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David Bowie - Station to Station CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.03 | 364 ratings

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5 stars STATIONTOSTATION is one of David Bowie's greatest masterpieces, but when I used to listen to the album on LP, I routinely skipped the ballad "Word on a Wing" (too boring, and painfully sentimental!) and the B-side opener, "TVC15" (too lightweight). That's more than a quarter of the original album gone!

Fortunately, the remainder of the material was on an astonishingly high level, and even more fortunately Ryko's "Sound and Vision" edition from 1991 (for those who can still get hold of it) contains two bonus tracks which will give you a new perspective on some of the studio material, viz. a live version of "Word on a Wing" which sounds far less lethargic and more urgent than the original, and a soaring live performance of the gorgeous "Stay", curiously without Earl Slick on lead guitar but with a certain Stacey Heydon fulfilling the same role. (Both bonus tracks are from a 1976 gig at Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, and Yes freaks may be pleased to know Tony Kaye plays keyboards on them. Which makes me wonder: when will Bowie finally get to use Patrick Moraz?)

If we take a quick look at the four original studio tracks that can, without a shadow of a doubt, be called "strong", it immediately becomes apparent that among the many rock stars who were addicted to cocaine in the mid-1970s only someone of Bowie's intelligence could have made an album as playful, profound AND varied as this. To move from the sublime noise-rock of the 10 minute title track (with its Kabbalah-inspired lyrics) to the (doo-wop inspired!) blue-eyed soul of "Golden Years" without losing your grip is pure genius. And to follow the heavy guitar-rock of "Stay" with the most cinematic ballad of your career must be considered another masterstroke, especially when the ballad in question ("Wild is the Wind", written by Dimitri Tiompkin and Ned Washington) is only accompanied on strummed acoustic guitar, gossamer-thin electric guitar (played by the trusty Carlos Alomar), bass and drums.

STATIONTOSTATION was a winner. Bowie used the strongest elements from his previous album (YOUNG AMERICANS), including his newly-gained penchant for crooning, and already seemed well on the way to carrying out the sonic experiments of his Berlin trilogy. All he needed was a new producer (well, actually an old one would do!) and a new career in a new town.

fuxi | 5/5 |


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