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David Bowie - David Bowie CD (album) cover

DAVID BOWIE

David Bowie

 

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2.45 | 149 ratings

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The Anders
2 stars This album, if I remember correctly, was released on the same day as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album, but it was completely ignored. Musically, it is a far cry from Bowies early rhythm and blues singles, being mostly in the style of easy listening and cabaret, sometimes with a feel of 1966/67 "Swinging London". The music is generally not very engaging. The melodies are for most part unmemorably and clumsy, and it often sounds like he is unsure of where the melody should actually go. Consequently they are often difficult to remember. A good example is "Sell Me a Coat" where the melody is very repetetive in the chorus. The most memorable element of that song is probably the "la la la" part before the verses. His chords are usually stronger though, and they sometimes take you to unexpected places. I suspect he may have made the chorus first and then the melody.

Instrumentally, the playing sounds uninspired and very, very decent, and there's practically no energy. There are a few sound gimmicks now and then, like for instance in "Join the Gang", which spice the music up a bit, but only a bit. More outstanding is David Bowie's characteristic singing voice which adds a lot of personality to an otherwise very sterile sounding album.

Perhaps as a result of this, a lot of emphasis is on the lyrics which are often a bit "out there". Listen for instance to "Love You Till Tuesday": "Beautiful baby, my sweet desire started on Sunday, give me your heart and I'll love you till Tuesday... well I might stretch it till Wednesday". The most striking lyrics appear in "We Are Hungry Men" which is about overpopulation and how someone tries to reduce the number of people on earth by drastic means. It's a downright scary song, but it is sadly marked by the same musical weakness as most of the other numbers (uncertain melody and mediocre playing once again) - and then thre's a very annoying "Achtung! Achtung!" speaking voice that mostly sounds like a British idea of a German trying to speak English ( la Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or several Monty Python sketches), rather than actual German accent.

"When I Live My Dream" is an example of a more cohesive song where music and lyrics fit each other. It is probably the album's best song, but it sounds more like a Frank Sinatra hit than something by the David Bowie we came to know from "Space Oddity" and onwards. Another remarkable track is the closer, "Please Mr. Gravedigger" where Bowie's singing is only accompanied by the sound of rain and thunder. There's some sneezing too, in what is essentially a novelty song. Quite a charming one though.

All in all not a very convincing album, and it is easy to hear why it made little impact at the time. However, you can sense some of the more quirky ideas from Bowie's later work.

Personal favourite song: "When I Live My Dream"

The Anders | 2/5 |

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