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David Bowie - Station to Station CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.02 | 340 ratings

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So here it is: the album where The Thin White Duke makes his debut, while claiming it is his return. For those not in the know, The Thin White Duke was David Bowie's alter ego at the time. A cocaine guzzling, shallow hearted monster of a person, that would take control over David's psyche, to the point where he would have to move out of the country to calm himself down. But thanks to Bowie's struggles, we at least have this excellent album to show for it. On this album Bowie abandons the white soul he had been dabbling in to mixed critical reviews, in favour of a unique blend of funk and krautrock. I am no krautrock expert, so I cannot judge how much of it there is in this album, but the record does have a very unusual sound.

The epic title track kicks things off. 'Station to Station' (the song) begins with a train fading into hearing distance, turning into the songs chugging rythm and David singing 'The return of the thin white duke, throwing darts in lover's eyes', introducing the undesirable character to the audience. Half way through it changes into a more funk inspired song, wiht more immortal lines such as 'it's not a side effect of the cocaine. I'm thinking that it must be love', a line that the detestable band Fall Out Boy would steal, as the title of an EP. This is a great introduction to a great album, that has nothing to do with prog. 'Golden Years' is more of a pure funky variety. Very catchy and a somewhat happier song than is expected on such a bleak album. 'Word on a Wing' is a song that Bowie always insists was the only sincere one on the album. It is a desperate prayer to God, crying for help in these dark and scary cocaine fueled times. It is quite touching, and Bowie, for once, sounds weak and exposed. 'TVC 15' is possibly my favourite song on the album. It is very catchy and funk-based, but at the same time intense. The lyrics seem depressing, although they are next to nonsensical. In fact, it is about a TV eating Bowie's girlfriend, inspired by a drug trip, if I'm not mistaken. 'Stay' is notable for the fiery guitar work of Earl Slick, session man extraordinaire. Carlos Alomar is a good enough guitarist, but I've never heard a performance lick Slick's here. Dark and oppressive it sets the tone for the song perfectly, and the song would be a lot weaker without it. 'Wild is the Wind' is a song originally recorded by Johnny Mathis, although Bowie was inspired by Nina Simone's version. The song is powerful and gripping, proof that Bowie may be an eccentric rock star, but he croon with the best of 'em. The perfect way to close an album made better through its imperfections.

I could pick holes in this album. I could say I don't like this bit, or I don't like that, but as a whole, everything adds up to make this a very HUMAN album. There isn't much prog present though. For someone wishing to get to know Bowie: DO NOT START HERE!!! It is good, but hard to get into, and an understanding, if such a thing is possible, of Bowie is necessary to 'get' this album. Start with Hunky Dory or Ziggy Stardust, move through Low and Heroes, before visiting this oddity.

That said there's probably something on offer for krautrockers here, and anyone wiht a taste of something different than their normal progressive diet. 3.5 stars in progressive terms, but highly recomended for people with broad minds. Round that up to four stars.

burtonrulez | 4/5 |


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