Hours... by David Bowie

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Hours... by David Bowie
Hours... by David Bowie

Album Released: 1999

Hours... ::: Artwork

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1.Thursday's Child5:22
2.Something In The Air5:46
4.If I'm Dreaming My Life7:04
6.What's Really Happening?4:10
7.The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell4:41
8.New Angels Of Promise4:37
9.Brilliant Adventure1:51
10.The Dreamers5:13


When originally released, we had the usual hyperbole that's followed Bowie around throughout the years, things like 'this is the best album since ...' or 'this is a return to the sound of ...'. Such claims can be taken with a pinch of salt. The sound of Hours resembles mid-to-late 1980's Bowie more than it resembles Hunky Dory or Scary Monsters - it's a return to mediocrity.

Bowie has ditched all the sonic experimentation that characterised his two previous albums. Fair enough, he can do that, but he also manages a drop in the song-writing department too, and his vocals sound fairly strained, they sound old. That may seem a harsh comment, but fast-forwarding to 2003/2004, Bowie actually sounded a lot younger then than he does here on this 1999 release.

My major problem isn't with the writing or the way Bowie is actually singing the songs though. I dislike the way the record sounds, the way the music has been put together. It's all far too safe. When Bowie rocks out a little more during parts of Side Two, the record actually fails even more than the AOR-styled tracks on the first side, which is a little strange but only underlines that something here is wrong. It's difficult to put a finger on it.

I'll start by comparing "Thursday's Child" to "Buddha of Surburbia" (the single not the album). For a lead single, "Thursday's Child" is fairly tame, coming across more as a second or third single. OK, so Bowie isn't about singles anymore - apparently - still, the Bowie of "Suburbia" was putting across dynamic, powerful vocals with intriguing lyrics.

Here he's singing well enough, but the lyrics aren't particularly captivating or artistic, they're just simple pop lyrics. Not necessarily a bad thing, I'm just using this comparison to highlight that for a lead single, "Thursdays Child" isn't what it should be. That it also it kicks off the entire album is also possibly a wrong/weak move.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

It finally hit David Bowie sometime between Earthling and this that he was getting quite old. To honor that belated realization, he did about the only thing a rockstar could do - he released an old person's album.

This is an album that is mature, smooth, and easy on the ears. Gone are the days of Bowie trying to reinvent his image every year to appeal to teenagers (thank goodness). Some people have thrown the term 'Adult Contemporary' at this album, but I have a problem with that, mostly because every time I call something Adult Contemporary, it's in an accusatory tone-of-voice.

A handful of these tracks are among the best Bowie released in the 1990's, and one of them is the mellow album opener “Thursday's Child”. Admittedly, the synthesizers and drum machines are somewhat washy, but the melody is catchy and Bowie turns in one of his more passionate vocal performances. It's a good example of one aspect of Bowie that's been improving as he ages - the quality of his voice - it's more refined and husky than in his younger days. Reeves Gabrels, who co-wrote all these songs, provides some restrained watery guitar, and there's also a whispery female backup singer adding a few extra melodic hooks.

We hear Mike Garson piddling around at the beginning of “Something in the Air”, and it's good. However, I'm glad his noodling isn't too prominent on this album, since it's been a gimmick in all of Bowie's albums since The Buddha of Suburbia, and it's starting to wear out its welcome. Other than the piano, the song sounds somewhat like porn music, but maybe that's not a bad thing - at least it's porn music with well-placed orchestral swells, helping to make Bowie's heartfelt vocal performance soar.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)