Experimental Matrimony

Ah, the emptiness of modern comforts…

Can a song be both great and ridiculous?  Fifty years on, I’m still wondering.  But I still love this and almost everything from Roxy’s first five albums.

8 Replies to “Experimental Matrimony”

  1. Is this your favorite album of theirs? I got really into Siren, probably as a result of seeing it on one of Rolling Stone‘s greatest albums lists, but missed just about everything else. I was 3 when Roxy Music came out!

    Interestingly, Steve Jones decided he wanted to be in a band when he saw Roxy Music perform “Virginia Plain” on ToTP. He was sitting in a remand center at the time and had never even touched a guitar.

    1. In fairness, I’d divide their albums into Eno and post-Eno. This one, For Your Pleasure (their second), is my favorite of the two with Eno. That’s not to slight their first album, Roxy Music. Side one of RM is greatness from start to finish. It contains not only “Virginia Plain,” but also one of the greatest first songs of a first album in history, “Re-Make/Re-Model.” That song, with the jackhammer Velvet Underground beat (unusual for the time) and other idiosyncracies, says “here the fuck we are” in such a huge way. Some of the experimentation on side two doesn’t work for me personally, so I’ve always preferred FYP. There’s the song I posted, but also “Do The Strand,” “The Bogus Man,” and maybe best of all, “Editions of You.” And more!

      That said, FYP was the first one I bought as a youngun’, so I could be biased.

      Predictably, things changed and became a bit tidier after Eno quit. Not worse, just different. Still quirky as hell, but the quirks became more about Bryan Ferry’s personality than avant garde experimentation. I love the next three albums: Stranded, Country Life, and Siren. I think Siren is overall the stongest of those, but I wouldn’t be without any of them.

      Siren was the last album before they went on a hiatus. Post hiatus they made an OK album (Manifesto), a clunker (Flesh and Blood), then in the early 80’s their final and most popular one, Avalon, which people just went bonkers over. I like Avalon just fine, but having been a fan of 70’s Roxy, to me it’s just not Roxy. But I get its appeal, and I was glad they finally got some success in the US, where they’d never previously gotten past cult-band-for-record-nerds status. Unfortunately, Avalon spawned the whole “cocktail rock” trend (Spandau Ballet et al.) that got old before it was even born.

      All the albums got the “half-speed mastered at Abbey Road from the original analog tapes” vinyl reissue treatment not too long ago. Sucker that I am, I bought all the good ones. Nice pressings, good sound, but worth having for the covers alone.

  2. I made out many times to both Avalon and Ferry’s Boys and Girls solo records. Side two of Tattoo You is also a good make-out record. Thus showing you how long it’s been since I’ve actually made out with anyone.

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