This is it. David Bowie’s worst album.
GLASS SPIDER: NEVER LET ME DOWN (1987)
That is really an unfair understatement. Never Let Me Down was supposed to be David Bowie’s return to making music for himself, and making a return to rock music. It didn’t go well. After a couple of albums with a very specific sound which appealed to a lot of people, Bowie felt disconnected with this fanbase. He was in a very hard position, and to make anything would be challenging. To come out with Never Let Me Down is a very brave choice to make, as it is a departure from the commercial stuff that Bowie released. This album is so deliberately uncommercial, that it created a new problem.
There really isn’t a good track on this album that I would call the standout. But I will mention Glass Spider as the most notable tracks on the album. This song is so bloody bad, its so bloody good. The song tries to create a mythos for giant spiders that Bowie created. Why he created giant spiders, I do not know. All I know is that this song is bad, really bad. The late 80’s rock instrumentation really doesn’t help either, though the guitar is akin to glam metal for me.
Never Let Me Down is a bad album, for it is pretentious and confusing though its main failure is that it does not please anyone, hardcore fans, casual listeners, or critics. Much of it feels like a narcissistic fanwank for Bowie by Bowie, who was trying to recatch something he lost. That is especially apparent in Glass Spider, a song so ponderously out of touch with reality. And that really describes much of Bowie’s 80’s output, out of touch. It was an artistic nadir for him, and that really is a shame, because the tragedy is that many of these songs could have been so much better if selling them and making a profit was a number two priority.
Fortunately, the 1990’s; while perhaps not as commercially successful as the 80’s, were a lot better. But we will begin to look at this tomorrow.