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Stranded
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 16, 2005
Back in the day, I was working the graveyard shift at a radio station in Minneapolis. Waaaaaay in the back of the record library was a dusty stack of LPs never meant to see the light of day. Most of it was junk, but this record caught my attention (the photo of the beautiful woman in the torn dress is an attention-getter), and I put it on the turntable. I could not believe such creative musicians existed (other than King Crimson, but I digress). The ultimate irony is that, right next to this disc was the first Foreigner album. So there they were, the record that represented everything I hated about commercial pop music (Foreigner), and this Roxy album which was like finding a starlit path to heaven. I immediately became addicted and started buying recordings by Roxy, Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, etc. etc.....everything I could get my hands on. This is talent. This is music. Ten zillion Foreigner albums are not worth the ink on the record label of this disc. Buy it. It is a mind-bending, fully original classic.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Roxy Music is one of those groups, where everybody has their own opinion of which album is the best, because they never made a record not worth buying ('Flesh + Blood' is vastly underrated). But this is my personal favourite, because every track here is simply perfect, & it ties the group together, both with the experimental group they were before Eno's departure just before this album. And at the same time, it has most of what makes the later 'Country Life' and 'Siren' such classic albums. And then it has 'Street Life'...

'Street Life', that opens the album, is simply Roxy's greatest song ever (some of the romantic ballads are as good, but you can't compare them). This song is pure joy from start to end, with Ferry manically unleashing some of his strongest lyrics ever. The music is a feverish, ecstatic festival for youth & life. It is a party anthem that never gets dumb, old or clichéed, because the imagery here is nothing short of sorcery! Romantic sorcerer, that is what Ferry is here. Or drunken god... but what's the difference? This song is worth the world alone...

'Just Like You' is a tender ballad of the kind that Ferry does a million of, without it getting repetitive. 'Amazona' is an alltime classic, with almost psychedelic lyrics & riff so magical that it sweeps away your feet. 'Psalm' is just that, with traces of gospel, though that's what it's not. 'Serenade' is utter joy, a rolling rocker that somehow retains the romanticism of the earlier songs, while seeing it through the eyes of rock'n'roll.

'A Song For Europe' is a haunting, dark track, reminiscent of Lou Reed's 'Berlin' epic, released the same year, but still not, as it retains Ferry's romanticism.

'Mother Of Pearl' starts out as a fantastic rocker, but after a minute & something, it is cut off, & becomes the gentlest & most beautiful of Ferry's love songs before 'Spin Me Round' from 'Manifesto' and the romantic longings of the 1982 album 'Avalon'.

With 'Sunset' the album ends in a climax that further solidifies this album as the most romantic ever, until the aforementioned 'Avalon', also by Roxy.

'Stranded', as said, reigns above the other Roxy albums for me, but other of their albums, like 'Manifesto', could be said to have a higher general quality of songs. I freely admit, that 'Street Life' alone ended the election, before I even looked at the rest of 'Stranded', but especially 'Amazona', 'Mother Of Pearl' and 'Serenade' rank among the band's best ever, & even the worst tracks aren't far behind, so I urge anybody who'd ever consider buying a popular music album, to get this as soon as possible.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Stranded shows a more melodic but still ambitious Roxy Music trying on musicial styles. While they don't all fit perfectly, the look is dazzling nonetheless. Stranded is the band's first true collaborative effort from start to finish. The first album was primarily written before the final line up was assembled. The second clearly had much input (although a dimished role for him) from Eno. Stranded features Ferry to the fore and clearly the front man while still very much a collaborative effort.
The surprising Mother of Pearl (the first Ferry song where he improvised the lyrics while listening to the playback for the very first time), wistful A Song for Europe and reverent Psalm all capture Roxy's topsy turvy world in transition. While Stranded isn't as odd as For YOur Pleasure or rock as hard as COuntry Life, the melodic sheen of these well crafted songs stand out in comparison to those efforts.
Eno's favorite Roxy album is Stranded.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2006
From the opening dissonant synthesizer riff, Phil Manzanera's alternately 'walking' and shrieking guitar lines slithering through it and Bryan Ferry's excited crooning in "Street Life" to the gorgeous poetry and subtle piano/violin interplay at the end of "Sunset", this is my favorite Roxy Music album. The wild "Street Life" is followed by "Just Like You", a luscious ballad with astoundingly dreamy/surrealistic lyrics Ferry mostly sings in a sweet falsetto. Then out of left field (way,way out!) comes the Ferry/Manzanera-composed "Amazona"- partly funky, partly spacey, totally unique. I love Phil's treated guitar solo on this one. The marching rhythm of "Psalm" features a strange lyrical analogy of trying on different clothes with seeking religious faith. "Serenade" features some wonderful oboe and sax work by Andy Mackay. Next is the towering "A Song For Europe", an ode to the Olde Country that veers from the majestic to the subtle and back again. The astonishingly original "Mother of Pearl" starts off like a schizophrenic rocker ("Have you a future? Yes,yes,yes, nooo!"), transforms into a semi-ballad after a little over a minute and slowly starts rocking again after a bit. "Mother" segues right into the final track, "Sunset", a song so beautiful, so melancholy yet serene that I cried the first few times I listened to it. Again, here Bryan's lyrics are unparalleled in their subtlety and wit. ("Sunburst fingers you raise, one last sigh of farewell".) Glorious!

Before continuing, I have to tell you that I worship at the alter of Brian Eno. He's probably the biggest influence on my own songwriting. But is he missed on "Stranded"? My answer is a resounding 'no'. The replacement of Brian with Eddie Jobson was a good move. I think the band sounds more cohesive on "Stranded" than their first two albums with Eno. However, I want to clarify that I do love those first two albums as well. In a band that includes such an unusual instrument (in rock music anyway) as the oboe, the electric violin was a brilliant addition to their sound. Eddie's synth playing is very nice, adding just the right touches without being quite as in-your-face as Eno's sometimes was. As a matter of fact, I've read that this is actually Eno's favorite Roxy Music album so there you have it. Pick up this art rock stunner immediately!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
one of the greatest albums (or artworks) I have ever encountered. For me, "Stranded" is a look at the single's scene, and Bryan Ferry seems to me both fascinated and alienated by it. When I once showed the cover to a friend, she winced and said the model on the cover did not look happy and had on too much make up. I told her, "of course!". Look at the album title! Indeed the model looks as though she is stranded on the lush island of 70's singles life. I listened to this album for the first time in my 30's, and I could relate to the feeling of being "Stranded." This theme makes this the deepest and perhaps darkest album of the Roxy Music fabulous five.

The opening song "Street Life" is a reference to singles life being like life on the street, but it is optimistic, and ends on the note, "you may be stranded if you stick around - and that is really something." Who said being stranded is all bad -maybe there is some fun to had.

"Just Like You" is a poem put to words, and is one of the most beautiful and creative songs I have ever heard (no hyperbole). Note the words, "never again will I give up my heart..." and "I've fallen head over heals for you," a reference to lost love that will be picked up again in the melencholy "Song for Europe."

Amazona is fascinating for it's baseline and guitar rift, and seems to address the heady potential of youth and youthful eroticism.

Psalm, and maybe I just don't get it, is the weakest song on the album. Perhaps Christianity was the one thing Roxy wasn't able to elucidate for whatever reason, but they made a serious attempt.

Seranade and A Song for Europe fit together, and the tone of the album changes with the opening words "Darkness Falls." Ferry's voice is dramatic and beautiful as he sings of being broken hearted as he sits "at this empty cafe, thinking of you..."

Mother of Pearl is also really two songs, and aren't all of us single die-hard romantics really want-a-be Casanova's looking for that perfect Mother of Pearl?

The last song always makes me sad because the album is ending. This beautiful song laments it, but no we have not "wasted our time." For amidst the hedonism and promiscuity of the 1970's singles life, there was much beauty, excitement, and loneliness to be found - as there is for those of us who are stranded today.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2004
In my humble opinion, this album is a masterpiece, one of the nost perfect rock albums of all time. Roxy Music was a wonderful band that really came into their own when Eddie Jobson replaced Brian Eno--even Eno himself and David Bowie have said this is their favorite Roxy album. The criticism of individual song by others fail to take into account their context in the album as a whole, for I have always thought of the album as sort of a novella to be taken in from beginning to end. The "boring" and repetitive numbers are nuanced and lyrically complex, contributing to the overall dramatic tension of the album. It's a dynamic tour de force that rocks out then lays back, the rollercoaster of life in musical form.

Yes, the first few times I listened to "Psalm" I was restless too--until I started to listen to the lyrics, in which a modern man explores his conflicted feelings about religious faith, expressing hope, fear, guilt, doubt, and ironic humor, all in one song. "'Believe in Me' once seemed a good line, now belief in Jesus is faith so sublime." Come on, who nowadays even TRIES to explore these issues? The band jams in the background, building in tension as the lyrics reach their dramatic (in)conclusion--it is a true piece of art.

But even that piece is secondary to the climactic finale--"Mother of Pearl" and "Sunset". The former kicks off with a rousing rock intro with a blistering guitar solo by Phil Manzanera, then slides into another ostinato jam that backs Bryan Ferry while he riffs on the meaninglessness and futility of his social life. In the midst of his ennui, he selects a remote object of romantic longing as his "Holy Grail", exhausting couplets of Cole Porteresque wordplay in the process of justifying his newfound devotion, until the song dissolves into a mantra of erotic obsession--"Oh Mother of Pearl, I wouldn't trade you for another girl." "Sunset" concludes the album like a sweet, sad sigh, with haunting lyrics of warmth and beauty. Simply put, the album is a work of collective genius.

"Country Life" is equally wonderful in its upbeat, rocking sort of way, and to be honest both albums have always seemed to fit together well. Listen to "Stranded" when you're jonesing for serious Art, "Country Life" for the Fun. Together they are the greatest works of one of the greatest bands that ever was.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2005
The reason Roxy Music imitators fail more often than not is that they treat style as an end unto itself rather than a small but integral part of a greater artistic good. Roxy was SO adept at handling the syntax of glitz and glamour that it all blended into one seamless whole with their music and their stance never felt false or corny. They liked to mix equal shades of campy irony and romantic conviction, and it doesn't hurt that they rocked like possessed lunatics on their first four albums.

Stranded, their third album, was the perfect hybrid of early Roxy weirdness and later period elegance. The best track is "Mother of Pearl", which could be the archetypical Roxy song: Phil Manzanera bursts out of the gate with frantic guitar riffing while Ferry warbles and croons like a demented Casanova. After a breakneck solo amidst Ferry's wails of "No, no, no, no, NOOOOOOOOO", the song suddenly (and unexpectedly) collapses into elegiac piano chords and pensive bass lines. Ferry then informs us that "Looking for love in a looking glass world is pretty hard for you", as the song seduces us with a simple, hypnotic chord progression that repeats over and over. A simply brilliant album by a brilliant band.

Stand out tracks: "Mother of Pearl" "Street Life" "Amazona".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 1999
Though it is not as strong as SIREN and COUNTRY LIFE, STRANDED works because it is one of the most elegant Roxy albums. There's some strangeness in "Street Life" and "Amazona", as well as the beginning to "Mother of Pearl," but for the most part the album is calmer than early Roxy albums. For that reason, it must have shocked and upset those fans who jumped on board when Eno was in the band, but it doesn't mean it is inferior. Rather, STRANDED's beauty is magnificent. "Psalm" has an uplifting aura to it, spirituality without the dogma. "Song For Europe" has a great middle section, when the violins come crashing in for a near-lead, and the aforemnetioned tracks are all stunning. The others are pretty good too. Get COUNTRY for the rock, SIREN for the funk, and this one for beauty.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2004
This was Roxy Music's pivotal album. Before "Stranded", they were viewed as "those weirdoes in the jungle prints" (with much play on Ferry's last name). After it appeared, they were a force to be reckoned with.
There wasn't as much a shift in the band's sound as is often claimed. Though toned down from the Eno period, the sonic oddities and experimentalism are still very much in evidence. Anyone first hearing the combined '50s fingerpoppin'/UFO landing intro of "Street Life" knew damn well they were witnessing something new under the sun. Rather, "Stranded" introduced a new conciseness in the band's performance, a more intensive focus. The meandering twelve-minute suites were gone, replaced by songs that started at 'A' and ended up... Well, they may have ended in the stratosphere of Jupiter, but, for the first time, they covered all the bases in between.
There are no poor songs on the album. Every cut is a gem, with preference a matter of taste. To my mind, standouts include the relentless "Mother of Pearl" (no more compelling song about romantic obsession has ever been released), "Psalm", a unique religious song (an example of the virtually ignored religious element of Glam, Bowie's "Soul Love" and Mott's "Hymn for the Dudes" being others), and the autumnal album closer "Sunset" (has anyone else noticed that the Ferry/Eno "I Thought" acts as an answer piece to this song, thirty years on?) The band never rocked harder than on "Street Life" and "Serenade". I'm sure there's even somebody out there who loves "Just Like You".
Roxy lost something after "Standed", a quality hard to identify, that was the band's alone, and which reached its peak with this album. They went on to make more popular albums, more polished albums, and albums that rocked harder. But never did they match the combination of originality, experimentalism, skill, flash, and what can only be called panache as they displayed on "Stranded". But, needless to say, nobody else did either.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2007
Roxy Music is one of the most underappreciated groups in history. Most of their albums are superb, and their first four are among the greatest albums in rock. While not quite as raw as the first album, or as deliciously odd and sexy as For Your Pleasure, Stranded is still quite experimental is still Roxy reaching into new territories and improving those already explored. Their best album is, in my opinion, Country Life, which distills all of the great elements of their previous work into a potent brew, but there is also something exhiliriating about the artistic growth on Stranded. Several reviewers have gone in depth on individual songs, and each one is special and well-worth a listen, but one song on this album truly stands out (which is hard to do on such an excellent work)as (in my opinion) Roxy's greatest track and one of the truly monumental tracks ever recorded... drum roll ... please: "Song For Europe" is the song to which I refer, it defies words. Few songs have ever impacted me as it has, nor have received such heavy play over a long span of time. I have thousands of cds, thus hundreds of thousands of songs, it means something when a song is among my 10 favorites and "Song For Europe" is among them. It's the crowning masterpiece of a brilliant band, much as "Shine A Light" (for me) is for the Stones. Every track is worth the price of the album, but "A Song For Europe" is worth it and then some.
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