Now, as any faithful reader of this magazine is probably aware, David Bowie has never been my hero. I always thought all that Ziggy Stardust homo-from-Adelbaran business was a crock of shit, especially coming from a guy who wouldn’t even get in a goddam airplane. I thought he wrote the absolute worst lyrics I had ever heard from a major pop figure with the exception of Bernie Taupin, lines like “Time takes a cigarette and puts it in your mouth” delivered with a face so straight it seemed like it would crack at a spontaneous word or gesture, seemed to me merely gauche. As for his music, he was as accomplished an eclectician (a.k.a. thief) as Elton John, which means that though occasionally deposited onstage after seemingly being dipped in vats of green slime and pursued by Venusian crab boys, he had Showbiz Pro written all over him. A facade as brittle as it was icy, which I guess means that it was bound to crack or thaw, and whatever real artistic potency lay beneath would have to stand or evaporate.
Crack Bowie did, in the last year or so, and the result was Young Americans. It was not an album beloved of trad Bowiephiles, but for somebody like your reviewer, who never put any chips on the old chickenhead anyway, it was a perfectly acceptable piece of highly listenable product. More than that, in fact – it was a highly personal musical statement disguised as a shameless fling at the disco market, the drag perhaps utilized as an emotional red herring. Young Americans wasn’t Bowie dilettanting around with soul music, it was the bridge between melancholy and outright depression, an honest statement from a deeply troubled, mentally shattered individual who even managed, for the most part, to skirt self-pity. Like many of his peers, Bowie has cracked – and for him it was good, because it made him cut the bullshit. Young Americans was his first human album since Hunky Dory, and in my opinion the best record he ever put out.
>>61711665 Till now. The first things to be said about Station to Station are that it sounds like he’s got a real live band again (even if star guitarist Earl Slick reportedly split between the sessions and the new tour), and that this is not a disco album either (though that’s what the trades, and doubtless a lot of other people, are going to write it off as) but an honest attempt by a talented artist to take elements of rock, soul music, and his own idiosyncratic and occasionally pompous showtune/camp predilections and rework this seemingly contradictory melange of styles into something new and powerful that doesn’t have to cop either futuristic attitudes or licks from Anthony Newley and the Velvet Underground because he’s found his own voice at last.
This is the first Bowie album without a lyric sheet, and I’m glad, because aside from reservations voiced above I’ve always agreed with Fats Domino that it’s more fun to figure them out for yourself. The first line on the album is the worst: “The return of the thin white duke / Throwing darts in lovers’ eyes.” Somehow, back in Rock Critics’ Training School, when they told me about “pop poetry,” I didn’t and still don’t think that they were talking about this, which is not only pretentious and mildly unpleasant, but I am currently wrestling with a terrible paranoia that this is Bowie talking about himself. I have a nightmare vision in my mind of him opening the set in his new tour by striding out onstage slowly, with a pained look in his eyes and one spotlight following him, mouthing these words. And, quite frankly, that idea terrifies me. Because if it’s true, it means he’s still as big an idiot as he used to be and needs a little more cocaine to straighten him out.
>>61710963 That's really harsh, it's a good album, but I tend to see Station To Station, Low and Heroes as his best works. That's the trio of doom that literally made him the bridge between artsy music and pure pop music, which is really impressive
>>61713081 >watched BlackStar when released as a single. > see spoopy skeleton in space suit "Oh it's major tom, etc etc" Think the whole song is about him throwing away his old personas >watching it now Oh god, it was his spoopy skeleton.
It's perhaps his legacy that his album was written with him knowing he was at deaths door. But no one guessed. That he was secretly saying good bye.
also I live in japan and my boss talked to me about bowie today - he thought boy george and david bowie were one person called david bowie george, wasn't sure if he was american or british and asked if he was gay. then he walked off.
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