Self Titled / Space Oddity
A stereophonic experience with dramatic effects for the day, a classic opener enchants us with a story about about Major Tom and his escapades into the unknown. Perhaps a metaphor for how it feels to work hard on building an art career, or simply a reflection of the time with the Moon landings, “Planet Earth is blue, and there's nothing I can do”, sums up the temperament of the era, a summer of love and its cross polarity of traditionalists and straight edged realists. Getting a message across that fits the mould for an ever shifting culture is difficult and Bowie is famous for having the ability to grab hold of it every time it shifts.
Some classic blues is pulled from the ether as a rocking guitar led emotive holler is bashed out in time to the swinging drum. Imagery and feelings make the lyrics dynamic and non repetitive, a storybook feel gives the song a deeper sense. A jam session of epic momentum dwindles the track to a close after several minutes of classic feel good grooves played to a consistent beat.
Some smaller guitar sounds make the scene a little more crisp and small time for the comedy section that follows, and the up close and personal feel is continued with the reverberating well captured voice of Letter to Hermione. I know the album is old but the feelings strewn out over the lines of this song mean as much now as they did then. It's an I miss you song, but there's a short and sweet element to it that keeps the feeling in the right dose.
More intimate lyrics and close in recordings give Cygnet Committee an interesting and theatrical flavour, which draws out the song into near ten minutes but releases its energy slowly in a progression of building melody and rhythm. Honesty and integrity make the core of Janine. A typical issue for men in the way women want to get to know hem well. This scares us, as we don't want our vulnerable side to put them off. Some psychedelia makes an interesting twist with the use of melody and pipes in Occasional Dream, an acoustic and vocal dance through images and memory.
The pace slows once more to release the mellow musings of the historical Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud. It's a melodic and progressive musical number with a story and a theme that misses definition but retains it emotive power, we feel what he means more than understand it, but it's about hope and resolution more than anything. As an early work by this iconic musician, the framework of the sound is already established and a classic style is moulded by the songs on this record. From an era before music television, the way the songs are written and progress takes a page from a book we tend to leave on the shelf more often these days.
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