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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Low

David Bowie

1977

Low

Album Summary

Low is the 11th studio album by the English musician David Bowie, released on 14 January 1977 through RCA Records. After years of drug addiction when living in Los Angeles, Bowie moved to France in 1976 with his friend Iggy Pop to sober up. There, Bowie produced and co-wrote Pop's debut studio album, The Idiot, featuring sounds Bowie would explore on his next record. After completing The Idiot, Bowie began recording the first of three collaborations that became known as the Berlin Trilogy with American producer Tony Visconti and English musician Brian Eno. Sessions began at Hérouville's Château d'Hérouville in September 1976 and ended in October at Hansa Studios in West Berlin, where Bowie and Pop had relocated. Grounded in art rock and experimental rock and influenced by German bands such as Tangerine Dream, Neu!, Harmonia and Kraftwerk, Low features Bowie's first explorations in electronic and ambient styles. Side one consists primarily of short, direct avant-pop song-fragments, with mostly downbeat lyrics reflecting Bowie's state of mind, and side two comprises longer, mostly instrumental tracks, conveying musical observations of Berlin. Visconti created the distinctive drum sound using an Eventide H910 Harmonizer, a pitch-shifting device. The cover artwork, a profile of Bowie from the film The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), was intended as a visual pun, meaning "low profile". RCA refused to issue Low for three months, fearing it would be a commercial failure. Upon release, it divided critical opinion and received little promotion from RCA or Bowie, who opted to tour as Pop's keyboardist. Nevertheless, it reached number two on the UK Albums Chart and number 11 on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart. Two singles were released: "Sound and Vision", which peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, and "Be My Wife". The success prompted RCA to release The Idiot in March 1977. In mid-1977, Bowie played on Pop's follow-up album Lust for Life before recording his album "Heroes", which expanded on Low's musical approach and features a similar mix of songs and instrumentals. In later decades, critics have rated Low one of Bowie's best works, and it has appeared on several lists of the greatest albums of all time. It influenced numerous post-punk bands such as Joy Division, and its drum sound has been widely imitated. A forerunner in the development of the post-rock genre of the 1990s, Low has been reissued several times and was remastered in 2017 as part of the A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982) box set.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.61

Votes

6133

Genres

  • Rock
Reviews
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Thu May 06 2021
5

I've again deferred to my cat named Bowie on this review. When I told him that Low was today's album, he legged it from room to room around our apartment, bouncing off every wall and surface like he was off his tits on catnip. When he finally came down off his Low induced high, he told me "this is Big Dave's finest hour". So there's your review.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

6/6 First half is avant-garde, second is alien civilization. Standout Tracks: Speed of Life, Sound and Vision, Warszawa, Art Decade, Weeping Wall, Subterraneans

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Tue Oct 06 2020
5

Bowie! It's hard to dislike anything Bowie has done, honestly. He was so alien and ahead of his time that there's always something new and strange to learn when listening to his albums. This was one that I hadn't spent any time with in the past so I hit the wikipedia article for context which was helpful. It's electronic and pop and undeliably Bowie. Is it dated? Yes. But it also feels like it's a decade younger than it actually is. While the rest of the world was making disco pop, Bowie was making electro bangers and synthetic, cinematic dreamscapes.

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Wed Apr 06 2022
2

"All hail the Berlin trilogy!" I think they should be called Low, parts 1, 2 and 3. This is music that only sold because of his name. I wonder how many praise these albums because they don't want to admit that they wasted their money. I've learned a frightening word since I started listening to 1001 albums: AMBIENT. It is code for plain boring, weird boring, or monotonous pretentious twaddle. This album is just boring because I've heard it before. Back in the day it was weird boring. I assume Lodger is also in the list. I hope not. Yesterday I had Paranoid, more of that ilk, thank you.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

I am a massive, massive Bowie fan, and I think even amongst his pretty great catalogue that the Berlin trilogy is quite near the top. Bowie and Eno. What a dream team. Every one of these songs slaps, but Sound and Vision and Be My Wife are the big standouts. Perfection. We didn't deserve Bowie.

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Wed Jul 28 2021
5

Anything Eno touches is electronic gold, and this collaboration with Bowie is one of his best works I've seen. I admit it hardly even feels like a Bowie album. It's a series of avant-garde pop rock tracks that knows how to control the unusual noises it's dealing it. The first side is absolutely perfect and if the whole album were like it I would have no doubt awarded the full score. But I'm mixed about the 2nd side. I've tried looking at what people had to say about it. Some say people only now started to appreciate it while others say it feels dated now... Ok? To me, it's a series of carefully crafted melancholic ambient pieces that are long enough for appreciation with enough variation to prevent us from growing tired of them. They apparently reflect geographic locations like Warsaw and West Berlin. They're excellent pieces that bring a calming feeling to the album, but how should I rate this album? Does it detract from the perfect score I should give? Well it's different and amazing as well but doesn't fit with the other side yet doesn't distract from it either. Maybe I'm hesitant because I already awarded 2 5-stars in the past couple days, and an avant album seems like the perfect excuse for me to break that. But I admit this is a perfect album that I commend Bowie and Eno on. In the end, they deserve the perfect score of this random listener.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
2

I love Bowie but for me this was too dramatic and artsy with too many random sounds and instruments. It's risky, I just didn't like it that much.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Had a great time listening to remastered versions of Bowie’s classics plus some new ones that I’d not heard before. It has a psychedelic electro soul which puts me in mind of “war of the worlds musical”. Blooming brilliant

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Sat Jul 31 2021
5

5.0 + I've listened to this album many times over the years. My first listen left me utterly confused. However, being a huge fan of Bowie's more pop-oriented music, I hung in and with subsequent listens that confusion turned to distaste, to understanding, and finally to absolute reverence. My journey to love this album in turn has made me appreciate experimental music and the artists that successfully struggle to present truly original sounds to my ears. I'm grateful for this album, for the supernova forces behind Bowie and Eno that briefly collided, as well as for my being able to finally appreciate the fruits of that collision.

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Wed Sep 15 2021
5

It's hard to imagine what modern music would sound like without this album. Bowie and Brian Eno create an album with a satisfying rock front half, and a ethereal, dreamlike, and somewhat menacing back half. The experimental and ambient elements here are crucial to the development of post-punk. I remember when I first heard Blackstar, I thought that it was coming out of nowhere because I had not explored this period of Bowie. This album has given much such a deeper appreciation of this artist and of the history of music in general.

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Thu Jul 21 2022
5

This album woke up at 5:45 pm to a house party happening downstairs, and quickly got sick of it, deciding to bar hop and scuttle around town. Never finding what it was looking for, it finally decided to walk the city streets alone through the night, stuck in its own head, until passing out in an alley behind a dingy jazz club. 10/10.

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Sat Oct 29 2022
5

Split between a side of jittery experimental rock and a side of avant-garde/ambient music, Low is probably Bowie’s most drastic reinvention of his art. Brian Eno joins Bowie on Low and deserves much credit for shaping this album’s sound and style. Recorded in Berlin, the influence of Eno’s ambient work and the German experimental rock scene of the time is fully evident on Low. The A side of the record is more typical of Bowie’s sound at the time: the plastic soul of Station to Station became even more synthetic and angular, with percolating analog synths driving the songs. Think of it as a precursor to Eno’s work producing the Talking Heads a few years later. On the B-Side, Bowie and Eno delve deep into the experimental side of the pool, producing four moody avant-garde soundscapes influenced by Cluster, Kraftwerk, Steve Reich’s minimalism, World music and Brian Eno’s own ambient experiments. Few, if any, of Bowie’s megastar contemporaries were even attempting music like this in the late 70’s. Low and the ensuing two records Bowie recorded with Eno in Berlin are ground-breaking achievements, which successfully introduced the avant-garde and experimental into popular music. For both Bowie and Eno, Low is a high water mark.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
4

My favorite of the "Berlin Trilogy" albums. -- At least I think. I need to relisten to Lodger The instrumental tracks are sublime. Especially Warszawa.

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Fri May 14 2021
4

When initially listening to Low, you get the sense of it being very David Bowieesque. It seems to have influence from free form jazz in the way that the instrumentation is arranged. The production definitely is the center of each song, as the lyrics are sometimes drowned out by the repetition of the production. There are long pauses in the spoken word, so this album almost becomes an instrumental album. At just 39 minutes in runtime it is an easy listen, an album you throw on a turntable as background music.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
1

The feeling of exited trepidation I feel before refreshing the page each day to reveal my next musical journey was very much dampened on this occasion when I discovered a David Bowie lp. Not being a huge fan I was still interested to hear what is supposedly one of his best pieces of work. If this is considered one of his best albums then it kinda confirms my long held opinion of Bowie’s music...blandish and boring’ish. David Bowie was universally acknowledged for sounding different, looking different and pushing boundaries in general yet I still find his songs fatiguing and uninspiring. Quit frankly the last three tracks on this album all sounded like instrumental lullabies aiming to set you off to sleep...which was a hazard in itself as I was driving at the time. It’s no coincidence that the only Bowie material I own is a Greatest Hits on vinyl. After listening to this album, that’s not going to change any time soon. 1 Star!

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Fri Apr 30 2021
5

favorite Bowie

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Thu Apr 01 2021
5

One of the best David Bowie albums of all time. And that means it is perfect.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

Not my favourite Bowie but still amazing.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Favorite - Sound and Vision

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

Loved it. Very spacey and more instrumentals than I thought

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

Netflix n chill vibe

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Innovative and avantgarde in the best possible way: a genius doing it.

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Mon May 03 2021
5

This is great. It’s like if Bon Iver wrote 22, a million in 1977.

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Thu May 06 2021
5

Even by David Bowie's standards this is Low.

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Sun Apr 18 2021
5

Probably my favorite Bowie album. The last half of this album makes feel like I’m in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
5

Love David Bowie and the sounds this album creates.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
5

An amazing album. I just love the way he moves from his expected (great) pop songs into instrument soundscapes.

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Sun Jul 25 2021
5

Like two different superb albums. Krautrock meeting kraut electronica. The Berlin masterpiece!

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

Capolavoro. Due lati completamente diversi, il primo di canzoni più tradizionali (senza una vera hit), la seconda più atmosferica. Il secondo miglior Bowie.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

Holy Eno, Batman. Tommy likey

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Mon Aug 02 2021
5

Stone cold classic.

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Mon Aug 02 2021
5

What can one even say that hasn't been said? An eternal classic

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Wed Aug 25 2021
5

Bowie plus Eno. Really hear it on Breaking Glass. I am really feeling this sonic landscape. Warszawa and the second side where this album really stretches out its legs. Need to re-spin it.

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Mon Sep 13 2021
5

eerie?

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

Very much enjoyed this

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

Not what I expected but I love it

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

Love the instrumental stuff

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Sun Oct 10 2021
5

Stunning. One of his best.

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

Another Bowie album and it's (obviously) great. It's very much an album of two sides. Side one is the poppy stuff that everyone knows like "Sound and Vision"; side two is longer, more pensive and mostly instrumental pieces.

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Thu Oct 28 2021
5

Bowie at his most peculiar

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Fri Oct 29 2021
5

Super super good.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

I love

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

This is tomorrow calling, wishing you were here. Fabulous, defiant, uplifting, the sound of a man reinventing himself. The side of instrumentals is brave and rich.

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

I love it

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Mon Nov 22 2021
5

I haven't listened to the rest of the Berlin trilogy yet, but I really like it's first album, Low. The influence from the Krautrock artists was a perfect fit for Bowie's evolving style as he transitioned away from the fascist cocaine monster called the Thin White Duke. The mythology around Bowie and his personas could only really be meaningful if he backed it up with his music, which he does in spades here. Working with Brian Eno and hanging out with Iggy Pop brought a feel to this album that's hard to describe. Just like Kid A, it seems to come out of no where and go back there after we are allowed to enjoy it. The first half of this album is super cool, the second half is why its one of my favorite Bowie albums 5/5

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Wed Dec 01 2021
5

I mean....it's Bowie

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Thu Dec 02 2021
5

I don't care what y'all say, this is Bowie's best, and one of the greatest albums ever created.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

that was a really, really cool album I’ve listened to a few Bowie albums but I guess this one slipped past me it had such cool instrumentals and production overall 10/10, I look forward to hearing more Bowie

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

amazing of course

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Tue Dec 21 2021
5

Some great tracks on this album, Bowie shifting styles again. Synths and whispered vocal throughout, guitars a little less to the fore. Top tracks: Sound and Vision, Warszawa, always crashing in the same car

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Wed Dec 29 2021
5

Hi- Speed of Life, What in the World, Sound and Vision, Be My Wife, Weeping Wall, Subterraneans The first act opens up with rapid-fire ditties that we've all come to know and love from Bowie, with some fresh experiments in electronic sounds. What in the World starts off with what should be an annoying bleeping that somehow just works and wouldn't be the same without it. Be My Wife is filled with hard-hitting honky-tonk piano hits and driving beats. The second act (right after you'd normally flip over the record or cassette) features more atmospheric, electronic tapestries; Weeping Wall features marimbas that provide the backing for a moody exploration. Subterraneans is a thickly-layered scored like you'd experience on the big screen, complimented by that classic Bowie baritone sax to remind you what you're dealing with here. Fantastic album, just amazing, you're stupid if you don't love it.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

I had high expectations going in and was a little apprehensive that the album might not deliver. But my concern was redundant, the album is fantastic. It’s such a full sounding album, with so many surprises and melodic ear worms. Its pretty experimental in parts but it really showcases Bowie as an artist first and foremost. The second half of the album isn’t as punchy as the first; the pace slows down a bit during the instrumental sound scapes. But they’re gorgeous to listen to, it doesn’t matter that the album isn’t packed with pop hits, it doesn’t need to be, the beautiful art rock is such a pleasant listen. 5/5 - Loved it.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Bowie introduces some electronic sounds! I'm a Bowie fan but have never listened to this one, so this was a treat. I enjoyed the exploration of new sounds, and you can definitely see the influence this had on subsequent artists. The second side was particularly interesting and unexpected. My top pick is 'Sound and Vision', but I also really liked 'Be My Wife' and 'A New Career in a New Town'.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
5

This album's A-side is perfect, from "Speed of Life" from "A New Career in a New Town", being "Sound and Vision" one of the greatest songs of all time. The B-side is also great, of course, but it's very different from anything else Bowie did or would do, since you can feel Brian Eno's presence everywhere. It's near perfection.

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Wed Dec 29 2021
5

Hi- Speed of Life, What in the World, Sound and Vision, Be My Wife, Weeping Wall, Subterraneans The first act opens up with rapid-fire ditties that we've all come to know and love from Bowie, with some fresh experiments in electronic sounds. What in the World starts off with what should be an annoying bleeping that somehow just works and wouldn't be the same without it. Be My Wife is filled with hard-hitting honky-tonk piano hits and driving beats. The second act (right after you'd normally flip over the record or cassette) features more atmospheric, electronic tapestries; Weeping Wall features marimbas that provide the backing for a moody exploration. Subterraneans is a thickly-layered scored like you'd experience on the big screen, complimented by that classic Bowie baritone sax to remind you what you're dealing with here. Fantastic album, just amazing, you're stupid if you don't love it.

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Mon Feb 28 2022
5

Favourite from Berlin trilogy

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Wed Mar 09 2022
5

I already know that I absolutely LOVE this album. It is one of my favorites.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

1,001 albums... Back in the seventies, the gormless DJ-cum-presenter (who was far more interested in his - it was always a he back then - own fame than the art he pretended to like - that *we* liked) would bid his faux-cheery farewells towards the end of Top of the Pops then the credits would roll as one final song was played but then faded out way before its proper end. One week, when I was still to be a teenager, it was the turn of one of the most extraordinary things I'd ever heard. \"What is this shit?\" I might have wondered, had I not just been told by Bates or Travis or whoever it was that week, just like Charles Shaar Murray famously did - though he in disgust and disappointment rather than the breathless awe I felt. Don't you wonder sometimes? I had a bit of a problem with David Bowie at the time - he looked completely different every time I set eyes on him. It used to really confuse me. Just before Low was released (around the time RCA were refusing to release it, so dismayed by it were they), he'd had his first UK number one with a song he'd recorded and released seven years earlier. In the video he didn't seem to be the same impossibly exotic and otherworldly being as on the covers of his albums. He was quite gawky and ordinary, in fact. Like everyone else but in my own little way, I didn't know who David Bowie was. And neither did he in 1976. Famously, he couldn't even really remember recording the stately Station to Station a few months earlier and so decamped to Europe in a bid to get off the Bolivian marching powder with his mate, Jim. Between them they somehow managed to channel their shared withdrawal psychosis to produce four seminal albums in less than twelve months, each with a slightly different flavour. Of the four, Low, with its artful split personality, its shattered fragments of paranoia-infused recovery and redemption and its icy dislocation, is the greatest. So ahead of its time that even the NME didn't get it - a brutally honest document of Britain's greatest star struggling to straighten himself out before he turned thirty. (Decades later, my Polish wife would hear me playing Low and instantly recognise a fragment of a Silesian folk song that Magpie Dave had nicked from a record he'd bought in Wilsonplatz as he journeyed by train through Warsaw. It amuses me that calling his track \"Warszawa\" was a bit like sampling a colliery brass band and calling it \"London.\")

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Tue Apr 05 2022
5

One of the best from one of the best

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Fri Apr 08 2022
5

Low ist eins der besten Bowie Alben mit Abstand, ich mags auch mehr als Heroes. Ultra gut einfach

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Thu May 19 2022
5

A bloody perfect album. Love it so much. Atmospheric but with some absolute bangers too

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

Excellent album. For me it's the best one from the Berlin trilogy for sure and I might even go as far to say it might be Bowie's best overall. For me Low and Ziggy are Bowie's peak and depending in the mood I might say that one is better than the other.

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Tue Jun 14 2022
5

Incredible

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Fri Jun 24 2022
5

Probably my favourite era and album of Bowie.

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Tue Jun 28 2022
5

This one is pretty easy. Top 3 Bowie albuma, pogotovo što se u ovaj album upleo Ivanov najdraži artista (Brian Eno) i viola - odličan album. Dakle Honky Dory, Ziggy Stardust i Low (ovaj album) su mi topčine od albuma.

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Thu Jun 30 2022
5

Arguably my favorite Bowie album

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

This a cacophony of electronic beauty the instrumentals are what absolutely puts this album on a different level it feels like a resurgence for Bowie and is one of my favourite albums from him. I love the Berlin trilogy!

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Fri Jul 15 2022
5

this is cool, like cooler than cool. 11/10

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Mon Jul 18 2022
5

Stop, Bowie! I can only handle so many amazing albums from one artist! Still waiting for that Bowie album that I don't like, but I don't think it'll ever come. 'Low' is one of Bowie's best works, which is saying a lot. Wasn't familiar with this album before I got it on vinyl a few months ago, and it shocked me when I listened to it. Bowie experimenting with different sounds and styles might be the best Bowie you'll find, and he certainly does a lot of experimenting with this album. I thought the orchestral section would be a turn-off, but the otherworldly sounds, classic Bowie, kept me enraptured. Came for the catchy hits, stayed for the overarching magnificence.

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Thu Jul 21 2022
5

Now that I've had some time, I reflect on "Heroes" and think about how much I love side two, and how I wish it sounded like that throughout. And then I listened to this, and it was like my prayer was answered, which is silly considering this was the predecessor to that album. I love the instrumental artsy direction, and enjoy the lack of classic pop rock Bowie vocals.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

Understated brilliance.

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Tue Aug 09 2022
5

A stunning, innovative, compelling and unique record, full of atmosphere and character. Bowie’s artistry is firing on all cylinders, pursuing his own vision, daring us to catch up to him.

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Amazing album, always like Bowie but never listened to an entire album. Loved it.

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Sun Aug 21 2022
5

Essential vinyl to take me to the island when everything explodes

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Wed Aug 24 2022
5

No comment needed. 5 stars.

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Sun Aug 28 2022
5

A bit like early Pink Floyd, but not as weird. Track eight is outstanding.

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Tue Aug 30 2022
5

Done

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Tue Sep 06 2022
5

Very cool record. I dig this album more every time I listen. Bowie’s band had one of my favorite rhythm sections and their playing is so different on this record. The drum sounds are so crazy on Breaking glass (sounds almost like they are doubled with electric drums). Also love the guitars on What in the World. Favorite tunes are Sound and vision, Breaking glass, and What in the world, new career in a new location. This album has a really beautiful balance of electric sounds and acoustic instruments. I love all the textures .Two of my favorite instrumental moments are the harmonica solo on new career and sax on Subterraneans (both played by Bowie). Least favorite song is Be my Wife. This album helps me appreciate Bowie as a composer and multi- instrumentalist. They definitely made something that sounds totally unique.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Bowie casually making post-rock before post-rock was even a thing, chad.

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Sat Oct 08 2022
5

It's the centerpiece of Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy". Of course, it's an essential listen, even though it's also a very peculiar album, side one and side two being very different things--pop songs and crooner's ballads mixed with some sort of krautrock funk for the first, and dark or meditative ambient pieces--most of them totally instrumental--created with the incredible Brian Eno for the second. Obviously I will give 5 stars for this one. Yet the fact that this album is often considered by certain subsets of fans as being Bowie's best has always sounded a little weird to me. Very close to the overall sound of the "Berlin Trilogy", I've always found *Station To Station* superior to any of those three LPs--and before that, *Ziggy Stardust*, *Hunky Dory*, and *The Man Who Sold The World* (and maybe even *Aladdin Sane*) will always be rated higher for me. At least if you go to detailed decimals. But I'm probably only nitpicking here. Don't pay too much attention to the ramblings of a relatively *recent* Bowie fan. Because there are all sorts of fans of his work out there, in keeping with this artist's amazing ability to shapeshift from one persona to the next. That's what's great about loving such a legendary artist. Number of albums left to review: 775 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 117 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 55 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 53

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Wed Oct 12 2022
5

One of the greatest albums ever made.

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Sun Oct 16 2022
5

My absolute favorite period for Bowie. Love this and its sister album "Heroes." They go hand in hand. "Heroes" is certainly a standout track, but as an album I probably prefer "Low" on the whole. I feel "Low" has a wider range of moods, and while "Heroes" is more refined, I kind of like how "Low" has more of a playful experimentation to it - still figuring out the formula. Speaking of the formula, I for one, really enjoy the A side = ever so slightly more conventional with lyrics, B side = off the deep end/largely instrumental approach. Best of both worlds if you ask me. All the playing on this is chef's kiss worthy. Bass, drums, guitars, synths, vox, harmonica, you name it. The production balances all these elements perfectly and feels very three dimensional and immersive. Man, if I could be a time travelling fly on the wall for the recording of any album, this just might be it. "Low" is that rare risky move album where he doubled down on experimentation to find a new direction and it paid off in dividends - we're still feeling its influence to this day.

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

One of Bowie's most famous albums and for good reason. Just killler from front to back.

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Sat Nov 05 2022
5

Very solid album, love Bowie. A few songs stood out and the whole thing was amazing, no complaints.

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Sun Nov 06 2022
5

This list is filled with "first times" for me, and that is no different with David Bowie - it is a first time, when I listen to his full album. And it was such a special introduction into his music and history. "Low" is an album, that is very hard to describe - it hinges on every possible type of mood, from cheerful and optimistic, to melancholic and thrilling. Also, as a big surprise for me, the album is full of instrumental tracks, which set the tone for the next part of the record, but each time they are just wonderful on their own, like beautiful composition "Warszawa", creepy "Subterraneans", or just energetic and simple intro, "Speed of Life". In general, there are just few songs, where David Bowie show us his vocal range, and even in those tracks he is sometimes overshadowed by a great guitar solo, like in "Be My Wife", or "Always Crashing In the Same Car". But that is not a problem - it can't be one, when the instrumental layer is so incredibly atmospheric and amazing. A big influence on the sound of the album had to be applied by Brian Eno - as a main collaborator and producer of the record. His ability to experiment was very obvious on the "Here Come the Warm Jets" album, which I rated previously on this list. This collaboration between Eno resulted in a trilogy, with "Low" being just a first step into it. But after listening to that record, I have no choice other than put the other parts "Heroes" and "Lodger" on my daily list "things to listen to" and see how great it is. Perfect introduction into Bowie's career.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

Probably my favourite Bowie album. Sadly the version on streaming does not include Some Are, which was always my favourite track on the CD version I have.

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Sat Nov 19 2022
5

Another superclassic DB album.

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Sun Dec 04 2022
5

Hitting an all-time Low...wait wrong album

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Wed Dec 07 2022
5

Talking Heads vibes, very good art rock. Sound and vision an early favorite.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
5

This will be the second Bowie album I’ve listened to from front to back after Hunky Dory (which I loved). I don’t think I’ve heard a bad David Bowie song, so I’m excited to hear all of this. Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Sound and Vision, Speed of Life It’s very easy to see how Bowie got his god-like status in music. The sound of this album is significantly different to the piano-focused Hunky Dory, but much more rocky on Low. I would compare they sound of this album to The Smiths, but without Morrissey’s annoying voice and instead with Bowie being fantastic. It is fascinating how a musician can release such vastly different sounding albums to this level of success. I’d recommend this album to pretty much anybody. It is a brilliant album.

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Wed Dec 14 2022
5

Starts very poppy and then takes a synth-y dark plunge into the depths of a comedown. Not a fan of every track, but I do like how the more upbeat, jolly tracks create a sense of plummeting from a high into the low, cold melancholia of the second half. “Subterraneans” is viscerally depressing and beautiful, and left me sighing through the heaviness this song sends to my chest.

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Sat Dec 17 2022
5

One of the greatest albums ever recorded, period. (Be My Wife is a lame track, but otherwise... perfection.)

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Tue Dec 20 2022
5

Out in early 1977, David Bowie’s Low blasts off with all sorts of synthetic sounds and marks yet another slab of new ground for the especially eclectic singer. But ‘Speed Of Life’ is all instruments, and these instruments emit some gnarly noises in an otherwise danceable ditty with a few funky themes. Amid all the synths, even the drums brandish a robotic badge. Every element seem to screech out of some alien apparatus, and that’s the general gist of this record: pop music from space (perhaps at one time the ol’ Spiders really did live on Mars?). ‘Breaking Glass’ begins with a strange break between bass-n-drums, funky in feel and hard to follow as a raw guitar offsets everything with tense bends. All suddenly segue to different-key disco with David on the mic muttering nothing much but funny stuff like: “don’t look at the carpet / I drew something awful on it”. Synths only occasionally touch up the tune with a simple three note ear-panning passage passing from right-to-left. The tricky intro returns with layered Davids fearfully singing. It all fades away instrumentally doing another dash of disco. ‘What In The World’ proceeds at a paranoid pace with too many busy instruments tripping around each other. Something similar to the sound of Pac-Man appears prominently above every other instrument. Bowie hardly bothers to sing the verses and opts instead for casual low-toned mumblings about the “little girl with grey eyes”; nevertheless, the song starts to steam each chorus with its swift dynamic shifts of chord and wonderings of “what in the world can you do?”. A true query when you’re only “talking through the gloom”. ‘Sound And Vision’ is a sprightly song with its immediately bright tones: a bubbly bass, a spunky six-string, and something like eggs sizzling on a pan every other beat. Soon: synths join in with huge sustained joys-to-the-world. “Ooh ahh” from a bunch of Bowies. Nasty saxophone just for a few seconds to cue the singer for his favorite subjects: “don’t you wonder sometimes / about sound and vision?” He’s all over in the octaves, high-n-low (but mostly low). His lyrics are few and the singing itself is subdued and distorted, but somehow, it still sounds stunningly lovely all the while. ‘Always Crashing In The Same Car’ winds down a slow and lonely road, but the sound is anything but sparse. Expansive synths bubble and burst in the background as extra-gritty guitars shakily strum vast downbeats. Something like ‘Lady Marmalade’ repeats on a miserable mellotron and Bowie wheezes his inevitable fate with the intriguing idea of “always crashing in the same car”. The music matches the morose mood; on “car”, everything collapses into a cycle of deceptive cadences. Here we hear the music perfectly portray the rise-n-fall of one’s dreams. ‘Be My Wife’ rollicks with its pub piano and guitar rocking a repeating rhythmic gesture at the end of each phrase, but the lyrics regard the aimless singer’s sad solitude as a star. Disco chorus features a dancing bass and Bowie’s adorable or perhaps desperate declaration: “please be mine / share my life / stay with me / be my wife”. Is it happiness or hopelessness that compels him to inquire after a companion? ‘A New Career In A New Town’ treads its territory tenderly. Gentle strains of synthscape softly paint this picture of a man seeking a fresh start on his life. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take too long until he breaks through and finds his footing; the main theme of this music carries an immensely optimistic momentum. Featured most prominently are the wistful winds of a harmonica. No words are sung, but the music resonates with its own hefty emotional impact. ‘Warszawa’ starts off the second side of songs with its rows of low synths all rumbling out repetitions on one holy note. This slow and sacred procession makes for an imposing entrance. A minute in, the song finally arrives and activates with all the lovely layered true-gloom synths forming full unison melancholy melodies over-n-over. Later, Bowie chants in unintelligible tribal-like tongues as if the spokesperson at some sublimely sad ceremony for the deceased. Perhaps the piece must best be perceived as a musical memorial, something like the sonic snapshot of an ashen bomb-scarred Warsaw in World War II; or for any incident where innocents suffered dispossession and death. ‘Art Decade’ advances the ambient style of the last track; it’s just as melodic but it’s busier. Melodies spiral down around sounds of vibraphone and synths and a cello or two. Various unaccountable noises distantly rip through the air in quick occasional flurries. Swampy synths burble. Even with lots of layers, a single static sound is sustained throughout; and that’s the hallmark of A+ ambient music. ‘Weeping Wall’ happens with hypnotic mallet instruments playing murder music at an anxious pace. Big synths go for ‘Greensleeves’ (or some similar modal melody) as the chords continually chart an unpredictable pattern. Distorted guitars shear through simple solos featuring minimal pitches and long sustained bends. Tribal choir gets rather reverberant at the end and sounds something like a train. Everything has a place in the manic mood. There’s no development at all, but that’s not the point. ‘Subterraneans’ concludes the collection with more real-deal ambient music. Lonely, hopeless, spacious, the track floats on a cloud of misty synths throbbing in reverse. A treacherous bass builds up approaching with only a few notes heard at any time. Wordless voices join the joyless assembly. Out of the big blue, a saxophone comes a-crawling with forlorn lines to share. Bowie’s tone of voice tightens on a nice rhythmic bit of nonsense: “care-line, care-line, care-line / care-line driving me / Shirley, Shirley, Shirley own / share bride failing star”. It fades away wearily and the album’s over. Despite the title, David Bowie’s Low is actually “high” as far as artistic achievements are concerned. Vastly influential, the album and its wacky sound make for essential listening if you’re interesting in charting the natural course that pop music would pave into the eighties. And what about world music? This album covers lots of ground.

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Sat Dec 24 2022
5

This was the first Bowie album I ever owned. Looking back, it might not be the obvious place to start the journey into this vast discography. But it worked perfectly. Low is packed with an emotional baggage so heavy, that at times it feels like an almost unbearable load. Side one is great, delivering sharp and shorter songs at great pace - but it’s when the almost completely instrumental side two sets in that I drop whatever’s in my hand and dives head first into the world of Bowie. I always forget the impact the end of Low leaves on me. It might not be what you expect of a Bowie album - but if you went into this expecting a certain formula, you probably don’t know Bowie that well.

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Tue Dec 27 2022
5

A little shook I gotta come on here and defend Low! Not sure I have the credentials to do so. But this album is groundbreaking! One of the world's biggest rock stars assuredly planting is feet at the edge of the genre's avant garde. This album is so dense with collage. Such an unusual and introspective use of rock and roll; exploring all the ways it might collide with electronic, kraut, ambient, and so on. I can honestly say I've never heard an album from before or after Low that sounds quite like it. Even Heroes, which is, I think, his best album, and was released the same year (!!!), finds Bowie taking his experiments in a tonally different direction. I think it's stunning and inspiring to hear someone who had just released their first "greatest hits" album whipping around and doing something like this. The influence this album had on New Wave, Post-Punk, Indie, and everything after Rock's golden age is evident and essential. Hard to imagine many of our most beloved rock groups up to and including Radiohead existing as they do without Bowie's experimental period and without this album. All that, AND the first half of this album totally bops! "Sound and Vision" is one Bowie's best pop songs!

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

Bowie starts to emerge from the darkness of drug use and rewards us with a fantastic work of art rock. Every track is great, but my favorites of the vocal tracks are Breaking Glass, Sound and Vision, and Always Crashing in the Same Car. The instrumentals may not be for everyone, but I could listen to them for hours - favorites are A New Career in a New Town (I love how the music evokes both optimism and darkness. Also love the plaintive harmonica which later is heard on Bowie's final album Blackstar), Warszawa, Art Decade, and Subterraneans (love the moody ambience). That said, every song on this album is a work of art. Easy 5.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

I’ve always wondered what impression this album made to the Bowie fans at the time it was released. At the time it was only 5 years but 8 albums between this and Ziggy Stardust. Bowie had already reinvented himself a few times since then, but this still had to be a shock to listeners after Station to Station. The songs on side one seem more like ideas than songs. The crazy thing though, is that they work as songs as well and flow seamlessly into each other. As soon as one song is over, the listener is left wanting a little more but then they get hooked into the next song which then starts the cycle all over again until “A New Career in a New Town” brings the listener out of out. Side two , all of which reflects impressions of various locations musically, opens with what is Bowie’s most ambitious track at the time. “Warszawa” is both bleak and beautiful. The track is meant to capture his impressions of a previous visit of his to Warsaw. The final track, “Subterraneans”, is the oldest on the album. It was previously recorded shortly after Station to Station and like the track that came before reflects the mood in Germany surrounding the separation of the country during the cold war. Although this is not my favorite Bowie album it is up there and truly worthy of the 5 star rating.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

David Bowie has got to be one of the most interesting musicians to have ever graced this earth. This is such a departure from his earlier sounds - basically his third reinvention. Few others have the ability, vision, or ambition to do that. Mad respect for forging a new path that clearly influenced a lot of 80's new wave, post punk, goth, whatever. And that's really just side one. Because side two is completely different with his homage to Berlin. Honestly, the album itself is a 4 and that's what I thought I would give it - Breaking Glass, What in the World, and Sound & Vision are awesome, whereas the rest of side one is solid but not great, as is side two. But what the album represents as far as creativity and pioneering, that's a 5. And as I wrote my review I realized how much I had gushed over the context. So 4.5 and I'm rounding up for the multidimensionality of Bowie that this album captures.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

The start of the Berlin Trilogy. The thing about Bowie is that everyone has a favorite phase of his. I think mine is probably this one. And even if there's a phase you are not a fan of, there's at least one or two songs from that era you still love dearly. Although this is not my favorite of hi albums, it has some of my favorite songs, like "Sound and Vision" .My biggest problem is that some of the songs come off like they are poems. and only half-finished. They're feel half-formed. For example, "Sound & Vision" could have easily repeated a verse and it still would have sounded just as good. Still, that's a minor quibble. The live versions of a lot of these really do take off and then stick the landing really well. Favorite tracks are "Sound & Vision," "Breaking Glass" and "Warszawa".

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Thu Jan 05 2023
5

Superb, even now.

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