David Bowie’s ‘Alien’ Has Landed!

“Waiting so long, I’ve been waiting so, waiting so…”

After months of waiting, David Bowie’s latest box set, Loving the Alien has finally arrived. This expansive look at Bowie’s most commercially successful period of output not only boasts remastered versions of his 1980s albums, but also includes the never-before-released audio recording of the iconic Serious Moonlight Tour. This 2-disc offering features some of Bowie’s best live recordings from “Look Back in Anger” and “Heroes” to “Modern Love” and “Let’s Dance.”

Continuing where the three previous box sets left off, David Bowie’s Loving the Alien box set encapsulates Bowie’s ‘80s commercial era. The 11 CD and 15 LP sets will be released October 12, 2018 and includes the newly remastered studio albums Let’s Dance, Tonight and Never Let Down, plus the previously unreleased Serious Moonlight double live album (recorded in Montreal in 1983), as well as a remastered two-disc version of Glass Spider 1987 (Live in Montreal).

Among the box set’s exclusive materials is a new production of the 1987 album Never Let Me Down by Mario McNulty. This is not merely a new remaster or remix, but NLMD 2018 features newly recorded instrumentation by Reeves Gabrels, David Torn, Sterling Campbell and Tim Lefebvre. Other exclusives include RE: CALL 4, featuring remastered single versions, non-album singles, album edits and B-sides, as well as soundtrack songs from Labyrinth, Absolute Beginners and When the Wind Blows. DANCE features 12 remixes, some of which are appearing on CD and vinyl for the very first time.

The remastering is not only superb, but also adds new luster to each of the studio and live recordings. Let’s Dance and Tonight have never sounded better. The newly produced 2018 version of Never Let Me Down also sheds new upon this overlooked and underrated classic album. The only oversight here (albeit intentional) is the unfortunate omission of “Too Dizzy” which was originally included on the initial pressings of the Never Let Me Down album and compact disc. Although the track was reportedly despised by Bowie, its inclusion would have allowed diehards the opportunity to revisit this often-maligned album in its entirety. With that said, at least the B-sides “Girls” and “Julie” have been included which help to make up for the aforementioned track’s absence.

The 128-page book is packed with photographs and contains interesting insight into Bowie’s most loved and loathed era, which is heightened by historic photos shot by fashion photographer and music video director Herb Ritts, as well as a treasure of technical notes about the albums from Nile Rodgers and Hugh Padgham.

While Loving the Alien may not capture Bowie’s most creative decade, it is another outstanding presentation of one of music’s most imaginative artists, which contains more than enough rewarding moments to satisfy any true Bowie fan’s expectations.

 

 

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David Bowie Box Set Series Continues with Loving the Alien (1983 – 1988)

Continuing where the three previous box sets left off, David Bowie’s Loving the Alien box set encapsulates Bowie’s ‘80s commercial era. The 11 CD and 15 LP sets will be released October 12, 2018 and include the newly remastered studio albums Let’s DanceTonight and Never Let Me Down, plus the previously unreleased Serious Moonlight double live album (recorded in Vancouver in 1983), as well as a remastered two-disc version of Glass Spider 1987 (Live in Montreal).

Among the box set’s exclusive materials is a new production of the 1987 album Never Let Me Down, by Mario McNulty, which features new instrumentation by Reeves Gabrels, David Torn, Sterling Campbell and Tim Lefebvre. Other exclusives include RE: CALL 4, featuring remastered single versions, non-album singles, album edits and B-sides, as well as soundtrack songs from Labyrinth, Absolute Beginners and When the Wind BlowsDance will feature a dozen various remixes, some of which are appearing on CD and vinyl for the very first time.

Unfortunately, the long deleted track “Too Dizzy” from Never Let Me Down will not be included on this set, nor will the box include the 1988 home video audio version of the Glass Spider Tour. The previously available Glass Spider concert from Vancouver recorded in 1987 will be included instead of the audio from the Glass Spider show in Sydney, Australia, which was released on VHS and Laser Disc in the late 1980s before its eventual DVD release in 2007.

The Loving the Alien CD box includes a 128-page book, and the LP box includes an 84-page book, both will feature rare and previously unpublished photos by Herb Ritts, Greg Gorman and Denis O’Regan. The books will also contain technical album specifics by Nile Rodgers, Hugh Padgham, Mario McNulty and Justin Shirley-Smith. Additionally, various historical press reviews will be included as a retrospective time capsule of the era.

Here’s a complete rundown of the tracks contents that will be included in the CD and vinyl box sets:

CD Box Set:

128 Page hardback book

Let’s Dance (remastered) (1CD)

Serious Moonlight (Live ’83) (previously unreleased) (2CD)

Tonight (remastered) (1CD)

Never Let Me Down (remastered) (1CD)

Never Let Me Down 2018 (previously unreleased) (1CD) *

Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87) (2CD)

Dance (1CD) *

Re:Call 4 (non-album singles, edits, single versions, B-sides and soundtrack music) (remastered) (2CD) *

* Exclusive to Loving the Alien (1983-1988)

LP Box Set:

88 Page hardback book

Let’s Dance (remastered) (1LP)

Serious Moonlight (Live ’83) (previously unreleased) (2LP) *

Tonight (remastered) (1LP)

Never Let Me Down (remastered) (1LP)

Never Let Me Down (2018) (previously unreleased) (2LP–side 4 is etched) *

Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87) (previously unreleased on vinyl) (3LP) *

Dance (2LP) *

Re:Call 4 (non-album singles, edits, single versions, B-sides and soundtrack music) (remastered) (3LP) *

* Exclusive to Loving the Alien (1983-1988) LP box

TRACKLISTING:

Let’s DanceModern Love/China Girl/Let’s Dance/Without You/Ricochet/Criminal World/Cat People (Putting Out Fire)/Shake It

Serious Moonlight (Live ’83)Look Back in Anger/Heroes/What in The World/Golden Years/Fashion/Let’s Dance/Breaking Glass/Life on Mars?/Sorrow/Cat People (Putting Out Fire)/China Girl/Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)/Rebel Rebel/White Light, White Heat/Station to Station/Cracked Actor/Ashes to Ashes/Space Oddity/Band Introduction/Young Americans/Fame/Modern Love

TonightLoving the Alien/Don’t Look Down/God Only Knows/Tonight/Neighborhood Threat/Blue Jean/Tumble and Twirl/I Keep Forgettin’/Dancing with The Big Boys

Never Let Me Down: Day-In Day-Out/Time Will Crawl/Beat of Your Drum/Never Let Me Down/Zeroes/Glass Spider/Shining Star (Makin’ My Love)/New York’s In Love/’87 And Cry/Bang Bang

Never Let Me Down (2018): Day-In Day-Out/Time Will Crawl/Beat of Your Drum/Never Let Me Down/Zeroes/Glass Spider/Shining Star (Makin’ My Love) (featuring Laurie Anderson)/New York’s In Love/’87 And Cry/Bang Bang

Glass Spider (Live in Montreal 1987): Intro/Up the Hill Backwards/Glass Spider/Day-In Day-Out/Bang Bang/Absolute Beginners/Loving the Alien/China Girl/Rebel Rebel/Fashion/Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)/All the Madmen/Never Let Me Down/Big Brother/‘87 And Cry/Heroes/Sons of The Silent Age/Time Will Crawl/Band Introduction/Young Americans/Beat of Your Drum/The Jean Genie/Let’s Dance/Fame/Time/Blue Jean/Modern Love

Dance: Shake It (Re-mix aka Long Version)/Blue Jean (Extended Dance Mix)/Dancing with The Big Boys (Extended Dance Mix)/Tonight (Vocal Dance Mix)/Don’t Look Down (Extended Dance Mix)/Loving the Alien (Extended Dub Mix)/Tumble and Twirl (Extended Dance Mix)/Underground (Extended Dance Mix)/Day-In Day-Out (Groucho Mix)/Time Will Crawl (Dance Crew Mix)/Shining Star (Makin’ My Love) (12” mix)/Never Let Me Down (Dub/Acapella)

RE:CALL 4: Let’s Dance (single version)/China Girl (single version)/Modern Love (single version)/This Is Not America (The theme from ‘The Falcon and The Snowman’)–[David Bowie with Pat Metheny Group]/Loving the Alien (re-mixed version)/Don’t Look Down (re-mixed version)/Dancing in The Street (Clearmountain mix)–[David Bowie and Mick Jagger]/Absolute Beginners (from Absolute Beginners)/That’s Motivation (from Absolute Beginners)/Volare (from Absolute Beginners)/Labyrinth Opening Titles-Underground (from Labyrinth)/Magic Dance (from Labyrinth)/As the World Falls Down (from Labyrinth)/Within You (from Labyrinth)/Underground (from Labyrinth)/When the Wind Blows (single version) (from When the Wind Blows)/Day-In Day-Out (single version)/Julie (B-side from “Day-In Day-Out”)/Beat of Your Drum (vinyl album edit)/Glass Spider (vinyl album edit)/Shining Star (Makin’ My Love) (vinyl album edit)/New York’s In Love (vinyl album edit)/‘87 And Cry (vinyl album edit)/Bang Bang (vinyl album edit)/Time Will Crawl (single version)/Girls (extended edit of B-side from “Time Will Crawl”)/Never Let Me Down (7” remix edit)/Bang Bang (live – promotional mix)/Tonight (live) [David Bowie with Tina Turner]/Let’s Dance (live) [David Bowie with Tina Turner]

Remembering David Bowie 1947 – 2016

This week inconceivably marks two years since David Bowie’e untimely passing, but it’s still hard to believe he’s gone. This week, on what would have been his 71st birthday, I am once again exploring his extensive catalog, as I fondly reflect upon my personal journey of discovery into the bewildering artistry of Bowie. [Click here to read my celebratory recollection]

40 Years of Love: Donna Summer and the Derivation of Electronica

It’s been 40 years since the world first heard the future of music when “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer shocked us into a new sonic awakening. The electronic masterpiece – composed by Summer along with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte – was the foundation for what was to become known as electronic dance music. Whether you loved or loathed disco, “I Feel Love” commanded everyone’s attention and became a dance floor anthem during the summer of 1977. At the time, no one had previously heard anything like it. It’s hypnotic melody, combined with an irresistible synthesized bassline and pulsating dance beat was musical nirvana. Summer’s sensual vocal delivery was the icing on top of the cake as she perfectly conveyed the euphoric essence of the song’s timeless and universal message of love. The first lady of love had struck gold (and platinum) again and delivered another game-changing record every bit as earth-shattering as her breakthrough hit, “Love to Love You Baby.” [Read Full Review]

Harry Styles Emerges as Rock Star on Solo Debut Album

Harry Styles: Harry Styles

What do you do in your spare time while on hiatus from one of the world’s biggest-selling and most successful boy bands? If you’re Harry Styles you use that time wisely by dropping a debut album so commanding that it makes you an instant rock star. If you disregard preconceived notions concerning boy bands, as well as stop trying to decipher if lyrical subtexts may or may not allude to Taylor Swift, you will hear the emerging talent of an undeniably credible solo artist. Harry Styles effectually straddles the line between do-it-yourself production qualities and cock rock.

Harry Styles won’t stop Directioners from wondering if and when the notorious boy band will reunite, but it certainly affirms Styles has the goods to become a major solo star. It’s also utterly refreshing to hear a young artist embrace the use of organic elements such as strings, guitar, and choir instead of opting for the exhausted generic sounding beat-driven production gimmicks currently permeating the musical landscape. [Read Full Review]

Watch the “Sign of the Times” Music Video:

Lady Gaga Slays the Grammys with David Bowie Tribute

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Lady “Stardust” Gaga gave an inspired tribute to David Bowie with a show-stopping performance. With help from her creative team known as Haus of Gaga and alongside the legendary Nile Rodgers who served as musical director, Gaga delivered a glammed-up chameleonic performance as she belted out a medley chock-full of Bowie classics which included: “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Suffragette City,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Fashion,” “Fame,” “Under Pressure,” “Let’s Dance” and “Heroes.”

Watch Gaga’s unforgettable homage to her musical hero below:

 

Remembering David Bowie

Bowie final

Where to begin when discussing David Bowie? It’s almost impossible to define one of the most influential artists of all time with a musical legacy of near-mythic importance. Especially considering his career spans from 1962 to 2016 and includes such classics as “Starman,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Heroes,” and “I’m Afraid of Americans.” Not to mention his vast canon of 25 eclectic albums, each one a divergent musical statement contained within an illustrious work of graphic art.

Nearly every Bowie fan has a favorite period or persona with a specific entry point, making it all the more difficult to attempt summing up the gender-bending, sexually ambiguous performer and musician’s life and accomplishments without writing an entire book (of which there are already more than a few of in existence). So instead I’ll try to sum up what impact the icon of music, film, art, and fashion had on my life.

My initial exposure to David Bowie was from top 40 radio and television shows such as The Midnight Special, Soul Train, and Saturday Night Live during the 1970s. As a kid I already liked the songs I’d heard (“Space Oddity,” “Fame,” and “Golden Years” were my favorites), but as a sheltered pre-teen I was jarringly taken aback, even frightened by him when first exposed to his spaced-out androgynous Ziggy Stardust persona. My initial reactions to the glam rocker were fear, confusion, and intrigue as I’d never seen or heard anyone like him, but my initial perceptions morphed into unadulterated admiration in the 80s.

I can remember being completely blown away as I sat transfixed the very first time I saw the “Ashes to Ashes” music video on MTV. This resulted in my newly awakened interest, just in time for Bowie’s latest incarnation, as he dominated the new music video age. Let’s Dance was the first Bowie record I purchased (as I became hypnotized by the infectiousness of “China Girl” and “Modern Love”), which led to my own personal discovery period as I began to delve into and devour each of his past albums from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, to The Man Who Sold the World, and Space Oddity.

My rekindled interest continued as I greedily consumed all of Bowie’s output from that point forward, especially Labyrinth and Never Let Me Down, which culminated into my all-time favorite Bowie tour and live recording, his epochal Glass Spider Tour (although it’s often maligned and dismissed by critics and fans alike). I would watch my VHS copy with such repeated regularity, it eventually caused lines of distortion to run through the worn video image. Let’s just say I was in desperate need of upgrading my fuzzy video years later when it was re-released as a DVD/CD combo. As the years went by, Bowie grew to be a perpetual constant in my life as one of my favorite artists, as it never ceased to be a major life event for me whenever he’d release a new musical opus.

I’m pleased to say in 2004, I finally had the opportunity to experience one of his electrifying and unequaled live performances during what was sadly to become his final concert tour. The two and a half hour set was truly one of the greatest moments of my life (as well as one of my most cherished ticket stubs) and not a moment too soon either. Just weeks after attending his concert, Bowie underwent an angioplasty procedure for a blocked artery and the remaining dates of his A Reality Tour were cancelled.

Following his heart surgery, Bowie seemed to all but disappear until 2013 when he quietly surprise released The Next Day, his first album of new material in a decade. Well worth the wait, TND debuted at number two on Billboard and received glowing reviews. After a 10-year span of virtual silence, it was a sigh of relief to hear exciting new material. This excitement continued as “Moonage Daydream” was forever immortalized as part of the Marvel Universe while featured in the film and soundtrack of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which was soon followed by news that we could expect another album early in 2016.

I was elated when Bowie’s Blackstar was released on January 8, the artist’s 69th birthday. I spent that entire weekend enraptured by the eerily dark, but strangely hypnotic new music. I couldn’t help noticing an indescribable undercurrent within the lyrics the more I listened, especially in “Lazarus,” “Dollar Days” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” but I was too elated at having new Bowie music to dwell too deeply. However, this uneasiness became all too clear when I awakened on Monday morning to the shockingly unforeseen news that Bowie had passed away after an 18-month struggle with cancer. My first thought was that it had to be an Internet hoax, but sadly it was confirmed as I watched the plentiful tributes begin to pour in from around the world.

Death is an unfortunate reality for all of us, but it almost seems as if some people are supposed to miraculously beat the cosmic odds and defy death. Somewhere deep down in my subconscious, I think I always believed that if anyone could escape the Grim Reaper’s grasp, it would have been David Bowie.

Thank you Mr. Jones for sharing your talent with us mere mortals and giving the world such a magnanimous and inspiring body of work.

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky/He’d like to come and meet us/But he thinks he’d blow our minds/There’s a starman waiting in the sky…”