Bryan Ferry – Olympia – $12.88 | $16.99 for CD and making of DVD
By: Dappered Music Correspondent Tim Johnstone
Bryan Ferry has always been a style icon, from his early days with art-rock progenitors Roxy Music and through his years as a solo artist. He’s the James Bond of Rock and Roll. Tom Ford, current it-man of fashion and former design star for Gucci, proclaimed Ferry to be the ultimate style icon. With Roxy Music, he mingled with the beautiful people in the world of art and music, he put world-famous models on the covers of his influential albums, and he influenced a couple generations of musicians.
Having spent most of the last 15 years making mostly respectable albums (he released an album of Dylan covers and an album of standards, among others) he returns with Olympia, easily the best work he’s done since the 80’s.
Olympia finds Bryan Ferry back on familiar territory. It’s stylish and sexy, moody and introverted, a little dangerous and supremely satisfying. Olympia features Kate Moss on the cover wearing a satin sheet and an unbelievably robust diamond necklace.
Of course, it’s the music that matters most here and Bryan has assembled a phenomenal band for this album, including Nile Rodgers of Chic on guitar and respected session player Marcus Miller on bass. But for Roxy Music fans, the fact that Brian Eno, Andrew Mackay and Phil Manzanera all appear on this release is big news, as it represents the closest thing we are going to get to new music from a Roxy Music reunion. Flea, Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, the Scissor Sisters and Groove Armada also make solid contributions to Olympia.
“You Can Dance” brings to mind some of Ferry’s MTV favorites from the Boys & Girls and Bete Noire releases, recalling terrific singles like “Slave To Love” and “Don’t Stop The Dance”. The video (below) perfectly encapsulates the feel of Ferry’s album – the smoky, elegant, somewhat debauched ambiance, a collection of beautiful women, and his inimitable vocals and cool demeanor.
“Shameless” borrows the rhythm track from Roxy’s classic art-rock 70’s top 40 hit “Love Is The Drug” to good effect. “Heartache By Numbers” is a terrific collaboration with the Scissor Sisters. But the album’s shining gem is Ferry’s sumptuous cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren”. Even for an artist with a remarkable track record of interpreting other people’s songs, this is an achievement.
Make no mistake: this is not music for the gym. There’s a heavy dose of late night atmosphere here, along with some atmospheric soundscapes. It is, however, the perfect soundtrack for an evening with your partner or for a gathering of friends over drinks.
Tim Johnstone is a former Virgin Records Label Rep and current award winning Music Director, Assistant Program Director, and on-air host at FMQB’s AAA station of the year markets 50+. He also writes a daily blog that’s a collection of the absolute best the internet has to offer. It’s a daily must read. And you can check it out here.