“Stranded” by Roxy Music - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1973Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

“Stranded” arrived in November ’73 – just 8 months after “For Your Pleasure”. Since then, Roxy had lost the synth wizardry of Brian Eno who, frustrated and bored with his position in the group, had decided to go and pursue his own musical visions. His place in the group was taken by the classically sensitive Eddie Jobson – ‘til now a prog-rocker with Curved Air – who had assisted Bryan Ferry with his solo LP in the summertime. Perhaps ironically given Eno’s departure, this is the first LP from the group where a couple of song-writing credits are dished out to members other than Bryan Ferry. There’s little doubt as to who’s really in charge here though; the songs are starting to be framed within a more conventional structure – it’s clear our Bryan enjoys a good ol’ croon. The set has a really laid back, cool feel to it. The instrumentation is ever-classy and the songs are strong throughout.

For the third consecutive album the opener, “Street Life”, is gloriously dynamic, so much so that the group decided to break with their established practice of not releasing album tracks as singles. Speaking to Uncut, Ferry later said: “it begins with a cacophony of traffic noise, played by Jobson on synthesiser and Andy Mackay on sax, mingled with real sounds of the street – car horns, for example – and then the vocal enters. I wanted it to be a high-energy, fun song – buzzy and vibrant – and I hope the words convey some of that joie de vivre. Each verse seems to have its own character, like blocks on a street. And connoisseurs might notice the number of allusions to various brands of chocolate [Milky Way, After Eight, Black Magic], which is rather puzzling, since I never touched the stuff.” The croonster really comes into his own with the magnificent “Psalm” which closes side 1. Intensely soulful, the piece builds and builds forever before exploding in a grandiose swirl of rock-orchestration subtly enhanced by The London Welsh Male Voice Choir. Close inspection of the lyrics reveals this to be a genuine display of God-worshipping: “Forget all your troubles you will feel no pain, he's all that you need, he's your everything.” I wonder what the Big G reckoned to the front-cover model with the ripped-dress, wet in all the “right” places? The power balladry is to the fore again on side 2’s highlight, “A Song For Europe” – co-credited to Andy Mackay who plays some terrific sax – which appropriately renders lyrics in English, French and Latin. J'aime beaucoup. Now, where did I put my bright-white tuxedo?

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:29] 9.3.png Roxy Music - Street Life (Bryan Ferry) New Wave
A2 [03:36] 6.7.png Roxy Music - Just Like You (Bryan Ferry) Songwriter
A3 [04:16] 6.0.png Roxy Music - Amazona (Bryan Ferry, Phil Manzanera) Cerebral Pop
A4 [08:04] 9.4.png Roxy Music - Psalm (Bryan Ferry) Blues Rock / Soul Rock
B1 [02:59] 6.6.png Roxy Music - Serenade (Bryan Ferry) Cerebral Pop
B2 [05:46] 7.6.png Roxy Music - A Song For Europe (Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay) Songwriter
B3 [06:52] 6.6.png Roxy Music - Mother Of Pearl (Bryan Ferry) Cerebral Pop
B4 [06:04] 6.7.png Roxy Music - Sunset (Bryan Ferry) Songwriter

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