David Bowie - Scary Monsters

Warner

Having sunk his teeth into a catalog of vibrant personas throughout the ’70s, David Bowie cracked open the ’80s by plundering the narrative potential of texture. The arch, mock-authoritative Bowie voice still holds sway over 1980’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), but the rich, dark rock’n’roll miasma he cooked up...
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Having sunk his teeth into a catalog of vibrant personas throughout the ’70s, David Bowie cracked open the ’80s by plundering the narrative potential of texture. The arch, mock-authoritative Bowie voice still holds sway over 1980’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), but the rich, dark rock’n’roll miasma he cooked up with Brian Eno for the Berlin Trilogy subsides, and something brighter and sharper comes into view. There's the shrill treble line that twinkles over “Ashes to Ashes,” the downward gulping that punctuates the title track, the oozing bass that pulses through “Fashion.” Bowie’s Berlin albums felt like a retreat from the world, but Scary Monsters plays like he’s trying to drink the world in and spit it right back out. It’s delirious with the absurdity of its commercialized new wave era, and drunk on Bowie’s own multifaceted history. Major Tom, the protagonist of his breakthrough hit “Space Oddity,” reappears on “Ashes to Ashes”—not lost on a noble space mission, but as an addict and a cautionary tale. Scary Monsters sees Bowie crashing back to earth, righting himself with a raised eyebrow, and finding so much that glitters in the wreckage. –Sasha Geffen

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