Siren (Roxy Music album)

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Siren
Studio album by Roxy Music
Released 24 October 1975 (1975-10-24)
Recorded June 1975 (1975-06)–September 1975 (1975-09), AIR Studios, London
Genre Art rock, glam rock
Length 42:30
Label Island
Atco (US)[1]
Producer Chris Thomas
Roxy Music chronology
Country Life
(1974)
Siren
(1975)
Viva!
(1976)
Singles from Siren
  1. "Love Is the Drug"
    Released: September 1975 (1975-09)[1]
  2. "Both Ends Burning"
    Released: December 1975 (1975-12)[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Pitchfork Media 8.7/10[5]

Siren is the fifth album by British rock band Roxy Music, released in 1975 (see 1975 in music).

The album was ranked number 371 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Critical reception[edit]

Siren is one of Roxy Music's most critically acclaimed albums. In the 1975 Pazz and Jop critics poll it was voted the 13th best album of 1975.[6] Dave Marsh rated the album as the 4th best album of 1975 in his Book of Rock Lists.[7] In the Rolling Stone review of the album, critic Simon Frith stated "Siren is the simplest album Roxy has put down. Ferry's imagery is focused — 'Jump up, bubble up – what's in store,/Love is the drug and I need to score' — and there's less synthesized clutter, fewer sound effects, more straight solo trading."[8] Melody Maker in a glowing review "It's a superb album, striking the listener immediately with a force and invention reserved only for the most special musical experiences. The overall sound, while never lacking the essential characteristics one associates with Roxy, is less dense and ornate than much of its predecessor. There's a crispness and vitality in Chris Thomas' production which is reminiscent of the sense of adventure and cavalier spirit which marked their early recordings, an impetuosity which has lately been absent from their work."[9] Robert Christgau placed it number 11 on his Dean List of the best albums of the year and wrote "Good album—a lot of fast ones and a great hook".[10] Greil Marcus included it in his appendix of Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island: "Don Juan Faces Life: With the band hitting the limits of the music that grew from Rubber Soul. Ferry dismantled his lounge lizard act bit by bit, until all that was left was what his entire career had meant to hide: "an average man," but one with enough emotion to record for Motown"[11]

Successive Rolling Stone Record Guides have given it five-star reviews. The 1983 edition states: "Siren's title is appropriate; it has that sort of effect on the listener. It is Roxy's masterpiece, calling the listener back by virtue of its finely honed instrumental attack and compelling lyrical attitude. "Love is the Drug," Roxy's nearest approximation to an American hit single, set the scene of transitory love in a plastic world, while "She Sells" and "Sentimental Fool" pictured the participants in the charade as simultaneously pathetic and heroic".[12] The 1992 edition says "On Siren Roxy perfects its suave attack".[13] In the fourth edition "Siren is smoother; it's the first Roxy Music album without any failed moments".[14] The Spin Alternative Record Guide rates it 10 out of 10 and places it 46th on the top 100 Alternative albums. "Siren is Roxy Music's masterpiece, with elegantly funky rockers and strangely humble ballads."[15] Stephen Thomas Erlewine writes "Roxy embraces dance and unabashed pop on Siren, weaving them into their sleek, arty sound. It does come at the expense of their artier inclinations, which is part of what distinguished Roxy, but the end result is captivating. Lacking the consistently amazing songs of its predecessor, Siren has a thematic consistency that works in its favor, and helps elevate its best songs – "Sentimental Fool," "Both Ends Burning," "Just Another High"—as well as the album itself into the realm of classics."[16] There are some crtics who disagree and see Siren as the beginning of a tamer less interesting Roxy Music. Simon Reynolds writes "Americans, bless 'em, think Roxy only got great with Country Life and the universally five-star Siren. Wrong! While Ferry's songcraft and personae twists still offer compelling drama on top tunes like "Love Is The Drug", "Both Sides Burning" and "Just Another High", the actual fabric of Roxy's sound gets steadily more conventional and tame."[17] Ira Robbins for Trouser Press wrote "Reuniting with Chris Thomas, Roxy made the disappointingly dull Siren (with Jerry Hall crawling on the cover), closing the studio book on their first era. The record contains some great tracks ("Love Is the Drug," "Both Ends Burning," "Sentimental Fool"), but an overabundance of forgettable numbers substantially diminishes its value".[18]

The album was ranked number 371 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was referred to as a "delicious LP of lounge-lizard ennui"[19] Vibe Magazine included it in its 100 essential albums of the 20th Century, writing "Crooner Bryan Ferry blends the esoteric murk of early Roxy, with the aching, ardently romantic tone that defines their later work"[20]

Cover art[edit]

The cover features bandmember Bryan Ferry's then-girlfriend, model Jerry Hall, on rocks near South Stack, Anglesey. Graham Hughes, working during August 1975, took the cover photo directly below the central span of the bridge on a south-side slope. He worked from sketches produced by Antony Price, with photography featuring Hall striking various poses. The idea for the location was Bryan Ferry's, after he saw a TV documentary about lava flows and rock formations in Anglesey, in which South Stack was heavily featured.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bryan Ferry except as noted. (1975 E.G. Music Ltd.)

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Love Is the Drug" (Ferry, Andy Mackay) 4:11
2. "End of the Line"   5:14
3. "Sentimental Fool" (Ferry, Mackay) 6:14
4. "Whirlwind" (Ferry, Phil Manzanera) 3:38
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "She Sells" (Ferry, Eddie Jobson) 3:39
2. "Could It Happen to Me?"   3:36
3. "Both Ends Burning"   5:16
4. "Nightingale" (Ferry, Manzanera) 4:11
5. "Just Another High"   6:31

Personnel[edit]

Roxy Music

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Steve Nye – recording engineer
  • Ross Cullum – assistant engineer
  • Michael Sellers – assistant engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – remastering engineer (1999)

Charts[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Peak
Position
1975 "Love Is the Drug" UK Singles Chart 2
"Both Ends Burning" UK Singles Chart 25
1976 "Love Is the Drug" Billboard Pop Singles 30[21]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 930. ISBN 1-84195-860-3. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "allmusic ((( Siren > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Roxy Music". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 705, cited 17 March 2010
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Roxy Music". robertchristgau.com, Retrieved on 17 March 2010.
  5. ^ Tom Ewing. "The Complete Studio Records 1972–1982". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/pnj/pjres75.php
  7. ^ http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/dmarshal_p2.htm#75
  8. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/siren-19760101
  9. ^ http://www.vivaroxymusic.com/articles_312.php
  10. ^ http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=roxy+music
  11. ^ Marcus, Greil. Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island. 2007 p.290
  12. ^ Marsh, David. "Roxy Music". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. October 1983. pg. 437
  13. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony. "Roxy Music". Rolling Stone Album Guide. 1992. pg. 607
  14. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Roxy Music". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 705
  15. ^ Weisbard, Eric. "Roxy Music". Spin Alternative Record Guide. October 1995. pg. 337
  16. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/siren-mw0000206074
  17. ^ http://reynoldsretro.blogspot.ca/2008/09/roxy-music-early-years-eg-box-set-later.html
  18. ^ http://www.trouserpress.com/entry.php?a=roxy_music
  19. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/500-greatest-albums-of-all-time-20120531/roxy-music-siren-20120524
  20. ^ http://books.google.ca/books?id=YCgEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA164&dq=siren+roxy+music+vibe&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ySnFUeWkO86iqQGL6oDgBw&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=siren%20roxy%20music%20vibe&f=false
  21. ^ "allmusic (((Siren > Charts & Records > Billboard Albums)))". Retrieved 2008-05-17.