In this song, Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry sings to his plastic fantastic lover, an inflatable doll that will float nicely in his new pool, part of a stately home he just acquired. Typical of Ferry's songwriting, it has a cinematic feel, with a lyric that lays out a series of images to form a strange story. There is no chorus.
First, we hear about the home, with Ferry using real estate argot like "bungalow ranch style." Then, we hear about the doll, his "disposable darling" that will be his companion. But in this dream home, there is also heartache. We're not sure why, and we know better than to ask this guy questions.
The first three minutes of this song finds Ferry telling his story over a musical texture created with a VCS3 synthesizer, Farisa organ, and a touch of saxophone. After the line, "But you blew my mind," the song becomes a rave-up, with drums, bass and guitar entering the picture in a swirl of phase-shifted glory. The music slowly fades out at the four-minute mark, then returns after a long bout of silence - it's one of the lengthiest false endings in rock.
Bryan Ferry said in the April 2007 Q Magazine that this is the track he is most proud of writing. He explained, "I had an artist friend who lent me a remote carriage up in Derbyshire. This came out of that trip. I remember getting into my Renault 4, loading up a cassette player, keyboards and pads of paper and pens, and driving up there with the express purpose of writing some songs. Life was so much simpler in 1973."
Some lyrics Ferry wrote for this song that he didn't use ended up on his 2002 solo track "San Simeon," which provides more details about the home.
Looking for another song about an inflatable doll? Check out "Be My Girl - Sally
" by The Police.