Monday, March 18, 2013

A Godawful Small Affair: Four "Ziggy Stardust"


COVER SHOT: A Tribe Called K. West.

It's time for The Daddy.  Still to this day, people's perception of who David Bowie is and what he does most likely takes a majority stake from "TRAFOZSATSFM", or "Ziggy Stardust" as it is more concisely known, and it's worth bearing in mind that we're still only on his fifth album at this point and have most of the seventies left to go, let alone any other decades we may come across (the Twenties?  Stay tuned - it could happen!!!!*).

It's a cavalcade of classic moments, most of which we won't be touching on more than briefly here, as anything worth saying or hearing about tracks like "Starman", "Suffragette City" or "Ziggy Stardust" itself has already been said or heard, most likely in Mojo.  Likewise, the reputations of "Moonage Daydream" and "Rock 'N' Roll Suicide" are all-pervading, thanks in no small part to their airings at Ziggy's farewell concert.

So what of the less celebrated numbers?  Well, "Soul Love" is a stunning cut, featuring one of the great unsung choruses in rock.  Probably the quietest moment on offer, "Lady Stardust" nonetheless holds its own with the heavy hitters, giving a moment's respite amongst all the high drama.  And "Hang On To Yourself" could so easily have been throwaway fluff, but thrives on its sheer cheek and balls.

If there is a low point, it's "It Ain't Easy".  Thing is, when you're listening to it it doesn't seem bad at all; I remember standing with my dad at a Flaming Lips concert at the Cambridge Junction, about equidistant between the bar and the stage, when this album came on.  (That's quality writing, that - painting the picture, taking you there.  I spoil you, I really do.)  Before we heard it we speculated that it is was the weak link, but once it kicked in all was forgiven.  And that completes the clean sweep - every track a winner.

Surely there can't have been a cooler concept album than this - that is, if it even is one; over forty years on there's still some secrets we'll probably never get to the bottom of, lost in the fog of ages.  Iconic, inspirational and incredible, then, but is it the best of the bunch?  Well, it's hard to argue with the sheer consistancy at work here, with nary a duffer in evidence - but let's complete our journey before we talk bests and worsts, as there's a long way left to go.

Join us next time for utter piano chaos as Ziggy goes to America.

(* = it couldn't)

No comments: