David Bowie

The Best of David Bowie 1980-1987

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The '80s were a curious time for David Bowie. Never had he sold more records, had bigger hits, his influence was everywhere, and yet, the music he made often fell a little flat, especially after his commercial high-water mark of 1983's Let's Dance. The 2007 compilation Best of David Bowie 1980/1987 deals with that drop-off in quality in an admirable fashion, perhaps the only appropriate fashion: it ignores it. There are two tracks from 1984's Tonight, and two from its 1987 sequel Never Let Me Down, while there are four apiece from Let's Dance and Scary Monsters -- a skewed ratio that is nevertheless an accurate barometer of the worth of the albums. It also makes for a better listen as a compilation, since the hit singles from these records are surrounded by non-LP cuts and soundtrack contributions like "This Is Not America" and "Absolute Beginners," a move that's not only helpful as a clearinghouse of relative oddities, but also helps make this Best of David Bowie 1980/1987 a truly representative collection of the best music of some patchy years, which is a more worthwhile endeavor than having this be truly representative of the decade as a whole. For some Bowie fans, this may be all they need from that decade (although they'd be well-advised not to ignore the truly masterful Scary Monsters, and use that as a supplement to this excellent disc).

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