Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” — Roxy Music (1973)

I bought you mail order
My plain wrapper baby
Your skin is like vinyl
The perfect companion
You float my new pool
Deluxe and delightful
Inflatable doll
My role is to serve you…

I had the supreme pleasure of witnessing Roxy Music’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2019… not because of the Hall itself, which I couldn’t give Two Sloppy Slim Jim’s about, but because freakin’ Roxy Music, man!

Talk about top tier, Roxy Music was the real deal: their early material was post-punk in a pre-punk era, avant-garde but soulfully accessible, and many parts Monte Carlo casino and Bellevue rubber room. Bryan Ferry and team (with the incomparable Brian Eno on the first two releases) dropped choice album after album in the 70s, culminating in 1982’s Avalon, the band’s final record which saw them go out on a commercial peak.

That last album produced the radio smash “More Than This”, which got a ton of radio airplay and is a far, far, FAR cry from today’s Buttkickin’ Halloween Song, the entirely disturbing In Every Dream Home A Heartache. This Side One closer from their classic 1973 album For Your Pleasure (your host’s favorite of their catalog) is such a maniacal piece of creepy monologuing, its inclusion in any Halloween playlist is a no-brainer.

The song excoriates (or celebrates) an empty decadent lifestyle, while gradually transitioning into a focus on the narrator’s creepy obsession with a blow-up sex doll. For the first three minutes and five seconds, Ferry delivers this painful benediction to emptiness and superficiality over an organ drone that seems to come from an otherworldly grinder. In Every Dream Home A Heartache flirts deeply with repetition and monotony, but what keeps the creepy factor through the roof (and makes the song more compelling) is the slow emotional descent from generic home-living opulence to absolute love and devotion to an inflatable sex toy.

I mean as far as general metaphors go for a vapid lifestyle, a plastic love doll is fairly spot-on. His “love” for her is unrequited, artificial, entirely empty and meaningless, save for what he puts into it. And by “what he puts into it” I mean his BREATH people, this is a family blog! Mostly!

It doesn’t matter though, because once In Every Dream Home A Heartache explodes at roughly 3:07, as Ferry’s overly-modulated delivery of “but you blew my mind” leads the entire band to erupt in a near-orgasmic cacophony, the release isn’t just physical but entirely maniacal, and it’s brilliant. Listen for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Immortal and life size
My breath is inside you
I’ll dress you up daily
And keep you till death sighs
Inflatable doll
Lover ungrateful
I blew up your body
But you blew my mind…

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