Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

David Bowie from ’89 and ’97, as good as he ever was.

Everyone has heard David Bowie’s highly potent and influential albums from the 1960s and 70s: Hunky Dory (my personal favorite), Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs, and Young Americans… In the 14 years from ‘69 to ‘83 he released 14 albums and had dozens of radio hits.

I am still a huge fan of Bowie. He continues to change with the times, has never stopped experimenting, remains a terrific songwriter, and still has a great voice. Today I’m going to encourage you to check out a couple of albums he released after the peak of his success.

The first one you may have missed is the debut release of his short-lived band Tin Machine in 1989. After the huge smash Let’s Dance (1984) and the equally huge flop Never Let Me Down (1987), Bowie was looking to reinvent his musical identity again and began his long-time collaboration with Reeves Gabrels. Bowie was the front man for this ensemble. The album met with mixed critical reviews and did not spawn a radio hit, but it is full of interesting lyrics and hard, rocking songs. Check out a few.

  • Heaven’s In Here – This is a great opening track and a bargain at $0.99 for 6 minutes. The guitar alternates between a smooth lick and a roaring chorus behind Bowie’s cool tenor.
  • I Can’t Read – Raunchy guitars back up Bowie’s gutsy vocal performance.
  • Amazing – A broad guitar hook and enormous drums are the heart of this love song.
  • Pretty Thing – This is probably the hardest rocker on this album. I love the beginning of this track, which you sadly don’t get to hear in the sample.
  • Baby Can Dance – “Baby can dance, baby can dance, baby can walk around the town, attract a man, and cut him down.”
Bowie has been cool for longer than Sinatra was.

Bowie has been cool for longer than Sinatra was.

One of the things I love about Bowie is that he’s 61 and still knows how to make a song that rocks. In 1997, he released Earthling. You may remember seeing the video of the single I‘m Afraid of Americans, in which collaborator Trent Reznor, who is creepier than Jeffrey Dahmer in this video, chases Bowie all over New York. That single is not the only great song on the disc. The entire album bristles with squeaks, thumps, and samples, features brilliant production, and boasts a variety of grooves. This is hard edged club music with Bowie’s unmistakable voice all over it.

  • Little Wonder – Crunchy guitars, high-speed synthesized percussion, even a steam whistles launch this great album.
  • Looking for Satellites – This is a mellower song, but still features over-the-top complex production with layers upon layers of sound. My daughter, who is 7, loves this song.
  • Seven Years in Tibet – This was a smash hit in Asia. The sample on Amazon doesn’t get around to when this song jumps up and punches you in the nose.
  • The Last Thing You Should Do – Another amazing layered sonic attack with Bowie delivering a quirky vocal performance.
  • I’m Afraid of Americans – David Bowie + Nine Inch Nails = WIN

Earthling was 11 years ago. Bowie has released 3 albums since then. I have them all and they’re all worth a listen. His last release, Reality, from 2003 is fantastic. You can listen to samples of the whole thing on his very cool website.


March 10, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: