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BowieTalk
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Chinchilla
(wild eyed peoploid)
03/25/08 02:51 PM
Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last three  

Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last three albums?


I’m really sad and sorry to have to bring this up but I’m just going to say it. I don’t like his last three albums… Hours, Heathen and Reality. Don’t get me wrong, I totally respect the man and have the utmost admiration for his work and what he’s done in his career. I consider myself to be a real fan…I can never stop loving what he does and who he is, even if he carried on making music I don’t like for the rest of his days. But I just feel the need to tell other fans that I can’t get into his latest offerings. Lord knows I’ve tried and I keep telling myself that the albums are good like all the reviews say…I mean they were all reasonably acclaimed…so they must be good right? I listened to them and immediately I realised there was not one single track that stirred me. There was not one track that filled me with passion, angst, sadness, wonder…anything. I felt rather numb. That’s not to say that there wasn’t any tracks I liked or thought were good enough to put on my mixed tapes, (MP3’s based CD’s I should say). No there are tracks that I could sing to and I found myself liking the melody nay tune. Like S….Oh …now here is a perfect example…I just sat here at my PC trying to remember the track name. I am a fan god damnit! It’s really hard to say these things. “Seven”, that’s it! I liked that one…I could sing along to that I guess. The other songs were just o.k. On Heathen I liked “Cactus” and if it weren’t so long, “I Took A Trip On A Gemini SpaceCraft”…but they’re not even his! What is that saying for crying out loud?! From Reality I like “Never Get Old” and I think possibly “New Killer Star”…I say I think, because I can’t really remember them very well. You see that’s the problem. His songs from the last three albums just don’t stand out at all. There’s nothing about them that makes me really feel anything. They don’t even make me feel angry. They are just bland albums. Even his crap albums weren’t bland. Now I know that if someone else other than David Bowie had released the sort of work he has over the last 9 years, then they would be thought of as a well respected cult artist I suppose. But I want more God damnit! Where are those fantastic Bowie histrionics…those vocals that soar and change over albums or songs? “Look Back In Anger”, “It’s No Game pt 1”, “Young Americans”, “Heroes”, “Joe The Lion”….so many more. So many songs that really stirred me, just his vocals…the way he projected his feelings with his voice. Now it’s all crooning, dulcet, low same ole, same ole type singing. He sings like he’s old. O.k. maybe he is older…but I was hoping that if anyone could transcend the ageist barrier within Pop music it would be Bowie. Maybe he actually can’t sing that way anymore? Then there’s the actual melodies….I don’t mean tunes…I mean real beautiful melodies that capture people who aren’t even fans. His music behind the voice and lyrics has always been interesting and a lot of it has been catchy and those are the ones that give him hits. Some of it has been weird and possibly not very radio friendly, but still interesting and usually always with a good riff or two. I don’t know much about the technicalities of music so I feel like I can’t really express what I’m trying to say here. I just haven’t heard any real soaring melodies…music that sweeps me away, like the string arrangements on Hunky Dory or the drumming on Always Crashing in the Same Car. Why doesn’t he use strings anymore or more piano based songs? Not just piano in the song but a song driven by it. Well, I know people will be reading this and saying what on earth is that person talking about? You may be thinking that his latest offerings have great melodies ….but I know some people will agree with me. There’s no oomph.
As for his lyric writing…well I’ll be honest I never really listen to songs because of what they’re saying. The music gets me first then the voice. But these last albums…actually I really can’t remember any lyrics. I don’t mind songs sung in the first person…I suppose the majority of songs are sung in the first person….but he seems to have completely lost the ability to write in the second person. Where are the characters, be it semi fictional or what? Why does he always right about himself? Where has his great skill at telling stories gone, the narrative. It doesn’t have to be fictional…but lets face it…there is a distinct lack of fictional content. Does he think it’s immature or something? Maybe he did actually write narrative in his last three albums but because the music and vocal style was bland, I failed to pick up on the lyrics. I don’t remember lyrics unless the rest of the song is memorable too. I think there are a few key things that have changed in Bowie’s writing style both musically and lyrically that has just made his last three albums boring;
1. Lack of sweeping or rhythmically catchy melodies.
2. No expressive vocals. No using his voice as an instrument to convey the feelings in the words. The same vocal delivery, just singing.
3. Lack of narrative and second person writing. No Characters fictional or otherwise.
4. No passion.

I know that I haven’t convincingly given evidence as to why his last three albums are boring…but this wasn’t meant to be a thesis, just a nagging feeling I’ve had. I desperately want to like his Hours, Heathen and Reality….but I just don’t.




Claude
(sound & visions)
03/25/08 08:47 PM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last three new [re: Chinchilla]  

Why you don't like "Heathen"?
It's a wonderful album!

____________________

Claude







russellmael
(cracked actor)
03/26/08 11:53 AM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last three new [re: Claude]  

I didn't read all that, but they are patchy and I never listen to them after the initial NEW ALBUM excitement wore off. Time to spend and evening in with them?

That said, the 10 Disc box that came out recently is very handy.



jump93
(crash course raver)
03/26/08 06:28 PM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last th new [re: Chinchilla]  

I know exactly what you mean, for me, the last great Bowie album was "Outside", with "Earthling" being pretty good.

After that, nothing has quite made me as excited as those 2 albums..
I can see good in all of his albums, even the poor 80s efforts, but the last 3 seem to be pretty bland and on par with the likes of "Tonight", perhaps with the exception of "Heathen" which while I think is OK, is nowhere near as vitalising or interesting as Outside, and there are too many covers on there, giving it the half-baked feel of "Tonight" in that aspect.

I'm not saying Heathen is like Tonight, Heathen is alright, it's just the excitement of his 70s and 90s work (with the exception of Hours), isn't there.

__________________________________________
A Small Plot Of Webspace

Forgotten_Boy
(electric tomato)
03/26/08 09:45 PM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last three new [re: Chinchilla]  

In reply to:

Chinchilla


In reply to:

Claude


In reply to:

russellmael


In reply to:

jump93


It's people like you that forced Bowie into premature retirement.

God have mercy, you're a hopeless guitar player! You even make ME feel better you son of a bitch!

Edited by Forgotten_Boy on 03/26/08 09:46 PM (server time).



Claude
(sound & visions)
03/26/08 10:30 PM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last three new [re: Chinchilla]  

The last three albums are better than the "Boring Trilogy":
- Let's Dance
- Tonight
- NLMD

____________________

Claude







tv eye
(acolyte)
03/26/08 11:54 PM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last th new [re: Claude]  

but claude, in all fairness you can put together one good album from let's dance/tonight/nlmd; doing the same with hours/heathen/reality would be difficult. i'd say the only good recent thing is slow burn single with tracks from toy and wood jackson (and wood jackson would only be filler on something like ya)



sunspot
(wild eyed peoploid)
03/27/08 04:48 AM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last th new [re: Chinchilla]  

I thought Hours was pretty low-energy, but I liked some of the tracks, like "Thursday's Child", "Seven" and "Survive", and got a big kick out of "The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell".

I thought Heathen was much better. More energy, better production. The two real standouts there are "Slip Away" and "Slow Burn", and I think they're the two best songs he's released in ages. I still listen to the album from time to time.

I haven't gotten as into Reality as I did Heathen. At first I didn't much care for it, but I do still listen to it from time to time. A friend got it as well, and noted a few months back - with some surprise - that he'd enjoyed it a lot more than he'd expected to. I have the same reaction to it. Didn't love it at first, but it's grown on me. Again, I think it's the production that lifts Reality up above the rest of his post-Scary Monsters output. "New Killer Star" is great, and I enjoy "She'll Drive The Big Car" and "Bring Me The Disco King".

The thing about his last three albums is that there are no tracks I hate on them. They're all three a bit low-energy and only the standout cuts really grip you, but they're remarkably consistent. I've never understood the praise for Outside - I think 90% of it is crap, overproduced pretentious crap. The best thing to come out of Outside was the Pet Shop Boys remix of "Hello Spaceboy", which is everything the album wasn't - catchy and enjoyable. Earthling sounds like something of a joke a decade plus on (although "Seven Years in Tibet" is still kinda yummy, "Little Wonder" is dumb but catchy, and "Dead Man Walking" seems to transcend its dated surroundings).

His last three are his only post-Scary Monsters records that I like as much or more than Lodger. I always thought Lodger was the real dud of his "golden years".



russellmael
(cracked actor)
03/27/08 07:31 AM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn’t like his last th new [re: sunspot]  

I'd take LD / T / NLMD over the last three anyday.

But like I said up there I think I'll need to reassess them.



KAdministrator
(thunder ocean)
03/27/08 11:17 AM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn�t like his last th new [re: russellmael]  

In reply to:

I'd take LD / T / NLMD over the last three anyday.


Totally with you there. The weakest cuts on tose three aren't any worse than the weakest cuts from Hours, Heathen or Reality, while the strongest cuts are a lot better.

Looking at the albums individually... Hours isn't bad - but it lacks the creative spark that makes Bowie normally so interesting. Essentially it's a dull album, you can put it on and not feel anything, except maybe on "The Pretty Things are Going to Hell" (although the track comes off as a terribly calculated one). I love "Brilliant Adventure", but if want to hear that I can put on All Saints and not have to hear the other Hours tracks. "1917" deserves an honorary mention as a good track left off the album.

Heathen is so bloody fragmentary. There's brilliant stuff there (almost all of the tracks actually written for that particular album), but then there are the covers and Toy leftovers that - although not perhaps bad tracks as such - ruin the stylistical concept of the album. Sometimes albums consisting from "leftover" material from various projects work well (Diamond Dogs and Jethro Tull's Warchild as prime examples) but in this case the result definately doesn't work. The concept/theme (both musical and lyrical) that's present on some of the tracks but entirely absent from others is annoying at best.

Reality has the dubious honour of battling for the position of my least favourite Bowie album, and being one of the few Bowie albums I've sold. The album had only two truly stand-out tracks ("Pablo Picasso" and "Bring Me The Disco King"), but in the end those stood out because they're different from the rest of the album, not because they're good. "Disco King" is particular dated awfully quickly - not really a surprise considering how little there's actually going on on the track.

Come to think of it, if the last three albums really were the best Bowie had to offer, I'm glad he hasn't made anything since the release of Reality.

In space, no-one can hear your German techno music

schizophrenic
(acolyte)
03/27/08 06:39 PM
Re: Am I the only one who doesn�t like his last new [re: K]  

Listening to "...hours" and Heathen back-to-back, I find an interesting contrast: the former finds a batch of promising songs ruined by lackluster arrangements and claustrophobic production, while the latter find a batch of mostly-decent-but-generally-forgettable songs rescued by lush, gorgeous production and "classic Bowie" arrangements. Between the two, I'd pick Heathen since the songs on "...hours" just aren't good enough to overcome the indifferent presentation, whereas the sheer sound of Heathen is enough to win me over, even if the material is kind of uneven.

You'll notice I didn't mention Reality. That's because it sucks.




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