B-Side: Moving On
I kind of feel like I have to be defensive when talking about Cliff - he's almost been ostracised by the British media partly because of his refusal to talk to the ever prurient about his private life, and partly due to his evangelical Christianity. Also as far as the media is concerned the old adage about only being as good as your last record is true, and Cliff's last few records haven't been aimed at the media, or airplay, but generally at his hardcore fans - it doesn't matter how anodyne and safe they sound to the rest of us, they're made for people who like Cliff. So he's become almost a figure of fun, some used to evoke twee mediocrity - a man who has managed to produce one of the worst records ever known to mankind (The Millennium Prayer). However it's easy to forget that he's also the creator of one of the finest pieces of music in the known universe (Move It). All his other recording fall somewhere on the range between the both. If I was to chart a personal rating of all of Cliff's singles from the start to now it would come up with a line with a lot of peaks, troughs and plateaus - with for me most of the peaks being in the 50s and 60s.
Carrie would probably be the last high peak on that chart. This is a great well crafted pop record. The style suits Cliff spot on, and he nails the vocals from the start. The instrumentation is atmospheric and even in places a little unexpected, which just adds to the drama of the story in the song. It's pretty much a perfect piece of period pop.
Whilst everything seems to mesh together on Carrie to make it the song it is, Moving Out just doesn't have the same charisma. It an almost run of the mill piece, there are a few touches in there that try to lift it into something more special. The song has on odd structure, (you could never dance to it), the rising crescendo on the chorus, the nice guitar riff in the middle, and the country-style guitars all try to make Moving Out something special it doesn't work. It's the kind of song that you would look a bit odd trying to dance to, but on the other hand if you're dancing to a Cliff Richard B-Side you're probably not all that worried about how odd you're looking.
Whilst you could argue that Carrie is better than the sum of it's parts, Moving Out just isn't equal to the sum of it's parts.
Next Time it's Cliff's backing group.