Friday, March 5, 2021

"Kiss and Tell" by Bryan Ferry

Song#:  3424
Date:  02/27/1988
Debut:  95
Peak:  31
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  Bryan Ferry's initial success came about from being the lead singer and main songwriter for the successful UK band Roxy Music. Over a ten-year period beginning in 1972, all eight of the band's studio albums would reach the UK Top 10 and go either gold or platinum. They would also secure ten Top 10 hits along the way. Roxy Music didn't fare as well in the US only getting one song, 1975's "Love Is the Drug," to make the Pop Top 40. Still, they were a highly popular cult band whose albums were hailed by critics. Four of their LPs would make Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. While still in Roxy Music, Ferry would record solo albums that also did well in the UK, but would barely scrape the US chart. The last of his five solo efforts came in 1978. In 1983, Roxy Music was disbanded and Ferry then continued his solo career. His first post-Roxy album, 1985's Boys & Girls, topped the UK chart and despite not featuring a Pop chart entry, got to #63 in the US (later in '93 it would be certified gold). His next album, Bête Noire, would reach #9 in the UK and replicate the result of his previous LP in the US by hitting #63. However, this time around a single from the album would make the US Pop chart. "Kiss and Tell" would crack the Pop Top 40 while getting to #19 Dance and #40 Rock. It would end up being Ferry's most successful solo single in the US. Ferry would continue to release solo discs over the years and also revive Roxy Music in 2001. However, the band did not record any new music and basically just did tours and appearances through to 2011.

ReduxReview:  I get frustrated with Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry. I feel like I should be a big fan of both, yet no matter how many times I listen to their albums, I just don't connect to the works. There are the occasional tracks that I do like, but for the most part I just can't get into them. On paper, I should adore them. In reality, their music doesn't stick with me. I've listened to the RM albums Siren and Country Life a few times thinking, okay, this time it will click for me, but it never does. I've also heard Bête Noire a few times, but this is the only track that gets my attention. Apparently, Ferry was going for more of a dance-oriented sound for Bête Noire and this track certainly leaned that way. It did have a more mainstream feel, which helped it up the chart, but other tracks on the LP, including ones co-written/produced by Madonna collaborator, still sound meandering and more atmospheric than catchy or memorable With Ferry and RM, you have to dial into their own brand of alt rock and make the connection. If you don't, then like me you probably never will.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) This single was helped along by its appearance in a film. The song was included on the soundtrack to the Michael J. Fox drama Bright Lights, Big City. While the film under-performed at the box office, the soundtrack sold fairly well getting to #67.  2) The Bête Noire album would get the attention of the Grammy folk, but not for its music. It received a nomination for Best Album Package. Ferry would later earn a music-oriented Grammy nomination with his 1999 pop/jazz standards cover album As Time Goes By. It would be nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. That album would reach #16 in the UK, but only #195 in the US.  3) Ferry's 2018 album Bitter-Sweet became his first to reach the US Jazz chart. It got to #13. The LP found Ferry re-interpreting older Roxy Music and solo songs in a 1920's jazz style. It was released under the name Bryan Ferry and His Orchestra. It was Ferry's second disc with the jazz/remake theme. The first was 2012's The Jazz Age. Neither album reached the US Album chart.


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