[Review] Bryan Ferry: Boys And Girls (1985)

The ultra-romantic sound of Avalon returns on Ferry’s brilliant and eminently danceable post-Roxy debut.

Kronomyth 6.0: Let’s dance out of nowhere.

Avalon, as it turned out, wasn’t the last word on Bryan Ferry’s new romantic notions. Boys And Girls is in many ways a refinement of the music featured on the last Roxy Music album. Ferry fusses over every detail: the sounds sparkle, the sentiments linger, the arrangements percolate to perfection. The songs sneak up on you like hot breath on the back of your neck.

At first, I was slightly disappointed with Boys And Girls because it wasn’t subversive. I had the same reaction to Let’s Dance. But, with time, I learned to fall in love with “Slave To Love,” “Windswept,” “Don’t Stop The Dance” and “Sensation.” It’s not the haunted palace of Avalon, but a gilded dance hall illumined by the likes of David Gilmour, Nile Rodgers and Mark Knopfler. Where David Bowie was simply going through another one of his changes, Ferry had come back to claim his throne as the New Romantic King.

Since the reign of Roxy The Second, bands like Simple Minds and Scritti Politti accumulated followers while Bryan Ferry faded into legend. Here, the legend returns. No one, and I mean no one, delivers a romantic line like the king. When he sighs, the flowers sigh, when he cries, the sky cries.

There’s more to it than emotion, of course. Boys And Girls is impeccably arranged and unassailably intelligent. Heavier cuts like “The Chosen One” are nearly as complex as those uber-funk experiments from David Byrne and Brian Eno. For me, Avalon’s ghostworld will always be home. But Boys And Girls, immaculately conceived, is the return of the king and a reason to rejoice anew.

The Songs

1. Sensation (5:07)
2. Slave To Love (4:23)
3. Don’t Stop The Dance (Bryan Ferry/Rhett Davies) (4:22)
4. A Waste Land (1:10)
5. Windswept (4:23)
6. The Chosen One (4:51)
7. Valentine (3:48)
8. Stone Woman (5:12)
9. Boys And Girls (5:09)

All songs written by Bryan Ferry unless noted.

The Players

Bryan Ferry with Alfa Anderson, Jon Carin, Michalle Cobbs, Rhett Davies, Yanick Etienne, Colleen Fitz-Charles, Lisa Fitz-Charles, Simone Fitz-Charles, Guy Fletcher, David Gilmour, Omar Hakim, Virginia Hewes, Ednah Holt, Neil Hubbard, Neil Jason, Chester Kamen, Mark Knopfler, Tony Levin, Jimmy Maelen, Martin McCarrick, Marcus Miller, Andy Newmark, Nile Rodgers, David Sanborn, Keith Scott, Alan Spenner, Anne Stephenson, Fonzi Thornton, Ruby Turner. Engineered by Bob Clearmountain, Rhett Davies, Neil Dorfsman, Femi Jaya, Dominick Maita, Brain McGee, Andy Lydon; mixed by Bob Clearmountain.

The Pictures

Photography by Antony Price. Art direction by Bryan Ferry and Simon Puxley. Artwork by Cream.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and compact disc on June 3, 1985 in the UK (EG, EGLP/EGMC/EGCD 62), the US (Reprise, 25082-1/2/4), Argentina (EG, 27265), Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and the Netherlands (EG, 825 659), Canada (Reprise 92 50821/2/4), Japan (Polydor, 28MM-0430/P33P20018) and Yugoslavia (RTB, ST2223023). Reached #1 on the UK charts and #63 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in September 1991 in the UK (EG, FERRYCD6).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc on July 30, 1999 in Japan (Toshiba, TOCP-53048).
  3. Re-released on remastered compact disc on March 28, 2000 in the US (Virgin, 47722) and in 2000 in Europe (EMI, 86477).

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