Thursday, May 21, 2009

Roxy Music - Stranded

8/10

Eno is out, but Roxy is still as good as ever, if not nearly as inventive. They didn't replace him because Ferry could play pretty well; his vocal performance is also all over the map on this album, from the sickly sweet falsetto on "Just Like You" to the gospel crooning on "Psalm" to his moody delivery on "A Song for Europe," he can do it all. God only knows why he's not often listed in the top tier of rock frontmen. There are a few low spots (for example, "Mother of Pearl" has a catchy melody, but the second half is just too damn repetitive), but they're few and far between.
This album feels very different than "For Your Pleasure," but it's more of an atmospheric shift than a stylistic one. Stranded is bright, happy, vibrant and hopeful where its predecessor was dark and cynical. I guess this could be called a mainstreaming of Roxy's sound, but if all mainstream music were this good, I'd barely bother to venture into the underground in the first place.

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