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Old 04-13-2013, 11:41 PM   #31
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I'm truly ashamed.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:30 AM   #32
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I'm not really a Bowie fan, but I read this review and thought it was interesting enough to share

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For all the fuss made over Bowie's hair, costumes and poses, it's the way his voice has shifted over the years that interests me most. The changes have been as subtle as the outfits were overt. Listen to Hunky Dory or Ziggy, and all his vowels are flat, his mouth's nearly closed, his voice is resonating off the back of his front teeth, and he cuts right through all those twelve-string guitars and tinny pianos like the knife of his namesake. But as you go further, through Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs to the Berlin years and beyond, a weird thing starts to happen: the voice migrates toward the back of his throat, his jaw drops, his vowels open, and he sounds ever more like his hero Scott Walker, whose spooky intonation on 1977's Nite Flights is almost a dead ringer for Bowie's, except that it's really the other way around. Various "Greatest Hits" comps collapse this process and make it perceptible, and that's where I first noticed it as a kid. By 1978, after a decade or so of recording and performing, the singer of "Space Oddity"'s brash, bratty vowels had morphed into spectral, aristocratic boomings, and they pretty much stayed that way for the next 20 years.

I always wondered why this happened, and whether it was something he did on purpose. Singers' voices tend to age in interesting ways, sometimes gracefully, sometimes not. Joni Mitchell's, burnt (with grim purpose, one suspects) to a dry husk by cigarettes, is an extreme example, as is Robert Plant's, whose much-abused high register has deserted him, though he seems to delight in combing through its damaged remains. Dylan, of course, went through a phase in which his voice seemed to give up on the very idea of singing (though I have an affection for the weird Jim Nabors-like "country" voice of Self Portrait and Nashville Skyline). Closer to the present, Michael Stipe's voice, originally grave and gritty, turned dark and husky, then brightened, cheered up, and became strangely weightless; Bill Callahan's voice opened, dived, and doesn't yet seem to have found the bottom; Gil Scott-Heron's oratory ripened into a splendid growl; Lou Reed's went kind of warbly, lost its once-unassailable authority and eerie tenderness, and hasn't been able (or perhaps doesn't want) to find it again. There are exceptions, naturally — Jimmy Scott kept his high notes up to the very end, though with a slight wobble; Morrisey's voice lost its fun but carried on otherwise, Neil Young's voice seems to have emerged from the egg more or less in its present state, Patti Smith's grew into the age it once affected, and Mick Jagger's cartoony honk is a sort of museum piece, a dogged re-creation of a funny voice he stumbled into as a teenager and milked for half a century.

Which brings us, I guess by way of "Dancing in the Streets," to Bowie, and his voice (or voices) on The Next Day. The choice of "Where Are We Now" as the first single from the record was canny, as it presents a new Bowie voice: plain, vulnerable, a little weary, and — it must be said — old, its glassy surface showing more hairline cracks than when we last heard it a decade ago. But it's bravely, even defiantly old, and it dares you to do the one thing we're not accustomed to doing with an artist who has so fully and publicly embraced method acting: to take him at face value. Buried in the middle of the record, this song might have escaped notice, but as the first song he'd released in ten years, it acquired a special weight.
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:50 AM   #33
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I'm not really a Bowie fan, but I read this review and thought it was interesting enough to share
Bowie's "weary" voice in certain songs in the new album is clearly a choice as was his "bratty" voice earlier in his carrer. He still has the same power (example: the break in How does the grass grow). But from Aladdin Sane on (specially after his very much underrated Young Americans) he was a much better singer in my opinion as he learned to use his natural deep voice better.
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Old 04-23-2013, 10:53 AM   #34
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I still think his best vocals are on the Ziggy Stardust live album.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:49 PM   #35
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His vocals on Lady Grinning Soul are stunning.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:08 PM   #36
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His vocals on Lady Grinning Soul are stunning.
Indeed. Wild is the Wind is another stunning vocal in the same vein. Thinking about it, Bowie has many stunning vocals in his career.

Btw, i prefer Aladdin Sane to Ziggy. And it has his best album cover ever. One of the most iconic images in the history of popular music.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:02 AM   #37
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So I finally, finally got to sit down with The Next Day and give it a proper, lyric-sheet-in-front-of-me listen. And it really is a good album. It's a shame that our excitement before the album didn't translate once it was released, but that was probably to be expected unless The Next Day was another Station to Station. Or Heroes. Or Low. Or Ziggy Stardust, or Aladdin Sane, or Hunky Dory or

But yeah, it's a really enjoyable album, I think. Is anyone still listening to it? I think some of my initial disappointment came because it's not what I expected. After hearing Where Are We Now? I thought it was going to be Bowie slipping awesomely into elder-statesmen mode, but it's all pretty rocking and upbeat. But he still sounds great vocally, it's good lyrically, and musically, whilst it's not groundbreaking (he's done his fair fucking share of groundbreaking though, so a moot point) it's still good.

My two favourite tracks are still Stars Are Out Tonight and Where Are We Now?, but aside from that The Next Day, Dirty Boys, Love is Lost, Boss of Me, Dancing Out in Space, Feel So Lonely and Heat are all great. There's not a bad track, though a couple are pretty stock standard rock songs. How Does the Grass Grow is kind of redundant because it sounds much like Love is Lost sped up.

There's a guitar part in Valentine's Day that is incredibly reminiscent of a guitar part in Pavement's In the Mouth a Desert, and then it goes a bit Moonage Daydream. You Feel So Lonely is pretty good, though for a sweet/positive sounding song the lyrics are extremely scathing. Closes with Five Years drums.

And will we get another single? If so, what will it be?
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:58 AM   #38
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I'm still listening to it.

And I still think Heathen is better.

Kind of a toss-up with Reality, but I think Reality's high points are higher.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:00 AM   #39
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Oh I'm still listening to it. For my money, much better than Reality and on par with Heathen. The songwriting is very good and I'm always impressed by how quickly the album flies by.
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:50 AM   #40
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Oh I'm still listening to it. For my money, much better than Reality and on par with Heathen. The songwriting is very good and I'm always impressed by how quickly the album flies by.
This. At first, i thought Heathen was (a bit) better. Now, i'm pretty sure The Next Day is better or, at least, equal. It leaves me with a better feeling, i dunno...

I listen to it every day without skipping any track.

It's not better than Outside imo. Outside is his best album since Let's Dance (yea, i really like this one). As The Next Day is his best album since Outside.

The Next Day is number eleven in my Bowie ranking.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:38 PM   #41
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It's a shame that our excitement before the album didn't translate once it was released.
Speak for yourself, buddy.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:17 AM   #42
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Holy fucking shit there has to be a higher score than 10/10 for Station to Station. This shit takes it to 11.

This is what happens when you set one of your favorite albums on the shelf for a couple of years and come back to it. Not one bad track. Not one less than stellar track.

It's not the side effects of the cocaine. I'm thinking that it must be love.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:24 AM   #43
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Ehh, there's only six songs and one of them is a cover.

It's brilliant, but slight compared to some of Bowie's more comprehensive works.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:30 AM   #44
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slight
I have no idea what this means. "Not as canonized as Ziggy?" The dictionary definition certainly can't be applied to an album with his grandest compositions. And not comprehensive? Its sequencing is awesome, giving the album a sense of unity (each side closing with a killer ballad). It swings, it contemplates, it vomits everywhere. Perfect album.
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:50 AM   #45
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Station to Station is "slight"? That's just about as close as you can get to being objectively wrong.

The only reason it's not the Bowie album I come back to most is because it's quite cold and distant, which is what Thin White Duke was. It's brilliant. That last part of the title track is better than like 99% of dance music released since.
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