Tuesday, 30 April 2013

David Sylvian 'Red Guitar'

Chart Peak: 17

YouTube

I'm going right to the wire here, posting this on the last day of the second month of writing about Now 3, even though it's only a 30-track album. I thought it was going to be one of the easier ones (Glitter aside) but a lot of delays have got in the way for various reasons.

Anyway, we wind up at the end of Side 4 with the only series appearance by the former lead singer of Japan, an act who seem to have become anomalously big pop stars for such high-minded art rockers. I say "seem" because I know very little of the band, they were around just a little too early to have made an impression on me at the time and seem largely overlooked by 21st-century radio programmers so my knowledge of them is basically 'Ghosts' and a couple of other tracks I have on compilation albums somewhere. My knowledge of Sylvian's solo music, as much as I've always been aware that he's around, pretty much boils down to a few plays of this. It was his biggest solo hit, presumably still aided by the Japan fanbase, but I'm given to understand that it's one of his most commercial recordings anyway. Certainly, it's a song with a conventional pop structure and a recognisable melody, although it has a very sparse arrangement. It is as usual topped off by David Sylvian's distinctive vocal style, which sounds like Bryan Ferry being forced to sing at gunpoint. Now, I know this is supposed to be important and influential music and everything, but I must admit that I find it somewhat unengaging and not much of a gateway to his back catalogue. Perhaps it's even a victim of its own influence, as the experimental elements have been rendered commonplace but it still not a wholly convincing pop song. You never know, it might grow on me in a decade or two.


So, here ends Now 3. But if the audio tracks aren't quite enough, here's my first ever YouTube playlist, a reconstruction of the VHS equivalent of this album. I managed to find all the songs (many of which aren't on the album), though not all the actual videos.


Back next month...

Available on: A Victim Of Stars 1982-2012

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