Saturday, 6 October 2012

September 2012 - Popular Music

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
Delirious? - Glo
Gomez - Bring It On
Jars of Clay - Furthermore: From the Studio
John Mayer - Battle Studies
Joni Mitchell
  • Clouds
  • Mingus
  • Dog Eat Dog
Beth Orton - Daybreaker
Sting - Mercury Falling
Washington - I Believe You Liar
Rachael Yamagata - Happenstance

Not an enormous amount of pop music listening going on at the moment.  The most notable item on the list is Aladdin Sane, which I had heard before but which was officially added to my collection this month.

After having given much thought to which of the myriad David Bowie 'best ofs' to buy, and finally getting hold of one about 18 months ago, I promptly stopped listening to it because I wanted to explore his actual albums.  My curiosity about a person's body of work got the better of me, as usual.

I'm not sure exactly what I was looking for, because I actually already own several Bowie albums, none of which have yet made it onto this blog and none of which (so far) strikes me as entirely satisfactory.  I suppose I was looking for that satisfactory album, even though I had a sneaking fear that it might not exist.  Bowie himself has predicted the death of the album in the age of iTunes and shuffling playlists, and I couldn't help wonder if this was just because he was someone who actually struggled to put together a complete and coherent album.  Was he, in fact, a 'singles artist'?

So I started at the beginning and sporadically listened to Bowie albums.  REALLY at the beginning. Bowie's 1967 album is quite fascinatingly odd.  Space Oddity seemed fairly uneven, The Man Who Sold The World is strange and yet not that interesting.  Hunky Dory showed promise, but ultimately the really strong songs are the ones that already appear on my compilation.  And while I know Ziggy Stardust is supposed to be a landmark, I can't say that it does a lot for me.

I already had hopes for Aladdin Sane from the several tracks on my compilation, and it justified those hopes.  Maybe it's the amazing piano playing of Mike Garson. I'm a sucker for good piano.  But I think even in the tracks that are rockers and don't feature piano, there's something more sophisticated about this album compared to Ziggy.  So I went out and bought it.  It is now officially designated as "the David Bowie album that I like".

There could be others, as I've been terribly distracted by other music and have only got as far as Diamond Dogs - which I also quite like, but again I feel that the strongest material is on my compilation and I'm unsure that I'll gain much by having the entire album.

However, it's entirely possible that sometime circa 2018, readers of this blog will see that I have gone and bought every Bowie album.  For now, though, Aladdin Sane is the one I'm happy to reach for and think "yeah, this guy deserved his fame".

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