59. David Bowie – Low (1977)
1. Speed of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. What in the World
4. Sound and Vision
5. Always Crashing in the Same Car
6. Be My Wife
7. A New Career in a New Town
9. Art Decade
10. Weeping Wall
Who is/are David Bowie?
If you’re still not sure despite the previous, rather spot-on, Wikipedia bio in the last post, this obituary from the BBC is pretty good.
Why did you buy this album?
Even though I consider myself fairly knowledgeable when it comes to Bowie’s music, having listened to most, if not all, of his albums, I don’t actually own all that many of them, relying on generous friends and streaming services instead.
Having bought ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars‘ whilst at university, and his final album ‘★ (Blackstar)‘ shortly before his untimely death, I thought I should invest in some further albums. I decided to go for the first of his so-called “Berlin Trilogy” from the late 1970s, ‘Low‘. At some point, I may get the other two albums, ‘“Heroes”‘ and ‘Lodger‘ but at the moment, I’m happy.
What’s it like?
This is the start of Bowie’s use of electronic and ambient music. The first half of the album is made up of pretty straight-forward pop songs, albeit better and more complex pop than most other artists at the time (or since). The second half is where it gets interesting, and it moves into longer, experimental, ambient tracks, helped by input from Brian Eno.
Considering the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California‘, Queen’s ‘A Day at the Races‘, and ‘Blondie‘ by Blondie were released the previous month, ‘Low‘ sounds ridiculously ahead of it’s time, even considering how good those albums are.
After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?
I do. I’ve long had a fondness for minimalism*, and an album that combines Bowie, Eno, and minimalism is an easy win.
Having said that, ‘Low‘ is not an easy listen, and I’ve probably listened to this album more for this post than any of the other albums so far. Thankfully, it’s less than 40 minutes long…
Any stand-out tracks?
From the first half, ‘Be My Wife‘ and ‘Sound and Vision‘, with nods to ‘Speed of Life‘ and ‘Always Crashing In The Same Car‘.
From the second half, ‘Warszawa‘, with a nod to ‘Subterraneans‘.
Rating out of 10?
Next up: David Bowie – ★
*Except Philip Glass and Einaudi. I’m not a monster.