Bryan Ferry

Reprise, 1993

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


Taxi was the first Bryan Ferry album I ever purchased; up until that point (about twelve years ago), I hadn’t heard of him or his former band, Roxy Music. I just liked the cover because it reminded me of old Hollywood. It wasn’t long before I finally got into Roxy and Ferry’s other efforts, but I don’t think it was due to Taxi because quite simply, it’s not good. Parts of it are slightly interesting, but too much of it sounds like “elevator music,” which is a shame when you consider Ferry chose some absolute pop gems to rework here, along with some original material.

The opener “I Put A Spell On You” cruises along nicely, and Ferry seems to make it his own – that is, until I hear the original version by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, which makes Ferry’s just seem lame. One of my all time favorite songs is the Goffin/King classic “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles. I never get tired of hearing it, and after having been covered by so many artists over the years, it is still the definitive version of this wonderful song.  Usually a pretty shrewd interpreter, Ferry misses the mark completely with his banal attempt at soul-inspired crooning. The fact is, he took the “soul” out, reconstructed the song, but didn’t put it back in.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Answer Me” fares better as it’s more on par with Ferry’s best work throughout the ‘80s.  The cavalcade of players that Ferry assembled for Taxi manages to breathe some much-needed life into this track, and Ferry finally sounds at home. “Just One Look” would’ve been comfortable on Roxy’s Avalon, but here the arrangement just sounds too dated to offer anything memorable.  “Rescue Me” (barely recognizable here) is more of the same, and by this point, I wouldn’t blame anyone for hitting the “stop” button because it’s just so damn boring. 

Ferry then tackles Lou Reed’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” which is a better fit for the album and the overall vibe Ferry was relying on to pull this off. It’s dark and moody in all the right places, and I think I even prefer this take to the original version. 

“The Girl Of My Best Friend” is another track that Ferry would’ve unleashed all of his powers on a decade earlier. Here, however, it receives the same treatment as the rest of the material with a smooth, stripped-back arrangement that is tailor-made for Ferry to swoon over. The problem is that where it’s supposed to be completely intoxicating, it’s just downright boring. It seems the vibrant, fancy-free former Roxy frontman was sliding into middle-age a little too comfortably.

A poppy and up-tempo take on “Amazing Grace” is sheer stupidity at its best, an absolute load of tosh that achieves nothing. The title track is easily the most inspired and original moment here, though, and finds Ferry sounding as cool and self-assured as ever. The record then closes with Ferry’s own “Because You’re Mine,” which is really a reprise of “I Put A Spell On You.” You wouldn’t know it, though, because it’s just awash with soaring guitars and a monotonous, dreamy synth that just ends up confusing the listener when it should be confirming all that came before it.

I’m completely confident in saying that Taxi is the worst album that smooth operator Ferry has ever been associated with. It’s dull, lifeless, and tries too hard to be atmospheric and even a tad menacing in places. Very little of it is even memorable after ten minutes of having listened to it, and I think it’s going to be a long time (if ever) before I give this one another spin.


Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2009 Mark Millan and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise, and is used for informational purposes only.