28. baby’s on fire

Baby’s On Fire doesn’t play by any of the rules, yet it absolutely slays as pop song, rock song, whatever you want to call it — the Brian Eno genius in full wild eruption, that beautiful baby getting tossed out with the bathwater, or whatever the hell’s going on. What’s going on is Mr. Eno’s delightfully skewed approach to wordplay. Throw a bunch of loose phrases into a box, pull them out in random order. Proceed from there. And then there’s Robert Fripp‘s incendiary guitar solo erupting through the middle of things like a demon from future antiquity (or was it Paul Rudolph?). By which I mean, holy sh**, Baby’s On Fire was at least five years old when I first heard it, and still too hot to touch. And it still hasn’t cooled off. Yet it is still cool.” (Philip Random)

49. ladytron

The First Roxy Music Album is still mostly ahead of its time even now decades after the fact (and the next four or five are pretty amazing as well). But it’s the first one that lays it all out – the glamour, the romance, the noise, the pop, the rock, The Future. And the single track that delivers it all in less than four and a half minutes, the one Roxy artifact I’d grab if the world was burning down (and it probably is), is Ladytron. Which (it occurs to me as I jot this down), I don’t even know what it’s about. It’s about a lady, of course, and beautiful at that, though I guess she may be a robot. But maybe Bryan Ferry‘s kiss can make her human. Or something like that. Equal parts fairy tale and science fiction and pure fun modernity, circa 1972.” (Philip Random)

156. Song for Europe

“The easy and wrong position to take on Roxy Music is that they were only good as long as Brian Eno was onboard (ie: the first two albums), ‘…a 1970s band playing 1950s music for the twenty-first century‘. It’s true that things changed with Eno’s rather abrupt departure. How could they not? But as their third album Stranded makes abundantly clear, Roxy still had more than enough rings for a proper circus. With Song For Europe an epic romance that offers verses in not just English and French, but Latin too, all toward … well, I don’t know what exactly, or where. It just sends me there, sweetly, strangely, and finally powerfully. Which I suppose is where Roxy did finally lose it for me – when they stopped delivering the power and the strangeness, opting for those misty water-coloured moods of Avalon which definitely shifted units, but just drove me resolutely elsewhere. Anywhere else really. Oh well.” (Philip Random)

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247. remake-remodel

“The first song from the first Roxy Music album makes it abundantly clear. This band is not concerned with the past. This is not a rock ‘n’ roll soaked in blues and authenticity. This is dissonance, angularity and cool high fashion, which no doubt must have felt like a hostile alien invasion if you were a certain kind of hippie in 1972. Hell, I didn’t even hear Remake/Remodel until at least 1979 and I just assumed it was some up and coming New Wave outfit, except they were way better than most. And I suspect the same would be true today. Still more about what’s to come than what has been.” (Philip Random)

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322. bogus man

“I think of Bogus Man as where Roxy Music would have gone if Brian Eno had never left: to stranger, deeper, more evocative realms, while great hordes of confused hippies looked on from darkened streets, still coming down from that long strange trip known as the 1960s. Which is rather what was going on anyway with Roxy in their early years, strutting like peacocks through a world full of pigeons. As it was, Bryan Ferry had other ideas for his band, and it’s not as if Mr. Eno didn’t go off and invent the future anyway. Which he’d be the first to say the Germans were already doing. Can in particular without whom we would never have heard the likes of Bogus Man.” (Philip Random)

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442. Virginia Plain

More or less perfect modern pop from a more or less perfect moment in modern pop-time. Which is to say 1972, glam eruption. Except it’s wrong to classify or date Virginia Plain (or Roxy Music for that matter). Virginia Plain defies genre. It just is. Three minutes of pure, strange, driving fun. And thus a reason to live. Because you never know what’s going to happen next.

475. editions of you

“Tight, hard, fast, and looking very good – nobody else sounded or looked or felt remotely like Roxy Music in 1973. That would have to wait five years or so. Then all kinds of people were sounding, looking, feeling like Roxy Music (in 1973).  Unfortunately, Roxy weren’t anymore. They’d gone all white-boy soulful, a creature I could never love. But that was okay. I was really just discovering 1973 anyway, and it was all for my pleasure.” (Philip Random)

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517. a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

“It doesn’t look promising on paper. Bryan Ferry (aka Mr. Suave) taking on Bob Dylan’s 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis inspired whole-world’s-gonna-end-tomorrow-so-I-guess-I’ll-just-write-all-my-songs-tonight apocalyptic masterpiece, turning it into a gospel infused dance number with a big arrangement. But it actually works, and damned well. Miracles never cease, I guess. And the rest of the album‘s pretty strong, too. All covers, all at the very least fun.” (Philip Random)

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540. the thrill of it all

“I try not to regret things. Life offers way too many options. But I do deeply wish I’d been cool enough as a teen to actually ‘get’ the mid-70s Roxy Music, when they really were about the coolest item on the planet (even without Brian Eno). And not just in terms of look. They also had the chops, the vision, the SOUND. But then I guess I wouldn’t have had the thrill of discovering all those early albums after the fact. Which happened around the same time they were mellowing into the pastel infused murk of Avalon, which the yuppies couldn’t seem to get enough of, but it sent me running in the opposite direction. In fact, it’s all right there now that I think about it. The difference between the 70s and the 80s. One of them anyway.” (Philip Random)

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