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David Bowie - The Buddha of Suburbia CD (album) cover

THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

3.42 | 37 ratings

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burtonrulez
5 stars With a discography as extensive as Bowie's there's bound to be one or two hidden gems in there. The Buddha of Suburbia is certainly one of them. A common misconception that this album is the soundtrack for a TV drama of the same name. Yes, the title track is the theme song from the programme, but the rest of the tracks were largely altered to create very different compositions. All of this is explained in detail in the liner notes to the original CD issue of the album (now out of print, but I managed to finda copy in a used record store.)

The title track is sweeping and catchy, and seriously a highlight of Bowie's career. The melodies as strong as anything on Hunky Dory, with a slick modern twist to it. 'Sex and the Church' is a very odd electronica sounding song. Its repetitive but in a good way, very reminiscent of the Berlin albums, with a strong Kraftwerk feel. 'South Horizon' is one of Bowie's best instrumentals, almost of the caliber of Warszawa or Subterraneans, both from Low. A piano and a saxophone play a jazzy improvisation over a subtle electronic background. 'The Mysteries' is pure ambience, more minimalistic than anything on the second side of Heroes. This is truly subtlety at its best. 'Bleed Like a Craze, Dad' is back with the electronic pop/rock, and is a more intense track. 'Strangers When We Meet' is a song that would be revivified on Bowie's next album, Outside, but the version on Buddha is the best in my opinion. This is possibly the best song on the album, a sounding like Life on Mars' more optimistic little brother. 'Dead Against It' returns to the more intense side of things. 'Untitled No. 1' is another pleasant song in the vein of the title track or 'Strangers...'. Unlike those two, however, it retains the anonymity of the title by not having any obvious catchy hooks. It does, though, remain very pleasant to listen to. 'Ian Fish, UK Heir' is ambience at its most extreme (or maybe more accurately non-extreme). It really takes a careful ear to pick out all the ever-so-quiet sounds on this one. The album finishes with another version of the title track, this time with Lenny Kravitz providing additional guitars. what a great way to round off an album, almost as it started.

Well done to David Bowie for creating such a great album with so few musicians, even fewer than on Diamond Dogs in fact. This album is an overlooked masterpiece. It sounds like a modernized Low, with the instrumentals interspersed with the songs, rather than all on one side. Five stars for this excellent album.

burtonrulez | 5/5 |

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