David Bowie / Station To Station [Remastered]


Station to Station

Station to Station is the tenth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released by RCA Records in 1976. Commonly regarded as one of his most significant works, Station to Station is also notable as the vehicle for Bowie’s last great ‘character’, The Thin White Duke. The album was recorded after he completed shooting Nicolas Roeg‘s The Man Who Fell to Earth, and the cover featured a still from the movie. During the sessions Bowie was heavily dependent on drugs, especially cocaine, and recalls almost nothing of the production.

Musically, Station to Station was a transitional album for Bowie, developing the funk and soul music of his previous release, Young Americans, while presenting a new direction towards synthesizers and motorik rhythms that was influenced by German electronic bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu!. This trend would culminate in some of his most acclaimed work, the so-called Berlin Trilogy, recorded with Brian Eno in 1977–79. Bowie himself has said that Station to Station was “a plea to come back to Europe for me”.[4] The album’s lyrics, meanwhile, reflected his preoccupations with Nietzsche, Aleister Crowley, mythology and religion.

With its blend of funk and Krautrock, romantic balladry and occultism, Station to Station has been described as “simultaneously one of Bowie’s most accessible albums and his most impenetrable”.[5] Featuring the single “Golden Years“, it made the Top 5 in both the UK and US charts. In 2003, the album was ranked number 323 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.`

The Analysis:

Station To Station—-Clocking in at an impressive 10 minutes, this song is both full of atmospheric music and one of the best Bowie vocals he had delivered in quite some time. Definitely embracing the whole image of The Thin White Duke, the vocal is full of suave sophistication and an underlying urgency that still plays remarkably well today. The music can be a bit erratic at times, but it is the strong vocal that saves this song. The laid back and cool vocal style was just a slight indication of the mastery that was still to come from this musical genius. Besides Scary monsters, this still remains one of my favorite releases from Bowie. And I know Bowie inside out…I proudly own 62 Bowie CD’s!!!

Golden Years—-Although this remains one of the crowning and glorious moments in bowie’s career, this song has never been a favorite of mine. Listening back to it now after such a long period of ignorance, I have a new-found appreciation, but overall this was played to much and wore out its welcome for me. None the less, the wonderful laid back suave style of singing is the jewel in the crown for me. It is hard to believe that Bowie was not cognizant of the masterpiece that he was creating…perhaps that is why it still plays so well today. This is full of a nice funk landscape and an almost electronic backdrop that would later surface in his recordings. To me this has held up well over the years…kudos to one of the innovators of what is now Alternative Music!

Word On A Wing—-With a nice electronic hum that runs through the underbelly of the song, the track is accentuated by a masterful piano and a vocal that is so laid back and lazy that it is more emotional than ever though possible. The lyrics are so tender and real…you wonder where the inspiration of this came from. The vocal is remarkable as Bowie switches between the lazy voice and the upper register that is full of emotion and lonliness…crying out for understanding and companionship. This is so masterful…I wonder why we never hear more of this type of thing from this genius of a man. This is stellar…no ifs, ands or buts about it. Fantastic.

TVC15—-Although the musical landscape of this song is rather cheerful and jaunty, the lyrics that accompany this song are intense and full of cocaine fueled paranoia. Bowie delivers his vision of the future…not so displaced or imagined. This is another crowning moment of this release…full of classic Bowie style rock music with an underlying feeling of funk and fun…but as I said…this is not a light-hearted or easy-going song…this is full of scary imagery and paranoia. Remarkable!!!

Stay—-Again, beginning with a rather jaunty and funk filled intro, the song has a nice touch of Alomar guitar. The bass line is huge and the intro leading up to the vocal takes a bit…when David enters with his voice, it is better than anything on this release. There are nice studio produced overlays that add a lot of balls to the song, but for me it is the 70’s inspired guitar work that really makes this track stand on its own. the voice is magnificent, but the bass inspired  funk is magnificent. This is a fine moment in Bowie’s career.

Wild Is The Wind—-Incredibly heartfelt and tender, this was the song for me when I first heard this recording. I discovered Bowie after the release of Let’s Dance….and then proceeded to scour record shows and stores for every single thing I could get my hands on. Not realizing at the time that this was a natural progression for me…Bowie laid the framework for so many of the artists that I hold true to my heart to this day..like Numan and Morrissey….they are not that many worlds apart from each other. This vocal is so intense and real, it is still hard for me to believe that David was in the drug induced haze he claims to have been in. this is just masterful and real that it seems like he was really caught up in something more than a drug fueled haze. for me, this is another defining moment. Still this touches my heart and gives me goose bumps.

**** 3/4 out of 5

 

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