If There Is Something

Album: Roxy Music (1972)
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Songfacts®:

  • "If There Is Something" is a love song set over three sections. The first section takes place during the teenage courting stage of a relationship, the second depicts the heated, passionate throes of an adult romance, and the third finds the singer reflecting on his love life from a position of old age:

    Shake your hair girl with your ponytail
    Takes me right back (when you were young)
  • This song starts like a twanging pastiche of a country song before turning into something more melancholy from the second section onward. Speaking about this variety of moods to NME, Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry explained: "What interests me, far more than ambiguity, is juxtaposing things so they shock. I like surprise. When we do 'If There Is Something' live, people always seem startled by the juxtapositions – it's lilting along pleasantly and suddenly this agonized voice bursts out. I find doing it quite embarrassing sometimes, because it's just raw emotion and you can't be in 20 different moods in one night. You have to be an actor, project yourself into it."

    The group's synth player Brian Eno added to Sounds: "'If There Is Something' has become a strange creature, it's modified into something else completely. It's grand music, if you know what I mean, it's got a feeling of grandness about it."
  • David Bowie's band Tin Machine recorded a cover of "If There Is Something" for their sophomore album, 1991's Tin Machine II. They also included it on their first live album, 1992's Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby. Previously, Bowie invited Roxy Music to support him on the Ziggy Stardust Tour in 1972. He referred to Ferry as his "favorite songwriter" on Dinah! in 1976.
  • "If There Is Something" makes a prominent appearance in 2008's Flashbacks of a Fool, directed by Baillie Walsh and starring Daniel Craig as Hollywood actor Joe Scot. The song plays during a vital flashback scene that sees Scot and his teenage girlfriend, Ruth, singing and dancing along to it while dressed as Ferry. To quote Ruth: "How fantastic is this song? How could you choose between Bryan Ferry and David Bowie? They're gods!"
  • This song appears on Roxy Music's self-titled debut album. In 2022, Rolling Stone ranked it #85 on their "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time" list, with the American music magazine writing: "In England in the early '70s, there was nerdy art-rock and sexy glam-rock and rarely did the twain meet. Until this record, that is."

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