Saturday, September 27, 2008
BOWIE - Space Oddity (1969) @flac
Somewhere between the Summer of Love and the reign of Ziggy Stardust, a lad named David Jones was breaking away from stage-driven theatrical music and trying to define a new image for himself. In 1969, he finally hit, with a strangely naïve but engrossing song entitle "Space Oddity". The lyrics showed very little in the knowledge of space travel, but spoke volumes about the inherent loneliness of an age when such a thing was accomplished and blithely accepted by the public at large. David Bowie (as he has dubbed himself) was `on the map', so to speak. America would need to wait a few more years before Bowie would conquer our shores in the guise of Lady Stardust, but his imprint was profound enough for this late 60's timepiece to see the light of day some time in 1972.
At the time, Space Oddity (the album, not the song) seemed to suffer a bit from its lack of timeliness. The album betrayed Bowie's affinity toward Dylan, if not openly, than certainly in subtler ways. The wordplay of "Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed" and "Cygnet Committee" simply could not have existed without Dylan's influence. For fans of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, this was an anachronism of the worst kind, a songwriting foible that Bowie had yet to overcome. Seen from today's perspective, however, this album has managed to survive quite nicely. Besides the title track, songs like "Janine" and "God Knows I'm Good" hold up as pleasant, if not particularly significant pop music. Believe it or not, the album even contains a blues-based jam (the afore-mentioned "Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed") that sounds more contemporary now than it did then!
Throughout his career, Bowie has toyed with his image, thus forcing his audience to think, or at least react, to his changes. "Space Oddity" presents an opportunity for fans to hear Bowie as an `unwashed' young man, searching for his first truly successful identity. It might not appeal to everyone, but anybody who has an appreciation for Bowie's ability to morph himself into various shapes will certainly find themselves fascinated by his first attempts at becoming a rock star. (T.R.)
David Bowie - Space Oddity
Posted by . at 9:55 AM