Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'd Buy Anything By...Bryan Ferry (and then I'd SMOOCH him)

Does he deserve an entry apart from Roxy Music, considering he was their frontman and primary songwriter? Well, yes, but for no rational reason. I just like him so much.

Bryan Ferry really only has two vocal techniques -- "slinky" or "shouty" -- but they are both sublime. He has managed to be a sort of "lounge lizard" without ever being sleezy; he filled his videos with fashion models and never seemed exploitative; he has recently survived a scandal wherein he was misquoted as saying he "praised the Nazi regime." Has anybody else done that stuff, and with such style? I don't think so. It's the little things that count.

You may say his eyes are small and too close together; I say he's devilishly handsome. You may say he slips into adult contemporary pop too often, and I say "so what?" My very own mother might complain that she can never understand what he is saying, but I call that "creative articulation." Bryan Ferry, in my world, is somewhat beyond criticism, so hush.

First, in shouty-mode, here's a largely overlooked Ferry song that I consider to be one of his best: "The Price of Love." It's so bombastic! The primary female in the video, of course, is Jerry Hall.

In '80s pop slinky-mode, "Don't Stop the Dance." I don't know who the models are in this one, but one of them is certainly NOT a professional sax player. Still, she's probably more attention-grabbing than David Sanborn. Note the Mark Knopfler guitar.

The best thing about Bryan Ferry is that he isn't dead yet! He just released a CD of Bob Dylan covers, and while I wouldn't swear by it I can happily say he "still has it." Sex appeal, smarts, talent, and good taste: that's my Bryan.

Albums to buy: try "BĂȘte Noir" for its mix of catchiness and Brian Eno odd-production. Albums to avoid? Quite frankly, Ferry's albums are a mixed bag which are rarely good all the way through, and I can't think of any that are "less good" than any others. For fans only? The smell of his morning breath, because I bet that EVEN HE stinks sometimes.


Eli McIlveen said...

Haven't kept track of Ferry's more recent stuff. I'll have to go searching.

In the meantime, I've been really, really enjoying Secret Messages.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Well, Bryan Ferry's recent solo work isn't something I'd recommend to many, but it's certainly competent.

Aww, I'm so glad you're liking "Secret Messages!" It was originally supposed to be a double album, and all of those other songs are available at various if you find yourself loving the album an awful lot, you can be happy knowing that there is even more to it.

(Especially "Hello, My Old Friend," which is really something special).