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Sound Check

11/26/2014

David BowieBowie

“Nothing Has Changed”

Parlophone

There are three versions of David Bowie’s new compilation album for you to choose from; I chose the massive, three CD, 79-track version, because if you’re going to go, you might as well go big. Since Bowie operates on a wavelength above that of mere mortals, “Nothing Has Changed” winds up being about as daring of a release as you can make out of a singles compilation. Starting with a new track and working backwards through time, the entire first disc is a bold statement regarding Bowie’s trust in his own genius by being populated almost entirely by songs you’ve never heard. The opening track, “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime),” is a seven-and-a-half-minute exploration of jazz, and probably the least radio-friendly single Bowie has ever released. The later CDs get into Bowie’s better known stuff, but the entire album is a reminder that, for 50 years, this guy has been doing it better than just about anyone. CV

Simple MindsSimple Minds

HIV

“Big Music”

Sony

Simple Minds has tried to reinvent itself a bit with “Big Music.” Everything here still sounds like the band you know and love, but there is a concerted effort being made here to remind everyone that Simple Minds has made music in years that don’t start with “198.” “Big Music” is full of a big synth sound and booming percussion. The album is sonically huge with a lot of big ideas covered in the lyrics and a sound that seems custom-made to come alive in a concert setting. But for as big and fresh as the sound is, the band hasn’t completely forgotten its roots, and the music is immediately identifiable. From opening track “Blindfold” to the closing notes of “Spirited Away,” Simple Minds has created an album that will please old fans while updating its sound for a new decade. CV

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