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David Bowie - Low CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.08 | 420 ratings

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5 stars Low is the eleventh studio album by David Bowie, released on January 14 1977. Recorded following Bowie's move to West Berlin after a period of drug addiction and personal instability. Low became the first of three collaborations with musician Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, later termed as the "Berlin Trilogy". The album was in fact recorded largely in France, and marked a shift in Bowie's musical style toward an electronic approach that would be further explored on subsequent albums "Heroes" and Lodger.

'Speed of Life' opens the album with an instrumental, the music is very intense. Even though the song is rather simple and repetitive, it makes an immediate implication about the content of the album and its heavy use of synthesizers as both effects and instruments. The next one, 'Breaking Glass', is the shortest track on the album. It starts with a pretty chaotic guitar, it fits well with the character it depicts, a person who seems messed-up. The lyrics might suggest that Bowie now wants to distant himself from people that are bad influences (Angela Bowie & Michel Lippman). Another short song follows, 'What in the World', and once again it seems to depict an unusual relationship between two people. As for the music, it feels very frantic. Up Next is the first single from Low 'Sound and Vision' which finds Bowie using his room as a sanctuary while waiting for artistic inspirations to strike him. Undoubtedly one of Bowie's best songs. Following Sound And Vision is 'Always Crashing in the Same Car', a slower and more serious song, outlining the darker things Bowie was writing about during the recovery from his cocaine addiction. The song foreshadows the more solemn, darker mood of side two. The second single from Low 'Be My Wife' sounds like a last-minute plea for Angela Bowie. By this point, their marriage was in ruins. They would divorce in 1980. 'A New Career in a New Town' is about as good of an approximation to what looking ahead to the future with optimism and hope feels like that you'll hear in a song. 'Warszawa' is best described as cold, dark and oppressive, combined with incredible feelings of anxiety, mystery and loneliness all at once. Very Atmospheric. 'Art Decade' contains the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard. It's a laid back tune and quite melancholic. 'Weeping Wall' follows, the xylophone played by Bowie gives the song its unique sound. It also features very chaotic guitar through the song. Low Closes with ''Subterraneans', which is mostly instrumental, but does contain a vocal section which is a string of unrelated English words. Bowie wanted to focus not on the meaning, but the sound of words for this song.

Low is a masterpiece, though it takes some listening to unlock. While much of the first half is surprisingly commercial sounding, the second half is completely overwhelming and is an emotionally draining experience which rewards the listener after repeated and careful listens. Low is a timeless masterpiece to cherish.

thesimilitudeofprog | 5/5 |


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