Friday, July 15, 2011
Fox's S-S-Single Bed
A #1 hit in Australia and #4 hit in the UK in 1976, this record (with just a little reinstrumentation and fattening of the bass) could be in the charts in 2011 (e.g., it would then sound a lot like one of Gaga's best songs, Summerboy). Cartoonish, vaguely inhuman vocal tone? Check. Nursery rhyme lyric? Check. Danceable but somehow deracinated? Check. All of that's pretty appalling on one level, but on another level it's an inspired formula that obviously works for lots of people. SB seems to foreshadow much of modern dance-pop in something like the way I Feel Love and TEE and Pop Muzik do.
Update July 19, 2011: I've been listening to Fox's eponymous debut album from 1975. It's fantastic, and like S-S-Single Bed seems way ahead of its time. Very impressive stuff. I can hear why it didn't quite blow up at the time: there's no Lady Marmalade or Dancing Queen or I Feel Love or Holiday or Bad Romance, no one song that really leaps out in that unignorable, star-making way. But there's a consistent vibe here that's fresh and appealing, one that with hindsight lots of subsequent people have reinvented bits of. Fave tracks include Pretty Boy, Red Letter Day, and the Abba-ish Imagine me Imagine you, but, seriously, almost every song (I can do without the Love Letters cover) is great.