In February of 1999, Absolute O'Brien was released in the UK. It took
until August to be released in the States, and you can bet I was eagerly awaiting
my first official copy of the album.
have been some Rocky fans who have decried it's worth as an album, and while
I personally don't agree with them, I do see their point. It's not your standard
O'Brien. You won't find something as pop pleasing as Time Warp, or
anything close to soundtrack and musical work he's done to date.
And I think that's why I like it.
I've never been the sort of person to labor under the delusion that Richard
is Riff Raff, or Cosmo McKinley, or any of the roles he has played over the
years. The album is smooth, gentle, and sweet, and I do like it that way.
There is still the O'Brien penchant for hummable lyrics without realizing
what they are SAYING- 100 dollars an hour as an example is a slow drawling
jazzy number in an ode to a prostitute. ("Not autobiographical"
he insisted while playing the song at Rhino's Retrofest) There is also The
Dance of Love, a reprise Mephistopheles number with lyrics like "There's
no need to know me, just come to me show me that I'm the light; you're the
moth, together we can do the dance of love"
So it's definitely not without his classic "moments".
And for those aching for the screaming bald man most expect him to be, there's Running With the Noisy Boys, probably the closest the album comes to
being "normal" O'Brien.
But why be normal? Why not relax, have a drink and listen to some smooth
Apartment Jazz at it's finest. And considering Richard coined the phrase
himself, it's difficult to argue.