Time to reminisce.
As a young and impressional youth, my first single was “Are ‘friends’ electric?” by Tubeway Army. By today’s standards, judging by the fetuses screaming for Justin Bieber, I was a later starter at 13. There had been a brief error of judgement with a David Soul single, but I discount that as due to my adoration of Starsky and Hutch (that’s the excellent original TV series, not the lame recent film). I also don’t tell anyone about that, even though I still have the 7″ single…whoops.
Tubeway Army of course led to Gary Numan, the Human League, Bauhaus, even early Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran. Around this time my brother moved back in with us for a while. He’s twenty years my senior, and so as a small child he was almost like an uncle, being at work and getting married and all that grown up stuff. But he was wise and cool. He drove an Alfa Romeo, knew all there was to know about football and had a job that took him to America. He was also a massive Bowie fan.
I can remember being so dismissive when he drew comparisons between Bowie and the stuff I was listening too. How could they not be completely original, these masters of the synth and studio?
He knew how to win me over. He played me some of the first record of the double album Stage. A highly polished ‘live’ album that is a wall of synthesisers and catchy tunes mixed with doom-laden anthems. He was so right, Bowie had done it all before. I didn’t disown my previous heroes, but I certainly looked upon them in a new light.
Then of course Scary Monsters came out. Game over. He’d out played them all, and roped Steve Strange into his video. Genius. To the record store to blow all the pennies I’d saved for the next Human League album to buy Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Heroes, Low…the list went on. How long had he been churning out this stuff?
Enough of his previous work and my devotion to it. What of the new album?
Well there’s not an original note on it. It’s derivative. It’s reusing old ideas and reselling them to both the new and old generations.
But it’s reusing HIS old ideas. There are hints of so many previous Bowie songs it’s hard to keep count. It’s like meeting an old friend after years apart, sharing a pint and finding that you still have the same sense of humour.
It’s a great album. He is a still a genius.
Looking forward to the next number one album in 2033.