Bryan Ferry's output is mainly divided into two parts: the frenetic glam-rock he perfected with/as Roxy Music, and the mist-enveloped romantic art-rock of his post-Avalon solo work.
And then there is The Bride Stripped Bare (1978), his fifth solo album.
This album has a reputation of being Bryan Ferry's darkest piece of work to date. This is mostly true. The cover design is stylishly grim, with a gorgeous female model, seemingly dead, exquisitely attired in a fetching yellow dress, and with a serpent dangling from her lifeless arm. Lyrically and musically however, the album is very eclectic. From the opening angry rock of "Sign of the times", to the epic "Can't let go", to the muscular blues of "The Same Old Blues", there are a lot of styles covered here, all carried off with great confidence and panache.
But the album still has all of Ferry's trademarks: meticulous production, unique arrangements, excellent musicianship, and an overpowering sense of dark romanticism.
What truly sets this album apart, and has gained it the reputation of being Ferry's most “human” and personal work, is that it features some of his best and most heartfelt vocals ever (especially on his cover of Al Green's “Take Me To The River”, and J.J. Cale's “The Same Old Blues”). Add to that that the the album still retains its power to move, and sounds fresh almost forty years later, and you've got a forgotten rock masterwork.
It is also important to note that this is Ferry's last album, as a solo artist, that can truly be called a rock album. Since for the rest of his career, with very few exceptions, he seemed to focus solely on creating music drenched in dreamy, mist-enveloped romanticism, like his masterpiece, Mamouna (1994).
Overall, this is a must-listen for any self-respecting fan of good music.
About The Author: Ahmed Khalifa is a filmmaker and writer. He is the author of Beware The Stranger, a horror novel, and Egyptian Gothic: Stories. Both books are available on Amazon here. He is also the writer/director of The Weapon, Egypt’s first action/supernatural Web Series, which centers on a vigilante called “The Hunter”. You can watch the complete first season, for free, here.