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David Bowie - Time / The Prettiest star CD (album) cover

TIME / THE PRETTIEST STAR

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

4.05 | 2 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This single contains two songs from David Bowie's follow-up to Ziggy Stardust breakthrough album, Aladdin Sane, and also circulates the album's cover picture. 'Time' is definitely among my all-time favourite Bowie songs. Mike Garson's very decorative and playful piano style graces the album's best tracks, which are in my opinion this one, 'Aladdin Sane' and 'Lady Grinning Soul'.

German cabaret music influences had been around in Bowie's music before, but 'Time' has such a strong Kurt Weill spirit that "if Lotte Lenya had popped in to duet, nobody would have been surprised at all", as Ned Raggett writes in All Music Guide. Strangely, I'm no fan of cabaret music at all, but somehow I'm fascinated by those charasteristics in this song. It begins effectively with only the piano and Bowie's distinctive vocals (featuring that notorious kinky line "falls wanking to the floor"), the rest of the band entering at around 40 seconds. The excellent melody is the real clue of the song, finished to perfection with the dynamics between echoing cabaret sections and the fuller band sound, without forgetting the fine vocal harmonies. The grandiose emotion is being milked to the last drop on the much-repeated "la-la-la" verse at the end of the album version. The single edition is approximately 1 minutes shorter.

'The Prettiest Star', also from the Aladdin Sane album, is a light-hearted, fifties-spirited song that has never been among my Bowie favourites. It features Marc Bolan on electric guitar. I do like the melody, but the song is way too repetitive, lacking further inspiration musically and lyrically. [The Finnish singer-songwriter Hector recorded 'The Prettiest Star' on the 1977 "HEC" album along with another Bowie tune, 'TVC15'. Not very strong choices, I'd say.]

Four stars for the excellent A-side song that's not as well known as it would deserve to be.

Matti | 4/5 |

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