The Man Who Sold the World, now renamed -as it was originally meant to be- for Tony Visconti’s Remix Metrobolist, is what I consider the first “real” David Bowie album start to end.
I have nothing against David Bowie (his first album) or Space Oddity (his second album and which had some great songs, including his first big hit!), but this, his third album, seemed, to me where David Bowie first sets his course.
Back in 2015 the album was remastered and, I felt, that remastering was damn good. However, when I heard longtime David Bowie producer Tony Visconti was coming in to do a new mix of the album, I was curious. I generally liked his remix of Lodger and was really impressed with his remix of the song Space Oddity, so I was hoping for the best.
As it turned out, some songs have clear differences from the 2015 remaster. All The Madmen includes some nonsense lyrics toward the end which were cut out of the original. Running Gun Blues changes the sounds of the explosions. These changes are interesting but don’t necessarily improve upon the original releases/remaster.
Alas, a third song which featured noticeable changes was the one the album was eventually named after, The Man Who Sold The World. Here, Mr. Visconti adds reverb/echoes which, frankly, I didn’t like all that much and felt was unnecessary. My preference for that song, therefore, remains with the 2015 remastered version.
Other songs like The Width of a Circle, Savior Machine, She Shook Me Cold, and The Supermen feature very minor changes, at least those I could spot/hear.
Overall, the album remains damn good -and worthy of five stars, IMHO- though I don’t feel there’s enough difference in this Visconti remix to justify buying it again or putting it above the 2015 version.
I suppose in that respect I must conclude the exercise is a bit of a disappointment.
Truthfully, I probably would have been more outraged had Mr. Visconti changed all the songs significantly versus the three or so that have very noticeable changes. The clarity within the songs remains quite good but then again the 2015 remastering did a pretty good job of that as well.
So take my review for what it is: Its nice to have this alternate version of the album and I’m glad they put the original name and graphics on it. But the changes to the overall work simply aren’t that major. If you have the 2015 version, there’s not that much incentive for you to get this remix.