Another week, another chance to showcase to the world that, when it comes to some of the more acclaimed musicians in the world, I have a lot to learn… because, like last week with Led Zeppelin, this post marks the first time I am listening to a David Bowie album.
I think that it is impossible to indulge in any popular culture and not to have come across David Bowie. He is a recurring feature of the BBC shows Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, he did guest vocals on the title track of Reflektor by Arcade Fire, he contributed to the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge! and, of course, was a bit near the knuckle as the Goblin King in Labyrinth.
The thing is, on the first of four albums in the Top 250 (that may change next year since the lowest place is precariously perched on the barrier) I have already heard a number of the songs just from use in television and film; I had a similar feeling when I first gave London Calling a spin. I mean, there can not be many people over the age of ten that have not heard either ‘Life on Mars?’ or ‘Changes’.
What I was able to appreciate the most about this album is that Bowie never seems to rest on one type of music for too long. ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’ even changes halfway through from just Bowie and a piano to a something a bit larger. ‘Queen Bitch’, a tribute to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, delves more into the sort of music I would expect from The Clash and is especially glam compared to the remainder of the album. Then there is ‘Andy Warhol’, my least liked track on the album. As a track on the album it’s not that it feels out of place with the repeating melody of the guitar but it just feels like a dip in quality. This is especially after ‘Kooks’ which, now knowing it was written for his newly-born son, is especially sweet and poignant.
The fact of the matter is that aside from ‘Kooks’ (which I do really like), the stand-out tracks are the two most known ones; ‘Changes’ and ‘Life on Mars?’. ‘Life on Mars?’ is especially so because my love of the TV show of the same name. It builds to a big finish and I have no clue what the lyrics actually mean; it’s great.
Will I listen to Hunky Dory in my own time? I probably will do if I am feeling in the mood during a work day. It has enough to keep my listening to it alongside my more regular pop music.