Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Godawful Small Affair: Fourteen "Let's Dance"

"LET'S DANCE" (1983)

COVER: Does this one need a joke?  Seriously.  It's him, doing a thing you wouldn't expect!  Ain't it ker-azy?  Isn't that enough?  WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE WANT?

(Is anyone disappointed I'm not doing the "Baal" EP?  If so, feel free to send me a copy and I'll happily give it a whirl.  Hey - you don't ask, you don't get.)

And lo!  For it is told that David did look fondly upon the success brought by "Scary Monsters", and He saw that it was good.  And pleased with his higher profile, it is told that He decided He would make A Hit Album.  And He brought to within His orbit That Fellow Who Wrote "Le Freak".  And, well, long story short, it worked - possibly too well...

With a zippy, none-more-Eighties sound and loooooong ol' tracks, ready for the 12" single format that I understand was big news at the time, this was the album that blasted Bowie into the decade proper; I think of "Scary Monsters" as a full stop on his late Seventies output, everything from "Station To Station" onwards, and this as the start of the next phase. 

Now, a lot of people will say that "Scary Monsters" was the last great Bowie album, but that's doing this one down; it might not be 'our' Bowie, the boundary-pushing chameleon, but it's a fantastic pop album for the time.  Overblown and pompous perhaps, but it wears the grandeur well, with each of its eight tracks bringing something slightly different to the table.

Highlights include the title track, the catchy pop of "Modern Love" and the sheer insanity of "Cat People (Putting Out Fires)".  The lowlight, if I may be controversial for a second (and I may; who's going to stop me?  You?  Pah!) is "China Girl", presented here in a less harrowing format than Iggy's version but now with added mild racism.  This is one that could have done with being shorter, and the radio edit deals with this problem to some extent.  It sold approximately twenty bajillion copies as a single and is still one of Bowie's most well known tracks, so apparently the joke is on me.

If I may digress for a minute (again, it's entirely up to me if I do or not so I'm not sure why I'm asking), I cannot discuss this album without mentioning that "Let's Dance" itself was the first dance at my wedding.  I loved my wife very much and this was our song.  That's all I wanted to say about that.

Such sentiments duly delivered, let's get back to our storyline: in terms of commercial success, this is The Daddy - the one that woke up an America that had been turned off by Bowie's wilderness years of electronic experimentation.  Stadia beckoned, and the creative genius delivered the "Serious Moonlight" tour - an entire tour based on one of the oddest bits of lyric ever written.  At this stage one would be tempted to wonder how he keeps getting away with things like that, but I know what happens next...

Join us next time - if there is a next time - for the horror.  THE HORROR.

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