DAVID BOWIE - EARTHLING
Story by Tony BonyataDavid Bowie has had his fingers in many musical pies throughout the last four decades; folk, glam rock, soul, new age, new wave, pop rock and even heavy metal. Though never inventing any of these styles, Bowie always had a knack of fusing each one with his own eclectic tastes to make it seem as though they were his own creations.
In a few cases his timing couldn't have been better. In 1972 he kicked down the closet door with his lipstick-smeared alien masterpiece Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and then in 1977, along with fellow musical egghead Brian Eno, Bowie introduced a subtle, yet ominous, avant garde soundtrack for a new age in the album Low.
Now at age 50, with more than 20 studio releases to his credit, Bowie has tapped into the underground music scene and added the sounds of London's jungle (bass and drums) music and techno dance to his own left-of-center music to create the wonderfully fresh album Earthling.
The album opens with "Little Wonder" a frenzied gem with kinetic beats, cat on a hot tin roof guitar squelches and choppy lyrical references to the seven dwarfs. "Battle for Britain (The Letter)" as well as "Telling Lies" (the first single to be released exclusively on the Internet by a major artist) not only share a similar chaos but also swell from a bass-line so fat that it could raise your cholesterol level.
While not as texturally diverse ,nor as artistically pretentious, as his previous release Outside, Earthling soars and pounds in the trance soaked "Seven Years in Tibet", inspired by the Heinrich Harrer book of the same name, and the percolating "I'm Afraid of Americans" (co-written by Brian Eno).
The album's highlight "Looking For Satellites", with it's stream-of-consciousness lyrics ("Nowhere,Shampoo,TV, Boy's Own...") and monkish chant vocal delivery, finds Bowie (who is no stranger to alien connections, but that's another story) once again looking up to the cosmos for inspiration.
While most artists his age look to their past for inspiration, Bowie has his sights set firmly towards the future and the coming millennium. No one's gonna touch him in his golden years.
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