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David Bowie - Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music] CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.34 | 332 ratings

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3 stars David Bowie's second album - originally another self-titled one, and variously retitled Man of Words/Man of Music (for a US release) and eventually becoming generally known as Space Oddity, thanks to the show-stealing title track - is often mistaken for his first, mainly because of the way he generally distanced himself from his debut album over the years whilst regularly revisiting the themes of the title track.

And you've got to admit, Space Oddity the song is pretty exceptional. Granted, it was given a big boost because it happened to be released shortly before the Moon landings, and was picked out by the BBC to be used as incidental music during their coverage of the story, but it's still Bowie's first fully-developed song and his vocal performance (and clever use of the Stylophone!) is electrifying. It's also of interest for prog fans because of Rick Wakeman's contribution - his mellotron and piano playing are important to the song's sound, and it seems more than likely that the song's success helped Rick along his way to his role in the Strawbs, so here we see him on his first steps on the long path from session musician to prog elder statesman.

The rest of the album is inevitably a disappointment after that starter - Bowie's talents hadn't quite hit the point where he could sustain such quality over an entire album - but it's still of interest. Pursuing a spaced-out prog-folk style with a few songs - God Knows I'm Good, Letter to Hermione, and The Cygnet Committee - that seem to build on or revisit ideas from his debut, Bowie embraces a hippy-influenced folky image that was just on its way towards going out of style, once again following fashion rather than creating it as he would at his peak. Space Oddity is a three star album with one five-star track on it.

Warthur | 3/5 |


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