Patrick Wolf – ‘Time Of My Life’

Patrick Wolf has been occupying a rather strange position in modern pop for a little while now. His blend of flamboyant orchestral pop with a charismatic stage presence and a fine baritone singing voice has been slightly undercut by a near-complete lack of mainstream success and an unfortunate tendency, mid-gig, to move from Ziggy-era Bowie to blushing schoolboy between songs.

It’s fascinating watching someone so clearly talented who’s been on the verge of greatness for some time achieve it, and finally, in the shape of his new single ‘Time Of My Life’,  Wolf attains it. Allusions to the Dirty Dancing theme song might be half-intentional, but this is an altogether more elegant beast. Beginning with soaring strings that feel like a more complete and stirring revisitation of his earlier song ‘Overture’, it sees Wolf, recently split from his lover, contemplating ‘new days of doubt without you’ and anticipating, Morrissey-like, that he will be ‘a slave to my early grave’.

Yet, unlike Morrissey, the stirring bridge declares, over a quite exquisite arrangement, ‘It won’t be long til I grow through this struggle’, and then, halfway through, it becomes utterly transcendent, as elements of electronica, acoustic melancholy and great, fist-pumping euphoria all come together, as Wolf declaims ‘Thanks for the time…time of my life….happy without you’, beautifully capturing the mixed wistfulness and optimism of a break up. In some respects, it’s a sister song to Beck’s glorious ‘Ramona’ of earlier in the year, but that, for all its brilliance, was never quite as uplifting as this.

The first single that we’ve heard from Wolf’s new album The Conqueror, expected in May 2011, it’s an intriguing trailer for what promises to be his first entry into the mainstream. But don’t just take my word for it, listen to it below:


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