Post-punk "pop" at its most gorgeous/baroque/bewilderingly extreme - and the perfect introduction to the God-like genius of Alan Rankine and the late/great singer Billy Mackenzie. A four car-pile-up between Roxy Music (circa "For Your Pleasure"), Bowie (circa "Heroes"), Scott Walker's "Scott 3" and Kraftwerk's "The Man Machine", (with King Tubby and Shirley Bassey acting as ambulance attendants), this song is both empty and lush, creepy and hilarious, ice-cold and almost embarrassingly emotional. I have loved/lived/died by this song for almost two decades, and I still can't begin to tell you what its about. It's like something from outer space - like so many of the greatest pop songs are.
from The Fourth Drawer Down (Situation Two) available on CD - From The Fourth Drawer Down (V2)
The perfect theme to Roman Polanski's underrated comic horror film, The Fearless Vampire Killers. With stacked vocal harmonies, suggesting the background singers at some sort of Bulgarian black mass, floating on bat wings over a very jazzy rhythm section, this song is, at once, very creepy and very funny. I have long believed that Siouxsie and The Banshees came into existence entirely due this influence of this track. (Play it back to back with "Switch" or "Israel" or "Cascade" sometime, and you'll see what I mean.) Stereolab likewise. Broadcast or Goldfrapp could do a brilliant cover of it.
from Complete Recordings Of Krzysztof Komeda Vol 19, available on CD (Polonia Records)
A great track from the excellent "solo" LP by the Portishead vocalist (actually it’s a collaboration with Paul Webb - one time member of sublime 1980's pop group Talk Talk - calling himself Rustin Man for some reason.) The arrangement suggests a low-key take on one of Bacharach/David's statelier ballads, (like say "Aprils Fools" or "Trains and Boats and Planes"), which develops a wonderfully sad groove on the chorus. There are lovely strings, a great, woozy horn solo, and some inspired use of subtle, dissonant electronic textures and spooky female background vocals (both very Ennio Morricone.) Meanwhile, Gibbons does her most stylized take on Billie Holiday at her most stylized - which really shouldn't work, but somehow ends up being just right. Strong song from a very strong album.
from Out of Season, available on CD ()
27 Nov 02 ·bobbyspacetroup: Agreed. This track and "Drake" are my favorites from the album -- especially "Drake." Good recommendation.
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.
Prior to hearing her "Something" LP, I always referred to Dame Shirley as "The Godzilla of Song". By this I meant I always felt she treated a tune the way Rodan treated Tokyo, like something to be smashed underfoot. While I lived/died by her Bond themes, and such like, I never thought she was capable of nuance, restraint, and/or sexiness. Then I heard this god-like album, brilliantly produced and arranged by Johnny Harris. This cover of The Doors' song perfectly sums up the record's strengths. It's jazzy, sexy, incredibly funky, yet still totally Dame Shirley in all her over-the-top-glory. Probably the best Doors cover ever (though Nico's toxic reading of "The End", and Siouxsie and The Banshees' strangely Motown-esque version of "You're Lost Little Girl" come awfully close.)