David Bowie

iSelect

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Originally available as a free CD included in the June 29, 2008, edition of British newspaper Mail on Sunday and re-released by EMI due to popularity, iSelect is a compilation of 12 songs from David Bowie's catalog that were personally selected by Bowie. Strangely, besides the classic "Life on Mars?" (and the lesser-known single "Loving the Alien"), most of the cuts are not the expected big hits. Instead, he chose his favorite tracks of his career, obscure as they might be, including the melodramatic nine-minute trilogy "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing" from Diamond Dogs, the post-punk screwball "Repetition" from Lodger, and the sultry and soulful sax ballad "Win" from Young Americans. Bowie's picks were rationalized in an article that accompanied the newspaper release of the CD, where he casually penned his inspirations for the songs and the recording processes behind them. Fortunately, EMI's updated jewel-case version includes Bowie's explanations included in the liner notes to provide some insight. For "Teenage Wildlife" he notes, "So it's late morning and I'm thinking, 'New song and a fresh approach. I know, I'm going to do a Ronnie Spector. Oh yes I am. Ersatz just for one day.' And I did and here it is. Bless. I'm still very enamoured with this song and would give you two 'Modern Love's for it anytime...." Fans will likely find this commentary interesting, just as they will probably appreciate the new revamped version of "Time Will Crawl" from Never Let Me Down with live drums and strings, and the unreleased "Some Are," an outtake from the Low sessions with Brian Eno. Newcomers who have already perused the greatest-hits collections may find this a worthy stepping stone before getting lost in his lengthy discography.

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