A Very Bowie Christmas: Dec 12th

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Low was the beginning of a 3 year period whereby David Bowie would work with minimalist instrumentalist Brian Eno and would make 3 of his own albums, and produce 2 for fellow Cocaine addict in recovery, Iggy Pop. I said in my previous entry that Low was a relatively inaccessible album, and while the follow up would be fairly inaccessible in itself, it is less so.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: ‘HEROES’ (1977)

‘Heroes’ was released in the same year as Low, which had a relatively long production period for a David Bowie album, while ‘Heroes’ took about two months to record. As the middle part of David Bowie’s musical and physical recovery, the songs that feature on this album are more conventional, featuring more lyrics and having a more conventional musical structure, though as an art rock album, it is still rather uncompromising in some areas.

Beauty and the Beast is the opening track of the album, and it is rather minimalist in its construction, only really having a guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, and some piano. It is rather disjointed in its construction, and the lyrics are rather bizarre when reading them. It can be interpreted as a song about his cocaine addiction and subsequent detox from the addiction. I believe it is one of those songs where lyrics are not really the main factor, but rather delivery and music are the main features of this song. The disjointed sound can be interpreted as pieces of Bowie himself beginning to come together, though perhaps the glue hadn’t dried.

Bizarrely enough, this song was released as a follow up single to ‘Heroes’; the title track of the album. Bizzare is really the right word to describe the song, and its release as a single is also ponderous; it is good, but it isn’t a single, and it perhaps is reflected in the fact that it barely made the UK Top 40.

Beauty and the Beast is a fantastic song, and if the rather insular and minimalist Low wasn’t to your taste, then Heroes might be a good album for you.

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Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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