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2023 Albums Thing #034 - David Bowie “Lodger”

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The third and final album in Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy” was recorded in Montreaux, Switzerland and mixed in New York City…go figure ! As great as it is I find it confusing in places. Not because of the content but it’s always struck me that it’s not very well recorded…. maybe it was meant to sound like that, I don’t know, but Visconti has never seemed to me like a sloppy producer and on the whole “Lodger” isn’t a fantastic sounding record.

Some of it may be because on some tracks the musicians swapped instruments, for ”Boys Keep Swinging” guitarist Carlos Alomar plays drums and drummer Dennis Davies plays Bass (with some help from Visconti in the mix). But then on ”Red Sails”  guitarist Adrian Belew very obviously squashes a note in the main riff and it’s been left in there. Also the way the album starts with “Fantastic Voyage” apologetically stumbling in, it’s weird.

None of that is me saying “Lodger” is a bad album, it’s patently not. It is home to (after “Heroes”) my favourite of Bowie’s songs, “Look Back In Anger”. Bowie turns in quite the vocal performance here but the spotlight should really be shone on Dennis Davies, his drumming on this track is beyond superb. He drives the song from start to finish, and yes I know it’s more than one take and there are congas involved in the mix but it is a performance of the absolute highest skill, quality and above all feel, it flat out swings daddio ! (There’s a video on YouTube of Tony Visconti guiding Dennis’ young son through the track and absolutely delighting in explaining to this kid how great his Dad was, search it out).

The album also coughed up two great singles in the previously mentioned ”Boys Keep Swinging” and “DJ”. “Move On”, Red Sails”, “Repetition” and “Yassassin” are all great songs. Finally, closing song “Red Money” is a reworking of “Sister Midnight”, the opening track on Iggy Pop’s The Idiot”, thus bringing the whole Iggy, Eno, Berlin period full circle and to a close.

Look Back In Anger - https://youtu.be/eszZfu_1JM0

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