So, it seems that I somehow bypassed Hunky Dory in my ongoing fist-time listening to Dave Bowie. Looking at the track listing before listening, I only recognise three of the songs – Changes, Life On Mars?, and Quicksand. Incidentally, Quicksand has always been my favourite Bowie song, and I am fond of those other two. Hopefully the others are of similar quality. I don’t know much else about the album, other than it is frequently mentioned in just about every Best Albums Ever List. I am looking forwards to hearing the whole thing, so let’s get busy!
Changes: Trumps. This always felt like a lost Beatles track to me, though I’m not sure why. It doesn’t sound much like anything Bowie had done up to this point. A very poppy chorus. Bouncy, almost overly simple, funny riffs. Drums sound a little too weak, like spit. An odd, 80s American soap opera ending.
Oh you Pretty Things: Wants to make me shout YEE-HAW! More straight-forward, less cryptic lyrics. Interesting just voice and piano, neither which try to complement each other, but somehow do. Right, I recognise the chorus. Possibly from a car advert. Possibly from a TOTP2 episode. More cowboy antics. Slows, turns into something else. More Bowie vocal fun and games. Bendy guitars. Swirly pianos.
Life On Mars?: A tearful start. Sounds like a James Bond song. Futurism. She. Also reminds me of Christmas. Not the first Bowie song to do such things.
Kooks: This one sounds familiar. More lyrical magic, but all feels a bit similar. Maybe listening to all this Bowie is causing his lyrical style to become grating. Same thing goes for the vocals.
Quicksand: thankfully this one does not grate as it doesn’t sound like Bowie’s usual vocal style, or necessarily follow his lyrical style – this is more poetic, less rambling. I love the backing strings, the melodies, the Nietzsche bits, the everything.
Fill Your Heart/Andy Warhol: Oh lordy, here we go again. Jaunty vocals, lyrics. Lots of piano. Too much? High pitched Freeee! Trumpets again. Dancing a jig with mulled wine around a flaming bin. Piano collapse. Free yeah yeah. Is this mocking? I can’t tell anymore. Weirdo noises. The sounds of Andy Warhol’s voided mind. This is more like it. Nothing. Laughter. Hippy whips. A good. I like the guitar. Looks a scream. Is this mocking? I can’t tell anymore. Warhol was a knob. plinky Plunky. Tick tock. Clattering. Mouse traps. Biscuits. SPain. George. No, that was Crete. Fireworks. Happy Halloween. End. Sheeva giiving a round of applause.
Song For Bob Dylan: Another dedication. The only songs people write about other people today are about Rhianna. And she’s never done anything other than enjoy getting slapped. Errorrer. Is this reminiscent of Dylan? I don’t know, I need to listen to more Dylan. This feels longer than 4.12. Nice half-solo end.
Queen Bitch: Skeep bab ba deep da do do blerp ba skeep nat na beet na cotton eyed joe. Heavier. Distorted. Ramones. Fun lyrics. But not that. Someone else is singing outside the door.
The Bewley Brothers: A good ending. I like this one a lot, as it takes another detour from what I’ve seen as Bowie’s typical lyrical rambling and non-singing singing. A nice, deceptively simple epic which takes an odd turn towards the end, without appearing odd for odd’s sake, without sounding odd because daddy has found a new recording studio trick.
You know, I’m starting to wonder if I actually like Bowie as much as I did before, or as much as I expected I would. The more I hear, the more I’m getting I’m annoyed. I think part of this is frustration based on expectation. I’d always liked what I’d heard. I’d been told by every magazine and by everyone whose taste I respect, and by those with similar taste to mine, that he was someone I would adore. But it ain’t going like that, not yet anyway. I know i’m only a few albums in, and there’s a hellofalot to go, but I’ve already covered some of his most revered work and have been left thinking, well, meh. I feel guilty for this, like I’m wrong. I’m sure any Bowie fans reading this are screaming ‘yes, you are wrong, you spunknut’. Well, give me time. Maybe I’ll get there. Maybe.