Bowie Now (1978)

Bowie Now

For an RCA Records US-only promo released in 1978, the intriguing Bowie Now is a surprisingly fine album-track selection of Berlin-era Bowie material and originally something of a rare artefact. The purpose of this record was to draw attention of the all-powerful US radio station programmers to Bowie’s masterful Berlin work.

Re-released for its first commercial release 40 years later on Record Store Day in 2018, the tracks are drawn from the ground-breaking Low and “Heroes” albums, and audio remastered from the A New Career In A New Town box set released in 2017. The handsome package features a newly designed inner sleeve with rarely seen black and white images taken in Berlin in 1977 by Corrine Schwab.

Bowie Now (1978) mp3

Side A

1-1 V-2 Schneider (3:10)

Bowie’s tribute to Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider…splendidly demented…check Bowie’s multi-tracked saxophones.

1-2 Always Crashing in the Same Car (3:26)

Bowie’s evocation of a dream is a powerfully recurring foreboding of DOOM!!…anticipation of violence and imminent disaster…Ricky Gardener’s seering guitar riffs excite.

1-3 Sons of the Silent Age (3:15)

All I see is all I know“…fragmented lyrics are a juxtaposition of traditional chorus with a cut-up William Burroughs-style verse.

1-4 Breaking Glass (1:42)

Urban time bomb set to self-destruct…”You’re such a wonderful person, but you got problems“…love/pain relationship captures the dark side of contemporary soul.

1-5 Neukoln (4:34)

An area in Berlin where Turks live in very bad ghetto conditions…an isolated community unnervingly and vividly surreal…instrumental impressionism…Eastern sounds…Bowie blows outrageous sax…jazz riffs above Eno’s glacial overture of rising chords.

Side B

2-1 Speed of Life (2:45)

It seems that Bowie has changed his motivation for running through life at breakneck speed…self-confidence rather than paranoia is the driving force…intergalactic roller rink music…life in the fast lane?…theme song for the New Wave.

2-2 Joe the Lion (3:05)

Compassion for people and the desperate situations they’ve gotten into..illustration of future panic and social disintegration…”Nail me to my car, and I’ll tell you who you are“…Christ-like madman haunting the late-nite spots with murder and terror in mind (Son of Sam? Boston Strangler?)…breathlessly psychotic…song runs at 4 or 5 speeds simultaneously.

2-3 What in the World (2:20)

Confused generation in search of a cause…radical dreams…realpolitik…”What in the World Can I do?

2-4 Blackout (3:50)

Inspired by newspaper accounts of New York’s own…mental failure, emotional breakdown…”Get me off the streets, get me on my feet“…”Nothing to lose, nothing to gain“…

2-5 Weeping Wall (3:25)

Walls of sound envelop the listener with layers of rising and falling pitch, volume, and emotion…electronic masterpiece sets the tone for “Low“…all instruments played by Bowie.

2-6 The Secret Life of Arabia (3:35)

Unashamedly romantic yet tongue-in-cheek.

*comments taken from original 1978 sleeve.
This entry was posted in Albums That Never Were, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Downloads, European Rock Pilgrimage, Images, Mixtapes, Robert Fripp. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bowie Now (1978)

  1. paolomeccano says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: David Bowie, 1981 | THE PRESS | Music Reviews

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