Song Review: Zeroes 2018

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Remember the Humanz reconstructed post I made a few weeks back? I took an album I considered to be weak and I reorganised the songs into a new order which I felt made the album much stronger overall. Another album I consider to be bad was Never Let me Down by David Bowie. And its getting remade.

I covered some of the problems on one of my ‘A Very Bowie Christmas’ posts during Christmas 2017. I properly laid into this album. To quote myself:

‘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.’

While I stand by the pretentious and confusing aspect, I didn’t mention production. The way an album is produced and compiled is so important. If something is overproduced, it can sound bloated to listen to and make you feel that you are listening to a number of songs at once. While over the top producers, such as Phil Spector, used that to their advantage, David Bowie did not. I think a part of the problem was Bowie’s producer; David Richards, who had produced Queen’s albums between 1986 to 1991, for the overblown sound. The overblown sound works for a band like Queen, less so for Bowie.

So, when I found out that the latest box set of Bowie’s albums would include a new version of Never Let me Down, I was intrigued. Having heard the new version of Zeroes; which came out on the 24th of July 2018, I am impressed.

The music has been completely redone on Zeroes, under the orders of David Bowie himself. Bowie, before he died, had begun to call for the album to be redone, and this is what we’re getting. A number of Bowie’s past collaborators; many of whom worked on this album, from Carlos Alomar, Reeves Gabrel, Peter Frampton, and many more have redone the album’s music completely. Comparing their effort on Zeroes to the original album, it is a marked improvement.

The song sounds on par to the artist’s later career, albums such as Heathen, and The Next Day. It has dropped the overproduced music from the original 1987 release, which is hard to listen to. There was simply too much sound on the original album. Zeroes 2018 does it correctly. It is the album that Bowie had in him then. 31 years isn’t a bad delay.

You bet this album will get a track by track release. We will see what else has changed in October.

 

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Ben

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

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