Françoise Hardy at the beginning of the seventies had gained the right to be seen as something different than simply a part of the yé yé movement of the sixties. In 1971 with the help of a brazilian guitarist named Tuca she was about to make what is considered by many (and by me) as her best album. "La question" has a perfect instrumentation (strings, guitar and bass) and stunning arrangements. I dare you not to fall in love with the first 30 seconds of "Oui je dis adieu", in a way it reminds me of Scott Walker's "Plastic palace people" it has the same circular construction.
I know, one is supposed to defer to the Eno-epoch Roxy Music, (and the first two LPs are the end of the world), but this may well be the band's most serene momment. Bryan Ferry is at the top his game here - his vocals are heavenly, his lyrics are brilliantly/brutally witty. Add the floating layers of "Melody Nelson" damaged strings and the effect is dazzling.
21 Jun 04 ·kath: "all the things you used to do.. a trip to the movies, a drink or two...they don't satisfy you, they don't tell you anything new" perfect song by Roxy at its very height... please keep your recommendations coming, Roberto.
A nasty/under appreciated gem from David Bowie's Berlin period, "Beauty and The Beast" is sheer perfection/pure malice in musical form. Ominous squibs of sound coalesce around an almost crocodilian groove and Robert Fripp's hissing, poisonous guitar line. Then Bowie makes one his most memorable vocal entrances with a sound somewhere between a croon and a scream. Things just get nastier from there - David playing the hipster, killer android on the lead vocal, while the backgrounds get all down and dirty on chorus. Then, as if he's suddenly come his senses after committing some atrocious act, Bowie howls over the break: "I want you to believe me!/I wanted to be good!/I wanted no distractions!/Like every good boy should!" - before sliding back into the sociopathic sleekness of the last verse. The genius of the tune is that it suggests all manner of violence/bad shit without actually describing any act of mayhem. Therefore the imagination runs riot. A brilliant/evil track.
This is an utterly lovely song with synthesized strings and organ (and a real oboe) which actually made the Top Ten on the east side of the pond, the side where more people have "musical taste" it would seem. The bowed strings back much of the song, while the plucked strings and the oboe make some nice fills between vocal lines. And the line "I sat on the roof", out of context, sounds exactly like the identical line in Elton John's "Your Song", although that one continues "and kicked out the moss" while this one continues "and watched the day go by" ...
from Working With Fire And Steel available on CD - The China Crisis Collection (Virgin)