Tuesday, December 13, 2011

249. Low- and behold it's more Bowie.

Album: Low
Artist: David Bowie
Genre: Pop
Year: 1977


  1. Speed of Life
  2. Breaking Glass
  3. What in the World
  4. Sound and Vision
  5. Always Crashing in the Same Car
  6. Be My Wife
  7. A New Career in a New Town
  8. Warszawa
  9. Art Decade
  10. Weeping Wall
  11. Subterraneans

Following up a huge name whose music I have trouble getting into (Springsteen) comes... another huge name whose music I struggle to appreciate. David Bowie has appeared on the countdown several times before and every time has left me underwhelmed in no uncertain terms. As I've said before- I respect the guy but I have no desire to listen to his music.

Low is another step in Bowie's long term journey of reinvention. This time he's incorporated the Kraftwerk inspired noises of Station to Station and added some more melodic elements and let producer Brian Eno loose on his sounds. The results don't often get played on the radio because they're not really very radio friendly. They're noisy and a bit harsh and not especially catchy.

The one thing that has unified Bowie releases throughout his career has been his voice. That deep and beautiful voice that is unmistakable Bowie. I might not like the tunes or the instruments behind him but that voice has always had a real appeal. I love the voice of Bowie. Which is why it's such a disappointment to find it's so sparsely utilised. In the shorter tracks that make up side one, Bowie's voice is frequently cast aside in favour of instrumentation and on side two it's completely absent. The second half of Low is entirely made up of instrumentals. And not catchy, tuneful instrumentals, the sort of drawn-out soundscapes that sound like extracts from a movie soundtrack about life on a tedious alien planet.

Low might float some people's boats but I'm afraid I found side one dull and side two even duller. David Bowie- he makes Springsteen look good.

Influenced by: Brian Eno, Berlin and German music
Influenced: Eighties electro.

Highlight: What in the world
Lowlight: Art Decade

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I'm sure that this sound was very unique when first released but it now sounds like something you would hear at a science museum".

-That's a perfect summation.

So is this album Bowies Low point or should it be held above all else? Let me know BeLow.

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