Vanity Fair

Song Review by

All concerned, including members of the band and producer Elvis Costello, have agreed that the brief on Costello's production of the band's fourth album was to make as un-Squeeze-like album as possible. This resulted in songs like the country pastiche "Labelled With Love" and the even more uncharacteristic "Vanity Fair." Rather like one of Paul McCartney's dalliances with chamber music in the Beatles' experimental period, there are no members of Squeeze on this song except for Glenn Tilbrook's fragile, haunting lead vocal, which is backed by a small orchestra of strings, horns and reeds. Del Newman's sensitive orchestral arrangement both recalls George Martin's Beatles work and prefigures Costello's similarly ornate album Imperial Bedroom, which would appear within the next year. Chris Difford's lyrics are quietly beautiful, a thoughtful, non-judgmental character study of an increasingly depressed young woman whose adult life has not turned out as she'd imagined it as a young girl. Together, the elements form a most uncharacteristic but absolutely remarkable stylistic experiments that's one of the highlights of Squeeze's best album.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
East Side Story 1981 A&M 3:11
Classics, Vol. 25 1987 A&M 3:11
Six of One... 1997 Import 3:12
Up the Junction: Essential Collection 2000 Spectrum Music / Universal 3:14
Big Squeeze: The Very Best of Squeeze 2002 Universal International 3:07
Gold 2005 Universal Distribution / Universal International 3:07
The Squeeze Story 2006 Spectrum Music / Universal 3:05