Before people were Dancing With Tears in Their Eyes (and gel in their hair) in the ’80s, Dancing on their Own in the mid-2000s or later Crying in the Club, Bryan Ferry was sadly swaying at the discotheque watching his former lady love in the arms another man.
You know the story, even if you don’t know the song.
You had a love, it was pure as snow. You held hands, went to Taco Bell at 3 am together and did lots of making out in your car. But fate just couldn’t keep you two together.
Yet, you still long for those days when everything felt so easy.
Now all that’s left is you, them, and their new squeeze all at the same club on a fateful, lonesome disco night. She’s looking her best and you’re real close to falling apart.
You cry, drink in hand, and glamorous drama ensues on the dance floor.
You're dressed to kill --
And guess who's dying?
Dance away the heartache
Dance away the tears
You’re sophisticatedly sobbing to a soaring bass line, so is it that really bad? If this is heartbreak, it sure is fashionable.
Sadness is not for the weak, so don’t pity Ferry. Despite his dramatism, he’ll be fine with time. After all, he’s got the rest of the band, lifting his spirits and encouraging him to just keep dancing away the pain.
Loneliness is a crowded room
Full of open hearts turned to stone
All together, all alone
But does he want to get over it? Ferry doesn’t even join his band to chant to the chorus, too morose to believe the words they’re singing over the peppy beat he’s boogieing to.
At this point, you’re either:
- Boogieing right with us (me and Bryan Ferry, that is), OR
- Wondering why the hell we are sort of disco dancing to Roxy Music, of all bands…
Though the glam rock outfit captivated critics and audiences with their flamboyant image and songs about inflatable dolls and Humphrey Bogart when they first broke out into the scene, Roxy Music went soft toward the end of the 70s.
For hardcore Roxy fans who go wild over their early arty pop, this disco-ey stuff might be one of their most flaccid moments. (And the critics agree.)
It all started when the band lost sonic wizard Brian Eno in 1973 due to tension with the frontman. Since then, Ferry made it his duty to revamp the band’s sound.
This made way for Roxy 2.0, who made another string of iconic records, including Country Life (the one with the titties on the cover) and Stranded (no titties, but there’s a sexy lady on the cover.)
Both honored their theatrics from before but felt more operatic, also flaunting a denser sound in sharp contrast to their earlier, more feathery records.
Lyrically, Roxy 2.0 were also marked by more introspective and romantic songs.
New Roxy were somehow even more fabulous, thanks to their sonic excess and clashing gruff sentimentality.
But then came time for yet another shift.
With the ’80s fast approaching, Ferry began steering the band’s sound into more simple, groovy pop.
“Dance Away” is a turning point, away from the days of angular guitar solos and right into more melancholy, atmospheric songs. It is also, the beginning of the end for the band, who delivered their farewell with the haunting Avalon in 1982.
In his own twisted way, Ferry going disco-pop was his way of being experimental, letting his narrative take over as the main instrument in the band, leaving it feeling more and more like a bigger version of his solo work, to the distaste of many.
God knows Brian Eno, in one way or another, anticipated where Ferry wanted to take things and said I’m out, *bleep bloop Windows startup sound*.
Despite his dominance, Ferry saw the light in romance and took a big leap.
By abandoning his intellectual ramblings and following whatever twisted voice in his head said “pop, please,” Ferry painted his own blue version of what disco and soft synthpop could be, something bands like Duran Duran and ABC are eternally grateful, as it helped them carry this sound to the top of the charts in the ’80s.
Plus, we learned, that a pity party for one in a nice tux is never a sad affair.
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