This was Goldfrapp's first UK top 10 chart entry peaking at #4 and the electro duo's most successful single to date, helped by its use in T-Mobile adverts. "Ooh la La" also topped the Billboard Dance charts and reached #1 in Spain.
The song is Alison Goldfrapp's homage to the playful vocals of T Rex's Marc Bolan. "Decadent and ooh-la-la," she noted in publicity materials. "We've always been into layered vocals and how they treated vocals on albums in the 70s, using slap-back effects and thick drum sounds. I love that campness, that slightly throwaway but slightly nasty poutiness which is always appealing. And Marc Bolan was always bloody great at that. As was Marlene Dietrich. Sulky, sexual and ambiguous."
This was Goldfrapp's first song to feature the electric guitar, an instrument that they had previously avoided due to its overly recognizable rhythm. When the duo recorded the song, Will Gregory played the keyboard bass as Alison sang. Her microphone picked up a rattling noise of Gregory's pressing the keys, which they added to the chorus.
"Sloop John B" is a traditional West Indian folk song, and it was a huge hit for The Beach Boys in 1966. They tweaked the lyric, "This is the worst trip since I've been born" to "...I've ever been on" as a wink to acid culture.