David Bowie has a long and unusually varied career. He's paved the way
again and again, often being the first to spring new musical and
thematic ideas. When this record was released in 1977, not many people
liked it. Critics really hated it. Now, over 20 years later, it
gets the credit it always deserved.
Eno was clearly instrumental to the sound of this record, as well as the
subsequent work, 'Heroes'. He's not given a huge amount of credit in the liner
notes, but those of us familiar with both artists easily discern his sweeping
As for the theme or concept, having read many reviews I can say that
there are many differing opinions. I think it is the usual, alienation,
frustration, fear - all a result of Bowie being at a low point in his life.
He had moved to Berlin to try to kick his cocaine habit and generally
get his life together.
This may be the first mainstream record produced with intentionally 'dirty' sound,
raw and having the quality of being recorded in a garage with failing equipment.
It was recorded just as the punk movement was taking hold, and it seems Mr.
Bowie had his ear to the ground as usual. It uses synths more heavily than
any of his previous work, and uses them appropriately.
If you are a Bowie fan and have never
heard this one, it will be a bit jarring at first. Keep listening, you may
find this is one of his best recordings.