Thursday, February 28, 2008

No. 387: Country Life

Band: Roxy Music
Album: Country Life
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Yada yada Roxy Music influenced a lot of '80s music. Yada yada Bryan Ferry had a vision. Yada yada yada.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I keep trying to find something in this album and cannot. It's overly dramatic at times, oddly constructed at others and overall, kind of a mess.
Best song: "Bitter-Sweet" is fun, with the German lyrics and all.
Worst song: "If It Takes All Night" is a wannabe blues song.
Is it awesome?: Bah!

You won't see Roxy Music compared to Nick Drake often, but the method that made me appreciate "Pink Moon" didn't translater to "Country Life." I've listened to "Country Life" more than 10 times in the last week. I could probably sing half the melodies. I could identify most of the songs.

But, for whatever reason, the record doesn't speak to me.

Famed critic Lester Bangs called the band "the triumph of artifice" and I don't think he's too far off. Bryan Ferry's meticulous production is something to be admired, though his sporadic genius shouldn't be celebrated.

Again, I can't really get into the album, save for "Bitter-Sweet," a song featuring German-language lyrics.


Also, the album cover. Ferry famously said in 1995 "pictures of pretty girls had been used to sell everything else…why not rock music?" I can't say I disagree with him, as I always enjoy a good picture of a pretty girl. Were it socially acceptable, I'd surround myself with pictures of pretty girls. As it is, the closest I can get is a photo of Abe Lincoln on my desk at work.

The cover of "Country Life," of course, features two pretty girls (well, one. The one on the right isn't all that pretty.), scantily clad. The models were fans of the band and the album's title is a joke on the British magazine of the same name.

What's fun is that a few countries wouldn't sell the album with the cover as constituted. Spain censored it, as did the Netherlands. Many U.S. retailers sold it in a black shrink wrap.

If nothing, that's kind of cool.

1 comment:

padraig said...

I just noticed that Roxy Music has 4 albums on this list - wtf? really? I can understand it for Bowie, who at least explored a multitude of styles (I'm partial to the Berlin trilogy if not his earlier work), but Roxy freakin' Music? Somehow I doubt that even the most diehard Bryan Ferry worshipper would argue that they produced 4 of the best 500 albums ever made. Not to mention that they did by far their best work with Brian Eno, whose one (very deserving) solo album to make the cut is behind all of Roxy's. Ah, whatever.