Wednesday, November 25, 2009

His Word May Be His Bond: Adam Faith: "Someone Else's Baby"

Although the 50s were many things, there was one thing they don't tend to be called that much - hip. There were hipsters back then, to be sure, but the 60s developed its own kind of hipness fairly quickly - one that was still at this point tethered to the 50s, but evolving out of it at a rapid rate.

We are still in the Age of Meek, to be sure, but now the Age of Barry has arrived, with all that implies. John Barry did the arrangements for this song and their pizzicato insouciance is miles away from the four-square hog-calling no-need-for-microphones from the previous decade. Faith sings this song with a grin in his voice and a very Buddy Holly "bayyyyehby" on his mind (not to mention his pronunciation). Lyrics like "I wonder who's in the loveseat/Who's got a heartbeat, like thunder" sounds as if Meatloaf is just around the corner; "If I acted bad/I could steal his fairy queen" on the other hand, is just so English as to be nearly a cliche. It's a song about wanting another guy's girl, stealing her practically from his arms - being a cad or a knave, at the least, but Faith makes it sound as if he just can't help himself and is going to be a love opportunist and have his tryst in his lovenest (or backseat) because he can't resist the idea of doing the act in the first place. Would Cliff ever be so bold? Faith was one of his rivals in the teen idol stakes, but unlike Cliff he left to get into acting, financial dealings and music production once the age of the guileless idol was over. Not bad for a kid from east London who was in a skiffle band called The Worried Men; hard to think of Faith as worried about anything at all here, save for (maybe) being caught.

(I feel it incumbent upon me to mention that the great inheritor of Faith's romantically helpless opportunist and general suave-guy-about-town demeanor would be taken up by one Bryan Ferry; just as Faith left the building, so to speak, Ferry stepped nonchalantly in. Also, the same man who renamed Cliff also renamed Adam.)

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