David Bowie will never have a ‘last album.’ Sure, in terms of time and effort, there may be a few more left in his corporeal being, but he’s the kind of dude who’s entire body of even half-hearted demos can last the demanding public centuries of musical debate. And that’s the other thing: when you’ve had a career as storied, legendary, and ever-changing as his, how do you cap it all off? It’s an impossible task, and I certainly wouldn’t ask him to.
But what to make of this J.D. Salinger-esque reclusiveness in terms of creative output, besides his many film and television cameos and the occasional word with the press? To, suddenly, release an album out into the world with barely a month’s worth of advance notice, with two music videos to appear prior to the album’s full release, and with a cover virtually irreverent to the man’s own body of work? That cover should be the stuff of debates, given the music on the record and its own presentation of a sort of in-joke, as if the input after Heroes wasn’t worth remembering, and this is exactly what was supposed to follow.
The Next Day doesn’t quite follow that blueprint, though the cover certainly influences it. You can’t say this is the return of Ziggy, or the Thin White Duke, or any other variation of Bowie you can think of. In fact, it simply is The Next Day, but what that says — either as comment on the past or a continuation of Bowie’s impressive oveur — doesn’t matter as much as media types want to have you believe. Yet, I can’t help but feel like there was a twinge of frustration with this record, a need to just release something, just to move on past the speculation about what Mr. Bowie’s been doing all this time.
After the jump, David Bowie takes us to some very familiar territories via strange routes.
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Posted in Album Review, Classic Rock, Record Release, Whisky Tango Foxtrot.
Tagged album reviews, classic rock, David Bowie, glam rock, Heroes, Hunky Dory, Low, new album, The Next Day, The Spiders from Mars, Ziggy Stardust, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Moreso than the fans who are equally aware of the era’s greatness, music critics have somehow made the 1970’s a hardfought discussion time and time again in terms of who were truly great and who are worthy of pedestals in each genre’s respective Hall of Fame. That would perhaps be true, if not for our current state of everyone and their mother being able to form a band, create a Reverbnation page, book a show in a tiny puissant venue, and hope that the money will roll right in. So the consensus seems to be that the most significant contribution to music from this time is that these bands were all creating impressive works that are so exciting, less for their own artistic merits and more for how these records were made. This was conventional wisdom (with certain exceptions, like Bruce Springsteen) to any critic if you asked them closer to the era than those who’ve picked up on the records of the era second-hand.
That last part is emphasized in the book’s epilogue, where Hermes muses on how bands are still doing it themselves, and more willing to explore the possibilities of crossing-over genres so that we can have things like electro-punk and dance-rock. But where Hermes does an excellent job of recreating a sense of community so important to the arts scenes in the book’s middle, the book begins and ends in legendary (and widely common knowledge at this point) coincidences pointed in obnoxious matter-of-fact narration, and an epilogue that is more interested in putting the author into the story where he could not before and interviewing some of today’s artists who offer halfhearted musings on what a similar sense of community means to them today.
Still, there is much to love here, whether you are familiar with these stories already or not.
After the Jump, what started as love will go to a building on fire.
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Posted in Book Review
Tagged 1970's New York City, Blank Generation, Blondie, Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, David Byrne, David Johanson, Debbie Harry, Einstein on the Beach, history of rock and roll, Horses, Iggy and the Stooges, Iggy Pop, Lenny Kaye, Love Goes to Buildings on Fire, Marquee Moon, Patti Smith, Phillip Glass, punk rock, Richard Hell, Richard Lloyd, Steven Reich, Syl Sylvain, Talking Heads, Television, the E Street Band, The Heartbreakers, the New York Dolls, the Voidoids, Tina Weymouth, Tom Verlaine, Will Hermes
If you’ve ever had trouble understanding what’s going on plot-wise in David Bowie’s mini-epic “Space Oddity,” or if you’ve ever had to explain it to a child, never fear! Artist Kevin Kolb has taken the guess work out, and compiled the lyrics into a handy-dandy PDF file, containing his illustrations.
As he cannot sell the book due to copyright infringement (damn!), the book is instead available for free on his website, which you can check out here.
"Yeah. Release the fuckin' thing, I don't care."
Originally slated for a 2001 release, Toy features David Bowie covering some of his lesser known material, in addition to some new stuff. Now, after nearly a decade of silence since 2003’s Reality,
David Robert Jones, Davy Jones, Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, the Sovereign, David Bowie has resurfaced (sort of), when Toy leaked online, via torrent.
As aforementioned, the record was set to be released at the turn of the century; however, difficulty with Virgin Records, Bowie’s label at the time, scrapped the entire project, with a few tracks, such as “Afraid” and “You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving” appearing on Heathen in 2002. It is now available in a very accessible torrent file.
Expect a full review at a later time here in the Electric Comic Book.
(Alternative Caption: “This Summer, David Bowie IS Gavin Rossdale”).