23 January 2013

23rd Jan - David Bowie's Station to Station

Artist – Album: David Bowie – Station to Station
Released: 23rd January 1976
Sounds Like: The Return of the Thin White Duke

A couple of years ago I was on a training session at my old work and, during a break from the double entry booking and various other accountancy dribble, one of the trainers, an immense Glaswegian ex-rugby player, asked us what our favourite albums were. We young pups bandied about various routine titles such as Revolver and Pet Sounds, which he swatted away like some weedy fly-half. The best album, he told us, is this undervalued Bowie effort; even better than a deep fried Mars bar, he almost certainly did not say. I took his word for it, banged the album on Spotify (once I’d got home that is), and was mightily impressed.

Before then I just used to think of David Bowie as the guy who gave us Space Oddity and Changes and other such fluff. That, and the bizarre musician-actor who played the Goblin King in 80’s cult movie Labyrinth. Station to Station was a revelation: it opens with the 10 minute, amorphous title track that flows from slow sound effect heavy introduction to the psychedelic stomp main to the glam rock ending – this was as far removed from the Star Man that I’d seen on repeats of Top of the Pops as possible.

The album retains this shifting temperament throughout, taking in disco (‘Golden Years’), art-rock (’TVC 15’) and soul balladry (‘Wild is the Wind’), with the only consistent being Bowie’s icy, robotic alter-ego The Thin White Duke. Although the delivery lacks warmth, his voice is still wrought with passion, and his band manage brilliantly to cope with the ever changing moods.

At the end of the day, this record may not be to everyone’s taste and you may not share mine and my mentor’s enthusiasm for it, but I promise you, at the very least, it’s one of the most interesting and arresting albums you're ever likely to hear.  

Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       Station to Station – 10:14
2.       Golden Years – 4:00
3.       Word on a Wing – 6:03
4.       TVC 15 – 5:33
5.       Stay – 6:15
6.       Wild Is the Wind – 6:02

Also released on the 23rd January:
2006: Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Also released on the 23rd January:
2007: The Shins – Wincing the Night Away 

Also released on the 23rd January:
2007: Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

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