Tuesday, December 20, 2011

occasional dream, two

This occasional dream thing is turning out to be more occasional than I had planned… Janine is another example of how the Bowie Sound was at work from a relatively early point in the man’s career. Many of his signature tricks of the trade are already in use, albeit without their subsequent assuredness, and they all serve to intensify the emotional impact of the music: The distinct expressiveness of the singing; the manic self harmonizing; the acoustic guitar used as a rhythm guitar; the shimmering tambourine running through the chorus… I never used to care much for any of Bowie’s stuff prior to Hunky Dory. The folky space hippie persona of Space Oddity, which turns sharper and heavier for The Man Who Sold the World, just didn’t do it for me. Hunky Dory always seemed like a huge leap forward to me, one that rendered his previous efforts irrelevant. I still think it’s an enormous advance from his first three full-length albums, but starting with several great songs on Space Oddity, Janine being my personal favorite, you can hear his sound developing right there in the grooves of the record. A number of the chord progressions he uses would be right at home on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. This is what makes Space Oddity such a fascinating album to listen to. It’s kind of a test run. It certainly wouldn’t be my Desert Island Bowie Record, but neither is it one that the obsessive fan can easily ignore…



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