Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seabrook goes too far beyond Bowie In Berlin

Capping off a book about Bowie in the seventies with a section about the influence of the music he made then makes sense. But naming the final chapter after a song from an album outside of the realm covered by said book is a sure sign that things will go too far.

The impression that I'm left with after finishing Bowie in Berlin is that Seabrook wanted to write a compendium about Bowie but was limited to a single era for a reason that remains a mystery. Branching out, as he does, into a swift overview of the rest of the twentieth century, strikes me as more than the necessary capstone about the influence of Bowie's 70s output.

Ultimately, because of this extended end point I'm left wanting to know more about Bowie in the seventies. What the musician got up to in the final two years of the decade might not have been music-related, but surely it would shed some light on Bowie's state during the music making of that era and the next.

Not to mention, cramming the remainder of Bowie's career up to the 2000s into less than 30 pages leaves it little room to breathe.

Though what I think Seabrook covers justifiably he covers well. With a definite lean towards the musical side of things rather than Bowie's life and practice more generally.

But still.

Thomas Jerome Seabrook's Bowie in Berlin is a good starting place for those interested enough in Bowie in the 70s to not mind the odd hole left for another source to fill.

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