Boys and Girls
By the mid-'80s, the pop music world had caught up to Bryan Ferry’s '70s innovations. But while new wave attempted to accomplish what Ferry had already perfected, the man himself swooped in to give the youngsters a lesson in class and decorum. Boys and Girls blends several of the era’s most popular genres: adult contemporary, light R&B, and synth-pop. But instead of sounding crass and commercialized, songs like “Sensation,” “Don’t Stop the Dance," and “Windswept” are graceful and moody. The album’s depth comes in part from its skilled band; Ferry was backed by Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour and the rhythm section from Dire Straits (Guy Fletcher, Omar Hakim). There are echoes of Chic’s refined disco and the post-fusion jazz of Weather Report, but the album's soul comes from Ferry himself. Melancholy pervades the songs like a deep mist, as Ferry’s wobbly croon ties the melodies together like a voice in the night. “Slave to Love” became one of his biggest hits, and with good reason. Its blend of the ethereal and the licentious exemplifies Ferry's aesthetic philosophy.