Hola! I have recently returned from a brief holiday to a distant realm of The Spac Hole, and I am uber-excited to be back in your arms to deliver what is sure to be another startling edition of Nightman listens. Today, we’ll be delving into Bowie’s 1970 classic The Man Who Sold The World, which holds little familiarity with me as I only recognise the title track. But first, please enjoy some holiday snaps:
Good good. Lets get started:
The Width Of A Circle: Surge. Guitar Noise. Rising. Acoustic. Riff. Riffage. Monster. 8 minutes. Heavy stuff. Bowie hasn’t sounded this heavy. Good stuff for a metaller like me. Solo. Twiddly guitar madness. Howling. More voices. Long instrumental section. Stabilizing. Tone change. Softer. Stomping. More solos. I imagine this is interesting live. Reminds me of Alice Cooper. More howling. Fading out.
All The Madmen: Acoustic folk stuff. Syd Barrett lyrics. Flutes. Not quite in or out of tune. Wicker Man. Explosion. Heavy distorted riffs. So this is his Sabbath album. Singing and speak. Alice Cooper lyrics. Spoken disaster. Insanity. Crusher riff. More flutes. Recorders? Helps the madness sound more real. Galloping guitar. Queen? Lobotomy. Strange notes. Unknown instrument. Refrain. Screams. End.
Black County Rock: Soft giving way to heavy giving way to funky blues. Weirdo vocals. Manic drums. Solos appearing in unusual places for rock music. Plenty of time shifts. More vocal effects. Ducky. Riffs continue with bouncy bass underneath. Building and crumbling. Piano. Fading.
After All: Whispering vocals. By jingo. Mandolin. Aah, I know this one from Tori Amos, of course. I didn’t realise until the chorus, duh. Dark fairytale waltz. Trapped in a forever forest of horrors. Sombre. Somber. Fading.
Running Gun Blues: Acoustics. Woo. Corpses. Weirdo vocals. Depictions of murder. More heavy guitars and drums. Promote oblivion. Lots of killing. A lot of effects and sounds and big production. Woo-ooh.
Saviour Machine: More guitars and distortion. Story of a dictator. Weird synth noises. Vocals getting higher. Apocalyptic. Continuing the harsh sound and interesting tone and time changes.
She Shook Me Cold: Vicious. A definite metal vibe. More murder. Guitars.
The Man Who Sold The World: As a big Nirvana fan, clearly this one is known to me. I think I first heard this shortly after the release of Unplugged In New York. Now, I do like the original, but Cobain’s cover is simply glorious and so scarily evocative that his is the definitive one for me. This one sounds more dancey, and dare I say, light, but I do like the bigger production and some of the eerie backing sounds. However, listening to this just makes me want to go listen to the Nirvana version.
The Supermen: Drums. Jungle booming beats. Wailing. Clipped guitar. Clark Kent. This seems familiar. Nietzche. Sounds like a lost track from Zep IV. Thunderous. Bizarre accent accentuated. Solo. Visions of undead Nazis marching towards us. End.
Yes, that was great. Unusual considering what I’ve listened to so far as it was pretty heavy, and almost rough in places. The distortion is given free rein, and the Led Zep, Sabbath influences are clear – however, I’m not clear if Bowie is mocking that genre at times. Not that I would mind that, it just seems vague if he is going balls out rock for the sake of it, for parody, or because that’s how best the music would compliment the lyrics.