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£10.29

Pop/Rock - Released March 8, 2013 | Columbia

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 5 étoiles Rock and Folk - 5/6 de Magic - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Say this for David Bowie: he has a flair for drama. This abiding love of the theatrical may not be as evident in the production of The Next Day as it is in its presentation, how Bowie sprung it upon the world early in 2013 following a decade of undeclared retirement. Reasons for Bowie's absence were many and few, perhaps related to a health scare in 2004, perhaps due to a creative dry spell, perhaps he simply didn't have songs to sing, or perhaps he had a lingering suspicion that by the time the new millennium was getting into full swing he was starting to be taken for granted. He had settled into a productive purple patch in the late '90s, a development that was roundly ignored by all except the devoted and the press, who didn't just give Hours, Heathen, and Reality a pass, they recognized them as a strong third act in a storied career. That same sentiment applies to The Next Day, an album recorded with largely the same team as Reality -- the same musicians and the same producer, his longtime lieutenant Tony Visconti -- and, appropriately, shares much of the same moody, meditative sound as its predecessor Heathen. What's different is the reception, which is appropriately breathless because Bowie has been gone so long we all know what we've missed. And The Next Day is designed to remind us all of why we've missed him, containing hints of the Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust within what is largely an elegant, considered evocation of the Berlin Bowie so calculating it opens with a reworking of "Beauty & The Beast," and is housed in an artful desecration of the Heroes LP cover. Unlike his Berlin trilogy of the late '70s, The Next Day is rarely unsettling. Apart from the crawling closer "Heat" -- a quiet, shimmering, hallucination-channeling late-'70s Scott Walker -- the album has been systematically stripped of eeriness, trading discomfort for pleasure at every turn. And pleasure it does deliver, as nobody knows how to do classic Bowie like Bowie and Visconti, the two life-long collaborators sifting through their past, picking elements that relate to what Bowie is now: an elder statesman who made a conscious decision to leave innovation behind long ago. This persistent, well-manicured nostalgia could account for the startling warmth that exudes from The Next Day; even when a melody sighs with an air of resigned melancholia, as it does on "Where Are We Now?," it never delves into sadness, it stays afloat in a warm, soothing bath. That overwhelming familiarity is naturally quite appealing for anyone well-versed in Bowie lore, but The Next Day isn't a career capper; it lacks the ambition to be anything so grand. The Next Day neither enhances nor diminishes anything that came before, it's merely a sweet coda to a towering career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£10.69
£7.69

Rock - Released November 1, 2013 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
£11.99

Rock - Released September 20, 1999 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Repeating the formula of Low's half-vocal/half-instrumental structure, Heroes develops and strengthens the sonic innovations David Bowie and Brian Eno explored on their first collaboration. The vocal songs are fuller, boasting harder rhythms and deeper layers of sound. Much of the harder-edged sound of Heroes is due to Robert Fripp's guitar, which provides a muscular foundation for the electronics, especially on the relatively conventional rock songs. Similarly, the instrumentals on Heroes are more detailed, this time showing a more explicit debt to German synth pop and European experimental rock. Essentially, the difference between Low and Heroes lies in the details, but the record is equally challenging and groundbreaking. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£11.99

Rock - Released September 20, 1999 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
David Bowie returned to relatively conventional rock & roll with Scary Monsters, an album that effectively acts as an encapsulation of all his '70s experiments. Reworking glam rock themes with avant-garde synth flourishes, and reversing the process as well, Bowie creates dense but accessible music throughout Scary Monsters. Though it doesn't have the vision of his other classic records, it wasn't designed to break new ground -- it was created as the culmination of Bowie's experimental genre-shifting of the '70s. As a result, Scary Monsters is Bowie's last great album. While the music isn't far removed from the post-punk of the early '80s, it does sound fresh, hip, and contemporary, which is something Bowie lost over the course of the '80s. [Rykodisc's 1992 reissue includes re-recorded versions of "Space Oddity" and "Panic in Detroit," the Japanese single "Crystal Japan," and the British single "Alabama Song."] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£13.99

Rock - Released June 30, 2008 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions Sélection Disques de l'année Les Inrocks
Recorded from Bowie's first live American broadcast, this October 20, 1972 concert is a good choice for those who found themselves left cold by the awkward soul and the absence of Mick Ronson on David Live. Coming on the heels of the release of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie is captured here at the height of his creative powers. He gives a nod to the influence of Lou Reed with a fine "Waiting For The Man," and the live renditions of "Jean Genie" and "Rock and Roll Suicide" surpass the studio versions, thanks in no small part to the inimitable Mick Ronson. "Life on Mars?" and other tunes off Hunky Dory can be a bit disappointing, though, without original keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who was now busy becoming a star with Yes. But this is only a minor qualm; the Spiders band is wonderfully aggressive, all the more because live performance was perhaps the true home for its glam theatrics. ~ Paul Collins
£11.99
Low

Rock - Released September 20, 1999 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Following through with the avant-garde inclinations of Station to Station, yet explicitly breaking with David Bowie's past, Low is a dense, challenging album that confirmed his place at rock's cutting edge. Driven by dissonant synthesizers and electronics, Low is divided between brief, angular songs and atmospheric instrumentals. Throughout the record's first half, the guitars are jagged and the synthesizers drone with a menacing robotic pulse, while Bowie's vocals are unnaturally layered and overdubbed. During the instrumental half, the electronics turn cool, which is a relief after the intensity of the preceding avant pop. Half the credit for Low's success goes to Brian Eno, who explored similar ambient territory on his own releases. Eno functioned as a conduit for Bowie's ideas, and in turn Bowie made the experimentalism of not only Eno but of the German synth group Kraftwerk and the post-punk group Wire respectable, if not quite mainstream. Though a handful of the vocal pieces on Low are accessible -- "Sound and Vision" has a shimmering guitar hook, and "Be My Wife" subverts soul structure in a surprisingly catchy fashion -- the record is defiantly experimental and dense with detail, providing a new direction for the avant-garde in rock & roll. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£11.99

Rock - Released January 19, 1998 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After summing up his maverick tendencies on Scary Monsters, David Bowie aimed for the mainstream with Let's Dance. Hiring Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers as a co-producer, Bowie created a stylish, synthesized post-disco dance music that was equally informed by classic soul and the emerging new romantic subgenre of new wave, which was ironically heavily inspired by Bowie himself. Let's Dance comes tearing out of the gate, propulsed by the skittering "Modern Love," the seductively menacing "China Girl," and the brittle funk of the title track. All three songs became international hits, and for good reason -- they're catchy, accessible pop songs that have just enough of an alien edge to make them distinctive. However, that careful balance is quickly thrown off by a succession of pleasant but unremarkable plastic soul workouts. "Cat People" and a cover of Metro's "Criminal World" are relatively strong songs, but the remainder of the album indicates that Bowie was entering a songwriting slump. However, the three hits were enough to make the album a massive hit, and their power hasn't diminished over the years, even if the rest of the record sounds like an artifact. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£13.39
£11.59

Rock - Released January 8, 2016 | Columbia

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Rumors were rife: Definitive hibernation or even incurable disease - and then no - David Bowie made a blazing comeback in 2013 with the album The Next Day. Hardly time to fully digest this record and Ziggy is back already with the fascinating Blackstar, his 25th studio album published the day of his 69th birthday! 48 hours later, the shock is total as we learned of the death of the artist, carried away by a cancer after struggling against the disease for 18 months ... With Blackstar, once again we are tempted to say, Bowie surprises and amazes with a bold, and rather protean, experimental work (sometimes harking back to the likes of Station To Station/Low). A beautiful musical UFO that he designed with brilliant jazzmen in New York (including Maria Schneider and her orchestra but also guitarist Ben Monder and saxophonist Donny McCaslin) without forgetting the loyal Tony Visconti, ever behind the console to produce this beautiful black star. The star today is Bowie. Up there. Eternal and obviously immortal ... © CM/Qobuz
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£13.99

Pop - Released September 25, 2015 | Parlophone UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£20.99

Pop - Released November 14, 2014 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Nothing Has Changed is a bit of a cheeky title for a career retrospective from an artist who is known as a chameleon, and this triple-disc compilation has other tricks up its sleeve. Chief among these is sequencing the SuperDeluxe 59-track set in reverse chronological order, so it opens with the brand-new, jazz-inflected "Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)" and concludes with David Bowie's debut single, "Liza Jane." On paper, this seems a bit like a stunt, but in actuality it's a sly way to revisit and recontextualize a career that has been compiled many, many times before. Previously, there have been single discs, double discs, and triple-disc boxes, but the largest of these was Sound + Vision, a box released in 1989, and the most recent was 2002's The Best of Bowie, which featured slightly different track listings in different territories but generally stopped in the late '90s. The two-CD version of Nothing Has Changed resembles this 2002 set -- there are absences, notably "John, I'm Only Dancing," "Diamond Dogs," and "TVC15," but they're not noticed among the parade of standards -- but it's easily overshadowed by the triple-disc SuperDeluxe set. This version of Nothing Has Changed touches upon nearly every phrase of Bowie's career, bypassing Tin Machine but finding space for early pre-"Space Oddity" singles that often don't make Bowie's comps, and naturally it samples from his fine Y2K records, plus his 2013 comeback The Next Day. This expansiveness alone would be noteworthy, but when it's combined with the reverse sequencing the compilation forces listeners to reconsider an artist whose legacy seemed so set in stone it appropriately was enshrined in museums. Obvious high-water marks are undersold -- there's not as much Ziggy as usual, nor as much Berlin -- so other eras can also enter the canon, whether it's the assured maturity of the new millennium or the appealing juvenilia of the '60s. The end result is something unexpected: a compilation that makes us hear an artist we know well in a whole new way. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£15.99
£13.99

Pop - Released June 4, 2012 | Parlophone UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
£18.49

Rock - Released October 21, 2002 | Parlophone UK

David Bowie has switched labels so often his catalog is cluttered with hits compilations, all purporting to be definitive. Since he is one of the few major artists with no compunction against putting all his hits on one disc, they're all excellent, and 2002's Best of Bowie is no exception, no matter which country you live in (brief explanation: sensitive to the needs of fans in different markets, Bowie and EMI/Virgin tailored a different Best of Bowie for every country it was released in -- a collector's and cataloger's nightmare, but the basics apply for each variation). Yeah, there are great songs missing, and it loses a little focus toward the end, but all the big, big hits are here, in great sound and logical sequence. Bowie made more than his share of great albums, but if you just want the highlights, this is as good as Changesbowie in capturing them. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£4.49

Rock - Released May 25, 2007 | Parlophone UK

£7.99

Pop - Released December 29, 2006 | Parlophone UK

Baal was not one of Bertolt Brecht's most appealing visions. The tale of a dissolute itinerant wretch whose natural talent for composing amoral ditties was mere accompaniment to his life of debauchery, it was the saga, according to David Bowie, of the original Super Punk -- which is doubtless what attracted him to it, when he was offered the title role in a 1982 BBC TV play. Bowie perform five songs during the course of the play, each of which coupled Brecht's original lyric (as translated by John Willett) to a contemporary Dominic Muldowney arrangement. Recording in the same Hansa studios in Berlin where Brecht's own future partner, Kurt Weill, once worked, Bowie and producer Tony Visconti also borrowed Weill's favorite recording set-up -- a German theater band, one player per instrument, all arranged in a semi-circle. (Bowie would recreate this set-up for the video accompanying his next UK single, "Wild Is The Wind".") RCA originally intended releasing the Baal soundtrack as part of a new Bowie album -- the star's continued reluctance to record anything more than dilettante side bars, however, left them with no option but to pare their plans down to a single EP, released in Britain on the Friday before the play's March 2, 1982, transmission. The result was an uncompromising collection, considerably truer to Brecht than many outsiders expected, with its closest relatives within Bowie's own catalog being his occasional assaults on the Jacques Brel songbook -- early live favorites "Next" and "My Death," and the 1973 b-side "Amsterdam"." But even with that comparison, one is grasping; quite frankly, Baal served up a side of Bowie that he had often claimed existed, but which even his closest friends had seldom seen. ~ Dave Thompson
£11.99

Rock - Released September 22, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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David Bowie in the magazine
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