David Bowie, “Sue [Or In a Season of Crime]” (2014): One Track Mind

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David Bowie has revealed his first new musical composition since 2013’s The Next Day, the adventurous “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime).” A seven-minute jazz excursion with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, this new addition to the forthcoming Nothing Has Changed compilation elicits images of Tim Buckley’s atonal late-1960s work more than anything from Bowie’s previous work.

Opening with feedback-drenched swells and sensual horn blasts, “Sue” moves kinetically on erratic teletype percussion. In contrast, the longing horns and stretchy crooned melody line react to each other like to repellant magnets. Bowie is in great throat, and enters into hand-to-hand combat with the swelling horn punctuations. It’s all about the racing drum kit and blowing newspaper brass.

The song’s rhythm drops in and out of consciousness, disorientating the listener and detaching then from the song proper to dip them into unknown aural mysteries. It sounds like Bowie has stirred his eternal pot of influences into one cerebral and cinematic display. Buckley ends up meeting Frank Sinatra, who then meets Frank Zappa, as this multifarious compositional display unfolds.

Once again, David Bowie has left his fans and public with a unique and unexplainable musical statement that holds onto no preconceived ideas or past glories. “Sue” leaves one wondering what the reclusive legend has percolating in his mind for his next move. Obviously, Bowie’s creative wheels are still turning through the seasons, and his work is still leaving all possible labels and descriptions behind.

Stephen Lewis

A creative writing major at SUNY Brockport and freelance writer from Upstate New York, Stephen Lewis maintains a music-focused site called Talk From the Rock Room: thefrodisroomrockblog.blogspot.com. He has also written for UpstateLive Music Guide and Ultimate Classic Rock. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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