Monday, February 15, 2016

29 Days of Bowie: Baal EP

Released on February 13, 1982 by RCA Records, Baal is a 12-minute five-song EP by David Bowie that is a soundtrack record of sorts to the BBC TV production of Bertolt Brecht’s play of the same name. Produced with Tony Visconti, the album has Bowie cover five songs of the play that were written by Brecht in collaboration with Dominic Muldowney and Kurt Weill that were later translated into English by Ralph Manheim and John Willett. The album that features Bowie, Visconti, and various session musicians that was recorded at Hansa Studios in Berlin would mark not just Bowie’s final release for RCA Records but also the last record he would make with Tony Visconti for nearly 20 years.

The opening track in Baal’s Hymn is this eerie ballad that establishes who Baal is with Bowie’s vocals being the center of the song as it is hauntingly eerie as it features some tempo changes due to its orchestra. Remembering Marie A. is this piano ballad that has Bowie singing about a past conquest of Baal that is filled with imaginative and somber lyrics with Bowie. Ballad of the Adventurers is among one of Bowie’s best vocal appearances with its woodwind accompaniments and acoustic guitars as it is this chilling track that displays Baal’s reaction to his mother’s death.

The record’s major standout is the single The Drowned Girl that is about the death of one of Baal’s conquests as it has Bowie providing haunting vocals as he sings the words with such imagination to the accompaniment of an oboe and low-key orchestral images. The closing track in The Dirty Song is a thirty-eight second track that reflects on Baal humiliating one of his lovers as it is this dark yet upbeat track that is led by brass instruments as it is a very weird but unsettling end to the record.

The Baal EP is a phenomenal record by David Bowie. Not only is it considered one of the more overlooked records of his career but it’s also an album that shows Bowie’s strength as a vocalist and in the way he would interpret the songs of Bretolt Brecht. In the end, Baal is a sensational EP from David Bowie.

Related: Baal (1982 TV film)

Studio Releases: David Bowie (1967 album) - David Bowie (1969 album) - The Man Who Sold the World - Hunky Dory - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Aladdin Sane - Pin Ups - Diamond Dogs - Young Americans - Station to Station - Low - "Heroes" - Lodger - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Let’s Dance - Tonight - Never Let Me Down - Tin Machine - Tin Machine II - Black Tie White Noise - Outside - Earthling - ‘Hours…’ - Heathen - Reality - The Next Day - *

Live Releases: David Live - Stage - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby - Bowie at the Beeb - (Live at Fashion Rocks (w/ Arcade Fire)) - (Live Santa Monica ‘72) - (Glass Spider Live) - (VH1 Storytellers) - (A Reality Tour)

Soundtracks: Christiane F. - Labyrinth - The Buddha of Suburbia

Miscellaneous: Peter and the Wolf - Sound + Vision - (Early On (1964-1966)) - (All Saints) - Toy - (Nothing Has Changed)

© thevoid99 2016

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