There are as many genres of music as there are bands and artists that perform them, well at least that is the way it seems. I was mildly amused when I popped this DVD in the player and discovered yet a new genre, ‘Plastic Soul’. David Bowie has been labeled as rock, glam, gay, straight, in fact this guy has more labels than Heinz soups, but Plastic Soul was a new one on me. The mid 1970’s was a true stew pot of music styles and David Bowie was one of the people stirring it. You didn’t have to like him, but you certainly knew his name. His music style seemed to be as eclectic as his lifestyle. You just never knew what was going to be in the newspapers next. Although you could pretty much guarantee that it would be scandalous! Drugs, booze, sexual orientation, and they all made the inside pages of the popular tabloids.

What David Bowie is though, is a superb musician, and this documentary looks at Bowie during the Diamond Dogs phase of his career. Coming off the high of Ziggy Stardust which was without doubt the apex of glam rock, his musical style did indeed change. This DVD explores the David Live, Young Americans, and Station To Station phase of his career. While maybe he did touch on some aspects more traditionally associated with the soul movement, I personally have to disagree with the experts, he was not the ‘white soul man’ that some would claim. His style did start to incorporate more horn in the backing sound, and his vocals took a more down home direction, he was not the white Motown that the critics would claim.

Based on the ‘critics’ used and the overall style this is yet another from the very successful ‘In Review’ series. You may not, and probably will not agree with what the experts say, but I can guarantee that it is thought provoking. For my taste this had a little too much pontificating, and not quite enough of David Bowie strutting his stuff. Bowie is hard to pigeon hole, and even these experts are at odds with each other about his musical direction and  deeper meaning.

I enjoyed this critical look at an icon of the pop world. He was not one of my favorites at the time, but he certainly has left his mark on the music scene. Being older and (maybe) wiser I can look back at David Bowie and appreciate his contribution to the music world. 

You can get be your own critic by getting a copy from MVD.

Simon Barrett

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