Many of you will be aware that our miscreant cultural wordsmith Sean Bw Parker has form with David Bowie, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when he lambasts the latest attempt to flog the great dame’s back catalogue, with the recently laboured Nothing Has Changed collection. Sean, ever the avid fan, turns his attention to the extended ‘deluxe’ version, and founds (as the golden era Hip hop duo, Nice & Smooth summed it up on their 1991 LP) ‘Ain’t a damn thing changed’ , as its business as usual for the thin white duke.
David Bowie ‘Nothing Has Changed’ (Deluxe Edition)
One more wheeling out of a near-dead corpse to prop up the rotting/rotten foundations of a spluttering, gasping, if not finished industry. Like most serious lovers of music, I cherish Mr Bowie as much as a long lost great uncle confined to the corners of some multi-millionaire’s care home in Vermont should be cherished – but come on, enough is enough. If EMI, RCA, Rykodisc etc haven’t had enough of violating Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke’s corpse by now, we all must be missing something.
I’ve never met a musician or indeed music lover who didn’t love Bowie, for good reason. His work rarely fell below utterly inspiring between 1969 and 1980. But we are surrounded by Martin Luther King levels of universal praise, and that can’t help but grate some. Unqualified as I am to critique MLK particularly (not sure which qualifications that requires), but CDs one and two of Nothing Has Changed are a PR attempt in trying to rehabilitate a bunch of legend-flogging old toss.
‘NHC’ is arranged chronologically backwards, so we start with the admirably obtuse new-jazz ‘Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)’, and it’s even bitchier little sister ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore’ follow shortly. Mr Jones at his most unlistenable, which is to be applauded, whilst not necessarily listened to. But the truth is it’s a lame start, with two CDs of legacy-grooming dross before you get to anything substantial, on CD3. And CD3 is unremittingly full of fantastic brilliance, an androgyne alien on a par with the imagination of Picasso, wit of Lennon and ambition of Dali.
‘Let’s Dance’ is imprinted in a certain generation’s memory as wonderful, but it’s naff, polishing up a singer who was ready to get rich. Some of the 90s and 00s stuff is quite good, ‘New Killer Star’ and Where Are We Now?’ particularly – but only because it was lovely to hear the old bugger’s voice again.
Nothing Has Changed is yet another cynical punch in the face of music lovers who are well aware there is basically nothing in the mainstream to buy anymore. Bowie’s two new songs are refreshing in as much as he is still desperate to out-freak Scott Walker – but that ship really sailed two decades ago, darling. Don’t worry, the first (or is it last?) CD will take you where you need to go.
To counter some of Sean’s charges, especially in reference to his 80s and early 90s legacy, here is another chance to catch your humble editors complete albums guide (including Labyrinth and Tin Machine no less); first posted on God Is In The TV in 2013. Click on the images below…