Has anyone heard the new Bryan Ferry album yet? I know it’s got members of Roxy Music (including Eno), Jonny Greenwood, and probably some other cool cats, but I’ve not yet mustered the energy to even seek out and sample a YouTube clip. Should I, or will it be one more super-smooth attempt at recapturing the “magic” of Boys & Girls? Come to think of it, has Ferry been getting a Lennon Pass all these years? If so, believe me, I’ve been as guilty of issuing the pass as anyone. But why?
For the next week — stream it at Spinner free:
I like the nod to Roxy, with the girl on the cover. I’ve been listening, but if I’m honest with myself, none of his solo albums approach the Roxy Music records. My faves are: For Your Pleasure and Manifesto — both of which I bought in the 8-track cutouts at Montgomery Wards in the early 80s, along with Eno’s first two solo albums. Avalon gets honorable mention, which is one of the first CDs I ever bought.
just listened to the song Olympia. it sounded ok. we’ll see if it sticks with me.
Thanks for the Spinner tip, funoka. I’ll see if I can begin to muster the necessary energy to let that album play while I work tonight.
I haven’t heard it. I’ll be buying it, because that’s what I do. And yes Manifesto rules.
Doesn’t Eno have a new album out, as well? In college, “Bete Noire” got a lot of play.
I remember that album, jeangray. I convinced myself to like Boys & Girls because I liked Avalon so much. All the time I knew I was forcing the issue. Bete Noire wasn’t bad either, but I missed the rock ‘n roll oomph that was always part of previous Ferry albums with and without Roxy Music. It all got “too ’80s” for me.
If memory serves, I beleive Avalon was among the first rock CDs ever issued, probably for its lush sonic qualities. My college buddy, who shelled out big bucks for one of the first Sony CD players, had Avalon and Dire Staits’ Brothers in Arms in heavy rotation, because of the limited number of CDs available in 1985.
But will “Olympia” surpass “Avalon” as being the makeout album of the decade?
Roxy Music’s two strongest, deepest records are Stranded and Country Life. I like all of them, though, really; whereas Ferry’s solo work…eh.
Ferry probably gets “the Lennon Pass” from me. Even his records that don’t grab at the time, I find myself revisiting and finding stuff I like. As for the new record, I think (I could be wrong here) I read that it was initially to be a new Roxy Music album, but for whatever reason, it became a Ferry solo effort. I really like what I’ve heard so far.
I’m hoping to listen to it this afternoon. Ferry gets the pass from me, in part, because I perceived him as an underdog to Bowie, who for years I didn’t like despite liking 30 songs by him. Part of his appeal for me is that he comes off as sincere in his overblown, romantic persona. He also strikes me as doing his thing with a sense of humor. In all Ferry albums I’ve heard since Avalon, however, I’ve long wished he’d get off the ’80s slick train and do an album with a more natural sounding rhythm section.
I’m listening to this now. For starters I’m surprised that the opening track, “You Can Dance,” has some of that rock ‘n roll oomph that Mr. Mod felt has been missing. I could do without the spoken word audio verite part, though, as well as a couple less minutes of a chorus that was going nowhere.
“Alphaville” bugs me with its overuse of cheesy effects (eg, “seagull echo”) and nearly “Oriental” riffs. It sounds like a Yoko song I would have skipped on Double Fantasy.
The intro to “Heartache by Numbers” did not bode well, but the awkward Eno-style chorus helped me get a bit interested. The verse that follows the chorus picks up a bit and steers clear of turning the song into that horrible ’80s Rod Stewart song in which he’s riding on a horse and carriage while frolicking with a child version of the Simply Red guy. Still this is a song out of time, isn’t it? I wish the drum machine handclaps didn’t step over the ethereal outro.
“Me Oh My”…along with “You Can Dance” could Ferry have come up with two more typical Bryan Ferry song titles? Again, what’s with the female seagull echoed backing vocals? Can’t Ferry parade around in his shiny gray, ’80s-cut silk suits without such accoutrements? This is the musical equivalent of the 80-year-old Italian-American woman who is not content to look good in her big Sophia Loren glasses and insists on dying her hair pitch black.
“Shameless” also begins with fake handclaps and some audio verite snippet. I’m too old for this shit, and Ferry’s a lot older than me. These moves may have impressed younger women in 1982, but do they mean anything now? After the opening track, which was pretty straightforward, this album is getting sucked down the toilet with Ferry’s outdated ’80s tricks. It’s over, dude.
Next track…more drum machine claves! I’m outta here! The next song, “No Face, No Name, No Number,” is much more like it. It sounds like actual people are playing the music, like the song was written without the help of a programmed loop. You know that British show with the two women who show up at the house of some pathetic person or family that hasn’t cleaned their house in 12 years? Those women need to show up at Ferry’s place and clean out all the crap he’s been accumulating since the ’80s.
I’m gonna hold fire until I hear it, seeing as how I just wrote a list just the other day of The Good Roxy Music Songs after listening to everything I could find (which may or may not have been their entire discography). Their later years did not figure prominently, and in general it is not a long list.
I got to listen to this earlier today, KingEd, and I agree with your initial take.
This pretty much sounds like you’d expect it to sound — Ferry’s become reliable in that way. It’s not awful — I don’t even think it sounds too ’80s necessarily; it’s just high-tech. Ferry specializes in subtle pleasures these days, so it’s hard for me to get excited or even angered by this. One wonders, however, why it takes him so long to make these latter-day albums.
Not sure if this is related to the Lennon Pass, but I do get annoyed when the PR focuses on appearance by ex-Roxy members! when guys like Eno and Manzanera have been making cameos on Ferry’s solo albums on and off since the early ’90s.
I really liked Frantic, which came out around 2002. It got a similar amount of write-up (Eno showed up, as did Paul Thompson, and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead), but no one remembers it now. I imagine a similar thing will happen to this album.
I also liked his ’20s and ’30s covers album, As Time Goes By, which was almost a genre piece in that he really tried to adhere to typical arrangement styles for those songs. Like, imagine if Ferry did the soundtrack to a Woody Allen film; that’s what it sounded like.
Ding dong, the link is dead. Now it’s Smokey Robinson!