Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Best of Bowie: 50 Great Tracks

After a friend requested I bring the blog back, I decided to do so and in the only way I know possible....another arbitrary list of sorts. This time, I've broken down 50 great tracks by the one and only David Bowie and put them in a sorta arbitrary but numerical order. Opinions flair, but ultimately, 50 great songs by the unbelievably brilliant David Bowie will be broken down as I see fit. No covers will be allowed so unfortunately "It Ain't Easy" and "Cactus" won't be found on this list. Let's start with five that didn't make the cut, and unfortunately so as these are great songs.


"Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed" - From Bowie's first proper full length album, this curiously strange song is something worth checking out off of this album. Unlike it's follow up, The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie's Space Oddity has a lack of cohesion overall, but this track is a compass point in the direction of where Bowie was going. Opening like a typical hard rocker off of Man Who Sold but grooving into a more glam bowie stomp afterward, this is something special. Bowie's competent harmonica solo flows over the riff nicely.

"Afraid" - Bowie may have had his "Golden Years" in the 1970's, but his 2002 album Heathen may have been his best album since the 1970's. "Afraid" is a competent rock song with Bowie's brilliant paranoia ladled over it. Tony Vistonti and Bowie returned for this record and Heathen is the perfect blend of where Bowie went in the 90's and where he and Visconti excelled in the late 70's after his glam years subsided. The perfectly tight band with the drapery of cello's and Bowie's trembling lyrics make for an underrated if not forgotten classic in the Bowie canon.

"Hang Onto Yourself" - The Ramones stole their schtick from this classic proto punk riff. It's a bouncy, glamed out track that has an intensely tight bass groove and an unforgettable guitar riff that Mick Ronson cranks out. A hard cut from the top 50 off of Bowie's classic and easily most loved The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. There is something rollicking about this track that keeps me coming back to it, but overall in the grand scheme of Bowie's massive catalog, it lacks the staying power beyond a good riff and a toe-tapping beat.

"African Night Flight" - Be it because this song is ridiculously crazy in it's existence or because it's the perfect intersection of Bowie's strange subconscious lyric structure and Eno and Carlos Alomar's strange synth/guitar growls. Deep in Eno's obsession with world music and Bowie's love for the strange and foreign, this track drips with strange bleeps and blips as Alomar's metallic guitar riffs in the background. Lodger is a great album, but not many songs come off of it with ease and love. This is one that closely makes the cut for one of those great Bowie gems.

"Fascination" - Bowie was a constant collaborator--we've already mentioned Eno, Ronson and Visconti--and one of his best was with one Luther Vandross on his "plastic-soul" outing Young Americans. Fits right in with Curtis Mayfield and Funkadelic, Bowie somehow is able to tap into the American 70's perfectly. Maybe it was Vandross' tip of back-up singers or the funky-as-fuck sax and bass volleys, but this is one of the groovier songs in Bowie's line-up of greats. Also, this badass track was recorded in none-other than Philadelphia, one underrated music town amidst many great ones.

Coming soon.... a bi-polar track from Heroes to kick off the countdown.

1 comment:

Slim Pickins said...

love it. making me listen to bowie again after about 5 years