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David Bowie - 'hours...' CD (album) cover

'HOURS...'

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

3.48 | 77 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Hours' - David Bowie (6/10)

Having a career spanning four decades, singer-songwriter David Bowie has managed to stay afloat by reinventing himself every few years. Beginning as a rather by-the-numbers artist in the '60s; Bowie would go through a glam phase during the 70's, a pop/alternative phase during the '80s, and a eclectic range including electronic house music in recent times. While this constant change has led to polar opinions from fans, Bowie has managed to maintain a fresh sense of creativity and musical passion throughout his life, and the album 'Hours' proves this notion, for the most part.

A very song-based piece of work, 'Hours' sounds alot like the pop/rock based material Mr. Bowie was performing before delving into the realm of electronica. The album opens with the single 'Thursday's Child,' which sounds like an attempt to break into the adult contemporary market. As a result, despite having some memorable hooks, things sound quite tame and might not appeal to those looking for a bit more caffeine in their music. Some effective female vocal work gives the song some much needed flair however. While 'Thursday's Child' is an effective opener and one of the more effective tracks on the album, it is a very lucky fact that the album isn't based entirely on the strength of the single.

Over the course of the album, some new sounds can be heard that sound all the more surprising, due to the rather laid back nature of the opener. Blues, folk and even psychedelia is represented. While none of the songs on 'Hours' are excellent, each one is memorable in it's own right. The eight minute long 'If I'm Dreaming My Life' is a very surreal track with some blues nuances in it to give it some attitude. 'Seven' is one of the best tracks on the album; a folky number with a very personal-sounding performance. 'What's Really Happening' is one of the songs I didn't really care for, but for it's mediocrity, it still stands as being listenable. The two most surprising tracks here are 'The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell,' and 'Brilliant Adventure.' The first of those tracks throws in a very strong psychedelic rock sound into the music, which makes it stick out like black on white. 'Brilliant Adventure' on the other hand is only an interlude to give a break before the album closer 'Dreamers,' but it is a piece of Buddhist Zen music that easily sounds like something a monk would meditate to.

A weaker point of 'Hours' is actually the vocals of David Bowie himself. While he used to be able to really belt, age seems to have caught up on him and his range has shrunk considerably. Some of the more ambitious notes he tries to hit seem very strained; however big fans of the man's singing voice shouldn't have any problem at all digesting it.

'Hours' (like many other modern albums by long-standing artists) doesn't quite compare to David Bowie's early albums, but on the other hand, the man has endured alot better than some of the other musicians that have lasted as long. There is still intimacy and passion here, but the execution isn't quite as good as it may have been before. In any case, the album does tend to grow, and once one listens to it enough, it's easy to tell that there is alot more than mere adult-contemporary pop going on here.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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