David Bowie is the most important musician in music for me, and after his death last month I wanted to do a retrospective listening. Listening through, I appreciate him more than ever before, but to be honest, I just wanna enjoy some tunes and talk about him.
So, this is the only release I’ve actually never ever listened to. Except for the Laughing Gnome, I’d never heard any of his pre-debut album music, so this is really cool to hear now. I know there are bigger anthologies of his super old songs, but I grabbed this one because it was released last year for record store day. It’s pretty short, but it’s a lot of fun.
One of the pleasures of listening through David Bowie’s discography is being able to hear how he came to where he was, from the very beginning to the end. I was reading articles about him, and I read a quote where he apparently said when he was 9 or 10, “I am going to be a rock star”. That was just something he had decided to do when he was young, and he committed to it. Bowie did so much in his life, he was tireless, and a real icon for had work and persistence and passion. He obviously loved what he did.
This is a really fun release, just six songs, and they all sound like 1966. You can hear the Monkees, the Who, and the Beatles in this. But surprisingly it doesn’t really sound like his debut album. This is way less peculiar than that, but it really is a lot of fun. I never cared for his early songs before, but nowadays I can really appreciate this kind of music. I used to bomb the Beatles’ early music, too, so I’m glad I’ve grown out of that. I love that all the songs hover around the two minute mark, and they’re restlessly catchy.
One definite high is Can’t Help Thinking About Me, which has a great chorus and a really propulsive rhythm with great drums and a cool melody. Bowie’s storytelling singing is in strong form here, and he can put a lot of passion into his voice when he sings “IT’S TOO LATE NOW, I WISH I WAS A CHILD AGAIN, I WISH I FELT SECURE AGAIN!!” before jumping into the chorus. It was the song that kickstarted his renewed interest in his own early work in the late ’90s and early ’00s, so I think it’s a really important song in making David Bowie who he was.
The other song I think is definitely essential is Do Anything You Say, with cool drum fills and nice guitar.
There’s another release (Early On) with these songs with the most comprehensive collection of his pre-debut songs, but I like this because it’s pretty short and a selection of the best.