main influence. Other media, including film, have had an impact on Goldfrapp; Alison Goldfrapp cites Roman Polanski’s psychological thriller Cul-de-Sac, the cult film The Wicker Man, and the James Bond franchise as influences. They also draw inspiration from surrealism and nature, all of which appear in the band’s album artwork, which Goldfrapp designs in collaboration with Big Active.
The majority of band’s songs are composed by Goldfrapp and Gregory, although they have collaborated with session musician Nick Batt several times. They have called their writing sessions a “democratic affair”, playing off one another while in the recording studio. However, Goldfrapp is responsible for the lyrics. While writing, Goldfrapp uses her vocals to create melodies and drumbeats. Gregory composes his music on vintage keyboards, interpreting the mood of Goldfrapp’s lyrics. Alison Goldfrapp believes that “music is a visual experience” and therefore visualizes her lyrics before writing them. Her songwriting is characterized by its use of animals to describe human emotions and status.