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The Beginnings of a Bowie Revival
on 2 September 2003
This album marks a creative revival of David Bowie that would continue throughout the 1990s, extending to "Heathen" and maybe even beyond. Growing with every listen, it seems more jazz-infused than any other Bowie album with its liberal sprinkling of saxophone and trumpet. Added to this are many highlights which diversify an already-diverse Bowie back-catalogue.
"The Wedding" is a good opener, an instrumental with a slow build up. It attempts to unite east and west, reflecting the nature of Bowie's marriage, and does so successfully with its sound that harks to the Middle East but keeps to Western conventions with its infectious piano and bass-line.
"You've Been Around" hints to the more experimental sound that would permeate the "Outside" album with its menacing synths at the start. Such an allusion is continued later via the brooding instrumental "Pallas Athena" with David Bowie's sax echoing the melody of "A Small Plot of Land" at times.
"Black Tie White Noise" seems to be Bowie's answer to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?", not only in its cry for racial unity but also within its melody which closely echoes Gaye's at times.
"Jump They Say" is a fairly unsettling track based upon the suicide of one of Bowie's colleagues and perfectly reflects, in both lyrics and music, the intense pressures of the modern world and the state of manic depression that can result.
"Nite Flights" is an interesting cover of Scott Walker's 1977 track which is fairly faithful to the original yet somewhat darker with its harder rhythm and sinister synths permeating in the background.
"Miracle Goodnight" is fairly infectious, if a little light-headed, and an obvious single, being the most commercial track on the album. Another to rival it, "Lucy Can't Dance" was surprisingly left off the original album but appears on disc 2, proving just as catchy if not repetitive.
"I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" is an over-exuberant, at times comical, Morrisey cover which works fairly well and is one of the main highlights on a pretty solid album which casts Bowie back into some sort of creative credibility after a fairly sobering period in the 1980s.