30 years ago (April 27, 1987) David Bowie released Never Let Me Down,
studio album. Expectations were high. Really high. He was a legend, an icon, an undeniable musical force. Or maybe not? To say the record was not well-received is an understatement of epic proportion.
The critics hated it. And they were ruthless. Rolling Stone's
Steve Pond said it was "the noisiest, sloppiest Bowie album ever" and called it "a mess". To make matters worse, the album-buying public all but ignored Bowie's latest effort to remake himself, his music, and by extension, the music industry. Sure, it went gold - that was expected; this was Bowie after all - but though it charted in the top ten in the U.K., it barely made it to #34 in the U.S.
Even Bowie said the album was his "nadir", the lowest point in his recording career. "It was such an awful album," Bowie told reporters while on tour. "Never Let Me Down
had good songs that I mistreated. I lost the sound."
Pardon me for disagreeing with a legend, but I liked the album. I listened to it again before I started writing this blog and I still
like the album. Maybe it was no Space Oddity
or Ziggy Stardust
, but it was unique, very personal, and had songs that pushed the envelope. Which means it was - by definition - classic Bowie.