Spin's Earthling Review

Copyright 1997 Spin

Sent to me by Bonster

When the Starman proclaimed that he was making records for himself again with the release of the chance-operation operetta Outside, nobody doubted his sincerity. Outside was a tough record to get inside. So, when the rapid follow-up Earthling was touted as Bowie's stab at jungle, it seemed like his period of artistic autonomy was over.

Bowie in the jungle promises to be about as thin a fashion pose as a Donna Karan t-shirt. And, indeeed, the nervous beats often seem like an afterthought. But Bowie is nothing if not bombastic and, ultimately, unconcerned with his beloved fashion. He does his best work when he doesn't care what's appropriate.

Toying with five-minutes-ago techno just gives Bowie a chance to revert to the Munich period that gave us Low and Heroes. Seven Years in Tibet approaches the meandering synth of Warszawa. The fracture vocal hooks of Law (Earthlings on Fire) and Looking for Satellites (both abetted by a refreshingly Adrian Belew-like guitar roar) evoke the delirium tremens of Breaking Glass. And to its credit, Earthling's not nearly the clammy fusion-cliche that Goldie's David Sanborn bump'n'grind so quickly became.

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This document last updated Tuesday, 15-Sep-1998 21:34:11 EDT
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