|03-14-2010, 02:19 PM||#43 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Leuven ,Belgium, via Ireland
After completely shattering the public image of himself on Low by seemingly committing career suicide with a predominantly electronic album, rather than a more commercial-sounding follow-up, Bowie decided to plunge headfirst into the weird. This album is possibly the strangest music he would ever release, and it must be remembered that despite containing his best-loved song, the title track's status as stadium fodder belies just how complex, dark and downright weird it's parent album is. This album used to be my favourite Bowie release, but the time has come to see if I still rate it as highly.
The album begins with Beauty And The Beast, a bizarre funk workout featuring Bowie's heavily treated vocals and lyrics which seem to be concerned with some class of chaos. As a stand-alone track, it's a bit odd, but as an album opener it works brilliantly by setting the tone for the rest of the record-uneasy, manic, unpredictable. This is followed by the surrealist character sketch Joe The Lion, in which Bowie manges to connect masochistic fortune tellers, a protagonist who is somehow "made of iron", and urges the listener to "buy a gun".
The sheer weirdness of this track is a joy to behold, and a perfect precursor to the mixture of joy and despair which makes up the title song, with it's sonically extraordinary guitar playing by Robert Fripp making the tale of doomed love seem like the most inspiring track ever written. This romanticism continues through the sorrow of Sons Of The Silent Age, seemingly a requiem for the lost souls "who glide in and out of life" and the terror of Blackout, in which some of the strangest funk ever recorded functions as the soundtrack for the most unnerving lyrics on the album, suggesting the darkness and paranoia of Low has not yet passed.
The constant mood shifts of the record continue into the soaring joy of V-2 Schneider, a mostly instrumental piece in which the only vocals are the title being repeated as a sort of chorus, yet the music radiates joy. Then come the instrumentals, evoking that the fear of Low remains in tracks such as Sense Of Doubt, but also that a new fascination with his environment has come into play with Neukoln attempting to convey life inside the Berlin of the 70's, and a desire to explore the outside world in the form of the evokation of Japan in Moss Garden. The album is ideally rounded off with The Secret Life Of Arabia, providing a silly disco conclusion to round off an album of constantly shifting moods.
In conclusion, after reassessing the album, I would no longer consider it his finest work, with Low and Scary Monsters being better albums. However, I would consider it his most creative, as despite the constant musical and emotional shifts it still makes a coherent whole.
|04-07-2010, 05:49 PM||#45 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
^ Looking forward to it. I love Lodger myself, but it'd be cool seeing someone else's take on it.
Does FireInCairo log in anymore? If not, we might need someone else to do Scary Monsters. Need someone to do Let's Dance too so we can have this thread moving along nicely.
|04-08-2010, 06:45 PM||#46 (permalink)|
Moodswings n' Roundabouts
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: At the corner of Dude and Catastrophe
I haven't listened to Lodger in yonks. I may able to do Let's Dance, i'm pretty sure i appreciate that album a lot more than most :s
|01-19-2013, 03:45 PM||#47 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Surrey BC
If I may, I would like to revive this seemingly deceased thread.
African Night Flight
Look Back In Anger
Boys Keep Swinging
Some people put this album down and at first glance it does seem to be a minor album, hidden between the more popular "Heroes" and Scary monsters, but it is the perfect stepping stone between the two. The last of the Famous 'Berlin' Trilogy, this one was actually recorded in Montreaux and mixed in New York. It was Bowie at his most daring, there are songs on this album which are quite unique. Bowie also dabbled in world music a good five years before it started to gain popularity.
A perfect album for vinyl it has two distinct sides, one to do with travelling and one dealing with the pressures of modern life. Despite the lack of instrumentals Eno seemed to be at his most influential on this album with songs which echoed his own work and his work with the Talking heads, but in the end were distinctly Bowie songs. On this album Eno used chord charts to tell the musicians what to play, would swap around their instruments, reuse melodies and chord progressions from other songs and generally shake things up.
Fantastic Voyage, a majestic way to start the album, with a fabulous lyric and a truly great musical arrangement. It may have the same chords structure as Boys keep swinging, but it still is a great song in it's own right, a lovely addition to the reality tour.
African Night Flight is one of the maddest tracks to ever be released by Bowie (or anyone), almost a rap in places, quite disconcerting when first heard but a definite grower and one of my favourites, I love it when Bowie has these fits of verbal gymnastics.
Move On started off as All the young dudes played backwards but you would hardly know it. The story goes that Bowie had a bag full of cassettes with him and he played one and it ended up playing in reverse and he heard the chorus of ATYD and really liked the way the melody went, so he then used it as the refrain of this song. A great vocal, the lyrics seem to really lay a statement of Bowie's life at the time.
Yassassin is a reggae song with Turkish instrumentation, who would have thought of that, a really fun song, a single in Turkey (for obvious reasons) and also in the Netherlands (for not so obvious reasons).
Red Sails taught Adam Ant all he needed to know, pirate chic a good two years before Antmusic, one of the best songs on the album and what an ending.
DJ is not one of my favourites, I always found it a bit too discordant for my ears, but when I am in the mood I do like it.
Look Back In Anger is one of the most well known songs on the album which has beeb performed live throughout 1983 and then reprised it on the Outside/Earthling tours. Very good video with a Dorian Grey twist to it.
Boys Keep Swinging, who can part this from the groundbreaking video, the garage band sound just makes this a really fun song, there is a good alternative video from the Kenny Everett Video show too, which is worth checking out.
Repetition deals with wife beating and is the first of Bowie's "Johnny" songs, which still go on to this day as there is one on the new album. This is a subject not handled by many people in song, great music, if a little downbeat. Revived in concert in 1997 with a number of acoustic versions floating around from his various radio appearances that year. Was also played in 1999/2000.
Red Money I really think this is a poor way to end the album, I would have preferred Sister Midnight, as of the two that is the better song, something which Bowie must agree with, as he has sung the latter more in concert than he has the former.
All in all though, an album I love revisiting, a forgotten classic to many but one which is always refreshing.