Is Anyone Listening: A New Album From David Bowie

David BowieSo Bowie’s releasing a new album in March, eh, and what do y’all make of that? Does a new Bowie album matter anymore? What are your expectations, if any?

Like many fans, I suppose, I discovered Bowie via his 1976 compilation (still his best) Changesonebowie, although not until 1981 or so. From there I skittered all over his impressive discography—Scary Monsters, The Man Who Sold The World, Let’s Dance, LOW, Ziggy, Lodger, Aladdin  Sane, Heroes, Hunky Dory. Then, sometime right after Let’s Dance, Bowie’s long slide into irrelevance and mediocrity started to happen and I stopped paying attention choosing, somewhat ironically I suppose, to worship at the alter of the “Babies of Bowie”: The New Wave. His children, those bands directly influenced from what he’d done, surpassed him in every way. But not even Tin Machine could tarnish the man’s mighty back catalogue, although they tried, oh-God how they tried.

Fast forward to 1995’s Outside album, which is pretty damn impressive if you take the time to actually sit down and immerse yourself in it. It was, of course, pretty much ignored. It took another 7 years for DB to release anything remotely as good, which he actually did with 2002’s underrated Heathen. I can’t speak to 2003’s Reality.

Bottom line is: the guy deserves your attention. A few missteps aside he really has tried, and he has succeeded more times that you remember. And if you put it into context via a quick comparison to some of his peers (Rod Stewart, Elton John, to name 2) who have virtually sand blasted away their excellent early ‘70’s work by releasing baby pabulum for Disney and the like for the last 40 years, well, he looks like a Goddamn savant/saint compared to them. His integrity, as far as I’m concerned, is intact.

So I for one will be buying this, and although I have my doubts it’ll be a masterpiece I’ll bet you it’ll be just as good as Outside. And that will be good enough for me.

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