Nothing Has Changed Open Thread (& “‘Tis Pity” too, why not)

nothing has changed,

A place for discussion about the new compilation, plus the new B side, which is not found on said compilation.

What I wrote a few weeks ago:

The reversed-time sequencing (Disc 1: “Sue” to the Outside “Strangers When We Meet”; Disc 2: “Buddha of Suburbia” to “Wild Is the Wind”; Disc 3: “Fame” to “Liza Jane”) is a fascinating gambit. It’s not just that Bowie’s opening the set with the long recitative piece “Sue.” After “Where Are We Now” the first real “hit” comes 13 tracks in (“Thursday’s Child”). For casual American fans, the entire first disc could prove a blank: only “I’m Afraid of Americans” may register.

All compilations wind up creating narratives, if inadvertent ones: even a hack job by an estranged label can still tell a story. The earlier major Bowie career retrospectives (ChangesBowie, The Singles) centered on establishing “classic” Bowie parameters: pretending Bowie didn’t record anything before 1969; lots of Ziggy and Scary Monsters; proposing the idea Bowie took long sabbaticals in the late Eighties and Nineties.

So a new twist here with Bowie placing accents on latter-day work. Ziggy gets dispatched in three songs (as many as …hours gets), The “Berlin” albums get one song apiece (there as many songs from the Toy sessions). Tin Machine gets written out (as, essentially, does Reeves Gabrels: the …hours singles are mixes that excised much of Gabrels’ guitar work; “Hallo Spaceboy” is the Pet Shop Boys remix, etc). There’s no “John I’m Only Dancing” or “Holy Holy,” no “Station to Station” or “Quicksand.” But “Silly Boy Blue” is there, as is the gawky “You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving.”

The second disc is the Bowie pop sequence spooled backward: the peak of “Absolute Beginners” crumbles into “Dancing In the Street” and “Blue Jean” before coalescing again into the bright run of “Modern Love” and “Let’s Dance,” “Under Pressure” and “Fashion.” Following this group, the Berlin pieces seem like fractured pop songs, odd, distorted echoes of what’s come “before” (esp. “Boys Keep Swinging” and “Sound and Vision”).

And the last disc is like the old legend about Merlin aging in reverse: you begin with the mature wizard (“Diamond Dogs,” “Young Americans”) and watch him sink into adolescence (“All the Young Dudes” “Drive-In Saturday”) and childhood: “Starman” and “Space Oddity” seem more like kid’s songs than ever. Back and back you go, until you end with “Liza Jane,” with a barely 18-year-old amateur screaming his way into an ancient American piece of minstrelsy and theft.

Some of the sequencing is inspired: the opening trio of “Sue”–>“Where Are We Now”–>Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” works marvelously. There’s a decade-long jump-cut from “Stars Are Out Tonight” to “New Killer Star,” and a lovely melancholic sequence of “Your Turn to Drive” (with a slightly longer fade than the original release) to “Shadow Man” to “Seven.” “Loving the Alien” and “This Is Not America” make a fine shadow pair.

And some of it’s not. “Everyone Says ‘Hi’” seems like thin gruel when bracketed by “New Killer Star” and “Slow Burn.” The overdone remake “Let Me Sleep Beside You” (a different, more “upfront” mix than the Toy bootleg, with some notable changes (a new backing vocal on the chorus, for example)). “Time Will Crawl” stands bewildered and alone, like a survivor of an airplane crash. The block of …hours songs sap the comp’s energy. Using the single edits of the likes of “Young Americans” and “Ashes to Ashes” (presumably for CD space reasons?) is cutting corners for no reason in 2014. Outside and Earthling get shortchanged. And damn it, “Laughing Gnome” should’ve been on here.



122 Responses to Nothing Has Changed Open Thread (& “‘Tis Pity” too, why not)

  1. Vinnie says:

    I’ll buy the new 12″, and probably find a copy to listen to.

    Can I say – I would have bought this in a heartbeat if “Laughing Gnome” was included? Perhaps in another decade or two, we’ll get an even older Bowie, who is finally over pretending that lovely novelty didn’t happen.

    • postpunkmonk says:

      This detailed overview makes me think that this would be a nice set to pick up after all. The alternate/single edits are nowhere else in my Record Cell. Too bad “‘Tis” is DL/10″ only. Sigh.

    • postpunkmonk says:

      By the way Vinnie, the David Bowie Is show duly features the original lyrics/score to “The Laughing Gnome” so the truth will out!

      • Vinnie says:

        I’m going next month! I’m going to get as many photos of myself doing the “Heroes” pose in front of it as the museum staff will allow. =)

    • Mr Tagomi says:

      On the Laughing Gnome, my two small daughters absolutely love it. It’s by far the song they request the most, ahead of all the child-oriented Beatles songs which they also love.

      And their dad likes the thumping rhythm, so everyone’s a winner.

      Tis a Pity made little impression me on the first listen, but now I think it’s really good.

  2. Momus says:

    ““Time Will Crawl” stands bewildered and alone, like a survivor of an airplane crash.” Made me laugh!

    Can I just say that the accelerando-rallentando sax parts in ‘Tis Pity are the most excitingly original musical gesture Bowie has made in years? One of those gobsmacking moments when you think: “Actually, I’ve never heard that happen in pop music.”

  3. Rob says:

    I’ve only been listening to the first cd and the first three songs of the second cd. Most of the songs sound almost like new. It’s really a joy to see this is not just a couple of songs that have been bundled together. They have done it real properly.
    And yes, I love Sue!
    Wonderful to finally hear the Toy-recordings on a real cd.

  4. Deanna says:

    I probably won’t purchase it as I really don’t have any way to justify buying songs I already have, especially when I could just make a playlist in the same order. But I also agree that I would buy it immediately if he had some version of “The Laughing Gnome” on there (perhaps his recorder version for the Comic Relief sketch? 😉 )

    I really don’t understand the order of the songs on the Japanese edition… I can’t find a pattern; it just seems to be a random mix of songs on there.

    I’ve also gone through every opinion imaginable for “`Tis a Pity”… from “this is absolute lazy garbage” to “this is mind-blowing genius” and I think I’ve finally settled somewhere in between. It’s damn catchy, and the more I listen to it the easier it becomes to forgive that weird saxophone synth thing I initially couldn’t stand, and the foggy vocals that really need the Visconti treatment.

  5. stuartgardner says:

    A friend of mine says:

    The Jazz in Sue is wholly American. Which politically is interesting given the bombing sequence in tis a pity… Right? Those horns are Zorn-esque and fucking brilliantly done. I’m afraid of Americans- perhaps it wasn’t Bowie’s view but that of another one of his personas. He’s always testing us. That’s good.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just listen…

  7. Galdo says:

    I was about to say ‘Tis a Pity…’ is the most Outside-esque he’s done in a long time, but I forgot ‘Heat’.

  8. Patrick says:

    I didn’t like Sue much and with Tis Pity , it feels like he is taken apart his music almost to the point of it being unlistenable . I didn’t enjoy them but if these experiments mean he eventually puts things back in an exciting way then I am content to let him have that liberty, not that he doesn’t deserve it it or need my approval; . specially since TND demonstrated he could still do the poppy,melodic stuff. Part of me is just glad he is seemingly healthy and enjoying making music again.

    The difference with his classic early work is he could absorb new influences (soul, krautrock, the velvets etc) and produce hit albums seemingly effortlessly and without releasing the unformed experiments. Later that skill diminished as he followed , not set the trends.
    He worked better , was more creative on the periphery. The Outside, When he finally achieved the fame in the mid 80s he probably thought he sought in the mid 60s he was creatively bereft.
    The compilation is marketing for the download age mostly those those (too young) playing catch up who never knew who/what he was, in the lost decade he was away.

  9. StevenE says:

    The most frustrating thing about Bowie’s comeback was all the awful broadsheet profiles shitting all over his 90s/00s records – mostly by people who (i’m fairly sure) haven’t heard much of it, least not in the last decade.

    Never made sense for me, particularly when the raves for TND came in, because it’s hardly a departure from Reality/Heathen, and it’s hard to imagine someone loving it while hating the last two.

    The compilation seems like a deliberate effort to address that view, and I wish it all the best. I even saw a review bemoaning the lack of Tin Machine tracks (and saying they’ve well, which is true in places) which is something I never thought I’d see…

    • StevenE says:

      *saying theyve aged well, i meant to write…

      • fluxkit says:

        I think it is a good time for a complete Tin Machine box set. The 2 lps, the live album, the live video on dvd, all of the scattered b-sides material, maybe some demos that never came out back then. It would make for a nice package if anyone was up for doing it, I think, though it would make the discs I already own redundant. I’d still buy it, though, of course… esp. if it included a “fuck you, I like Tin Machine” t-shirt.

      • StevenE says:

        that’s absolutely never going to happen but I’d buy it in a shot. Of all the Tin Machine albums I think the live album especially deserves to be heard more widely.

      • Mr Tagomi says:

        He’s surely not going to sully his refreshed brand by reminding anyone of Tin Machine at this stage.

        I bet it will happen at some point though. I’d love to hear all those hinted-at half-finished Tin Machine songs.

      • Patrick says:

        Maybe he’s still trying to maintain “plausible deniability” about TM not really being a solo project but him just being “one of the lads in the band”. Has he ever included a TM track on his official compilations?

      • col1234 says:

        yeah “Under the God” was on the early 00s “Best of Bowie” comp and the Machine got a good chunk on the revised Sound + Vision

    • Mike says:

      I felt the same way. TND felt like the long lost missing third of a trilogy to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for saying that. I 100% agree and it left a horrible taste in my mouth when they refused to celebrate anything recent.

    • Deanna says:

      I 100% agree. They can rave all they want, but if they leave out a good 20 years without even acknowledging them, it comes across as fake and disingenuous. Hopefully this compilation will get some good press, and more people will discover Heathen, Reality, etc.

      If I had to add a Tin Machine track onto this album, I’d probably add “I Can’t Read”. That song is /good/.

      • StevenE says:

        I like the Tin Machine records (i even stole the second’s title as a twitter handle), but I also like that he left them off because it feels like a return to the pretense that Tin Machine was a proper band – an outfit completely distinct from his solo career.

        Of course that was never the case, but he was never actually an alien called Ziggy, or a fascist aristocrat either (and this projection’s only slightly more far fetched than either).

        At least that’s the reading I’m choosing to run with.

    • Ezekiel Benedict says:

      Agreed. TND plays like the intevening years from Reality never happened (hence The Next Day??) anyway, those who write off everything he did after the 70s are missing out on some of his best stuff in my opinion.

  10. Mike says:

    I like the reverse order concept, forcing the listener to pay attention to his oft-neglected later work. It’s a statement that he’s been a working artist even when the spotlight went away, and that he’s still producing NOW.

    Obviously, everyone’s going to have quibbles with the song selections. Like Chris, I could do without “Everyone Says ‘Hi’… half of Heathen is stronger than that one (like, um, the song that provides the compilation’s title…). I’d prefer a trimming of an Hours track (Thursday’s Child bugs) and maybe one or two pre-Oddity tracks to give the Berlin albums more of their due.

    My big gripe is the edits. I’m still waiting for the US release, but the single edit I’ve heard of Young Americans is awful. That whole mid-section edited out. And Heroes losing its first verse is pretty bad too. These songs *build* and the edits sap their strength. Fashion’s edit loses a lot of Fripp, and Ashes hurries along too fast. I understand the CD has limits, but why do they have to do that on the downloadable version?

    Despite that, i’m looking forward to it. The packaging looks great, and it’s pretty clear that Bowie had a hand in this one, unlike previous compilations. I can’t wait to hear some of these remastered and to check out the ‘rarities’ that are sprinkled around.

  11. Mike says:

    And PS. Has Suffragette City ever been left off? That omission surprised me.

  12. Brandon says:

    There’s a great Genesis compilation called the Platinum Collection that also goes in reverse order, but there’s a huge difference in doing that for Genesis compared with Bowie. For Genesis, going back in time puts the big radio hits first and then gets increasingly more interesting and adventurous as you work your way back to the excellent 70s work and the Peter Gabriel era.

    David Bowie’s career has so many more peaks and valleys, and it’s hard to pin down whether certain eras represent an ascent or a descent. There’s no way I could come up with a perfect compilation for him, that’s for sure. Themes of subject matter, different eras, pop vs. art, and so many more aspects (that this blog illuminates so well), I think part of Bowie’s greatness is how hard it is to pigeonhole him or whittle him down into a career-spanning collection.

  13. SoooTrypticon says:

    Thanks for adding that extra bit of info on the Toy tracks! I’m excited to hear them on Monday. The extra backing vocals are an interesting note as Bowie and Visconti opted to remove them from “Afraid” for the “Heathen” release.

    I like the reverse order. I only wish “Sunday” and “Motel” made it on the first disc. Maybe “Wedding Song” too. I could have done without “Thursday.”

    I like “Everyone Says Hi,” although I wish there was a more “Heathen” mix of it. Something airy and a little cold.

  14. SoooTrypticon says:

    Also, I really like the direction “Pity” is going in. I love the big sound of it.

    I’d like to hear a different treatment on the vocals… And I hope the demo tracks aren’t replaced by the tinny synths heard on tracks like “Queen of the Tarts” or “Fly.” Something with an organic squawk, and oomph would be preferable… Not buzzy lightweight synths.

    If anything comes out of “Sue” for future music, I hope it’s the warmth and incidental sounds that come from real instruments.

  15. princeasbo says:

    In the late 80s, when I was pledging ΦΚΣ (no comments or snickering, please) at Kenyon College, we were “forced” during Pledge Week to listen to “The Laughing Gnome” literally 24/7 on tape loop in the frat house. Some cracked under the hazing, as you can imagine, though I still retain some fondness for the song in a perverted prisoner/kidnapper kind of way.

    Yes, it should have been on “Nothing”. Ha ha hee.

  16. col1234 says:

    speaking of Bowie revivals, someone’s alerted me that the complete “Leon” sequence (which I wrote about, having gotten a version by someone who asked me not to share it) may have finally leaked. Link in this thread, I believe:

  17. dba says:

    Apparently a lot of the songs are remixed/remastered, I think most of the 70’s an 80’s songs. Has anybody else made the test?

    Here’s a list of the songs, which have in my opinion an new mix/remaster:

    Absolute Beginners
    Ashes To Ashes
    Blue Jean
    China Girl
    Dancing In The Street
    Diamond Dogs
    Golden Years
    Jean Genie
    Let Me Sleep Beside You
    Let’s Dance
    Loving The Alien
    The Man Who Sold The World
    Modern Love
    Oh! You Pretty Things
    Rebel Rebel
    Scary Monsters
    Sound And Vision
    Starman (? hardly audible)
    This Is Not America
    You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving

    The new mixes have an much warmer sound than the last issues, like the horrilble 1999 remasters (way to flashy, made my ears bleeding, a result of the loudness-war)

    good blog, col, thank you for all.

    • col1234 says:

      yes, though some of these are earlier remixes from the 00s, I believe

      • col1234 says:

        some talk on DB boards that there’s different vocals on “Wild Is the Wind”? (I think it’s mix from the recent Station boxed set)–anyone hearing that?

      • Jubany says:

        Yes, the vocal is different (as in the STS 5.1 new Maslin mix) but just the “don’t you know your life itself” bit.

  18. roobin101 says:

    Re Tis a Pity… Hmm. I couldn’t hack a whole album of this but… I like… This plus Sue, suggests Bowie’s not going to go quietly into the Dad Rock Night. It’s got Black Tie sounds with Outside perversity. I hope it gets accidentally played on some bland outlet like Radio 2 or Capital FM and hundreds of thousands of people go: “wha?”

  19. I really like both of the new tracks. I do with that “Tis Pity” were on the comp, but really it does have a good “B-Side” feel to it. So fair enough. True b-sides are rare these days. As for the comp., I love the backwards sequencing and really looked forward to a disc celebrating the last 20 years. That said, I think the middle of the disc lags with too many slow-tempo, average songs. I’d have loved another track or two from Reality, replace “Hi” with “Sunday” like everyone else says, Get rid of “Let Me Sleep Beside You” and “Shadow Man” and “Survive”. Put on the album mix of “seven” and add one of the other singles from “Earthling” into the mix. Bowie has been more interesting over this span than the selection of blander material suggests. That said, no complaints really, I just feel like it’s trying to reach an audience here that probably won’t open to it anyhow. I love the first five tracks on the mix, and the last five. Great start and end to disc 1. I also really like hearing the pre-Oddity songs in this context. Listening to those eras of material by themselves is usually not so interesting to me, but a few selections in a broader context and it sounds pretty nice.

    All in all, I’m pleased. And the box has the same construction design as the old deluxe set of Black Tie, White Noise, which I wasn’t expecting. In fact I was just listening to that disc 2 of BTWN before my “Nothing Has Changed” arrived yesterday.

  20. Mike says:

    … and is Dancing In The Street truly necessary in all these? Yes, it was a number one, yes it’s with Jagger, but is it really that beloved? I doubt either of them ever listen to it and it doesn’t really showcase him as an artist in any ay. It’s exclusion would have left more room for another Heroes or Low track, or Cat People, or…. anything!

    • s.t. says:

      I much prefer the musicless music video.

    • StevenE says:

      DITS is genuinely the only Bowie song I’ve ever heard played on the jukebox in the local (that wasn’t put on by me). I think if it was left out people would ask why (though I suppose it wouldn’t be hard to posit an answer…)

    • Dancing in the Street is on the horrendous side. A hit sure, but a joke song and video best remembered (or forgotten?) as charitable folly. Doesn’t belong on a career retrospective Bowie compilation alongside his quality 80s output such as Loving the Alien or Absolute Beginners.

      • jim5et says:

        I choose to assume that it’s on there so Band Aid get some royalty from all the compilations. It can’t be on merit…

      • JB says:

        I’m pretty sure the day Bowie and Jagger did Dancing in the Street was the real day the music died. Avert your eyes and ears children!

    • I’m going to through some weight in, now that I’ve purchased Nothing Has Changed: Yes, “Dancing In The Street” is absolutely necessary. Much of Bowie’s (less than stellar) 80s are whitewashed by selectively taking better-sounding singles (“Blue Jean” & “Absolute Beginners”) and ignoring the others (“Tonight”).

      People need to be reminded that Bowie can take a laugh, and that not everything is perfect.

      Nothing Has Changed is far from perfect: if Bowie had included more from the “Berlin” period, cut down on the … hours, pretended Tin Machine happened, had tracks chronologically, included “The Laughing Gnome” – etc – it would be better. But, “Dancing In The Street”? We need this! No mob-mentality here. It’s flawless in how flawed it is.

  21. fluxkit says:

    Why is “Under Pressure” slightly out of chronological order on disc 2?

  22. It’s always an atrocity when they use the single version of “Heroes”.

  23. Roman says:

    The big songs he left off this latest compilation have to be Suffragette and John I’m Only Dancing.

    It’s also always surprised me that he’s left off Never Let Me Down from all compilations (and Day In Day Out from most of them). They were two bono-fide American hits – he doesn’t have many of them therefore he should surely should be bigging up his chart/radio triumphs. That’s one of the things that compilations are for.

    While TVC15 and Cat People are minor American hits – he doesn’t have many of them either. (as is Without You).

    I feel that Bowie has mismanaged his compilations over the decades. He allows big hits to be forgotten about – for example Drive In Saturday was huge in the UK and Never Let Me Down was a hit both on radio and in the charts in America – but they were forgotten because the compilations that came out in the years following ignored them.

    Other bands/artists do not do this. The Stones don’t have a forgotten hit. The Doors don’t. Blur don’t. In fact the only star who has hits that people have forgotten about that I can think of, is Madonna – but that’s because she had so many in the 80’s/90’s that you can’t fit them all onto a standard 2-disk compilation. Bowie doesn’t have that many – especially in America – and yet he always ignores certain tracks.

    Bowie mightn’t like Never Let Me Down. But he’d have killed for a top thirty US hit in the 90’s/00’s. And by putting it onto compilations, along with Day In Day Out, it would remind half-the-hemisphere that his force as a commercial pop-relevance didn’t end in 1984.

    Having said all that – I really like the focus on the 90’s/00’s singles on this compilation. It’s such a relief after the token two or three post-1987 tracks that had been flung on the previous collections and thus emphasising the public’s perception that Bowie hasn’t mattered since around Live Aid.

    • Never Let Me Down is a lovely little song, despite the album being apparently his nadir. My sentimental attachment to the album disregards this nadir opinion. I would welcome the title track on any Bowie compilation. Not so sure about Day In Day Out. That one I could do without.

      • StevenE says:

        NLMD is, strangely enough, by some distance the most played Bowie song I have on iTunes.

        I don’t think the album’s that terrible either. It’s a case of Bowie, at least when he’s bad, being interesting. ‘Interesting’ can mean completely mad, like on Makin’ My Love (which got too hard a rap on here, it’s amazing)

    • I think it does feel stuck sometimes between trying to be a “hits collection” and trying to be a curated effort to paint an image of “Bowie” for “Today’s audience” to relate to, which means highlighting some non-hits at the expense of past hits, but I’m not sure the intent is always clear in why one song is here over another.

  24. I find it interesting that three whole Toy tracks made it onto the album. It somehow initiates the record into the Bowie discography despite not having an official release.
    Some of the new mixes on this comp sound wonderful. I’m almost hoping they’re considering remastering his previous albums (particularly the ones that haven’t been touched since the late 90s).

    Of course I’m less impressed by the single edits. Maybe it’s just that I’m so familiar with the full songs but some of the cuts sound really sloppy (Scary Monsters and Young Americans particularly).
    It is nice however to hear a version of Under Pressure that doesn’t cut the second “this is our last dance” (didn’t Best of Bowie do this?).
    I’m glad that 60s Dave is finally getting some recognition too. It felt a bit of a shame that pre-Space Oddity Dave has been all but swept under the rug for almost thirty five years.

    Dancing in the Street sure stands out doesn’t it? I like to think Bowie cheekily put it in there himself to piss people off. I would have liked to have seen some Tin Machine material in there. It’ll sit nicely with the Time Will Crawl remake, I think.

    Also the Leon tape leaking couldn’t come at a better time for me. I’m writing my dissertation on Outside era Bowie (it’s actually about cyber-utopianism and neo-noir. Outside is just a convenient way to tie it all up). Though come to think of it, maybe the leak has made my job more difficult? I’m pretty sure he’s just spouting nonsense at some points.

  25. Leigh Walton says:

    Haven’t seen anyone else say this but “Tis Pity” sounds exactly like the intro of “Real Cool World” if it never resolved into a pop song.

    Agree with Roobin (“Black Tie sounds with Outside perversity”).

  26. MC says:

    A few thoughts: I don’t generally object to singles edits on a singles compilation, but the “Heroes” single edit sounds like you’re tuning in in the middle of the song. It’s really galling to listen to. I would love to see a comp that would use the album version. Maybe the next one…

    Tis Pity sounds great, a nice complement/contrast to Sue

    I don’t need to buy Nothing Has Changed, as I own almost everything in some form, but it’s nice that such a comprehensive collection finally exists. The total omission of Tin Machine is my one caveat. I’m with Steven E that it may be that the TM stuff was considered distinct from DB solo. Better this than some Stalinist purging of Gabrels’ contribution to Bowie’s work, certainly.

    Examining the track listing, I contemplated the achronological pairing of Under Pressure and Boys Keep Swinging, and I was struck by the rightness of the last piano chords in Pressure followed by Alomar’s drumming. Beautiful segue.

    Great to see Silly Boy Blue getting its due.

    That’s all, for now.

  27. Mike says:

    So Tin Machine never existed but “Dancing in the Street” most definitely did? LOL, etc…

    • Ezekiel Benedict says:

      Yes! Dancing in the Street is an abomination! Would much rather have had something like Under the God than that piece of crap LOL

  28. Steven says:

    I absolutely love Tis Pity. The sax parts are so addictive and hidden in the song is a beautiful little melody. So sad and pretty.

    Meanwhile, I have never been able to understand the appeal of compilations to fans who already have the songs. I might have been a tiny bit tempted by the vinyl version if only for the cover art, but the tracklisting is completely different and far less interesting than the CD. It’s just a standard collection of the famous songs, with very little post-1990 work:

    Disc: 1
    1. Let’s Dance (single version)
    2. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
    3. ‘Heroes’ (single version)
    4. Changes
    5. Life On Mars?
    6. Space Oddity
    7. Starman (original single mix)
    8. Ziggy Stardust
    9. The Jean Genie (original single mix)
    10. Rebel Rebel

    Disc: 2
    1. Golden Years (single version)
    2. Fame
    3. Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
    4. Sound And Vision
    5. Sue (or In A Season Of Crime)
    6. Hallo Spaceboy (PSB Remix) – with The Pet Shop Boys
    7. China Girl (single version)
    8. Modern Love (single version)
    9. Absolute Beginners (single version)
    10. Where Are We Now?

    • cansorian says:

      The song selection on the vinyl version is a complete and total travesty. It’s so bland it makes me despair. Whoever compiled the selection has no understanding of the vinyl buyers market. A real missed opportunity.

      • StevenE says:

        Yeah I was planning on picking up the vinyl – because of the art and because I have very little Bowie vinyl – til I saw what’d be on it. Really bizarre sequencing too – Sue to Spaceboy to China Girl…

      • Vinnie says:

        (Bughh) This makes me want to throw-up. Releases where there isn’t a “universal” tracklisting makes me sick. It’s like how Yellow Magic Orchestra or the Beatles had their tracklistings changed when released in America. Stupid. Stupid.

        @StevenE – for the price of the record new ($40?), go on a Discogs shopping spree, or visit any fine local record store in your area, ask what Bowie they have, and buy it. I guarantee you can pick up a solid majority of the major releases without batting an eyelash.

      • StevenE says:

        Yeah that’s probably not a bad idea – I think the only Bowie album I own on vinyl is the Baal ep, a gift from a girlfriend picked up in Berlin, appropriately enough.

        just to complicate things further, there’s a 1-disc edition too:

        1 CD Version – Argentina and Mexico

        01 – Let’s Dance (single version)
        02 – Ashes To Ashes (single version)
        03 – Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie
        04 – “Heroes” (single version)
        05 – Changes
        06 – Space Oddity (UK single edit)
        07 – Life On Mars?
        08 – Starman (original single mix)
        09 – Ziggy Stardust
        10 – The Jean Genie (original single mix)
        11 – Rebel Rebel
        12 – Golden Years (single version)
        13 – Fame
        14 – Sound And Vision
        15 – Hallo Spaceboy (PSB Remix) – with The Pet Shop Boys
        16 – China Girl (single version)
        17 – Dancing In The Street – David Bowie & Mick Jagger
        18 – Absolute Beginners (edit)
        19 – Where Are We Now?
        20 – Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) (radio edit)

        I love that even when they pare everything back to one disc Dancing in the Street hangs on in…

      • Mike says:

        Right? Young Americans and Modern Love (or even Blue Jean) are perfectly good upbeat international hits for the masses. Maybe he owes Mick Jagger money.

  29. LordByron says:

    The more I digest it the more I think the track-listing is seriously flawed. Yes, this kind of thing is an ongoing and eternal point of discussion on message-boards, a sort of “what’s your dream set-list” conversation- but while I adore the reverse-chronological order, I feel the overall song selection is- well, terrible.

    Let’s consider that these kind of compilations are introductory to new/curious fans more than for die-hard fans who presumably already have all of the tracks.

    By that method of thinking, why automatically just cull whatever the perceived single was off of an album like “Heathen”- does anyone think ‘Everyone Says ‘Hi” was the best song from that to accurately represent Bowie? You wouldn’t want, say, “Slip Away” in it’s stead, just for example?

    Now the reason this is more of an issue than you may think is precisely *because* of the reverse-era track-listing order. It isn’t like someone who isn’t very familiar with DB has come down naturally from the radio hits they may have a subliminal vague memory of. Getting to that era of ‘Hours’ and ‘Heathen’, feel- they should have chosen something a bit more. Some of the tracks selected feel a bit throwaway. And nothing else from ‘Reality’..? It’s just very passive sounding, in my estimation. Even ‘Valentine’s Day’ would have served well in the early tracks simply due to it’s more up-tempo accessibility. But alas! I would never question superior judgment and I’m still grateful things go on…

    • fluxkit says:

      Yes, I totally agree. The era between Reality and Earthling in particular is shortchanged. If the Bowie camp is trying to invite newcomers into this era of his work, I don’t feel it’s been pitched very well, either. That said, I’d personally change out 5 tracks in particular from the middle 8 of disc 1. I’d love to hear “Disco King” included, if they wanted to follow from the feeling introduced by “Sue,” but other rockers from “Reality” might have also been nice. The “Toy” material, “Hi” and the Marius De Vries mixes from “…hours” are amongst my least enjoyed Bowie moments, personally. As representatives here they give an image of a weaker Bowie than I think of from this period.

      • Mike says:

        I think you get to the heart of it. I’ve been kvetching not so much because I feel short-changed, but more that it short-changes the first time listener and, in a way, Bowie himself. The first disc with the newest material was definitely an opportunity to showcase his work that got overlooked. I think it fell short a bit by gliding over some of his strongest stuff from those years.

      • Kikouyou says:

        i think you’re wrong: Everyone says hi! is the best song of the Heathen album by far

  30. Galdo says:

    I don’t like some of these new mixes. I’m not a purist or something, but the edit on ‘Young Americans’ sound a little brutal and whilst ‘Wild is the Wind’ sounds almost the same, the guitar was pulled back too much to the background. The remixed ‘Survive’ is great, but ‘Seven’ is much preferable is its original form. I’m not some kinda of sound technic, but the other remastered versions sounds very clear, I like it.

    About the sequencing, I think the first disc is the worst. ‘Toy’ could have been represented only by the title track or one more energetic song, like ‘Afraid’. The choices on ‘Heathen’ songs were poor. I don’t know, but while is no hit, ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ could have worked well next ‘New Killer Star’. Talking about ‘Reality’ it could have another track.

  31. s.t. says:

    Here’s lookin at you, Columbia/Legacy:

    “Nothing Has Changed (Everything Has Changed Edition)”

    Disc One:

    1) Sue (or In a Season of Crime)
    2) Valentine’s Day
    3) Where Are We Now?
    4) God Bless the Girl
    5) Reality
    6) She’ll Drive the Big Car
    7) Bring Me the Disco King
    8) Slow Burn
    9) I Would Be Your Slave
    10) Slip Away
    11) Shadow Man (Toy Version)
    12) Seven
    13) Survive (Marius DeVries Mix)
    14) Something In the Air
    15) I’m Afraid of Americans (Nine Inch Nails Mix)
    16) Battle for Britain
    17) Dead Man Walking
    18) Hallo Spaceboy
    19) Thru’ These Architects Eyes
    20) Strangers When We Meet

    Disc Two:

    1) The Buddha of Suburbia
    2) You’ve Been Around
    3) Jump They Say
    4) Baby Universal
    5) I Can’t Read
    6) Never Let Me Down
    7) Time Will Crawl
    8) Absolute Beginners
    9) This is Not America
    10) China Girl
    11) Modern Love
    12) Cat People (Single version)
    13) Fashion
    14) Ashes to Ashes
    15) Boys Keep Swinging
    16) Look Back In Anger
    17) “Heroes”
    18) Joe the Lion
    19) Warzawa
    20) Sound and Vision

    Disc Three:

    1) Golden Years
    2) Word on a Wing
    3) Fame
    4) Win
    5) 1984
    6) Rebel Rebel
    7) Sorrow
    8) Jean Genie
    9) Drive In Saturday
    10) Starman
    11) Ziggy Stardust
    12) Queen Bitch
    13) Life On Mars
    14) The Man Who Sold the World
    15) All the Madmen
    16) Conversation Piece
    17) Space Oddity
    18) Love You Till Tuesday (album version)
    19) The Laughing Gnome
    20) The London Boys

  32. Reasonably interesting Pitchfork review of NHC here:

    and a tip of the hat to our very own Pushing Ahead of the Dame…

  33. RLM says:

    Went on a trip to the record shop to buy the 3CD on day of release (in Australia)… the new Bryan Ferry was out yesterday too. Felt nostalgic going to an actual shop to pick something up on day of release.

    Now they’re both on the same disc, does anyone hear an echo of the Heart’s Filthy Lesson intro piano hook in the bassline for Sue…?

  34. I like how Marius De Vries made Bowie sound like the 70s on this version of “Seven”.

  35. Mark HSV says:

    Hi, I’m a newcomer here, but just wanted to give my thoughts on “Nothing Has Changed”.

    I’d been humming and hawing over buying this collection for awhile to get the few songs that I don’t own, and at the same time comparing it to the recently reissued Sound+Vision collection. Eventually I decided to get both since there are several rarities or remixes that I didn’t have. So, I’m currently digesting 2 Bowie compilations at the same time and I find them to be interesting companions to each other.

    The S+V reissue from 2003 ends at Buddha of Suburbia, which is exactly where the second disc of NHC starts off, so disc 1 of NHC (despite being in reverse-chronological order) really fills in the rest of Bowie’s career nicely after the fairly comprehensive S+V collection. What’s nice too is that there isn’t too many repeated tracks on these collections either (I think only about 20 between the 129 tracks that make up both collections). NHC serves as a good overview of his “best” work, and S+V kind of fills it out with some deeper cuts, demos, live stuff and Tin Machine.

    I like both, but overall I think NHC is better for anyone new to Bowie’s music because it doesn’t miss many major hits, and most of the tracks are the singles or album cuts except for later work where the different mixes might appeal more to current listeners’ tastes. I do wish they didn’t include “Dancing in the Street” though – it really feels out of place on a collection that is mostly tastefully done. Also the omission of Tin Machine hurts. I’ve recently gotten into the first Tin Machine album, and I enjoy the 3 Tin Machine II songs included on S+V.

    I don’t know whether NHC will bring in many new fans or not, but it certainly is a well-done collection, and I’m glad that I bought it!

  36. JB says:

    Would be really great to have a compilation not devoted to singles or hits. Just great songs (hit or no) and possibly overlooked stuff.

    Seems to me like the most interesting thing they could have done with this (keeping the same title) would be a 3 disc set of his lesser known, but still quality material. Would have been very subversive and original. It is like they sort of went with that, but caved in and just catered to the masses. For example, including Toy songs and some of his 80’s non-album singles along with his pre-Hunky Dory material was great. However, then you have all the rotten singles edits (some are passable, but some are down right abominations) and stuff like Dancing in the Street.

    Wish Bowie had the stones to put out something like that and really blow people away. There are other compilations out there that already fill the purpose of “here’s the hits!”. This is just more of that plus a few random interesting moments so it just comes across as a mess.

  37. poseidonian says:

    “Everyone Says Hi” is thin gruel? I always imagined that it was about a lover who died, that the chipper tone was about the element of denial in grief, and that the overall effect was devastating. But maybe I just imagined all that.

  38. Ramzi says:

    Much of the collection seems to be deliberately going against popular narrative surrounding Bowie. This is probably at its most notable with the placing of Where Are We Now. If it was the “first” (last on the CD) of The Next Day, leading onto Reality, it would’ve been a clear reminder of his absence. While that’s still there to some extent (due to the automatic connection between the song and his return), the fact it’s the “last” means that this is forgotten by the time the rest of TND’s material is finished. This is added to as The Stars Are Out Tonight is probably the new song that’s most similar to Reality, which it leads into, blending the two albums. It would also have been more obvious if the sequencing was chronological. As far as the compilation is concerned, the lost decade never happened.

    There’s very little attempt to alter the casual listener’s perception of his prime. The run of Absolute Beginners through to Space Oddity is almost remarkable in how standard its additions are: the standard music journalist would have been able to compile it (save for a couple of exceptions: This is Not America and Wild is the Wind, probably). The Berlin albums still only get one song a piece as they did on Best of Bowie even though they’re now popularly considered to be his best work.

    The addition of his early songs works both as an excuse to put it out (50 years) and a new chance to highlight both the originals and the work done on Toy. The latter sees the “slow” years of 99-00 getting 6 songs, which is strange, albeit worth it for Your Turn to Drive which is just lovely. Maybe it was done in order to even out the CDs? CD2 would’ve been a hard one to decide where to start: Buddha of Suburbia, a song where he explicitly looks back to his past, was probably the best choice, although it does leave the hole open in CD1 that the Hours singles need to fill.

    The strict sticking to singles, apart from a couple of cases, is one of the most frustrating things about the collection. It makes sense for the 70s where space is extremely limited, but would anyone have really cared if a couple of the Hours singles were cut for an album song from Outside and Heathen? The most annoying feature, however, are the remixes and single versions, some of which are savage (Strangers When We Meet having the line “my poor soul, all bruised passivity” is personally the most irksome), and as you said, are largely unnecessary. Again, they’re not trying to introduce new material (in the form of album versions) to the casual listener where you’d want them to, but do provide remixes for songs that don’t particularly need them.

    While these faults are there, as you’ve said the sequencing is interesting and does produce some great moments, and as I didn’t have a Bowie compilation up until now I’m glad I bought it.

  39. Mike says:

    I agree that the later work singles are less vital than some other material on those albums, and that no one would miss a couple less Hours songs in favor of an extra Earthling or Heathen track..

    As for the Berlin Trilogy, I’m beginning to wonder if they were less generous because there’s a remastered set on the horizon? It makes sense: STS was the last and a decent remaster of those albums is long overdue.

    Regardless, I have a playlist that has *my* Nothing Has Changed. Beauty And The Beast is perfect after Boys Keep Swinging, as is Be My Wife after Heroes. And Dancing In The Streets went poof! gone.

  40. Mark HSV says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize people don’t enjoy Hours very much. I like it a lot, but I prefer the album cuts of Seven and Survive to the remixes on NHC. They probably could have put on “Something in the Air” instead of Survive though. Even though the production is a little flat on Hours, I find the songs to be more interesting to most of Heathen, which I struggle to really get into.

    As a side note, I wish they could have swapped Dancing in the Street for the soundtrack version of Cat People (Putting Out Fire), which would have included all of his really great 80’s soundtrack singles. I think anything from Labyrinth would be a bit too much to ask for though 🙂

    • Ramzi says:

      I really do like Hours a lot, but when put against all of his other songs it can come across as a bit dreary. Completely agree with replacing Dancing in the Street, though, not sure what made them put that in there ahead of Cat People.

  41. onReload says:

    Was anyone else hoping for the Loner mix of BMtDK?

  42. Hi everyone, big Bowie fan, just discovered this site… wow! Just ordered the book too!
    I like a lot of things about the 3CD compilation: the reversed order of the tracks is genius, the Toy songs are great, some edited versions of the 80s tracks makes them feel new and fresh, I love Sue; a shame ‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore is not there though. Unlike many though I am not impressed with the Marius DeVries mixes of the Hours tracks. I find them out-dated and bland, would have preferred the originals. And is it just me but is it not a crime that Suffragette City was left out? Certainly could have done without Dancing in the Streets, or one of the five pre-Space Oddity songs, or even All the Young Dudes to leave room for Suffragette. Come on: “Wham bam thank u ma’am” is part of popular culture, you can’t just leave that out.

    • Vinnie says:

      Everyone has a track they think is essential. What’s worth noting is that this, like every other Bowie compilation before it, is incomplete, and best reserved for the casual fan.

  43. Frank says:

    Great blog! Thank you very much for this.

    I have a comment about “‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore”, and I don’t know where to post it, so I post it here, hope you don’t mind. I just watched a 2005 French movie (and we all know our man really is into European cinema) called “Lemming”. The soundtrack (especially towards the end of the film) has a strong resemblance to the crazy B-side of “Sue” (which I really like). So if you are looking for the inspiration of that crazy ascending tone sequence (or do you say sound sequence? Sorry, I am not a native English speaker) with its very special timing and accelleration in “Tis A Pity She Was A Whore”, you might find it here.

    To make this post even stranger, I just checked who had been credited for the music of the film “Lemming”, and it was a certain David Whitaker. If you enter his name and “Lemming” in google, youtube supplies you with a lot of computer game music from the amiga or atari game called lemmings!

    All of this cannot be a coincidence. The producers of the movie “Lemming” hired the composer of the music of the game lemmings? How weird is that! No wonder David does his own version of it now – especially since the movie “Lemming” is just as disturbing to me as “TMWFTE” was when I first saw it.

    Probably all of that has already been discussed a lot on the web, so sorry if I bore you, but I was exited when I thought I had found out something new…

    • col1234 says:

      no, this is the first I’ve heard of it! great find. Bowie has a long history of raiding film soundtracks (see “Bewlay Brothers”)

      • When I wrote this post, I was not aware that he would have only half a year left to live.

        But he probably knew.

        That gives “lemmings” a completely different meaning. I guess their meaning in European cultural history is mainly: They commit suicide.

        After having thought a long time about this now, I think it might have been a way to reflect his own situation. Including perhaps to remain the master of his own decision up to the end.

        PS: Re-reading this post, it all seems so cold. But it is really not meant like that, I just can’t write about it in another way without starting to cry.

    • Jasmine says:

      This is a great observation – I really love delving into little pieces of Bowie’s past and interpreting! Even if wrong, it’s a fun hobby.
      Also re your post below, please don’t be sad, he was an astute observer and interpreter of whatever he saw, always seeking, learning. I don’t really believe this exciting song is about his mortality. Search ‘Lemming Curve’ which I am certain Bowie had read, and bear in mind his own internet past, his views on the future of music digitally and his ability to channel business into art (and vice versa). Think you’ve discovered something 🙂

      • Frank from Frankfurt says:

        Thank you, Jasmine, for your warm and consoling words. You are completely right, “Tis a pity she was a whore” is almost certainly not about mortality in the first place. I just thought, maybe everything he did in these last 18 months might somehow be influenced by the perspective that he would perhaps not have much time anymore.

        I checked ‘Lemming curve’ and I completely agree. The song may very well be a statement on our society today, on work-life-balance etc. But I still have no clue, to be honest. As always – he kept it open, multiple interpretations could work. A part of his art – in my opinion – was to give completely different explanations about the same song/lyric at different occasions, when being asked to explain. I used to dislike that – and I appreciate it now.

  44. Frank says:

    Thank you! But I guess you might want to check the soundtrack of that movie first, maybe I got it all wrong, and nobody (but me) would notice a resemblance.

    Again – thank you very much for your blog, it is unique in its depth.

  45. Hola! I’ve been following your web site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

  46. ragingglory says:

    Why does he still persist with Dancing in the Street? It is truly dreadful. Even without the video. SOUTH AMERRRICCCAAAA

  47. Hans says:

    better lat e then never. I’ve purchased NHC in February this year and to make things clear from the beginning, lovin’it.

    There’s no “John I’m Only Dancing” or “Holy Holy,” no “Station to Station” or “Quicksand.”

    missing along with many, many beloved others….

    so,I recalled Ronno and said to meself “I’ve make up me own …compilation”.

    easy done, my rules were:

    not more than three songs per album,
    going back in times form blackstar to first single releases, love the Deram anthologies, I’ve lost myvynil copy sometime in the late 70s and thought all was lost forever, including Toy & TM, loved that drone too,
    skipped all instrumentals, which gave me some hard times in the berlin era,
    also skipped covers but not sure if an iggy-track sneaked in, need to check this but if I had been chosing some it definetely would have been ITATOAGS, thx for everything ledge, & Pictures of Lily, thought not found on his own releases (?),
    no track to be repeated from NHC, only exception the Toy version of ‘ Liza Jane’ as it sounds so different from the original.

    Named it “Everything was changed”, which I found a fitting choice after this years January.

    It’s now for about two months on my mp3 device and givin a damn of a joy…..even though I still think 1.Outside should be inluded as one track just like Low but I understand that this is not the sense of a ‘Best of’ but still….

    some more thoughts about NHC 3cd edit: as I’m pretty sure the master had his hands in this compilation…who am I to challenge him?

    What I mean is that this man knocked me with Ziggy when I was only eleven yo I consumned all his albums from debut to Aladdin Sane and when I just thought now I got him, he came out with Diamond dogs and left me standing just like “Time Will Crawl” stands; bewildered and alone. But these dogs really bit. and I decided to do what the spiders once did, go with him and he proved right, it was great. It was always great!!

    I did not run away when he put almost the complete Low album on the track-list of his Berlin concert in 2002. I followed the Tin Machine! The Buddha cracked me again. 1. Outside? An apocalypse in the pure meaning of this word! currently I have it at least once a week on. Often in darkness, gives me shivers, oh man. And then? Heathen & Reality, fierce, crass rockers! Great, graet stuff! Inside hiding? two of his graetest tunes of all, yes of all,

    ‘Bring me the Disco King’ is so, so weird, this damn outro, but does not frighten, who cares if I can figure out the real meaning behind? & “erveryone says Hi” is one of the sweetest honeylike but never dripping demonstration of perfect wording.And of course it has this perfect advice: don’t stay in a bad place! And he is singing it so, so well. To my humble ears definetely one of his finest.

    ok, cd1: surprising but cool picks much said about better choices, pity that Reeves almost disappeared.

    cd2: didn’t leave too much echoes in mind, all so well known. the chart stuff, of course includes Jagger, had to. But I checked immediately Heroes (Low don’t need to check knew this right away) for missing materials and there is a hell of a lot on both not talking about his instrumentals here. Actually I consider this pack as my ‘Best of Kraftwerk’ Thank you Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle!

    cd3: funny enough that ‘Golden Years.’ almost closes disc two ’cause here they are! from ‘fame’ to ‘SO’, the usual suspects, no bad picks, lots of gems misssing.

    But it is not over yet!!! from track 2 of disc two to track 16 of disc three we have here a more or less copy of the Platinum collection we rec’das a going away present due to TM, to lazy to check this track by track, but never mind, fine with me.

    Here they come some pearls drawn to light from the deepest holes of the locker! I have to confess that I denied Toy at its times when leaked, I do not appreciate bootlegs. Honestly, I owe not more then six or seven, Toy included already.

    maybe eight, need to check…

    But now these tracks. ‘In the Heat of the Morning’ is so damn sexy. Come on. where ended it up in the poll?

    ‘Silly Boy Blue’, , to me already sounded a bit aged in ’73, ‘Can’t help..’& ‘You’ve got…’ I found as nothing important when got the Deram anth. but, yes if this is these are the picks okay,fits well.

    Didn’t know Liza Jane a fine debut.

    All in All, a great pick for my collection, filled some gapes,


    to be honest I’m currently building up a wav library and doing a market research for a new mp3 device, need more memory, ’cause my next ‘Best of’ shall not end before track 350 and if I have to include Iggy, Baal, Peter & The Wolf, Philipp Glass’ Symphonies, Stage & Live which I’ve both never touched until today(!) and This Grand, Grand Goth cover 2 cd set ‘The dark side of David Bowie’..

    The Stars are out Tonight, But they look very different today….

    Hope this suits as a very first entry…

  48. Aloninseine says:

    What a great title for a compilation!

    Thanks for the comment, very interesting.

    I often wonder if the hits that are featured on most of the compilations are indeed “the best” or just the most popular. I always thought that Bowie’s best tracks were non-singles, until I compiled my fav 30 songs for Chris’ poll, and found out that about 50 % of them were singles (and I have to admit that I cheated and left several out of my list just because they were singles). Maybe those songs are deep in my DNA, and my reaction to them is purely Pavlovian and not musical at all. That’s why I doubt that Bowie really compiled NHC, I think that his contribution (if there was one) was mainly insisting on including the Toy tracks (an album which seems to be close to his heart, not really a bootleg IMHO) and the pre 69-SO tracks.

    BTW, I LMAO at ” standing just like “Time Will Crawl” stands; bewildered and alone” and had a hell of a time trying to figure out what ITATOAGS stands for.

    It’s great that you included TM tracks in the compilation (I was shocked to find the first two TM albums in my top-10 poll list). I really don’t know if it was Bowie’s wish to bury that part of his history (together with The Laughing Gnome?) or that they just didn’t appear commercial enough (probably both).

    What bugged me about NHC is the inclusion of the truncated single versions instead of the album version. In too many case I felt like riding a hornless unicorn (or falling into an abyss, in the case of Young Americans).

    Why did you keep out the covers? I think that some of the covers are practically treated like original songs (For example Wild is the wind, China Girl), while others are obviously not (LSTNT, God only knows etc.).

    If you don’t mind me saying, I strongly dis-recommend the Cowon X7 MP3 player. The tech spec looks great: 160GB (enough for all the Bowie files I had, including bootlegs), 100 hours of music playing on a single charge, a built in speaker, support for almost all file formats (FLAC, OGG, M4A etc. Don’t know about WAV), browsing songs by file names and directories and not by ID tags. But the “touch” screen was so terrible and unrresponsive , and the navigation UI was so not-friendly, I often spent several minutes just to get to the album I wanted to hear, and then just let the songs follow in alphabetical order because I didn’t want to spend another 5 to 10 minutes battling with the damn device. I was quite relieved when it was stolen from me (the thief probably thought that it was a neat new smartphone). And since I stopped loving music shortly afterwards, I never bothered to buy a new player. Good luck !

    • Hans says:

      Hi Alon, thx yr comments!

      I’m quite with you. Bowie compilations usually show the most popular and best selling tunes, that’s why I’ve skipped many of them, just another bunch of single edits. I still believe unlike you that his best tracks were not big hits an some of them no singles. on the other hands I have to admitthat I haven’t yet compiled my Top 30. To hard of a task you know there are hundreds! Until know the #1 pick: the next one to come! On the Radio, the jukebox, the dancefloor, or heaven, or hell or the villa of Ormen or any other kind of abyss, AngeI or Devil don’t care, as long as it caresses my ears. As you might understand, I agree, DNA, yes, pavlovlian reactions, yes, not musical’?, well still kind of.

      But NHC is different from other compilations, very different Because it contains so much of Toy(ur right, not really a bootleg), because there are lots and great reflections of pre-Oddity. TND well represented (by the way many, many thanks for the wonderful analysis Chris, it made me understand Why I love it so, much), every album represented (except, the TM, damn) and count up, 20! tracks from the post TM era. Honestly, how many folks would zou expect to include 1/3 or ten(!) post TM tunes in their Top 30? My guess: very close to none. Maybe Chris would know. Another six tracks from pre-Oddity (I know I’ve included ‘let me sleep beside you’ twice, but it’s kind of hybrid here) so another 10% do many have 3 of those tunes in their Top 30? I’m not sure.

      That said it makes NHC much more of a workshow then a ‘Best of’ or of even ‘greatest Hits’

      The Tin Machine not include might have something to do with rights or not wanting to give credits or I don’t know. Anyway I’m keenly waiting for the Box-set. About the beloved (consider typing ‘David,’ instead) Laughing Gnome, what can I tell, this track remains with me as the earliest reflection of The Masters voice as I remember having it heard on the radio at it’s time. Yeah, lucky me, old enough. So the Gnome for me out of any discussion clear pick out of any competition.

      You want to cheer up a kid?

      – Turn on the Gnome
      – max.volume
      – start dancing around
      – make sure the kid wouldn’t fall to ground from giggles

      Single edits are sometimes a drag but all these singles from the eighties somehow seem never been reworked. Maybe some live versions like ‘China Girl’ from Storytellers which I find far superior to any other versions.

      Why to skip the covers? Good question… I guess from two reasons: I was always puzzled why somebody being capeable to start a song with the words “I’M AN ALLIGATOR!!!” would want to to sing someone elses lyrics or present inferior versions to the original releaqses of his own lyrics like in China Girl. Of course some are really great tracks but somehow I never considered them ‘real Bowie songs. Which leads to reason #2: I’ve made up a collection of covers for me own….and did not want to be redundant.

      your remarks about your music device made me sad and angry. Why do they keep selling crap? But I hope you will find your joy in and love to music back.

      bye, Hans

  49. Jasmine says:

    The 3 CD track list makes a lot more sense now, sadly.
    Presumably TM wasn’t included because it was a band, not a solo venture. But then I accept Under Pressure challenges that view somewhat. The Mick Jagger collaboration surely included for charity reasons.
    I am certain Bowie’s aim was putting his later work into perspective against the ‘greatest hits’. For him, he’d received full respect for Low, ”Heroes” and Lodger and that part of the canon didn’t need high focus, so 1 song each. No, I think this was an attempt to cover the entire canon and focus on the early & later career where of course, NHC (EHC) makes complete sense – Bowie remained proud of his early work to the end. This, I believe, was the purpose of NHC.
    But it does serve as an intro to the back catalogue as well; I know 3 teens who got into Bowie because of NHC. So the exclusion of STS, Quicksand etc, wasn’t a mistake for Bowie.
    I was truly taken aback at the number of mirror photos Bowie had taken throughout his career. Amazing, like it formed part of his grand plan!

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