David Bowie – “Heroes”

heroes_coverOr, Low 2, but not as directly involving due to the fuller gleam; which, in making more fluid the admirable, jagged Noh-ness of Low, belies that album’s stark black & white intimacy of elliptical fragmentation. But that’s the paradox. Here the added showmanship guarantees the distancing effect of irony and frames indulgence as a meaningful point. DB uses an epic, self-consciously cinematic aura (“Sons Of The Silent Age” in “The Secret Life Of Arabia”) to deep-focus the world’s busy buzz and the shutter-clicking, lone state of a single man; to render life solipsistically, so as to recover from Low‘s cathartic seclusion on his own imagined terms. The message: Dreams are as willed (needed) as they are delicate (doubted). We still seek it, but “safe” is nowhere. And — with the cynical quotation marks, the electric drone-wash offset by Robert Fripp’s impromptu caterwaul, and the movie-swept, “brave manikin vs. storied Berlin” leitmotif — it is the gorgeous title track from which the rest of the album descends thematically. Moody variations on a dichotomous keystone, tunes shimmer (the instrumental, “Moss Garden”) or grate (the song, “Joe The Lion”), and ne’er successfully does the twain meet except on “‘Heroes'” itself. If Bowie were as constant melodically as the revamped craft is coolly deliberative, his avant leanings might be more satisfying. As it is, “Heroes” is the lesser of Low.

Rating: A-

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