The Deluxe edition has 53 tracks over 2 CDs, remastered and featuring plenty of out-takes as well as the original album in both stereo and mono formats.
Much has been made of Bowie being obviously unoriginal at this stage, instead absorbing numerous influences. But then I'm not familiar with everything David Bowie was influenced by and besides, we're now over forty years down the line.
The often discussed "Laughing Gnome" is among the bonus tracks, a song that would haunt the latterday 'cool' Bowie with a vengeance, particularly among the likes of NME
and Melody Maker
critics. Still, I actually quite like the sound of the music, the bass and drums, the very period 'sixties' sound.
I also spot something of a Kinks influence in the opening "Uncle Arthur", a similar kind of story-telling observation. It's a good tune actually, and although not a hit at the time, as much 1966 as "Ziggy Stardust" was 1972.
There's a lack of identity though - no two songs are sung quite the same or in the same style, and there's a lack of lyrical cohesion too. The original 14-track album is something of a confused grab of random ideas, albeit often wonderfully executed. The lack of clear identity harmed Bowie's commercial chances rather than the oft-repeated theory that he wasn't in fact very good.
So although not many of these tunes display major amounts of innovation or originality, Bowie could undoubtedly write a tune or four. "Rubber Band" contains the excellent lyric my moustache was thickly waxed and one foot long
, better than "Love You Til Tuesday" actually, that was released as a single. If the album lacks a central identity or style then "Love You Til Tuesday" encapsulates this, it doesn't know what it's trying to do - it lacks a chorus as such, Bowie instead tries on several different accents, and it just chugs along not doing very much. Nice orchestration though.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews