Thursday, January 8, 2015

Celebrate Bowie's Birthday with 'Nothing Has Changed'

Since today is David Bowie's birthday, I thought it would be a good time for a reminder about Nothing Has Changed...

Aimed at Bowie completists and newcomers who might have discovered him following acclaimed 2013 comeback album The Next Daythe retrospective came out this past November via Legacy/Columbia Records.  

In America, Nothing Has Changed is available as a 3CD, 59-track version (sequenced in reverse chronological order) as well as a double CD (sequenced in chronological order) and a double LP. A single CD version came out in select countries.  

Spanning 1964 to 2014, the triple-disc collection starts with new track "Sue (or In a Season of Crime)" and ends with "Liza Jane." The former is an avant garde jazz number recorded with the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra and co-produced by longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. It clocks in past the seven-minute mark and finds Bowie veering from mournful to crooner mode. The latter is his snazzy first single from 1964 billed as Davie Jones & the King Bees (included here in mono). 

Many of the singles are radio edits and there are several rarities: James Murphy's Hello Steve Reich Mix of "Love Is Lost" adds subtle synth, a live clapping sample and a riff from "Ashes to Ashes." The previously unreleased "Let Me Sleep Beside You" from the infamous Toy sessions is a dense, mid-tempo rocker with low key vocals. A download-only "Your Turn To Drive" (making its CD debut) finds Bowie backed by billowy trumpet, piano and a psychedelic guitar line. "Shadow Man," a 2001 re-recording of 1971 outtake, is a nice ethereal piano ballad. The Marius de Vries of "Seven" is slightly more upbeat and poppy with more emphasis on the female backing vocals. "I'm Afraid of Americans" is the simmering version with Nine Inch Nails, while the inclusion of "Hallo Spaceboy" is the dancey, hard-to-find Pet Shop Boys remix. 

On Disc 2, the MM remix of "Time Will Crawl," is more sophisticated with a string quartet, while 1981's "Wild is the Wind" here is from a 2010 Harry Maslin mix. Disc 3 opens with the jarringly abrupt Visconti single mix edit from 2007 and is most notable for Bowie's own rarely heard take on "All the Young Dudes" (a song that became a hit for Mott the Hoople) that's peppered with honking sax. And it's quite a hoot to hear the still teenager Bowie on "Can't Help Thinking About Me" and "You've Got a Habit of Leaving" (billed with The Lower Third). 

In related news, a special limited David Bowie 7" picture disc marking the 40th anniversary edition of "Young Americans" is out on Feb. 24. 

Originally released in the spring of 1975 and taken from the album of the same name, this "2007 Tony Visconti single mix" is making its vinyl debut.

The AA-side, which runs at 33 1/3 r.p.m, "It's Gonna Be Me (With Strings)" is an alternate version of an outtake from the 1974 Sigma Sound sessions in Philadelphia. It was first released on the Young Americans album special edition in 2007 and is also making its first appearance on vinyl.

The image above used on the A-side of the picture disc is by the famous
of the 1940s-50s Hollywood photographer Tom Kelley. The photograph on the AA-side is a 1974 shot by Steve Schapiro.

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