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Be Bop Deluxe

Crossover Prog

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Be Bop Deluxe Modern Music album cover
3.90 | 79 ratings | 5 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Orphans of Babylon (3:15)
2. Twilight Capers (4:25)
3. Kiss of Light (3:11)
4. The Bird Charmers Destiny (1:20)
5. The Gold at the End of My Rainbow (3:54)
6. Bring Back the Spark (3:38)
7. Modern Music (3:40)
8. Dancing in the Moonlight (All Alone) (2:09)
9. Honeymoon on Mars (1:22)
10. Lost in the Neon World (0:48)
11. Dance of the Uncle Sam Hummanoids (2:12)
12. Modern Music (reprise) (1:39)
13. Forbidden Lovers (5:03)
14. Down on Terminal Street (4:00)
15. Make the Music Magic (1:53)

Total Time 42:29

Bonus tracks on 1990 CD release:
16. Futurist Manifesto (4:32)
17. Quest for the Harvest of the Stars (4:11)
18. Autosexual (5:52)

Line-up / Musicians

- William Nelson / lead vocals, guitars, percussion, co-producer
- Andrew Clark / keyboards, percussion
- Charles Tumahai / bass, percussion, backing vocals
- Simon Fox / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: ROC Advertising with Roger Bamber (photo)

LP Harvest - SHSP 4053 (1976, UK)

CD Harvest - CDP 7 94731 2 (1990, UK) With 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to kqwiet for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy BE BOP DELUXE Modern Music Music

BE BOP DELUXE Modern Music ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BE BOP DELUXE Modern Music reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Heptade
5 stars Bill Nelson's music in the mid 70s was a stew of glam, pop and prog, with no particular emphasis on either. A restless musical spirit, he's always been difficult to pin down in terms of genre, which is why his fans love him. What's indisputable is his talent for melody and his great lead guitar playing. Modern Music is one of the finest examples of these things. While the band had started as a Bowie-sque glam group and moved on to pomp and prog stylings on their next two albums (you may remember their hit "Ships in the Night"), Modern Music finds Nelson streamlining the band's sound, which he would do even more on 1978's Drastic Plastic. He ended up being on the first wave of the new wave, so much so that he's never been given due credit for it.

Modern Music cuts back on the guitar heroics but features some of Nelson's best, most moving songs. The title track is a linked suite of songs based on Nelson's observations of America while touring there. The album also contains muscular rockers (Forbidden Lovers) and beautiful ballads (The Gold at the End of the Rainbow) driven by the usual great ensemble playing, particularly Simon Fox's drumming, and an elegant, classy, intellectual atmosphere overall. Be Bop Deluxe is THE great unsung rock band of the 70s, and this is one of their best efforts, so if you don't know them and you're a Queen or Roxy Music fan who likes great melodies, this is a great place to start exploring the band.

Review by thellama73
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Maybe not quite as brilliant as Sunburst Finish, but certainly an excellent collection of tunes, with a bit of a concept album feel. This record was really a forum for Bill Nelson to express his impressions and concerns about the United States after an extended tour in the country. The result is chocked full of gorgeous and infectious melodies. Nelson could almost have been a pop sensation, except for the fact that his arrangements are too complex and unusual for mainstream radio. Modern Music is less guitar oriented than any of the band's previous albums, with a more polished sound closer to New Wave, but when Bill does play, his signature style shines through. He even takes a few backwards solos. Elsewhere, the shimmering synthesizers, along with the glossy production, support Nelson's penchant for 1950's style science fiction. The lyrics are, as always, clever and impressionistic, conjuring bizarre images in the mind of the listener. I must make special mention of the multi-track title suite, which begins and ends with a simulated radio broadcast /9including snippets of songs from previous Be Bop Deluxe albums.) As suites go, this one is pretty coherent. Even though it is composed of individual songs, they flow smoothly into one another and if you're not paying attention you won't notice that anything has changed. Be Bop Deluxe put out some really great music, and it's a shame they never got wider recognition. 4 Stars.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Admirable Nelson

"Modern music" was the second release by Be Bop Deluxe in 1976, following the fine "Sunburst finish". The line up remained stable with Bill Nelson retaining the same musicians who had played on that album. First impressions of this release will be focused on the number of tracks, 15 in total including 9 on side two. All the songs are written "with intent to enchant" by Nelson.

Side one gathers together five 3-4 minute songs and a brief link track. As such, there is no room for any great development of the songs beyond simple pop rock numbers. There is no questioning the quality of tracks such as the opening "Orphans of Babylon" which has a fine melody and an excellent vocal performance by Nelson. Unfortunately, the track is symptomatic of the album as a whole in that his guitar is not troubled by any virtuoso playing. The song simply cries out for a guitar solo and a more adventurous arrangement.

Here and there, such as on "Twilight capers", the band revert to their Bowie influences which were so apparent on early albums. Once again, a really good song which could have been taken beyond it simple pop structure. The brief "Bird charmer's destiny" is a delicate song with imaginative lyrics which leads into another reflective pop ballad "The gold at the end of my rainbow", a song which the Moody Blues would have been proud of. The reflective nature of a number of the songs is countered by the occasional upbeat pop rock track in the vein of "ships in the night", such as "Bring back the spark" and "Kiss of light".

The second side is a series of linked pieces in the way of the second side of "Abbey road" or "Foxtrot", the loose theme of "Modern music" being a metaphor for modern life, specifically in the USA. Lyrics such as "I left my home some time ago, to fight the creatures of the USA, you tell me that this neon world is free, you say this is the place I ought to be, the time has come for me to go, you say it's fast but it's feeling slow today.." plus the title of the instrumental which follows ("Dance of the Uncle Sam humanoids"), indicate a growing cynicism on the part of Nelson towards modern ways.

As with "Supper's ready", the tracks bind together to form a whole which is much more than the sum of the parts, the suite having a coherency and melodic appeal which lifts it from the pop direction the band were otherwise pursuing.

In all, a fine successor to "Sunburst finish". Although the album is frustratingly lacking in virtuoso soloing by the gifted Bill Nelson, the light prog overtones of the second side make it worthy of investigation.

Review by ZowieZiggy

Be Bop Deluxe was pretty busy in 1976. No less than two albums!

The band incorporates some new-wave as well as some reggae touches in here. Twilight Capers for instance has a gloomy and weird atmosphere which reminds me great debut album of the excellent Doctors Of Madness (Late Night Movies All Night Brainstorms).

Kiss Of Light is a decadent reggae (a new genre maybe?). The band again shows its inventive side. Reggae was booming in Europe at the time, and I have to say that the combination of a fine melody combined with these rhythms is quite well accomplished.

After two average tracks, the band get back fully loaded with their incredible and indescribable sound. Fantasy, decadence, glam, catchy beat etc. Bring Back The Spark is a song I really like. Fantastic guitar as well (but this is no surprise if you have listened to their debut album).

After a hesitant start (some noisy switches from one radio station to another), the title track is another good ballad in the world of the soft-rocking glam. Nothing wrong with this: the origin of their music belongs to this roots and one in a while the band just came back to it.

The second part of the album is a long suite made of short parts. This epic/combination of short part is an incredible mix of various musical genres. In the running order: some glam (for the first two songs), glam-country (all this during the very short Lost In The Neon World, disco-funk (Dance Of The Uncle Sam Humanoids, romantic-rock (Modern Music Reprise).

Glam is again on the forefront for the next couple of parts (Forbidden Lovers, Down On Terminal Street). I would have wished a more crazy or disjointed finale instead of the gentle Make The Music Magic.

The usual bonus tracks are leading us into a science-fiction world (Futurist Manifesto), a more classic rock tune (Quest.) and a great traditional Deluxe song (Autosexual).

It is obvious that Be Bop Deluxe got heavily back to their (glam) roots with this album. Their next effort will be totally different. I would rate this album with seven out of ten but I'll upgrade it to four for sentimental reasons.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars BE BOP DELUXE had a relatively short five year career but they released five studio albums during that time in the 70's. It's been interesting going through their albums chronologically although I'm missing the debut. Bill Nelson the guitarist, vocalist and composer seems to throw everything at us here as we get a bunch of short tracks. Fifteen songs over 42 plus minutes, and "Modern Music" the next to final recording by them is full of variety and it's interesting that Bill the excellent guitarist that he is, seems to keep backing away from the spotlight as I go further into their discography.

And while I'd suggest "Futurama" their second record is my favourite it's also an immature work where we get flashy solos or Bill singing but it works to my ears better than the three albums that follow. It may be more about the songs after "Futurama" but I'm just not into the music. So while "Modern Music" and the previous record "Sunburst Finish" stand as favourites among the Prog crowd, this Prog fan just can't get into them, this not my music. So of course we get some half decent tracks here among the fifteen but this is consistently doing little for me. I like "Twilight Capers" and "Down On Terminal Street" quite a bit, especially the latter as the former is inconsistent. Some samples to open the title track which is different.

Almost half the tracks are around 2 minutes or less. 3 stars.

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