Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
Has it seriously been over two years now that we've been without Bowie? Really? Two years? Where did the last year go? Oh. Right. Well, it's still horrible that he's gone, but I was thinking we're probably ready now to hear people talking shit about one of his lesser-liked albums, the follow-up to the smash that was Let's Dance. (Which, I'll just get this out of the way, was definitely the first Bowie album I ever heard because I was a child and not a super-cool college radio DJ.) You remember this part of Velvet Goldmine, right? The glam weirdo has sold out and gone pop, and the normies are gobbling it up (this normie right here will stand by "Blue Jean" 'til I die, for what it's worth.)
But the KCMU gang, for the most part, were not having it. And Bowie probably would have agreed with them for the most part. I do hope the reviewers below stuck around to revel in the strange and delightful turn the last few albums of his career took, culminating in Blackstar. (Damn, I wish we had a properly label-covered, heavily reviewed copy of that one. I would love to see Riz waxing rhapsodic over several labels on the merits and subtleties of this record, Stevie Zoom and Kevin dueling over who can gush the most. Do you think if I bought a vinyl copy and stuck it in their mailboxes they'd do it?)
"It took EMI long enough - I'd guess that David doesn't need college radio airplay? Lots of co-writes with Iggy and a cover of his song 'Tonight.'"
"Blah! He doesn't need college airplay."
"Bad videos will make it . . ."
"Bowie is almost as bad as [illegible]."
"God damn it! Even Bowie's turning to synthesized, homogenized pop sounding shit. What a letdown from his previously daring stuff. I'm [illegible] it."
"Side 2 has some of the most underrated music Bowie's done. 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, + 2.5 all swing and make you move."
Today would've been David Bowie's 71st birthday and Wednesday marks the second anniversary of his death, a loss that left a huge, star-shaped hole in the hearts of many.
It was a year ago this week that KEXP both celebrated the birth and then shockingly, mourned the death of David Bowie at the age of 69. With the help of both those who knew him best and the man himself, KEXP will dig deep into his influential catalog of music spanning nearly 50-years.
Bowie. What more can I say? I certainly don't have anything to add to the conversation that hasn't been shared much more eloquently a thousand times already. (Including, I'm sure, a thousand or more versions of the preceding sentence.) A huge loss has occurred, but it's been inspiring to see the ...