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Bowie's most 'loved-up' album for sure
on 30 July 2008
Having been a fan of his music since I was eight years old (Starman on Top Of The Pops in 1972!) I have now decided the time is right to do a little review of all his albums on Amazon. As a naive and impressionable child, I had no concept of the chronology of Bowie's work, and didnt actually hear this album until the summer of '77, by which time he was light years beyond it, and about to release 'Heroes' Fooled by the RCA reissue sleeve (with a Ziggy era photo on the cover) and not having read the countless Bowie biographies I have read since, it was easy to assume that this album was recorded by the superstar Bowie, not the 1969 Bowie who had been trying for years for a hit single without success, and whose first album had bombed. Of course the title track here was a hit, but tended to be written off as a Novelty Hit - besides, as any other 1970s kid knows, the song Space Oddity is far more 'Summer of 75' (when it was reissued and gave Bowie his first Number 1 hit) than 'Summer Of 69' The album built around it was not even called 'Space Oddity' at first, merely 'David Bowie', errmm, as was his first album. It was renamed Space Oddity by RCA when they acquired the rights and reissued it in the wake of Bowie's success.
Reviews on Amazon are basically a chance to give your own personal view, so here goes..... the 12 year old Me absolutely adored this album. Songs written in sadness at the demise of Bowie's love affair with Hermione Farthingale (Letter To Hermione, An Occasional Dream) are beautiful, achy and dreamlike - they were the very soundtrack to my own first ever crush I had on a girl at school at the time! There is great storybook narrative and some superb string arrangements on 'Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud'. The epic 'Cygent Committee' blew me away at the time, but now is a bit of a guilty pleasure (although I still love the 'I WANT TO LIVVVV-AAAH' at the climax!) as is the Hey Jude like chant at the end of the somewhat twee but still enjoyable 'Memory Of A Free Festival'. There is a genuinely sad tale of a poor old lady being reduced to shop lifting and being pinched for nicking a tin of 'stewing steak' (excellent, Bowie, excellent) probably from Wavy Line or Super VG, called 'God Know's I'm Good' and the brilliant 'Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed' which prompted me (again back in 1977) to wander into he kitchen and ask my Mum what a 'phallus in pigtails' was!
By no means Bowie's best album, but still pretty wonderful nevertheless, this album is probably best described by a lyric from 'Free Festival' ie it is 'rugged and naive' Buy this, play it a few times, and then find yourself singing 'The Sun Machine Is Coming Down and We're Gonna Have A Party, Uh Huh Huh' the next time you feel particularly positive about life!