TOP 5 BOWIE ALBUMS (CONTINUED) - #2 STATION TO STATION
The so-called bridge between Bowie’s glam rock period and Berlin trilogy (Low-Heroes-Lodger)/new wave period. The album during which Bowie was so addicted to coke to this day he doesn’t remember recording it (or so the story goes). I got this one only recently after reading so much about it. After listening to incessantly I have no idea why I waited so long. Only 6 songs – but what a six! Everyone knows Golden Years but the title cut, Station to Station, is just fantastic and one of his best, as is Word on a Wing, which I can easily hear Bruce sing due in no small part to Roy Bittan’s signature playing, whose footprints are all over this record. TVC15 is quirky and cool, a sign of things to come. The funky Stay and cover of Wild is the Wind – apparently inspired by Nina Simone’s (of whom I’m a big fan) version – round out the record. Each song stands out on its own and they’re all great. There’s nothing remotely mediocre here.
So now we’re down to #1, which you’ll find out about very soon!
TOP 5 BOWIE LIST (Continued) - #3 HUNKY DORY
Hunky Dory is acoustic, organic, piano-oriented and features great songwriting throughout. I actually got into this one late in my life but it didn’t take long to get really into it and to me, it’s marginally better than the Spiders from Mars. It was that close but Hunky Dory takes the #3 spot. I listened to both albums back to back on several occasions because it was that difficult for me to choose which one I liked more. Both Hunky and Ziggy are comparable in terms of their prolific output. Each one has 11 songs – and each has 9 strong to very strong tracks. There are the 3 classics on Hunky Dory – Changes, Life on Mars? and Queen Bitch, which is just awesome! – and those 3 stack up against any 3 on Ziggy in my opinion (FWIW my top 3 on Ziggy are Suffragette City, Lady Stardust and Starman). Then there are Kooks and Quicksand, both of which are very strong. Quicksand in particular is one of Bowie’s most interesting songs and clearly has a Neil Young influence as others have pointed out. Andy Warhol, Song for Dylan and Oh You Pretty Things are also great, and Bewlay Brothers grew on me with repeated listens. The 2 throwaways – Eight Line Poem and Fill Your Heart – are ok btw…I just don’t love them or need to hear them, although if I had to choose, the throwaways on Ziggy (Soul Love; It Ain’t Easy) are a bit better. At any rate there are far worse throwaways on other records, let’s put it that way. But to sum it up, I’d place Hunky Dory’s top 9 above Ziggy’s top 9 as I think they are more timeless overall, which is why Hunky Dory is #3 on my list.
Two to go…
Top 5 Bowie Albums - #4 Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Wait, shouldn’t this be higher lol?!? This one was extremely tough. I wavered back and forth about where to put this – 3rd or 4th on my list. But I ultimately decided on this spot for the album that made Bowie a star and launched his glam rock period. I don’t love glam rock, but this is obviously a classic record and a great place to start if you’re a Bowie newbie. There are several famous tracks here – the title cut (arguably his most famous song but a bit overrated if you ask me), Moonage Daydream, Starman, Lady Stardust, Suffragette City (still one of my all time fav Bowie songs – I love hearing it). Hang On To Yourself is another highlight. Star and Rock N Roll Suicide are also great. That whole second half starting from Lady Stardust on through the end is a perfect album side.
So why 4th? The next one won out…barely. It’s that close. I’ll explain further next time. Stay tuned!
WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT ON YOUR PLANET?
I’ve been in a Bowie phase lately and, with his first new release (The Next Day) in 10 years last week, I thought this is as good a time as any to share my top 5 Bowie albums. I’m starting with #5 and will eventually work my way to #1. Here’s #5 - Heroes, the cover of which, ironically enough, provides the backdrop for The Next Day. Part II of the Berlin Trilogy (Low-Heroes-Lodger). Follows the Low format for the most part – the first half featuring conventional pop-rock, at least conventional for Bowie, and the second half featuring more ambient instrumentals other than the closer. Two of my favorite Bowie tracks are on this record – Heroes (one of the best songs of all time!) and Sons of the Silent Age. The instrumentals are really great, too – V2 Schneider kicks this part off nicely - with each one expressing a different theme.
Stay tuned for #4 soon!
The cover of my new EP, Realizations & Declarations Vol. 1, released last Nov. 2012. This is the first of a series of EPs that will culminate in a full length album. I’m already working on Vol. 2! For more details, check out my site at www.scottkrokoff.com.
How Roberts Saved The Checks & Balances System
If you believe this article has anything to do with the merits of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) just upheld by the Supreme Court as constitutional, then stop reading now. If you hated the law before, you can continue hating it. But what Chief Justice Roberts did with his unexpected swing vote – if anyone was expected to swing, it was Justice Kennedy – was not only preserve the legitimacy of the Roberts court but also, and more importantly, the integrity of the checks and balances system. Why do I say that? If this vote fell along party lines it would have been an unmitigated disaster. It’s one thing for Congress to remain stuck in partisan disputes. It would have been quite another to drag the Supreme Court into it, one with far more reaching consequences.
Our entire system of government is based on three independent branches – the executive (i.e., the President), the legislative (Congress) and the judiciary (the Supreme Court). It would be naive to say that each of these branches is truly independent from one another, and it would also be foolish to think that the Court never decided a case along party lines before. But if the Court decided a case as polarizing as this one along party lines any vestige or even the illusion of independence would have disappeared, and along with it the credibility of the checks and balances system. I strongly believe that Chief Justice Roberts considered these ramifications before deciding where he stood – especially in light of the latest rumors that he flipped after initially siding with the dissenting justices – although he’ll never cop to that.
I read an article online where Michelle Bachmann was quoted as saying that in her opinion this decision severely undermined the credibility of the Supreme Court. To the contrary, he bolstered it. The Court’s credibility would have been undermined a thousand fold if Roberts sided with the dissenting justices.
Live at Radio Bean, Burlington, VT tonight at 8pm!
Upcoming gigs at The Bitter End (12/8) and Spike Hill (1/5). Details to follow.
Playing tonite at the famed Higher Ground in Burlington, VT. Opening for one eskimO and Bob Schneider!