In 2005, Robbins Entertainment had been enjoying strong success as a dance label, having placed dance songs in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 a few times in the previous few years. It made sense that given their nearly decade-long track record at that point, plus label owner Cory Robbins’ pedigree as a tastemaker over the years, that they would start to consider spreading their wings a bit. One effort, which for me remains a surprisingly enduring find, was their release of Helicopter Girl’s “Voodoo Chic.”
The chill vibe that radiates off of tracks like lead single “Angel City,” along with emotive performances by Helicopter Girl, makes the album quite enjoyable, even if I still, 10 years later, don’t know what an “open lawn devotion” is.
Other tracks like “Umbrellas in the Rain,” above, and “Rivermouth,” below, show the incredible mood created by the artist. Further digging through her repertoire shows a dance-leaning sensibility that probably caught Robbins’ attention, but it’s the organic music of “Voodoo Chic” that drew me in and keeps me listening after all this time.
I probably have given Lana Del Rey more of a fair shake than I would otherwise have thanks to Helicopter Girl. They both play in a moody, darker space with lyrics that fall outside the norm. A comparison of the two in my mind puts Helicopter Girl firmly on top, particularly when it comes to the diversity and quality of the lyrics, but also the more instrumental driven feel behind Helicopter Girl (Lana Del Rey feels a bit too overproduced at times).
A few years before her “Voodoo Chic” album, she guested on a Rod Stewart track, with interesting results. “Don’t Come Around Here” can be seen above.