on August 24, 2004
This CD is obviously not meant for the Roxy Music fan, but rather is meant as an hors d'oeuvre platter for those wanting to sample their music.
In that regard this album is perfect. It is jam packed with music. Every one of their albums is represented on this CD providing a listener a reasonable way to find out 'which' version of Roxy Music they find themselves drawn to.
After owning this for about a month, I had a good sense of which songs I liked and went and bought the album that those songs came from - Siren - and now a few months later am happily listening to their first album Roxy Music.
This band is extremely difficult to approach. It is one of the greatest aquired tastes in pop music (especially their earlier stuff) and I highly recommend this album for anybody interested in them, but overwhelmed by how to approach getting into them.
on March 17, 2007
Categorizing the magic of Roxy Music is rather difficult. They fall into some ambivalent left-of-centre area that can range from frantic glam, smooth love songs, disco grooves and experimental fervor. Having undergone such a constant and ultimately dramatic evolution, constructing a compilation that presents the ever-changing face of the band is a hard task. Various collections have tried and failed. Some of them have included material from singer Bryan Ferry's solo career. This compilation, however, sticks purely to Roxy Music and looks at the material the band released from 1972 to 1982. However, it tackles the issue of evolution in an interesting way: the tracks are presented in reverse chronological order. This logic, although somewhat puzzling at first, serves to be key in ensuring this compilation's success.
1. Avalon- From 82's "Avalon." An incredibly smooth track, slick production, mellow and with female backing vocals. This is how the band sounded at the end of their run.
2. More Than This- Also from "Avalon," but with a poppier sensibilty. Flawless production, masterfully crafted and catchy as you might hope.
3. Jealous Guy- Cover of a Lennon track. Subdued even compared to the the surrounding songs.
4. Over You- Poppy and clean, not at all obscene. A clear example of latter-day Roxy.
5. Same Old Scene- Things get slightly moodier on this track :)
6. Oh Yeah- Bland pop, and a weak spot. But then it leads us too...
7. Angel Eyes- Almost a throw-away disco song, if not for its infectious pulse, slightly sci-fi effects and memorably sugar-coated lyrics.
8. Dance Away- The softer counterpart to Angel Eyes. "Dance away the heartache/dance away the pain," gives you an idea of the subject matter.
9. Both Ends Burning- Disco of a dark sort. Excellent.
10. Love Is The Drug- Again, disco-ish: a pulsating bass line drives the song, which itself is a great little ditty about going out "to score" some of that "love" drug. Hanging out with the ladies of night, Bryan? Of course.
11. Out Of The Blue- Experimentation time. Flanger effects sweep the majority of the track, and its all the more rousing for it. Energetic and exciting are the best ways to describe the pace of this art-rock journey.
12. All I Want Is You- Things get a bit more conventional here, but not quite. You'll see that in many ways, this song could have been made by any 70s band but at the same time, its execution is pure Roxy Music.
13. Mother Of Pearl- It starts out as a fast-paced rocker, with Ferry liberally employing with idiosyncratic delivery to great effect. And the, more than a minute into the song, it collapses into a beautiful mid-tempo piano ballad. Only Roxy!
14. Street Life- The classic early phase starts here. Completely unforgettable, grade A track.
15. Do The Strand- "There's a new sensation"... it's the strand! Marvelously produced and delivery with a canny sense of fun that makes Roxy Music stick out from the pack.
16. Pyjamarama- The simple chords that introduce the song lead us to a song whose melodies and textures you'll never forget.
17. Virginia Plain- A classic, hands-down.
18. Re-Make/Re-Model- Back to the very beginning. Ferry's quirk and energy stand in stark contrast to the crooner we see 10 years later. The music itself is also jarringly different. It's production is hardly dated, and the music borders prog and glam. And the song structure is playful, and it gets you every time: You think its going to end, and it fools you for more than 3 minutes. One of the best songs I know.
So what did we see? We begun with the best make-out tracks ever and ended up with some iconoclastic musical geniuses. The compilers made an excellent choice by framing their selections in this manner. Rather than seeing a band "devolve," "sell out" or "lose its edge," we see a band that exchanged certain elements for others throughout a 10 year period. Once that mindset (along with the cracking tunes) is embedded in you, you'll gladly go out and seek out the albums from the period that appeal to you the most.
This excellent compilation is readily available, has excellent tracks, boasts great sound quality, is well assembled and is a perfect introduction to an incredible influential band.
Complain all you like but this is a pretty good overview of the band. Yes, there are glaring omissions and some of the choices are kind of goofy. All things considered this is a pretty fine single disc compilation. I actually like the sequencing--it makes it interesting telescoping their career in a very interesting fashion. I caught the show in Northern California (it was actually at the Chronicle Pavillion) and was impressed. The passion that was sadly lacking during the Avalon tour was back. Clearly these guys were having a blast and it showed. As a long time fan I appreciated hearing the pre-Avalon stuff again. Out of the Blue still sounds as fresh as it did in '74. You could easily argue that any best of should be divided into two discs (by the time of the last three studio albums the band had not only streamlined their sound but given up any appearence of being a band)but this fine disc captures all the highlights. I do have to disagree with what one reviewer stated. While some of their later albums were a bit spotty (particularly Flesh & Blood)their 2nd, 3rd and 4th albums are uniformly strong albums. Around the time of Siren the quality control began to slip (and it was clear that the album-tour-album thing was both growing old and wearing). Manifesto despite a some weak tracks still had enough teeth to make it interesting. If this single disc compilation intrigues you I'd suggest For Your Pleasure, Stranded and Country Life as additions to your collection. All three have more than their fair share of highlights that are not represented here. After the disappointing final tour for The High Road (essentially an extension of the Avalon tour from the previous year), it's great to see Ferry, Manzanera, MacKay and (yeah!)Thompson enjoying themselves again.
on August 11, 2001
This is a wonderful album, and has been released to celebrate Roxy Musics current world tour;the first time they've been togethr for 13 years. This is a Roxy Music tour and album, NOT a Bryan Ferry tour and album, and as a consequence, it is only right and proper than Ferry's solo stuff should not be included. I am British and have been a fan since my teens, particularly of Ferry. I was SO impressed that at the concert in San Fransisco they did not do any of his solo stuff; and, he either left the stage, or quietly moved to the back so that the other members of the band took the spotlight. He is, and AlWAYS has been the consummate gentleman. This album is full of all the songs that made us love them. I am only sorry that Brian Eno got his feather boa in a knot and left them when he did. The songs after him were equally as good, if not better in some cases, but he could have brought a little something extra. This is yet another compilation album, but it is significant because of it's timing. Congratulations to Virgin for releasing this album in celebration of this fabulous reunion!
on June 19, 2002
Compiling a one CD "Best of Roxy Music" is a tough task. Why?... well, not only did the group re-invent itself in personnel & style on at least three occasions during its 10 year life but, the strength of its most effective albums (in particular "For Your Pleasure", "Country Life", "Flesh + Blood" and "Avalon") lies in their cohesion, making the selection of individual tracks out of context extremely difficult. So... better to forget any pretensions to a "Best of..." title and to consider this compilation for what it actually is: an intriguing and successful retrospective.
Intriguing because it's sequenced "back to front", starting off with the "radio friendly", beautifully crafted tracks produced at the end of their career and then progressing backwards (in time at least!) to the distinctly less "easy listening" and far more radical outings from the beginning of their career. Compare this album's first track ("Avalon", from their last studio recording) to its last track ("Re-Make/Re-Model", from their first record) to witness the scale of the change involved. Successful, because it gradually takes the listener from the familiar to the "strange" and, in so doing, pretty effectively maps out the group's career while providing, on the way, an excellent "sampler" of what's to be found on their individual albums. A job well done but, "The Best of...": unlikely/impossible!
on April 28, 2007
Before I bought this CD tonight, all that I knew from Roxy Music was from the Avalon album and the song "Love is the Drug". I bought the album Avalon because of the title track, and loved it, but I didn't know where to go from there. So I decided to pick up this CD as sort of a sampler - a way to direct myself through the Roxy Music discography. I haven't picked up any of the other albums yet, but I haven't been able to put down this CD so far tonight. I am listening to it as a type this.
I can tell that my love affair with Roxy Music has begun, and it won't stop until I have more. But until then, this sampler is thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying, at least for the time being. It is HIGHLY recommended for those that are thinking about getting into the band.
on July 11, 2001
First of all, let me say that I LOVE Roxy Music. When I first heard "Stranded" back in the mid-seventies, it literally hit me from 'out of the blue', changing the direction of my musical taste from that point on. From the first dissonant synthesizer notes of "Street Life", through the guitar shriek of "Amazona", all as backdrop to Brian Ferry's ambiguous croon, I suddenly realized there was much more out there in rock music than I had been hearing up until then. I put aside my Grateful Dead, Zeppelin, and Jackson Browne albums, exploring Eno, Bowie, Gong, John Cale and Lou Reed, among others. And later, as a twenty-something 'old man', I was open to and even ENTHUSED about the later punk bands descended from the Bowie-Eno-Roxy tribe and all their kin, allowing me the distinction of being one of the OLDEST slam dancers at many post-college parties and concerts. I owe all that to my music-store friend who lent me that cherished import copy of Roxy Music's third album nearly thirty years ago (wow!). That being said, if ever there was a compilation album that cried out for double-disc status, this is it. Not only are there many more terrific songs that should be favored, Roxy Music really inhabited two very different and distinct incarnations -- the first four studio albums (through "Country Life") and the last three ("Siren", the fifth, being the odd left-over released before their first dis-banding). The first disc would document more fully albums 1-4, and the second would include clips off the live "Viva Roxy Music" release added to a more extensive sampling of "Avalon" especially. If you have the dough, I recommend purchasing the compilation "The Early Years" (which does a pretty good job of covering albums one through three), add "Country Life", "Flesh & Blood", "Avalon", and maybe "Manifesto", then burn your own double (or triple) disc compilation. A word about these re-mastered recordings .... the absolute BEST thing about this compilation, adding to the recent re-release of the entire Roxy Music catalog as re-mastered editions, is the improvement in sound quality over all prior offerings. "Flesh and Blood" and "Avalon" were always among the best sounding albums I owned, both as original vinyl and later CDs, but these re-masterings have really enhanced ALL of Roxy's efforts. Five stars for that!
on April 4, 2005
I do have to say that all these songs I love, and that Roxy Music is one of a kind. BUT, despite all the collections they've released, they all fall short. This is good because it has no Bryan Ferry solo material, but that's also why it's bad. It's hard to hear these songs and not want to also hear "Slave To Love", "Kiss And Tell", and "Don't Stop The Dance". However to really get it all, you'd have to go for the 3 disc "Platinum Collection". What would complement this well though, is a simple "Best Of Bryan Ferry". Still waiting for that one.
on October 23, 2005
If you are a fan already, and own several albums, pass this by. If you are like me and remember a few of their songs and perhaps really like one...(Love is The Drug) was one of my all time favorites way back when...then this is a very good CD to hear this band. The evolution is fascinating to listen to. And the fact that it is done backwards in time is interesting too...I found myslef getting bored with the glam sound of Avalon by track 3, but then started digging the stripped down sounds by track 9 and 10, then got really hooked by track 13 (reminds me of the Talking Heads...very innovative). This sounds like the "history" of a group rather than a "best of"...I hate best of's, because my favorites aren't usually there...this one is well put together. I've already burned it in reverse, that is an interesting way to listen to it. Buy this if you want to hear an interesting and inventive band evolve from early 70's rock-pop to the glam-pop of the early 80's.
on July 27, 2001
...the perplex being, how the heck do you approach a "Best Of" for this seminal group? If you've read the other reviews on this page, you know that no one is satisfied with this compilation. But they're wrong, and I'll tell you why. Yes, this is the 85th "Best of" we've seen from these guys in the last twenty years, but it's also the best, balancing the early and late periods nicely. Yes, those two periods are different stylistically, but their "weird" period is very accessible, their "sell-out" period far quirkier than elitists accuse it of being, and both periods stay true to their great theme (romance and how it relates to issues of class). Yes, the reverse chronology is silly, but you have a programming function on your CD player, don't you? Yes, their cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" stinks, but it IS a rarity. Yes, there were some glaring omissions -- there always will be, won't there? -- but this hits the unassailable high points. In fact, the only way to reconcile these problems is to make (VIRGIN -- are you listening?) a 2 CD compilation, the first half devoted to the first four records, the second half devoted to the last four. Til then, this fine substitute will do, as Roxy's records (regardless of what everyone tells you) are woefully uneven. And you have to give Virgin credit for cutting out all of Ferry's solo work -- even the good stuff never seemed to fit in alongside the (better) Roxy material. All things said, however, the finest single-disc Roxy you can buy. The two Roxy camps, early and late, should get over it! P.S. -- And since everyone else pitched theirs, here are my nominations for that future dream compilation which I'm sure is in the works now: "Ladytron" (the poppiest tune on the debut), "Editions Of You" (how could they have left this one off the single disc job?) "Song For Europe" (maudlin but hillarious if you get the joke), "Just Like You" (personal favorite of mine), "Prairie Rose" (my favorite Roxy track), "Could It Happen To Me?" (obscure, but lovely, and it outlines Ferry's worldview beautifully), "Just Another High" (heartbreaking answer song to "Love Is The Drug"), "Still Falls The Rain" (funky, funky) and "Take A Chance With Me" (marriage proposal). Will someone at Virgin get on the ball?