Thursday, April 3, 2014

Seabrook gives his all for "Heroes"

Seabrook's build up to his song-by-song analysis of "Heroes" and said analysis are exactly what I was looking for.

There's trivia, there's Seabrook's standard in-depth look at all of the production that went into each song, and there's a reflection on how each of them contributes to the whole of the album. Everything is there. 

The only problem I have with this part of Bowie in Berlin, in fact, is that the rest of the book doesn't measure up. "Heroes" (the song and the album) being what they are, it's to be expected that the most attention be paid to it. But why deliver only what readers expect?

Seabrook's constant winking references to incidents given more page time in other works or that are already well known to fans of Bowie in earlier sections of the book are fine for those fans. But what about people for whom Bowie In Berlin is their initiation into the secret life of the man and his music? 

Surely things like Bowie's seeing Visconti and Antonia Maass smooching in the shadow of the Berlin wall and then integrating it into "'Heroes'" happened on Low and Station to Station.

Oddly enough the only comparably deep cut of information that Seabrook gives about another of the albums that he covers can be found in his analysis of Iggy Pop's "China Girl." Maybe "real" fans already knew about Iggy's affair with Jacques Higelin's then girlfriend Kuelan Nguyen and how it inspired that song.

But again, why isn't there more there and in his writing about the other albums?

The worst part of this inconsistency in coverage is that it looks like it will continue to the end of the book.

Heroes is the last album that Seabrook gives the song-by-song treatment to. Perhaps, though, with his attention turned from musical analysis, more of it will be paid to illuminating just what in the world was going on with David Bowie as he moved on to Lodger and beyond.

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