14 January 2013

14th Jan - David Bowie's Low

Artist – Album: David Bowie - Low
Released:  14th January 1977
Sounds Like: Bowie & Eno, or Beano, withdraw

When I’m feeling low, I stick on some music, write a blog and eat some cheesy puffs (hint: I’m eating said crisps now and would really love a hug); When David Bowie’s down in the dumps, he gets together with his buddy Brian Eno and creates weird and atmospheric soundscapes.

Admittedly, Bowie was at a different place back then to me now (in his life that is, not that he was in Berlin and I’m in my flat in Salford). He was attempting to get himself off cocaine, and had moved to the capital of West Germany to escape the trappings of life in L.A. The feel of the album reflects a druggy come down – the first half is all snappy guitars and short tracks, while the second has calmed slightly and consists of eerie mood pieces. Bowie’s vocals drift in and out of the album, and are multilayered and strange, conjuring up abstract thoughts and images, before giving way completely to the avant garde instrumentals halfway through.

It’s hard to pick out individual tracks for special mention when it is the album as a whole that gives it it’s notoriety, but I feel I should mention ‘Sound and Vision’, which is the closest thing to contemporary music on the record. It’s chiming guitars and peppy bass contrast magnificently with Bowie’s murmured and paranoid lyrics, and it was my ringtone for a few years whilst I was at uni and trying to be cool.

In summation, Low is an initially challenging but beautiful listen, an enlightening capsule of Bowie trying to escape his Thin White Duke persona that rewards with perseverance and repeated use. And I would like somebody to give me a hug.

Albumaday... rating:   8/10

1.       Speed of Life – 2:46
2.       Breaking Glass – 1:52
3.       What in the World – 2:23
4.       Sound and Vision – 3:05
5.       Always Crashing in the Same Car – 3:33
6.       Be My Wife – 2:58
7.       A New Career in a New Town – 2:53
8.       Warszawa – 6:23
9.       Art Decade – 3:46
10.   Weeping Wall – 3:28
11.   Subterraneans – 5:39

Listen to ‘Sound and Vision’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IJsAuUgSgc

Also released on the 14th January:
1972: Paul Simon – Paul Simon
Also released on the 14th January:
2008: British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?

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