Tuesday, 23 June 2009

David Bowie 'Modern Love'

Chart Peak: 2


Squint closely enough at the image there and you might be able to tell that Side 4 isn't in terribly good condition. Luckily, it's also the side I already owned the most of, so I could review this one through my copy of Best Of Bowie: a particular advantage in this case, because that video really does it no favours.

'Let's Dance' was one of the 1983 chart-toppers most conspicuously absent from Now 1, it being on EMI and all. One can only surmise that Bowie was reluctant to licence the track, but on seeing the sales of that he was only too happy to supply a track to the follow up. 'Modern Love' is a slightly edited version of the opening track from the Let's Dance album and his second consecutive single to peak at 2 (after 'China Girl'). Indeed, it was denied the top position by 'Karma Chameleon' back in October 1983, making it the least topical track on this album.

It goes without saying that we're a some way from the material on which Bowie's reputation is built. Although there's supposed to be a serious theme here ("God and Man", obviously), nothing is really very explicit and Bowie is obviously playing up to the pop audience here... but if you're expecting me to dismiss it on those grounds, I have to admit that it's a record I've always enjoyed. Bowie beats many of the 80s pop stars at their own game, with a performance funkier and more soulful than much of the rest of this set despite the lack of emotion in the material. Nile Rodgers supplies a dated but punchy production and there's a good swing to the whole recording. It's not a classic, but at least it's not 'China Girl'.

Also appearing on: Now 5 (with Pat Metheney Group), 7
Available on: Best of Bowie

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