Best of albums typically feel more accessible to so-called ‘casual’ fans. Those not wanting to trim the fat or listen to filler tracks. No complete concept is offered, with the original album curation being lost as songs are plucked and manoeuvred into a space they were never meant to belong. In fact, most ‘Best Of’ albums scarcely navigate the years in which their contents span, hovering closely to their most successful album and rarely stepping out of line.
Baxter Dury manages to flip the script. “I don’t really think I warrant a ‘best of’ album,” said Dury of his recent, decade-spanning release. But here he is, with a compilation worthy of the prefix ‘best’. A delicate, cohesive opus that beautifully tracks his career to date. Not bad for a self-confessed “blokey talky” man.
It is such “blokey” artistry that has led to Dury revaluating the space in which he inhabits, “I've always been aware of those roles and positions and recently I’ve thought about it more.” Such openness of his navigation of the world, as someone with great privilege, is important. So often people put up their hands and declare “I’m not like that”, but to have someone of Dury’s standing acknowledging such privilege is not chosen but given and has to be addressed by those who hold it is important. It paves the way for others to follow suit and become actively anti-prejudice, instead of being a simple bystander who waves a flag when societal pressures demand.
It’s this same energy that has been funnelled into new track, 'D.O.A.', a collaboration of Dury and son Kosmo. With the latter potentially being the next in line in this creative Dury lineage, Baxter Dury himself acknowledged that the collaboration is “the beginning of something.”
“I wrote the lyrics, and Kosmo wrote all the best bits, the bits I don’t have the musical skills for,” says Dury. And with the finished product at the standard that it is, you can see why Dury has all the confidence in his son’s developing career. With the layering of ethereal whisps, gruff, hardened vocals and breath-taking nods to the altered gospel sounds that have found their home R&B and rap tracks, 'D.O.A' is quintessential Dury.
Pushing forward whilst always holding space for new and evolving inspiration; there's something perfectly captured in this, a Best Of album that I may just let slide.
Words: Megan Walder
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