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Record Rewind: David Bowie – 'Station To Station'

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 7 Fév - 22:49 (2013)    Sujet du message: Record Rewind: David Bowie – 'Station To Station' Répondre en citant

Record Rewind: David Bowie – 'Station To Station'

Brett Warner

David Bowie
Station To Station
RCA Records (1976)

"I know it was in L.A. because I've read it was," David Bowie recalls, attempting to remember the cocaine-fueled studio sessions that lead to his 1976 classic Station To Station. A creative transition between the blue-eyed plastic soul of Young Americans and the experimental, proto-industrial sound of the Berlin Trilogy, Station To Station (originally intended as the film soundtrack to The Man Who Fell To Earth, director Nicholas Roeg's sci-fi classic starring Bowie in what fans would come to know as his Thin White Duke persona) married Bowie's obsessions with religion and the Occult to a broad palette of sounds, inspired largely by the early electronic music movement in Europe. Despite the mania surrounding its conception (Bowie's astronomical cocaine habit while living in Los Angeles during this period has been thoroughly documented), Station To Station stands as one of the most innovative and influential records of its time, launching a new phase in both David Bowie's career and pop music at large.

Using Spotify? Listen to Station To Station in its entirety right here.

"Station To Station"

The album begins with a three-part, 10 minute mini-suite (still the longest David Bowie song to date) wherein he announces "the return of the Thin White Duke" over a bustling mid-tempo Krautrock groove (decked out in ominous, threatening piano chords, chiming organ and the raw, feedback drenched guitar work of Earl Slick) that jumpstarts into a uptempo, glam-funk rave-up around the 5:18 mark. "It's not the side-effects of the cocaine," Bowie (who spends most of the song riffing on Satanism, Kabbalah and the stations of the cross) remarks at one point. "I'm thinking that it must be love."

"Golden Years"

Intended, at one point, to be the album's title track, this spry bit of guitar/clavichord funk presents the clearest bridge between Young Americans and the broader experimentation of this album and its follow-up, 1977's Low. Released as the album's lead single the previous year, it was famously "performed" on Soul Train, with Bowie among the select few white artists to ever appear… perhaps with good reason (see above).

"Word On A Wing"

"There were days of such psychological terror when making the Roeg film that I nearly started to approach my reborn, born again thing," Bowie told the NME in 1980. "It was the first time I'd really seriously thought about Christ and God in any depth, and 'Word on a Wing' was a protection. It did come as a complete revolt against elements that I found in the film." A mid-tempo shuffle of dramatic piano flourishes and proto-disco bass, the song definitely soars on the wings (pun intended, of course) of Bowie's perhaps short-lived (but definitely cocaine-fueled) religious passions.

"TVC 15"

An uptempo bit of glam-funk business that kicks off with the bluesy piano work of Roy Bittan, the album's second single (purportedly inspired by an episode in which Iggy Pop hallucinated seeing his girlfriend swallowed by the television in Bowie's L.A. home) rides a steady groove while constantly shedding its skin to reveal new sonic textures—most notably, the buzzing, out-there guitar work of Earl Slick. Definitely one of Bowie's more accessible tunes from this period, despite its decidedly bizarre origins.


A busy but insular bit of plucky disco rock business (more than a little similar to the previous year's "John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)") chosen as the album's second single in America. "You can never really tell when somebody wants something you want too," Bowie bellows confusingly at one point. Boasts what I'd argue is Earl Slick's rawest (and best) guitar work on any of Bowie's songs, all but overtaking the song's entire instrumental outro.

"Wild Is The Wind"

A swirling, achingly sincere cover of the Johnny Mathis staple, famously covered by Nina Simone (Bowie's preferred version). The lush sweep of a lone acoustic guitar, coated in thick layers of warm, processed guitar and keyboards, provides the foundation for Bowie's lead vocal—one of his all-time best. That an album so rooted in mania, paranoia and addiction could end (not to mention produce, at all) anything so earnestly beautiful is remarkable. Even at his lowest, there really was no diffusing David Bowie's genius.


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MessagePosté le: Jeu 7 Fév - 22:49 (2013)    Sujet du message: Publicité

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