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.
A great track from a truly great LP that I fear might have slipped through the cracks in the floorboards in the decade or so since it's release. TWP's "Queer" remains the band masterpiece, an ungodly amalgam of Can, Talking Heads, Roxy Music, King Tubby and De La Soul. This song perfectly highlights the record's/band's strengths - Mark Cox's cut and paste/dub programming, Andrew Gray's blistering guitar, Mick Allen's brilliant "Tom Waits sings the Mark E. Smith Songbook" voice/words, aided by then Throwing Muses Leslie Langston's sexy bass/backgrounds vocals. The song is both seductive and sinister - the spoonful of sugar being the its' "The Fall Plays The Burt Bacharach Songbook" shambling groove that helps down the medicine that is Mick Allen's venomous lyrics in re: America's inaction/indifference in the face of the AIDS crisis. Rarely has subject matter so heavy, been dealt with in such light/deft manner. I recommend the whole "Queer" LP - particularly the British edition , which differs in tracklisting and uses of samples. (It is likewise available on the band's fine - if somewhat short - best of "Everything is Beautiful 1983-1995"
from Queer &/or Everything is Beautiful 1983-1995, available on CD (4AD)
28 Feb 03 ·konsu: I always liked these guys too. Queer did miss the mark in america for sure, although I think "Going South" got some airplay... I'm a big fan of the Birdwood Cage LP. A very underrated group from a very popular label.
Ever wonder what a collaboration between Young Marble Giants and Tuxedomoon in, say 1981, might have sounded like? Well, now you know....
Stark bass lines, antediluvian drum machines, and lilting, little-girl-lost vocals collide with welters of noise and lyrics full of images straight out of David Cronenberg's "Scanners".
Gorgeous, grisly and grim - a great track from what might be the record of the year.
A fascinating out-take from the "Diamond Dogs" sessions, “Dodo” can be seen as the starting point of Lady Stardust’s shift from glitter space-boy to paranoid, plastic soul stylist. Like almost everything on D. Dogs, the lyrics are inspired by Orwell’s “1984”, but the music seems to be profoundly damaged by sleek, eerie production style of Willie Mitchell.
Thus the song plays like Al Green in Hell, w/a great groove and deeply creepy feel. The Thin White Duke starts here.
from Diamond Dogs (out-take) (RCA) available on CD - Diamond Dogs (30th Anniversary edition) (EMI)
Lounge lizards rarely get more reptilian than this. Another brilliant example of Ferry’s cover mad, song-stylist solo work outside of Roxy Music in the early to mid 1970’s – totally rethinking some well-known standard, yet grasping something intrinsic about the song’s core. Here he gives the tune just the hint of a Philly-soul groove, and keeps the production/arrangement as open/eerie as an empty parking garage. Very sexy, and more a little creepy – its like being hit on by the ghost of Bela Lugosi in the toilet of a disco in 1975.