Tag Archives: David Bowie

The Man Who SOld The World 2020 Visconti Remix

I noted a few days ago (you can read it here) that there were a few upcoming releases I was looking forward to, prominent of which was the Tony Visconti remix of David Bowie’s seminal album The Man Who Sold The World, which would be re-released under its original title, Metrobolist.

David Bowie - Metrobolist (aka The Man Who Sold The World) - Amazon.com  Music

The full album is due to be released on November 6th and you can bet I’ll be there to pick it up.

The Man Who Sold The World/Metrobolist is one of my all time favorite David Bowie albums and The Man Who Sold The World, the song, is my all time favorite David Bowie song.

I discovered the song way back in 1984 or so, well before it became big with Nirvana’s famous take on it, which many feel is the best version of the song (sorry, I totally disagree, even if I do feel Nirvana did a pretty terrific version of it).

So blown away am I, to this day, by this song that I feel like it courses through my very blood and somehow always seems to find its way -subtly or not- in my writings.

That’s how much I love the song.

When I heard Tony Visconti, Bowie’s longtime producer, would remix the album, I was very much interested.

Tony Visconti is a terrific talent, a producer who has not only had his hand on many of Bowie’s best works -as producer- but also many other bands.

More recently, he did what I thought was a terrific job re-mixing Bowie’s album Lodger and he did an equally terrific job, IMHO, last year remixing Bowie’s first big hit, Space Oddity

I was incredibly stunned by how much better, IMHO, this new remix sounded compared to the already pretty damn spectacular original.

So, to say the least, I was damned curious to hear what Mr. Visconti would do with The Man Who Sold The World, both album and especially song.

Welp, today we can hear this new version of the song. Here it is:

I’m… I’m torn, to be honest.

The song starts out quite well but then, when it gets to the chorus, the “Who knows? Not me… We never lost control… You’re face to face with the man who sold the world” part…

That damn reverb just kills me. While I felt some of the reverb Mr. Visconti added on Space Oddity worked quite well with that song, it didn’t do so on this one.

Here’s the original version of the song, a 2015 remix which stuck to the original…

Yeah, much better, IMHO.

Mind you, I don’t think what Mr. Visconti did was terrible, its just that the I prefer the original without those reverb flourishes. Further, I’m becoming somewhat concerned that this is what Visconti likes to do: Add reverb to Bowie songs. He did so, if memory serves, also to a song or two in Lodger as well.

Still, I am curious to hear the rest of the album, especially Bowie’s epic song The Width of a Circle, also from the album…

I just hope what comes out of it isn’t a bunch more reverb…!

Upcoming…!

Been a while since I’ve been excited to see/hear some new releases and it turns out there are at least three things being released in the next couple of months I’m intrigued about.

First up is the November 6th release of the newly remastered David Bowie album Metrobolist.

What, you never heard of that album?

Welp, for good reason: This was the original title David Bowie had for the album that was eventually known as The Man Who Sold The World.

See, at quite literally the very last minute the record company decided Metrobolist was too weird a title (I guess) and renamed it after what is probably the most famous song on it.

The album will feature its original artwork, the cartoonish bit you see above, along with the photographs of Bowie in a dress which wound up being used on the album’s cover later on…

Metrobolist/The Man Who Sold The World is officially David Bowie’s third album after David Bowie and Space Oddity and, IMHO, the first “real” Bowie album through and through. Others might quibble and say Space Oddity is the “real” first Bowie album but, other than a few intriguing songs -including his first big hit- I feel that album is still showing Bowie as a work in progress.

Longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti has remastered the album and, based on how well he remastered the song Space Oddity (he also remastered the entire album, but I have yet to hear it), it could prove to be something quite special. We’ll see on November 6th!

Next up, also for a November 6th release, is Albert Bouchard’s Re Imaginos.

For those who don’t know the name, Mr. Bouchard used to be the drummer for Blue Oyster Cult and, perhaps most famously, was the one responsible for the “cowbell” in their hit song Don’t Fear The Reaper.

However, back in the 1980’s, the band and he had a falling out and he left them. Shortly afterwards and in the early 1980’s he worked on an album he called Imaginos, which used many of Blue Oyster Cult’s songs and created a concept album.

However, acrimony between the band and he led to the album being taken away from his hands. It was re-worked by the other members of the band and eventually released in 1988…

Bouchard’s original demo version of the album was leaked years ago and can be heard here:

Anyway, the years past and we fast forward to now and Blue Oyster Cult, without Bouchard as their drummer, are about to release a new album. Amusingly, their first music video release for their first single, That Was Me, features a guest appearance by Albert Bouchard and he’s banging away at a… cowbell! (He first appears around the 1:05 mark of the below video)

My guess, when I first saw the video, was that Mr. Bouchard and the remaining original members of Blue Oyster Cult have (perhaps) settled their differences and are even having a laugh at their shared past, though based on the video it doesn’t appear Mr. Bouchard has returned to the band but rather re-appeared for this video and/or provided “cowbell” for that particular song.

However, shortly following the release of the above single/video, I read that Mr. Bouchard was going to release Re Imaginos, his polished up version of the original Imaginos album. A video was released for the song Black Telescope, which is a considerable departure from Workshop of the Telescopes, the original version of the song made by Blue Oyster Cult.

Here’s Mr. Bouchard’s new version of the song from Re Imaginos, which takes on an old mariner’s sound:

And here’s the original version of the song…

Interestingly, if you go back to that demo of Bouchard’s Imaginos I presented above, Workshop of the Telescopes/Black Telescope wasn’t part of that original version of his album!

Anyway, Re Imaginos comes out on November 6th, as I said before, and it should be interesting to hear, especially if you’re a fan of Blue Oyster Cult!

Finally, its been announced that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will be released to home video come December 15th.

I’m very curious to see the film but there was simply no way I would go to a theater to see it. First, the local theaters in my neck of the woods were closed through the original release dates. Secondly, even if they were open I wouldn’t have felt comfortable being in an enclosed area watching a 2 hour long film. It’s simply not safe.

But I will pick up the movie when its released to home video!

David Bowie’s Outside at 25…

My how the time flies…

Twenty five years ago, in 1995, David Bowie released 1. Outside (as it was designated, though the album does seem to have different titles, including leaving off the “1.”).

When it was released, I recall purchasing the CD -that’s the way music was being sold back then, what with the internet in its infancy and MP3s either not yet available or in the process of becoming.

It’s admittedly difficult as the years pass to recall specifics of a time so very long ago, but I do recall eagerly picking the album up -as I did with every new Bowie album- and finding it at first difficult to get into but, after a couple of listens, finding myself really loving it.

Alas, critics -again if my memory is right- weren’t quite as enamored. Many felt the album was simply too much, bursting to the rim as it was. Indeed, the album runs dangerously close to the maximum 75 minutes a CD allows, and a subsequent re-release of the album, featuring the song Get Real, allowed quite literally only a minute or so of time to spare on the CD!

Over at popmatters.com, Adam Trainer offers a very in depth retrospective of this album, which I found very intriguing and, if you’re a David Bowie music fan as I am, might find intriguing too:

What a Fantastic Death Abyss: David Bowie’s “Outside” at 25

I’ve said it before ’round these parts and I’ll repeat it: I feel that of all of David Bowie’s later albums, 1. Outside is my favorite, with Blackstar, his final work, coming in a close second.

Outside (I’ll refer to the album by this designation… It’s easier to type this than putting that damn “1.” in front of!) is, IMHO, a terrific work, one that flows through so many different musical styles and themes and… its mind-blowing. So mind-blowing and so filled to the brim with material that I totally understand why some people may find it just too damn much to take.

This is an album that demands you give it your attention and time and, if you’re unable or uninterested in doing so, then you likely won’t care for it.

Ah, but if you do have that patience and do give it a look-see, there is plenty here to love.

In his article, Mr. Trainer correctly notes that The Buddha of Suburbia, the album that preceded Outside, is almost like a dry run and does indeed feature an early version of the song Strangers When We Meet, which would close out both albums in their original forms. Worth checking out as well, even if many don’t consider it a “true” Bowie album. It is, even if it is a “soundtrack” to a BBC miniseries.

Anyway, I don’t disagree with some of the criticism Mr. Trainer also levels against the album: Perhaps if Mr. Bowie had whittled the material down to, say, 40 minutes, we might have had something many would have considered a spectacular album. Further, I wouldn’t argue with the fact that some of the album’s “segues”, which are snippets of dialogue that tell the story of various characters involved in the songs, may be disposable…

…and yet, I love the album as it is, start to end.

And when it soars, as it does with songs like The Heart’s Filthy Lesson, The Motel, I Have Not Been to Oxford Town (in my opinion one of the cleverest of the songs on the album, taken from the point of view of someone who’s been accused of a murder they didn’t commit, and realizing while sitting in jail they’re about to take the fall for the crime), I’m Deranged, Thru These Architect Eyes, and, yes indeed, Strangers When We Meet.

The album, frankly, is bursting with so much good stuff and, as time passes, I’m more and more impressed with it.

So often people compared the latest Bowie album and wondered if it was as good as Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, which many considered the last great Bowie album.

Sorry folks, much as I love Scary Monsters, and I do love it, I think Outside is overall even better.

David Bowie Albums Ranked…

Over at faroutmagazine.com.uk they did a ranking of all the David Bowie albums. You can check it out here:

Ranking all of David Bowie’s albums in order of greatness

As I’ve noted many times before, I’m a big fan of David Bowie’s work. In fact, I consider him the all time best “solo” musical artist there ever was, though obviously he worked with many very talented musicians in his career.

I also have noted I like lists, though part of the fun reading them is finding where you disagree with them.

In the case of this list, there are albums ranked low I feel should be much higher. There are some ranked higher than I would have ranked them. Again, that’s part of the fun.

To begin, though, I have little argument with what they consider the “worst” of Bowie’s albums, 1999’s Hours, which is placed at #27. Many people, including David Bowie himself, felt his 1987 album Never Let Me Down (on this list at #24) is his worst and, frankly, I can’t argue with that either.

Hours’ problem is that the album is mellow -not a crime in and of itself- to the point of being dull, though it does have -like pretty much all Bowie albums- some damn good compositions.

I’m scratching my head a little at the second worst album, 2003’s Reality. While I agree with much of what they say about it -it feels like a middle of the road Bowie album- I feel like its better than second worst. In fact, I’d put the already mentioned Never Let Me Down, Black Tie White Noise (1993 and #22 on this list) or David Bowie ( His “first” full album released in 1967 and found one spot up at #25) lower than Reality. Frankly, I might also place Space Oddity (1969 and #16 on the list) below that album as well, though it does include the absolutely smashing first big hit Bowie created. Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn’t as good, though there are a couple of songs worth checking out nonetheless.

For me, too, having the 1997 album Earthling come in at the very low #23 also feels a little rough. While not my all time favorite Bowie album, it nonetheless had some really good songs on it like Dead Man Walking and, of course, I’m Afraid of Americans. The fifth least of Bowie’s albums? Nah, I don’t think so.

Similarly, one of my favorite later Bowie works, 1. Outside, is placed in #18, below #17th Heathen (2002). 1. Outside, IMHO, should be further up. Heathen had some really good songs, including the remake of Conversation Piece (though it wasn’t included on the album but was a part of the bonus CD issued upon its release) but for whatever reason that album didn’t do all that much for me.

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980) is given the number 10 spot, behind some damn good albums but also some headscratchers. I love Lodger (1979 and #9 on the list) and Let’s Dance (1983 and #8 on the list), which was my entry album to the genius that is David Bowie, but I consider Scary Monsters nonetheless a better overall album than those two, if not by all that much.

I’m fascinated they included both Tin Machine (1989 and #13 on the list) and Tin Machine II (1991 and #20 on the list) but have to scratch my head by the exclusion of The Buddha Of Suburbia (1993). While that album was a “soundtrack” album not unlike some other albums excluded which featured David Bowie songs, including Labyrinth, Cat People, The Falcon and the Snowman, and Absolute Beginners, the difference between that album and the others is that while they had one or two songs by David Bowie, The Buddha of Suburbia is a full/complete David Bowie album and included original compositions not on the BBC show the soundtrack was made for. It also has the original version of Strangers When We Meet, which was re-done and included on the terrific 1. Outside.

If you really love Bowie, though, the bottom line is that you’re going to have issues with this placement or that placement of the albums but, ultimately, its all about one’s taste.

I think just about the only thing most David Bowie fans can agree upon is which of his albums belong at the prestigious #1 spot on this or any such list: 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars.

This was unquestionably Bowie’s masterpiece and the album which brought him his first major commercial and cultural -as in bringing “glitter rock” to the forefront- success.

Anyway, check out the list. If you’re a more casual David Bowie fan, you may find some albums there worth checking out!

ChangesNowBowie (2020) a (On Time) Review

Released to digital/streaming services on April 17th, ChangesNowBowie is the latest David Bowie project released since his passing (gulp) four years ago.

I swear, I had to look that up and double check to be sure, but, yeah, David Bowie passed away on January 10, 2016. It’s been a little over four years since his passing!

Anyway, genius.com offers the following list of the songs and a little behind the scenes information on what this album is:

David Bowie: ChangesNowBowie

Repeating a little of what was at that website, ChangesNowBowie features essentially acoustic versions of several of Mr. Bowie’s songs. They were recorded as David Bowie was practicing for the big 50th Birthday Bash party he hosted back in 1996.

The songs aren’t bad at all yet I would add that neither was I necessarily totally blown away by these more mellow interpretations. The songs chosen are mostly songs that are more obscure to those who are only casually familiar with Mr. Bowie’s discography. Perhaps the most famous/well known songs are The Man Who Sold The World and Lady Stardust. What makes this album most interesting is hearing him go through some of these more obscure songs.

In fact, I’d say the later half of the album, starting with Lady Stardust (one of my favorite Ziggy Stardust tracks) through The Supermen (a song that works incredibly well as acoustically, from the album The Man Who Sold The World) through Repetition (a Lodger track I’ve always liked) through Andy Warhol and Quicksand (both found on Hunky Dory) are the highlights of the album.

On the other hand, the album starts with The Man Who Sold The World (its ok, didn’t really blow me away) goes to Aladdin Sane (this track works better frantic rather than the more laid back acoustic version, IMHO) to White Light/White Heat (a Velvet Underground song Bowie really enjoyed covering in concert, especially during his Ziggy Stardust era) and finally goes to Shopping For Girls (from Tin Machine II) which, also to me, sounded better in the original version.

Still, a nice enough album worth checking out if you’re a fan of David Bowie.

Anyway, see if you agree with me on at least one of the songs, the pretty obscure Tin Machine II entry Shopping for Girls. Here’s the original version…

And this is the more mellow/acoustic version found on ChangesNowBowie

It’s not bad, as I said above, but it didn’t necessarily prove a significant counter to the original.

David Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World (Eno “Live” Mix) (2020 Remaster)

We come to Valentine’s Day, a Friday, and supposedly the last of the songs that will be featured on the upcoming David Bowie EP Is It Any Wonder?, due to be released on the 20th.

I say “supposedly” because looking around here and there, it appears there will be one more song added to this EP, Fun (Clownboy Mix) and I have no clue what that one is but when you search around the Is It Any Wonder? information, it is listed as a seventh track. Perhaps a “hidden” track to be featured on the album itself and not part of the one-song-a-week release schedule?

I dunno.

Anyway, the “new” song released this week, alas, isn’t really new. That is, if you’ve been a devout David Bowie fan (or a maniac like me) and have picked up his stuff pretty religiously as it was being released. The 6th song in this song-a-week release schedule is The Man Who Sold The World (Eno “Live” Mix) (2020 Remaster).

A bit of history, at least as best as I can remember: When Nirvana did their cover of The Man Who Sold The World on MTV, it was a BIG hit. David Bowie found himself getting love for a song that was in his very distant past, and he would start using it more frequently in his shows. Why not? People loved it and wanted to hear him sing it!

At around that time he did the magnificent album 1. Outside, which I’ve said many times before I consider David Bowie’s best later-year album. However, the album wasn’t met with much love from critics or many fans. They thought it was too much, too dense. Hard to get into.

Whatever.

As it turned out, the years were kind to the album and many now look at it as a damn good work.

One of the album’s better songs was Strangers When We Meet, a reworking of the same song which was released on Bowie’s Buddha of Suburbia, the album that came just before 1. Outside and was one of David Bowie’s least known (and I suppose selling) albums. So it made sense to Mr. Bowie, I suppose, to take that song and rework it and add it to 1. Outside in the hopes of people giving it another chance.

Here is the 1. Outside version of Strangers When We Meet:

What the hell does all that have to do with our last (or is it second to last?) Is It Any Wonder? song?

Following the release of 1. Outside, Mr. Bowie would release a “single” version of Strangers When We Meet on CD and it included not only that song, but a reworking of The Man Who Sold The World, which is pretty significantly different in many ways from the original version (and in some ways very similar), the original Buddha of Suburbia version of Strangers When We Meet, and the 1. Outside outtake Get Real.

Strangers When We Meet

I believe that reworked version of The Man Who Sold The World, until now, was only available on that EP CD. Welp, its been remastered and is now part of the Is It Any Wonder? EP and here it is…

I have to say, I like the song quite a bit versus some of the other remade songs which are present on the Is It Any Wonder? EP.

But…

I don’t think its quite as good as the original version.

Then again, the original version is so ingrained in my mind its hard to consider an alternate version, at least for me!

Still, overall I nonetheless like this version of The Man Who Sold The World and am glad we’re now getting it as part of the Is It Any Wonder? EP.

Having said that, what do I think of the EP overall?

I dunno. I still haven’t heard that last song so maybe I should withhold judgment.

If I were to focus on these six songs, though, my feelings are this EP is only “ok” at best. There’s some good stuff here but the remakes of older songs, particularly I Can’t Read, Stay, and Baby Universal, I felt were pretty much all weaker than the original version, with Baby Universal the only one of the lot that approached the positive feelings I have of the original and which engenders similar feelings in me to this version of The Man Who Sold The World.

I’ll likely get the EP when it does come out, so there’s that, but I do feel like there must be other stuff in the vaults worth bringing to light, especially during the 1970’s (ie his Ziggy Stardust, Plastic Soul, and Berlin years).

Perhaps this is the first of many such EPs to come!

David Bowie: Nuts

We’ve reached the penultimate song, #5, of the weekly release of songs for the upcoming Is It Any Wonder? EP.

In previous weeks we’ve had The Man Who Sold The World, I Can’t Read ’97, Stay ’97, and Baby Universal ’97. The reason the later three songs feature the ’97 on them is because they are remakes of earlier works which David Bowie did in… wait for it… 1997 and while making the album Earthling.

Yesterday, and as mentioned above, we had the release of the fifth of six songs to be released in the Is It Any Wonder? EP. Here then is an original composition intended to be a “bonus track” on the Earthling album but ultimately set aside. The song is called Nuts

When I first heard the song, what immediately struck me was that it sounded a hell of a lot like something you might find on 1. Outside, the album Bowie released just before Earthling. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here: I feel 1. Outside is the best album Bowie released in his later years. Having said that. the jazzy elements within this song also reminded me of some of the more experimental stuff on Bowie’s final album, Blackstar.

I must admit, I didn’t like the song much when I first heard it. However, upon listening to it a few more times, I’ve found myself getting into it. I still don’t feel it is a “classic” or some incredible lost treasure like the alternate version of Candidate from the Diamond Dogs album…

…but I do like the song more and more.

(Btw, for the life of me, I still don’t understand how David Bowie left this “alternate version” of Candidate, a stone cold classic -IMHO!- off the album. It wasn’t until some fifteen or so years later with the RykoDisc releases of Bowie’s albums that the song finally saw the light of day as a “bonus” track!)

So I’m glad Nuts was released.

One more song (and week!) to go and the album is complete. Will they end it with a bang or a whimper?

I’m hoping we’re going to get a real hidden gem.

We’ll see.

David Bowie: Baby Universal ’97

We’re up to week four of the song a week release for the upcoming David Bowie EP Is It Any Wonder?

I mistakenly thought originally that the EP would feature rehearsals from David Bowie’s 50th Birthday party -understandable to some extent as the first song released, The Man Who Sold The World, was from that rehearsal- but have since realized that the songs being released were mostly songs made during the Earthling album sessions but never formally released until now.

Related image

Originally released in 1997, Earthling is a damn good David Bowie album, one I feel is up there with the best he released in his later years though I still feel the one that came right before it, 1. Outside, is the best of the lot.

Thing about Earthling is that it is a heavy electronica/dance album and, I suspect, some David Bowie fans might have been turned off by him once again making a sudden shift to a different style of music. I think the album is energetic and mostly works but, I have to admit, the electronica does feel, to me anyway, somewhat repetitious after a while.

Still, I stand by what I say: Earthling is one of Bowie’s best later day albums.

So along with The Man Who Sold The World, the other two songs released to date from the upcoming Is It Any Wonder? are I Can’t Read ’97 (you can read my review of it along with listen to the song here) and Stay ’97 (you can read my review of it along with listen to the song here).

The reason both I Can’t Read and Stay are identified with the ’97 year is because they are both studio/session remakes of previous Bowie songs. I Can’t Read was originally presented on the first Tin Machine Album while Stay was originally released on the Station To Station album. The Man Who Sold The World, because it is part of the rehearsal is instead listed as the ChangesNowBowie version, which is the album that will feature a plethora of Bowie rehearsals for his 50th Birthday Party.

Anyway, the fourth song of this upcoming EP has been released and it is Baby Universal ’97. This song is another cover/interpretation of a Tin Machine song, this one from Tin Machine 2.

Instead of presenting that song right away, let me first present to you the original version of the song as it was originally released on Tin Machine 2:

While I very much enjoyed the first Tin Machine album, the second album feels like a hit and miss affair. David Bowie wasn’t one to linger long in any style or song type pattern, very much earning his chameleon nickname, and if something was very popular and worked or didn’t at all, his instincts always seemed to be to move ahead and do something new.

Tin Machine 2, thus, to my ears sounded like half a good album. There were songs on it, like the above, which I thought were freaking fantastic, while there were others that felt like they were thrown in because… why not. Tin Machine was never a popular musical experiment for David Bowie and it wasn’t surprising that after the release of the second album the band was done and Bowie returned to making “David Bowie” albums.

But, as I said, there were some damn good songs on the album and I very much liked Baby Universal. It is energetic, it moves, and it rocks.

When the Earthling sessions came about, clearly Mr. Bowie was looking back at Tin Machine and perhaps thinking about what went wrong (if indeed he felt that way) and that might be why he did such a different version of I Can’t Read from the first Tin Machine album. I didn’t like the new take all that much but, as I said in the review of the new version of the song, I didn’t like the original all that much either.

Having said all that, here’s the next release from Is It Any Wonder?, Baby Universal ’97:

I like this new version of the song well enough but, just as with I Can’t Read ’97, I feel the original version is the better of the two.

The original simply has more energy to it and I love the “Baby” chorus Bowie provides in the background.

I suppose what this shows is that even when making works which were panned by critics and many fans, David Bowie was still creating some good stuff. Yeah, Tin Machine 2 may be a lesser album overall, but I’ll be damned if Baby Universal isn’t one hell of a rocking song.

If the remake release gets people to look back at Tin Machine 2 and, perhaps, finally release a digital copy of it (believe it or not, the only way to buy the album now is by the CD or old tapes/vinyl), then perhaps this exercise will have been worth it.

David Bowie: Stay ’97

As I’ve pointed out before (here and here) the estate of the late David Bowie is releasing two “new” albums this year. The first is a six track EP called Is It Any Wonder? and I mistakenly thought it would feature “new” versions of older songs made in rehearsal for David Bowie’s 50 Birthday Party Concert.

The first song on the EP is indeed from that rehearsal and is The Man Who Sold The World (check the links above in the first paragraph). The intention by Mr. Bowie’s estate is to release one new song from that EP every week until all six are released, then release the EP itself. Later in the year we’ll also see the release of ChangesNowBowie which, if I understand correctly (now anyway) will actually feature a bunch of rehearsal songs including The Man Who Sold The World.

The second song in the weekly releases is a reworking of Tin Machine’s I Can’t Read. Tin Machine, for those who aren’t aware, was a David Bowie side project that featured two full albums and at least one official live album release before Mr. Bowie returned to being a “solo” act.

Now, a third song from the EP has been released, a very ’90’s version of the song Stay, originally featured on David Bowie’s fabulous Station To Station album. Here’s the new, 1997 version of that song:

Hmmmm….

I have to say, and it pains me to do so because I’m such a big David Bowie fan, but so far these new releases aren’t doing all that much for me.

The Man Who Sold The World was a solid version of the song but, frankly, a decently done version but nothing all that much more. I Can’t Read, on the other hand was a much more reworked version of that song, but as I said in my original post (again, the links are in the first paragraph), I preferred the original Tin Machine version. Having said that, while there are several Tin Machine songs I love, this wasn’t one of them. It’s OK, mind you, but I don’t believe it was ever one of Mr. Bowie’s strongest compositions.

This version of Stay is… jeeze. I dunno. I mean, they took the skeleton of the original song, presented below…

…and added a whole bunch of other (for lack of a better term) stuff to it to, I suppose, fit in more with the then in vogue more grunge sound that was popular.

They didn’t kill the song, but I feel like a lot, perhaps even most of the flourishes, are unnecessary and detract rather than enhance the song.

In this case, unlike I Can’t Read, I’m a HUGE fan of the original song and album. I feel Station to Station is one of David Bowie’s absolute masterpieces and, sometimes, its hard to listen to a “new” version which tries to add more bells and whistles -so to speak- to something that one views as already damn near perfect.

So far, with three songs -half the EP- released, I sadly have to say I’m not loving these new/unreleased songs but, being a big David Bowie fan, will nonetheless check out the other three songs to come.

Maybe they’ll be better but at least so far this EP is sounding like a curiosity but nothing that’s blowing my socks off.

Too bad.

David Bowie: I Can’t Read ’97

Starting with David Bowie’s birthday on January 8th and continuing each week will be the release of one new song from an upcoming David Bowie album entitled Is It Any Wonder?

The song recordings were made in rehearsal for David Bowie’s 50th Birthday party, which was a star studded event and last week the first song from that rehearsal, The Man Who Sold The World, was released (if you’re curious to hear it, here you go!).

Three days ago (yeah, I’m running late here!) the second song was released, a stripped down version of I Can’t Read, a song that originally appeared on the first Tin Machine album, David Bowie’s band side project that lasted two original albums and at least one live album before folding.

Here’s the new, 1997 recorded stripped down version of the song:

I have to say… I’m not all that into it.

Then again, I didn’t think the original version was all that great either. Having said that, I prefer the original to this version. Here is the original version:

I suppose David Bowie thought he might eventually release that new version of the song and video but subsequently decided not to. It is pretty elaborate for something that was locked away in the vaults until now!

Having said that, there’s something incredibly sad about watching this video.

I know David Bowie eventually passed away because of liver cancer, but seeing him sucking on the cigarette in that video… ugh.

My understanding is that David Bowie was a pretty heavy smoker and based on videos like this one he clearly felt it looked cool to smoke in front of the cameras. He wasn’t alone: You can’t find many films from the 1930’s through the 1970’s (and some past that point) which don’t feature the leads smoking. It was a glamorous thing to do on screen but now we know better, right?

Sorry if I’m sounding all high and mighty/moralistic, but I have a very strong allergy to cigarette smoke. There’s something in the chemicals in cigarettes -as opposed to cigars or tobacco used in pipes- that sets my sinus off and can often result in me having such bad headaches I wind up needing to lie down and/or throw up.

It’s that bad and can happen if I so much as sniff one second of cigarette smoke!

But getting back to Mr. Bowie, while liver cancer eventually took him away, he also had a heart attack and, based on some things I’ve read about his last days, also suffered from considerable shortness of breath. Did the cigarettes play a role in these problems?

I don’t know.

Given how much I love his work, though, it makes me so sad to read about what must have been very painful days leading to his eventual passing.

Don’t smoke, kids.

It may look cool, but all you’re doing is roasting your throat and lungs.

In the long run, there’s a damn good chance you’ll pay.