A brief introduction:
The Ear-drummer is the newest recruit to the ‘Personal-a-Teas’ family and his role is to suggest some recommended listening for you, the ‘Personal-a-Teas’ Community. Working with the easel from the ‘Drink of the Moment’ canvas he will match the music to the ‘Personal-a-Teas’ and the ’Personal-a-Teas’ to the music. Let’s go cappuccino lovers!
Anyone for Bowie?
Anyone for ‘Let’s Dance’???
Picking up the album sleeve, the name ‘Bowie’ bowing in blue across the top right corner, joined by the fractured constellation configuring the album title. The man himself, in a pose not too dissimilar from a boxer’s, the Ear-drummer is left wondering what kind of dance is Mr. Bowie taking us to? A disco-influenced social commentary fusion, that’s what.
The album opens up with an uplifting stand-alone drumbeat followed by the opening melody of Modern Love. It’s a song that he had heard countless times throughout his life, but the Ear-drummer only registered it upon hearing it in its rightful place. The track tells how Bowie has discovered a love which doesn’t require confessions, but instead parties and maintains respect in both God and man. ‘It gets him to the church on time’. The ability to merge modern living and spirituality. A great positive ‘sing-along’ opening track.
China Girl starts with the unmistakable ‘Chinese guitar riffs’ followed by a chorus reminding us why this is one of the mainstream tracks on the album. (The album itself is a short affair, coming in at just under 38.5 minutes, a total of 8 tracks). Despite the positive riff and mainstream feel, there is an underlying sadness and pain. Bowie’s voice is an octave above whispering throughout. On China Girl, Bowie manages to blur the emotional lines.
Anthem time! Let’s Dance takes the album back into a hip-swinging, sociable plain, only higher. Cappuccino drinker will know what he means! This track filled the dancefloors in the early eighties. Seemingly ahead of its time, it merges something resembling a hip hop breakbeat with a jazz sax, it’s timeless. People probably wore ‘red shoes, specifically to dance the blues’…But wait, there is no room for blues on this track. Unmistakable. Irrepressible. Bowie.
Without You: not only does the title of the song have echoes of U2 but so too does the song itself. Perhaps this was the influence behind So Cruel (Achtung, Baby)? The shortest song on the album, and certainly the most charming cut.
Ricochet is the conceptual track on the album. This is Bowie at his creative best. It’s his social commentary on the state of the world in the early 80’s. Not too dissimilar to the world today, ‘a world on a corner waiting for jobs’, people (?) like weeds waiting for the scythe’. Remember the message in Modern Love, where lifestyle was ‘married’ to spirituality, the conservative church / religion is advised to face the wall bear to be forgotten. The track continues to rue man’s infatuation with materialism and the ‘march of the dime’. The music and chanting take unexpected turns throughout, keeping the Ear-drummer always guessing. The creativity in this track can be compared favourably to Klaxons, Myths of the Near Future (an album the Ear-drummer will take you through… in the ‘Near Future’).
Criminal World is the only track on the record without Bowie’s writing influence. It doesn’t suffer as a result. Bowie ‘owns it’. The music has a synthetic sonic affect which really takes the chorus to new heights, distinguishes the song. It’s about rejection, betrayal, catfishing. Love can be a Criminal World indeed.
Cat People (Putting Out Fire) starts with Bowie’s trademark drawl from the depths of his larynx. The track soon increases the pace and positivity upon ‘putting out fires with gasoline’. Perhaps the overlong guitar solo represented the efforts required to put out those aforementioned fires. It’s probably the least distinguishable offering on the album.
‘Shake It’ starts with a New York disco influence, sure why wouldn’t it ‘it’s a place Bowie knows well’? This track could take you to a nightclub scene depicted in any Martin Scorsese or Brian de Palma film noir movie. It oozes disco, social interaction, energy, heat, sweat, sexuality, intoxication. This is the first cousin of Let’s Dance. A loved up, energised cappuccina!
In summary, cappuccino lovers, a typical Bowie experience. A concise journey back to the early eighties’ social scene, fusing contemporary reflections, too. History repeating itself. Creative, inspiring, multi-layered. Anthems mixed with concepts. Melodies with message. Let’s dance. Let’s sway. The architect may have passed but his sounds live on.
Ear-drummer’s Rating: 7 / 10
Stand Out Track: Modern Love