David Bowie – Five Years 1969-1973 (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

David Bowie – Five Years 1969-1973 (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 4:03:50 minutes | 9,22 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital booklet | @ Parlophone Records, Warner Music

The musical chameleon’s 6 studio albums from 1969-1973. In just a short amount of time you can see Bowie turn and surprise at each album. The accompanying book features technical notes about each album from the producers Tony Visconti and Ken Scott, an original press review for each album and a short foreword by an artist of note.

Includes the legendary albums:

David Bowie (aka Space Oddity)
The Man Who Sold The World
Hunky Dory
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Aladdin Sane
PinUps

The first in a series of career-spanning comprehensive box sets, Five Years 1969-1973 chronicles the beginning of David Bowie’s legend by boxing all of his officially released music during those early years. This amounts to six studio albums — 1969’s David Bowie (aka Space Oddity); 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World; 1971’s Hunky Dory; 1972’s The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars; Aladdin Sane, and Pin Ups (both from 1973); a pair of live albums (Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack and Live in Santa Monica ’72, both released long after these five years) and a two-CD collection of non-LP tracks called Re:Call, plus Ken Scott’s 2003 mix of Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust. That list suggests how “officially released” is a guideline that’s easily bent. Live in Santa Monica ’72 is a bootleg that became canonical in 1995, and the soundtrack to Ziggy Stardust didn’t appear until 1983, but both are welcome because they either showcase the Spiders from Mars at their prime (Santa Monica) or at their end (Ziggy). Considering the number of edits, alternates, and B-sides Bowie released during this period, Re:Call is also a needed supplement, but it has some willful blind spots due to that “officially released” maxim: namely, any outtake released as a bonus on the Rykodisc reissues of the early ’90s, including such major items as “Lightning Frightening,” “Bombers,” and “Sweet Head.” Such absences are an irritant but not a major one because the box itself is quite handsome — whether in its CD or LP incarnation, each record is packaged as a replica of its original release — and the remastering is excellent, with Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, and Pin Ups given upgrades to match the anniversary remasters of Ziggy and Aladdin Sane from the 2010s. The improved audio alone makes Five Years 1969-1973 a desirable box for serious Bowie fans, but the whole set does justice to one of the great creative runs in rock history.

David Bowie – David Bowie (Space Oddity) (1969/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 46:19 minutes | 1,96 GB

Originally released as Man of Words/Man of Music, Space Oddity was David Bowie’s first successful reinvention of himself. Abandoning both the mod and Anthony Newley fascinations that marked his earlier recordings, Bowie delves into a lightly psychedelic folk-rock, exemplified by the album’s soaring title track. Bowie actually attempts a variety of styles on Space Oddity, as if he were trying to find the ones that suited him best. As such, the record isn’t very cohesive, but it is charming, especially in light of his later records. Nevertheless, only “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud” and “Memory of a Free Festival” rank as Bowie classics, and even those lack the hooks or purpose of “Space Oddity”.

Tracklist:
01 – Space Oddity
02 – Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed
03 – Letter To Hermione
04 – Cygnet Committee
05 – Janine
06 – An Occasional Dream
07 – Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud
08 – God Knows I’m Good
09 – Memory Of A Free Festival

David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World (1970/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:16 minutes | 1,62 GB

Even though it contained no hits, The Man Who Sold the World, for most intents and purposes, is the beginning of David Bowie’s classic period. Working with guitarist Mick Ronson and producer Tony Visconti for the first time, Bowie developed a tight, twisted heavy guitar rock that appears simple on the surface but sounds more gnarled upon each listen. The mix is off-center, with the fuzz-bass dominating the compressed, razor-thin guitars and Bowie’s strangled, affected voice. The sound of The Man Who Sold the World is odd, but the music is bizarre itself, with Bowie’s bizarre, paranoid futuristic tales melded to Ronson’s riffing and the band’s relentless attack. Musically, there isn’t much innovation on The Man Who Sold the World — it is almost all hard blues-rock or psychedelic folk-rock — but there’s an unsettling edge to the band’s performance, which makes the record one of Bowie’s best albums.

Tracklist:
01 – The Width Of A Circle
02 – All The Madmen
03 – Black Country Rock
04 – After All
05 – Running Gun Blues
06 – Saviour Machine
07 – She Shook Me Cold
08 – The Man Who Sold The World
09 – The Supermen

David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:49 minutes | 1,56 GB

After the freakish hard rock of The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie returned to singer/songwriter territory on Hunky Dory. Not only did the album boast more folky songs (“Song for Bob Dylan,” “The Bewlay Brothers”), but he again flirted with Anthony Newley-esque dancehall music (“Kooks,” “Fill Your Heart”), seemingly leaving heavy metal behind. As a result, Hunky Dory is a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie’s sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class. Mick Ronson’s guitar is pushed to the back, leaving Rick Wakeman’s cabaret piano to dominate the sound of the album. The subdued support accentuates the depth of Bowie’s material, whether it’s the revamped Tin Pan Alley of “Changes,” the Neil Young homage “Quicksand,” the soaring “Life on Mars?,” the rolling, vaguely homosexual anthem “Oh! You Pretty Things,” or the dark acoustic rocker “Andy Warhol.” On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie’s improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop’s traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music.

Tracklist:
01 – Changes
02 – Oh! You Pretty Things
03 – Eight Line Poem
04 – Life On Mars?
05 – Kooks
06 – Quicksand
07 – Fill Your Heart
08 – Andy Warhol
09 – Song For Bob Dylan
10 – Queen Bitch
11 – The Bewlay Brothers

David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 38:37 minutes | 1,51 GB

Borrowing heavily from Marc Bolan’s glam rock and the future shock of A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie reached back to the heavy rock of The Man Who Sold the World for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Constructed as a loose concept album about an androgynous alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust, the story falls apart quickly, yet Bowie’s fractured, paranoid lyrics are evocative of a decadent, decaying future, and the music echoes an apocalyptic, nuclear dread. Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam. Mick Ronson plays with a maverick flair that invigorates rockers like “Suffragette City,” “Moonage Daydream,” and “Hang Onto Yourself,” while “Lady Stardust,” “Five Years,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” have a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll. And that self-conscious sense of theater is part of the reason why Ziggy Stardust sounds so foreign. Bowie succeeds not in spite of his pretensions but because of them, and Ziggy Stardust — familiar in structure, but alien in performance — is the first time his vision and execution met in such a grand, sweeping fashion.

Tracklist:
01 – Five Years
02 – Soul Love
03 – Moonage Daydream
04 – Starman
05 – It Ain’t Easy
06 – Lady Stardust
07 – Star
08 – Hang On To Yourself
09 – Ziggy Stardust
10 – Suffragette City
11 – Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide

David Bowie – Aladdin Sane (1973/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:48 minutes | 1,68 GB

Ziggy Stardust wrote the blueprint for David Bowie’s hard-rocking glam, and Aladdin Sane essentially follows the pattern, for both better and worse. A lighter affair than Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane is actually a stranger album than its predecessor, buoyed by bizarre lounge-jazz flourishes from pianist Mick Garson and a handful of winding, vaguely experimental songs. Bowie abandons his futuristic obsessions to concentrate on the detached cool of New York and London hipsters, as on the compressed rockers “Watch That Man,” “Cracked Actor,” and “The Jean Genie.” Bowie follows the hard stuff with the jazzy, dissonant sprawls of “Lady Grinning Soul,” “Aladdin Sane,” and “Time,” all of which manage to be both campy and avant-garde simultaneously, while the sweepingly cinematic “Drive-In Saturday” is a soaring fusion of sci-fi doo wop and melodramatic teenage glam. He lets his paranoia slip through in the clenched rhythms of “Panic in Detroit,” as well as on his oddly clueless cover of “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” For all the pleasures on Aladdin Sane, there’s no distinctive sound or theme to make the album cohesive; it’s Bowie riding the wake of Ziggy Stardust, which means there’s a wealth of classic material here, but not enough focus to make the album itself a classic.

Tracklist:
01 – Watch That Man
02 – Aladdin Sane
03 – Drive-In Saturday
04 – Panic In Detroit
05 – Cracked Actor
06 – Time
07 – The Prettiest Star
08 – Let’s Spend the Night Together
09 – The Jean Genie
10 – Lady Grinning Soul

David Bowie – Pin Ups (1973/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 34:02 minutes | 1,35 GB

Pin Ups fits into David Bowie’s output roughly where Moondog Matinee (which, strangely enough, appeared the very same month) did into the Band’s output, which is to say that it didn’t seem to fit in at all. Just as a lot of fans of Levon Helm et al. couldn’t figure where a bunch of rock & roll and R&B covers fit alongside their output of original songs, so Bowie’s fans — after enjoying a string of fiercely original LPs going back to 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World — weren’t able to make too much out of Pin Ups’ new recordings of a brace of ’60s British hits. Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane had established Bowie as perhaps the most fiercely original of all England’s glam rockers (though Marc Bolan’s fans would dispute that to their dying day), so an album of covers didn’t make any sense and was especially confusing for American fans — apart from the Easybeats’ “Friday on My Mind” and the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things,” little here was among the biggest hits of their respective artists’ careers, and the Who’s “I Can’t Explain” and “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere” were the only ones whose original versions were easily available or played very often on the radio; everything else was as much a history lesson, for Pink Floyd fans whose knowledge of that band went back no further than Atom Heart Mother, or into Liverpool rock (the Merseys’ “Sorrow”), as it was a tour through Bowie’s taste in ’60s music. The latter was a mixed bag stylistically, opening with the Pretty Things’ high-energy Bo Diddley homage “Rosalyn” and segueing directly into a hard, surging rendition of Them’s version of Bert Berns’ “Here Comes the Night,” filled with crunchy guitars; “I Wish You Would” and “Shapes of Things” were both showcases for Bowie’s and Mick Ronson’s guitars, and “See Emily Play” emphasized the punkish (as opposed to the psychedelic) side of the song. “Sorrow,” which benefited from a new saxophone break, was actually a distinct improvement over the original, managing to be edgier and more elegant all at once, and could easily have been a single at the time, and Bowie’s slow version of “I Can’t Explain” was distinctly different from the Who’s original — in other words, Pin Ups was an artistic statement, of sorts, with some thought behind it, rather than just a quick album of oldies covers to buy some time, as it was often dismissed as being. In the broader context of Bowie’s career, Pin Ups was more than an anomaly — it marked the swan song for the Spiders from Mars and something of an interlude between the first and second phases of his international career; the next, beginning with Diamond Dogs, would be a break from his glam rock phase, going off in new directions. It’s not a bad bridge between the two, and it has endured across the decades — and the CD remasterings since the late ’90s have made it worth discovering all over again.

Tracklist:
01 – Rosalyn
02 – Here Comes The Night
03 – I Wish You Would
04 – See Emily Play
05 – Everything’s Alright
06 – I Can’t Explain
07 – Friday On My Mind
08 – Sorrow
09 – Don’t Bring Me Down
10 – Shapes Of Things
11 – Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
12 – Where Have All The Good Times Gone

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