David Bowie : What In The World
I had planned to write quite a bit about the first of David Bowie's 1977 albums, Low. But my son really wanted to go to a Monster Truck rally and here we are approaching my bedtime after a long week. So here goes nothing.
It's a bi-polar effort though isn't it? The first side experimental chock full of avant garde rock n roll. And like the Beach Boys albums of the early 70's, most recordings fade out the moment the ideas run out. The second side reflecting the influence of his collaborator, Brian Eno.
Side Two was dismissed by Rolling Stone critic John Milward for its "dabbling" :
Bowie lacks the self-assured humor to pull off his avant-garde aspirations. His role playing long ago blew his detached mystique. Low serves as a moderately interesting conduit through which a wider audience will be exposed to Bowie's latest heroes, and in this sense is an interesting addition to his recorded catalog. More importantly, Low fulfills another of Bowie's requirements -- it again washes clean his audience's expectations and allows him to contemplate his next mask.
The dean, Robert Christgau, gave Low a B+.
As for Billboard Magazine, mostly read by retailers and radio programmers :
Side two is the most adventurous and a stark contrast to the few distorted hard rock cuts on side one. This LP emphasizes Bowie's serious writing efforts which only time can tell will appeal to the people who have watched him go through various musical phases. Best cuts: "Warszawa," "Weeping Wall," "Sound And Vision."