Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No. 323: Station to Station

Band: David Bowie
Album: Station to Station
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: As Bowie holed himself up in Los Angeles, he lived on peppers, cocaine and milk. He recored "Station to Station" under these conditions. His drug habit became so insane, he expressed admniration for Hitler and stated that he wanted to rule the world. He also made his best album, "Station to Station."
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: It's hardly the type of record that people warm up to. The songs are long and hard to process.
Best song: The title track is an awesome suite-esque song. "Wild is the Wind" is done better by Cat Power, but nonetheless, a great song. "Golden Years" is delightful.
Worst song: While "Stay" has some cool guitars, it's the weakest track on the album.
Is it awesome?: Yes.

There's something very cool about the idea of assuming a character on an album. Obviously, "Sgt. Pepper's" is the greatest of these sort of things, but "Station to Station" is one of David Bowie's many attempts at becoming someone else. His "Think White Duke" persona is the backbone of the record and is his best persona.

Where "Ziggy Stardust" is more of a rock record, "Station to Station" is probably my favorite Bowie record; One I hadn't heard until last week. It falls from the funky ("Golden Years") to the crazy (the title track) and just about everywhere in between. Bowie's cocaine-fueled nightmare life in Los Angeles provided for a ton of strange sounds and experimentation.

Who says drugs are bad?

"Golden Years" picks up where "Fame" left off, with the space funk of Bowie's voice rolling over a Bootsy-esque bass line and spectacular backing vocals. "TVC 15" is another drug-fueled rant, mostly nonsensically lyriced and "Stay" has elements of about 20 genres of music (blues guitar, funk bass, jazz drums, etc.). "Word on a Wing" has e-bow-esque (though, not) guitar lines during the choruses, while the piano harmonizes with Bowie's thin voice. "Wild is the Wind" is a more tender song. It's a decompression from the whole of the album.


kellydwyer said...

"Stay" has become a bit of a go-to move for me and the gf at pub jukeboxes (the kind you can look up songs on).

R.J. said...

That's probably not a bad one. I like to use the look-up-songs jukeboxes to play long-ass songs. That annoys just about everyone.