David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

 |   |  1 min read

David Bowie: Word on a Wing
David Bowie: Station to Station, Expanded Edition (EMI)

Rock critics and civilians are generally divided over David Bowie: people on the street seem to prefer the stabbing pop-rock of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane (with party favourite The Jean Genie) and singles like Rebel Rebel and Let's Dance.

Critics – because they famously don't dance – gravitate towards the sonic landscapes of “the Berlin trilogy” (Low, Heroes, Lodger) of the late 70s.

Few from either camp mention Station to Station from 76 among Bowie's best albums. It was certainly one of his most significant, both musically and personally, and boasts the snapping pop single Golden Years and throwback r'n'b rocker TVC15 alongside the epic title track and the widescreen ballad Wild is the Wind (from the 57 film of the same name and originally sung by the crooner Johnny Mathis).

Station to Station presents two sides of Bowie – the pop-rock chameleon and the serious artist. It fell between his self-described “plastic soul record” Young Americans (which sprung the title track and Fame) and his move to Berlin to detox and get arty with Brian Eno.

As critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray noted in Bowie: An Illustrated Record, this album tied off the Ziggy/plastic soul era and hinted at the new style which would come to fruition on Low. It also featured Bowie's last great persona (the thin white duke) and was both accessible (Golden Years, TVC15) and impenetrable (the title track, the romantic-religious Word on a Wing).

The album achieved its emotional effect through a grand simplicity but had at its heart an icicle. Bowie sounds remote and desperate (he doesn't believe these are golden years despite what he says), and the music is sometimes agitated, staccato and unnerving.511Nb_oU2xL._SL500_AA300_

Station to Station – often unfairly overlooked – has been reissued in a mini-box with essays and a double live disc from the same period on which you hear Bowie (as he would do on the live Stage two years late) hedge his bets between hits (Suffragette City, Life on Mars, Five Years, Changes and the crowd-pleasing finishers Rebel Rebel and The Jean Genie) and the more demanding Station to Station material – as well as an odd revision of Velvet Underground's Waiting for the Man.

But Bowie was moving on, and the album title on this one was loaded with meaning.

Share It

Your Comments

Phillip - Nov 27, 2010

This is the Bowie album I have returned to more often than Hunky Dory, Ziggy or Heroes. I have always loved the almost soundtrack like quality to Word on a Wing and Wild is the Wind. But like crtics I cannot dance, either.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Ry Cooder: Election Special (Warners)

Ry Cooder: Election Special (Warners)

With the Republicans calling up arch-conservative Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's monied-up running mate and the gob-smacking misspeak by Missouri congressman Todd Akin about "legitimate rape"... > Read more

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

SHORT CUTS: A round-up of recent New Zealand releases

Facing down an avalanche of releases, requests for coverage, the occasional demand that we be interested in their new album (sometimes with that absurd comment "but don't write about it if you... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE PRODUCER QUESTIONNAIRE: Trevor Reekie of Trip To The Moon

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE PRODUCER QUESTIONNAIRE: Trevor Reekie of Trip To The Moon

When trying to explain to radio listeners recently just who Trevor Rekkie is and why he's so important, it quickly became clear that he was too big a subject to encapsulate with any economy. He... > Read more

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

Had John Lennon lived, he would have turned 63 last month. It's interesting to speculate what kind of music he might be making today. Interesting, but pointless: Lennon never saw the trickle-down... > Read more