[Review] Bryan Ferry: In Your Mind (1977)

Ferry’s first full album of original material smooths over the rough edges of Roxy.

Kronomyth 4.0: Love me blandly.

Here’s proof positive that if you listen to something long enough, you learn to like it. At first, In Your Mind struck me as a disappointment (as it has many before and since); actually, a disappointment with an asterisk. With Roxy Music mort, Bryan Ferry not merely invited but rolled out the red carpet for comparisons to his former band by writing all-new material for In Your Mind. No longer cloaked under cover material, Bryan Ferry’s solo work was stacked up next to the groundbreaking music of Roxy and found wanting, causing more than a few critics to muse that the album was little more than Roxy Music lite. And initially I shared that perspective, but in the absence of anything else in Bryan Ferry’s subsequent catalog that even remotely resembles vintage Roxy, I’ve returned to In Your Mind often, looking for a glimmer of the original genius.

At first, I was won over by “One Kiss,” a remarkable love song that nearly replicates the magic mood of “Heart On My Sleeve” thanks in large part to Phil Manzanera’s plaintive guitar. Next, the easy sway of “Rock of Ages” wove its magic, suggestive of Siren if less noisy. And soon I was spotting sparks everywhere: the master class of emotive singing on “This Is Tomorrow,” the moody and exotic “Love Me Madly Again” (presaging parts of Manifesto), the cheerful cracking of Ferry’s voice on “All Night Operator.” That all took time to appreciate, however. It takes a fraction of the effort to declare Let’s Stick Together the penultimate party platter, Avalon a haunting and sophisticated work, These Foolish Things a fiendish wolf in sheep’s clothing. In other words, every Bryan Ferry album requires some faith, but In Your Mind requires a lot of it. At eight songs, it’s a little light, the arrangements pedestrian (relative to Roxy Music anyway), the backing band familiar but not the creative foils they could have been, and the whole thing feels like Boys and Girls minus the shiny polish. That’s my objective opinion. Subjectively, I’d say it’s worth picking up, since the difference between the pined-for ghost of Roxy and a pale imitation is simple semantics.

Original LP Version

A1. This Is Tomorrow (3:36)
A2. All Night Operator (3:07)
A3. One Kiss (3:36)
A4. Love Me Madly Again (7:25)
B1. Tokyo Joe (3:54)
B2. Party Doll (4:32)
B3. Rock of Ages (Bryan Ferry/Chris Thomas) (4:29)
B4. In Your Mind (5:16)

All songs by Bryan Ferry unless noted.

The Players

Bryan Ferry with Dyan Birch, Doreen Chanter, Helen Chappelle, Frankie Collins, Mel Collins (horn arrangements), Ray Cooper, Martin Drover, Preston Hayward, Neil Hubbard, Phil Manazanera, Paddie McHugh, Chris Mercer (horn arrangements), Ann Odell (string arrangements), Morris Pert, John Porter, David Skinner, Chris Spedding, Jacquie Sullivan, Paul Thompson, John Wetton. Produced by Bryan Ferry and Steve Nye; engineered by Steve Nye. Special thanks to Geoff Haslam, Bill Price, John Punter, Chris Thomas.

The Pictures

Photography by Monty Coles. Design by Nicholas de Ville. Artwork by Bob Bowkett.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette in March 1977* in the UK (Polydor, 2302 055), the US and Canada (Atlantic, SD/CS 18216), Australia, New Zealand and Europe (Polydor, 2310 502/3100 355), Germany (Polydor, 2344 060), Japan (Polydor, MPF-1054) and in 1978 in Yugoslavia (RTB, LP5674/LK 57276) with lyric inner sleeve or insert. Reached #5 on the UK charts and #126 on the US charts. (*First appeared in 3/12/77 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the US (Atlantic, SD 18216) without inner sleeve.
  2. Re-issued as promotional elpee in Japan (EG, 25VB-1157).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc in 1984 in the US (Reprise, 26085-2).
  4. Re-released on remastered compact disc on October 11, 1999 in Europe (EMI, 847 604).
  5. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on March 28, 2000 in the US (Virgin, 47604).
  6. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 2002 in Japan (EMI/Toshiba, TOCP-53303).
  7. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on May 5, 2015 in Japan (Universal, UIGY-9687).
  8. Re-released on super high material compact disc on April 29, 2015 in Japan (Virgin, UICY-77104).

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