Complete artistic control, working with Brian Eno again, critical praise for the first time in almost 20 years, living to see his 50th birthday youd think David Bowie would have been happy with his last two outings, but hes not. Bowie just wants to be a rock star again. Hours, his heavily hyped new record, is what he hopes will get him there, despite (or because) it sounds like a pandering, cloying, comedically barren Sting album with wankier guitars.
After two albums of space-age-provocateur music the Eno-involved Outside (1995) and the drum n bass-inspired Earthling (1996) Hours is as straightforward and mainstream an album as Bowie could make. Its complete with 10 tracks in about 45 minutes, a traditional guitar-bass-drums setup and Bowies voice right on top, with no doubling of voices, spoken word segues, abrasive drum loops and importantly for the straight-in-our-time Bowie no disturbing talk of devious sexuality.
But Bowies plan is cursed by Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels (who gets writing and wanking credit on all 10 tracks) as well as Bowies refusal to rock n roll. His last two records, tough-minded outings into electronica, sonic cityscapes and sexual introspection, had a sense of rhythm and humor, mixing musical high-mindedness with Bowies love for the musical lowbrow to strong results. Hours, on the other hand, is all heavy rock guitar nonsense, more in line with the last Ozzy record than some sort of return to the good old days, whether you think they were Space Oddity or Lodger.
Tragically, Hours really does seem like an attempt by Bowie to reconnect lyrically on an emotional level, not just to pop music but to an audience beyond his always-ready fans. But all rock and no roll makes Bowie a dull boy, despite some interesting post-introspective lyrics ("Something about me stood apart/a whisper of hope that seemed to fail/maybe Im born right out of my time/breaking my life in two") and vocals that rarely show their age.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.