26 February 2008

Editorial Note

Though I am ashamed to admit it, I must. In my discussion of Bowie's seminal 1980 masterpiece, I neglected to acknowledge that Robert Fripp also played on "Heroes" (Frankie Teardrop Feb 2008).

That this is one of the other top five Bowie albums should come as no surprise. Produced by Tony Visconti, cowritten with Eno, played on by Fripp, featuring classics such as the title track, ambient pieces that lurk, encroach, and haunt as well as open, illuminate, and becalm, and underrecognized Bowie greats such as "Sons of the Silent Age," "Blackout," and "The Secret Life of Arabia," it is undeniably one of the peaks of Bowie's career. If we evaluate Bowie albums by an aesthetic criterion which evaluates producer, cowriters, guitar player, unity of effect, level of experimentalism divided by level of accessibility, lyrical power, strangeness vs effectiveness of Bowie's predominant singing voice of the album, and track number/length, this album comes up as an obvious winner. If we acknowledge the importance of Visconti, the vision of Eno, the genius of Fripp, the unity of this album's attempt to transcend a permanent gray rainy day through acknowledging its existence and diving into it sonically, the greatness of passages such as

"You can buy god it's Monday
Slither down the greasy pipe
So far so good no one saw you
Hobble over any freeway
You will be like your dreams tonight,"

and the album's willingness to both go into the dark dark, dark, as well as welcome any light in a mixture of lyrical songs and instrumental songs, then we must acknowledge it is a masterpiece, maybe even unparalleled in Bowie's canon. It sis not my personal favorite, but it is certainly up there.

As of right now, I am listening to "Riverz End," by Skinny Puppy, off of their amazing album Last Rights, which is six and a hals minutes of sonic perfection that Jacki and I need to hear in concert before we die.

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