Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Sound Check


David BowieBowie

At 69, now does not seem like the time for David Bowie to be mixing things up. The world knows what Bowie is, and most everyone is perfectly happy with it, because it is amazing. However, “Blackstar” flips the script completely, as Bowie offers up his strangest, most experimental and daring (if not most creative) album yet. The title track is a 10-minute concept album unto itself, while tracks like “Lazarus” and “Girl Loves Me” are sax-heavy forays into some of the stranger recesses of Bowie’s mind. “Blackstar” abandons virtually all of Bowie’s formidable pop sensibilities in favor of odd time signatures and a slew of global influences. Ultimately, while the album’s magnificent artistry works as a whole, the feeling is more impressionistic than anything Bowie has ever attempted before. Once again, let Bowie show the rest of us that it is never too late to try something new. CV

Tom JonesTom Jones
“Long Lost Suitcase”

Serving as the polar opposite approach, 75-year old Tom Jones is back with his first album in five years, and the track list boasts a litany of covers from acts ranging from Hank Williams and Sonny Boy Williamson to Gillian Welch and The Rolling Stones. However, as Ryan Adams proved triumphantly last year, one can find genuinely moving ways in which to make someone else’s songs yours. In this regard, Jones more or less succeeds. On some tracks, such as Williams’ “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To,” Jones’ rich pipes feel as strong as ever, and his trademark vocal whine makes the song feel plaintive and real. Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues” does not fare as well, as Jones’ minimalist approach leaves the song feeling hollow. CV

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