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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 11-26-21 – 12-2-21, David Bowie’s Box Set “Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001)”

Welcome to David Bowie’s mid-life crises taking him from 45 years of age to 53. Bowie reacted to the aging process by getting married in 1992, and culminated it with the birth of his daughter in 2001. This is where Bowie so completely misplaced his pop chops that even “Little Wonder” couldn’t get him in the charts, and a series of missed (and hits albums) make it easily the most difficult period of his career. After his break for health reasons and to raise his family, he returned in 2013 with back to back masterpieces and then died. Before 1991 he birthed and killed Ziggy Stardust and went on a tear till 1984, when he lost his mojo even as he emerged as a rock superstar.

Brilliant Adventure is five complete albums, a never released sixth album, two BBC sets, and odds and sods. And while it stands up alright, it gains nothing except for head scratching as it is pierced together as an excuse to put Toy in context. Let’s take a look:

Black Tie White Noise – 1993 – His wedding album and a masterclass in emotional joy and absolute heat – A

The Buddha of Suburbia – 1993 – the soundtrack to Hanif Kureishi’s adaption of his 1990 novel for the BBC. A complete triumph of an instrumental album – A-

Outside (The Nathan Adler Diaries: A Hyper Cycle) – David Bowie – 1995 – Bowie got together with Eno for this? Pales in comparison to their 1970s works, floats away into the ether of overblown, anti-pop. The concept (which thankfully never had a part two) about a Philip Marlowe character investigating the death of a fourteen year old girl is sub-David Lynch – C

Earthling – 1997 – This is much poppier and while that doesn’t make it much better, certainly “LIttle Wonder” is as good as it gets (and he was great on the tour) – B

Toy – 2001 – “Shadow Man” an outtake from the Ziggy sessions is a must hear, the remakes of his earliest songs is interesting and more, some of the songs, the revised “Let Me Sleep Beside You” could’ve been written by Morrissey though it precedes Moz by twenty years – B+

Heathen – 2002 – considered a return after his artsier excursions, he sounds like Scott Walker and has a sad and underwhelmed vibe – C+

It isn’t bad, it fixes a hole, and with 153 songs and over five hours it is thorough. But this was not prime Bowie.

Grade: B

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