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David Bowie - Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music] CD (album) cover

SPACE ODDITY [AKA: DAVID BOWIE, MAN OF WORDS/MAN OF MUSIC]

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

3.35 | 261 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nº 112

'Space Oddity' is the second studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1969. It was regarded as a mix of folk, rock, psychedelic, space, pop and progressive rock and a transition album between the music of the 60's and what would be the future music of the 70's. So, basically 'Space Oddity' can be viewed, in retrospect, as all that Bowie had been and a little of what he would become, in the next years. It represents a big step in relation with his debut album. It was regarded as a mix of folk, rock, psychedelic, spacey music, pop and progressive rock. We can say that basically it's a transition album between the music of the 60's and what would be the future music of the 70's.

'Space Oddity' has ten tracks. All songs were written and composed by Bowie. The first track is the title track 'Space Oddity'. It was released as a single in 1969. The song is about the launch of Major Tom, a fictional astronaut, which name alludes to the science fiction film '2001: A Space Odyssey', directed by Stanley Kubrick. This is a fantastic song with interesting lyrics and good music, very relevant even today, and is a mark of the end of the 60's. It became an icon and a masterful song of him. Rick Wakeman was superb on the mellotron and gives to the track a progressive final touch. The second track 'Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed' is another great song that starts with Bowie's 12 string acoustic guitar and that soon moves into a more rock style with great rhythm and a fantastic harmonica working. This is a typical folk/rock song in the usual Bob Dylan's musical style. The third track '(Don't Sit Down)' is a very short track with only 40 seconds. It can't be considered properly a song. It has no musical structure but only a spontaneous studio joke made during the recording sessions. In some later releases, it was even removed, showing that it can't be considered properly a truly song. The fourth track 'Letter To Hermione' is a nice acoustic ballad, the first of the album. It's a love letter to Hermione Farthingale that became Bowie's girlfriend and they lived together for a short while, in London. It's a beautiful and interesting song where Bowie shows his soul in a very real and poignant way. The fifth track 'Cygnet Committee' is a very ambitious progressive folk rock song and represents one of the lengthiest Bowie's studio recording songs. Lyrically is very strong and one of the highlights of the album. It's an epic track with nearly 10 minutes long and where Bowie provides a beautiful vocal work. It's a lengthy song that gradually moves from slow to rapid and vice versa. The sixth track 'Janine' is the second folk rock song on the album with a pure Bob Dylan's musical style. It's a beautiful acoustic ballad with nice and interesting lyrics and where the melody has an interesting flowing. It's a song with a nice mixture of acoustic and electric guitar works, a good bass line and where Bowie's vocals serve the song perfectly well. The seventh track 'An Occasional Dream' is a short and gentle love song with a beautiful flute musical arrangement about a very brief and intense affair. We are in presence of another folk rock ballad with a very interesting, pleasant and peaceful tune. The eighth track 'Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud' was the song chosen to be released as the B side of the single 'Space Oddity'. It's one of the most progressive songs on the album in the pure symphonic style. It's a song with good lyrics and is divided into several musical sections, which features full orchestral arrangements. It's also the debut song recorded by Bowie with Mick Ronson. The ninth track 'God Knows I'm Good' is another folk song where Bowie plays his 12 string acoustic guitar, which he often do on the album. It has a nice melody and an interesting catchy story, a woman stealing food and saying to God that she remains a good person. It's a very good folk song with great acoustic guitar working. The tenth and last track 'Memory Of A Free Festival' is the second epic song of the album. It's a psychedelic folk space rock song with good lyrics and nice tunes. The track is about a festival that Bowie organized in London, in 1969. I agree with some reviewers when they say that the first part is very interesting, but the second part is a little bit repetitive. Anyway, this is an interesting way to close this nice album.

Conclusion: This is my first review of a Bowie's studio album on Progarchives. However, I had already reviewed his live album 'Stage', before. This is also one my oldest albums in my vinyl collection and I must confess that I always had a soft spot for this album. It always was and it still remains to me, as one of my favourite albums from Bowie. I can clearly see some parallelism between 'Space Oddity', Genesis' 'Trespass' and Tim Buckley's 'Goodbye And Hello', but due to different reasons. 'Space Oddity' is for Bowie's fans the same thing that 'Trespass' is for Genesis' fans. Despite both albums being the second studio albums from them, both represent, in a certain way, their real debut album. By the other hand, 'Space Oddity' and 'Goodbye And Hello' are two excellent albums and both represent, in my humble opinion, two of the best and most representative albums from progressive folk and psychedelic music. They represent, in my humble opinion, two of the best examples of the changing of the rock music in the end of the 60's. So, despite it can't be considered a masterpiece or an excellent album it has its merits and deserves to be fully appreciated.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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