1971 – RCA
Bowie’s incredible fourth LP really is just a powerhouse of an album jam packed full of hits and brilliant tracks. Kicking off with the unbelievably catchy blues hook of Changes and going all the way through to the folk ballad of The Bewlay Brothers everything on this record just seems to work so incredibly well that it’s hard to fault at all.
Musically it’s the perfect balance between Bowie’s earlier forays into folk and his solid blues-rock. Pounding piano lines, slamming electric guitar lines, groovy drum beats, and sing-along vocals; this album has it all. Not to mention that the rock and roll chameleon has, with this release, moved another step further away from his music hall clichés and ridiculous Anthony Newly impressions which is a happy thing to hear.
Thematically too this album is a lot more consistent and well conceived than previous outings. I mean, the youthful rebellion vibe that comes as part and parcel of the whole rock music thing actually comes across as sincere on this record, not to mention it’s lyrically a lot more inventive and imaginative than most of the other pop music that was floating about the market at that time. Tracks like Kooks and Oh! You Pretty Things just work so well in their teenage outcast outlooks, providing a good lyrical mixture of generation gap rage and empowered forward-thinking positivity. Even the odes to pop culture figures in Song For Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol work well to build up a mythos of misunderstood teens while at the same time managing to retain a certain sense of good humour and intelligent consideration.
All artistic pretensions aside, however, the real crux of Hunky Dory’s immense appeal lies in the sheer talent and skill of its song-writing and composition. I mean, as I’m listening to it right now I am finding more than a little difficult not to just crank the stereo and sing along with each and every track. How can one possibly not want to sing along? Each cut is just so simple and catchy, but never to the point of boring or earworm annoyance. The hooks and riffs are just perfectly written to get a listener’s attention and draw them into a song where Bowie’s honed yet down-to-earth vocal talents invite audience inclusion. It almost feels as if this record creates a special little bond between listener and musician where both become equal parts of the whole wonderful experience and familiarity with the songs is rewarded by a permission to warble right along with each chorus, guitar solo, and pounded piano chord. I mean, we’ve all been caught at one point or loudly belting out the bopping instrumental parts to Fill Your Heart right?
So, all things considered, there’s just no way that I can’t refrain from heaping all the praise upon this record that it deserves. Really it is one of the most fun and most interesting albums that have been produced in the history of rock music, and while it might not be the height of originality or groundbreaking experimentalism, it still never ceases to bring a smile to my lips and song to my tongue each and every single time that I hear it playing.
Truly it is a masterpiece of music and a must have for any record collector out there. Scratch that: it’s a must have for anyone who likes music even in the slightest. No matter age or occupation, I just can’t see anyone not liking this album.
And here is the fantastic clip for the track Life On Mars? featuring a fantastically makeup clad Bowie.
- Space Oddity – David Bowie (ljfacesthemusic.wordpress.com)
- David Bowie is…, at the V&A (onefinestay.com)
- fantastic man (farfetch.com)
- David Bowie exhibit opens at Art Gallery of Ontario (globalnews.ca)
- Photos: David Bowie’s eclectic exhibit opens at AGO (metronews.ca)
- David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust (merriquemariesainte.wordpress.com)
- Review: David Bowie is at The Art Gallery Of Ontario (thirtyfourflavours.wordpress.com)
- God Is In The TV: David Bowie – Toy (moonblogsfromsyb.wordpress.com)