Friday, January 11, 2013

C'mon, Be Excited About New Bowie

Even though he is one of my all-time favorites (top 10, for sure) and my excitement is off the charts, I wasn't going to comment on the announcement of a new album from David Bowie. Then I read this tweet from Fucked Up's Damian Abraham that some bloggers have posted in agreement. In a nutshell, this camp doesn't understand what all of the hoopla is about. He's 66 years old, and it's not like he could still possibly make something on par with his work in the '70s.

On some level, I understand the sentiment. I have had this line of thinking with the likes of U2, R.E.M. and scores of others. After a while you just give up and stop listening. Not many can sustain the quality of the work for decades, but there have been exceptions. Nick Lowe is one I can think of off the top of my head. I know quite a few Bowie fans lost interest either just before or just after 'Let's Dance.' There were inferior albums and lost years. If you are one of those that agree with Mr. Abraham, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assume you simply gave up on Bowie before his last two albums, 'Heathen' (2002) and 'Reality' (2003).

It's time for a little education. 'Heathen,' and to a slightly lesser extent 'Reality,' are fantastic works that were produced by the legendary Tony Visconti. He's the same fella that worked beside Bowie on many of the albums Mr. Abraham and his ilk enjoy. Visconti captured something pretty incredible with Bowie a decade ago, and I'm betting he did it again with 'The Next Day.' If your feelings on Bowie are like Mr. Abraham's, I'm asking you to give 'Heathen' a listen. Then you will join my camp of the excited. It's a lot more fun over here, I promise. Wow, if this is what not being a naysayer feels like, I may have to try it again.


Echorich said...
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Echorich said...

For every nay sayer out there, there's a Momus! He has done fellow Scot's Associates, who released a version of Boys Keep Swinging as their debut single only a month after Lodger was released, one better with his same day released cover of Where Are We Now?. It's pretty brilliant IMHO... and I can watch the Roddy MacDowell home movies much easier that the strange Siamese Beenie Baby video that was commissioned for the original.
Bowie has given us a brillant song. It's full of world weary introspection, a man alone with and dealing with his memories. The fact that the song and Jonathan Barnbrook's artwork bring us back to Heroes Era Berlin isn't no small thing. Heroes is, for a lot of people, and probably The Dame as well, the zenith in his career tragectory.
I heartily agree that to dismiss Bowie as done a long time ago is to not even come close to understanding Heathen and Reality. Both are flawed records, but both are of their moment and provide insight into the artist. The final track of Reality is a song I always end Bowie playlists with because it feels like a goodbye song. Where Are We Now? is that same man who came in from the cold.