FROM THE VAULT: 1976
Station to Station
It's easy to make the casual assumption that Station to Station forms the first part of Bowie's Berlin/Eno-produced trilogy. Like Low and Heroes, it's icy, detached and brilliant.
However, history never being as neat as it should be, Station to Station actually preceded the Teutonic sojourn. Nevertheless, it stands as a milestone in the Thin White Duke's career, despite having been somewhat overlooked. Bookended by two of his most adventurous works, Station to Station itself (clocking in at over 10 minutes, with three distinct 'movements') and Wild is the Wind (six minutes of arguably the artist's greatest vocal performance), this album has a legendary feel.
Wild is the Wind is the only cover version, but it is perfectly at home at the climactic end. Bowie's most winsome crooning since Aladdin Sane's Lady Grinning Soul, juxtaposed against heavily processed guitar, makes the closing track all the more engaging.
On the other hand, the repetitive Golden Years hasn't aged well, and Stay and Word on a Wing are fairly weak, given the stratospheric standard of Bowie's 1970s output (pure genius, though, compared with his 1980s ouvre).
But back to the Berlin trilogy. Lodger - in effect, Part Three - seems less integrated with Parts One and Two than it should, while the starkly beautiful Station to Station sounds far more as if it had been recorded in the vicinity of Checkpoint Charlie. Nothing makes much sense in Bowieland, but it's a great place to revisit.