Roxy Music, Avalon (1982)

I picked this one up when it came out back in '82, right smack dab in the middle of high school.  And I'll admit I found it a little dull.  Indeed, today, I still find it a little dull.

But it also sounded sophisticated.  Like something a grown-up might play, only not lame like the music the actual grown-ups I knew (i.e. my parents) played.  Cultured grown-ups, with cool apartments and interesting night lives, who have the velvet rope at the club pulled aside when they enter and come home at 3 in the morning and relax to jazz, not suburban moms and dads.

And when you're 16, just gotten a driver's license but still desperately nerdy and unhip, something that at least sounds hip and sophisticated and adult is worth listening to for that reason alone.

Don't get me wrong; I did like the album.  Or, more specifically, I loved "More Than This," which was among my favorite songs of the era, and to this day remains one of the most indelible, perfect new wave-ish pop songs ever (even if it's been run into the ground a bit after appearing on like a dozen soundtracks).  I could (and did) play that song all the time.  And a few others, while less catchy, were atmospheric and highly enjoyable (like the title track and the sort of laid-back disco-ish "The Main Thing").  But those are the first three songs on the album, and after that it was mainly background music to me.  But, still, background music I could put on at a party and feel much less unhip and gawky.

Like most Roxy Music fans, I have a strong preference for their quirky, groundbreaking early work, particularly the first two albums (with Brian Eno), when Bryan Ferry was willing to merge prog and glam and experimental music and a slick proto-punk vibe into something new and different, with edginess that was sanded off on later releases.  But Avalon is still something I like to take out for a spin, maybe not to sit back and listen to, but because just having it drifting off in the background makes me feel less like the suburban dad and more like someone who just got back from the coolest nightclub in the city and is kicking back with the lights dimmed and some trendy cocktails with the sophisticated in-crowd.

Here's the "More Than This" video:
...and "Avalon":