Thursday, March 26, 2020

"Day-In Day-Out" by David Bowie

Song#:  3084
Date:  04/04/1987
Debut:  72
Peak:  21
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After Bowie's 1983 album Let's Dance became a #4 platinum seller, there was pressure on him to deliver another commercial-leaning hit. The following year he put out Tonight and although it wasn't as well-received, it would still reach #11 and go platinum. For his next LP, Bowie wanted to nix the forced commercialism and return to his rock roots. His idea was to create an album that would be the basis for a large-scale tour. With producer David Richards, Bowie crafted his seventeenth studio album Never Let Me Down. This first single was released and it was a hit at Rock getting to #3. Remixes of the song got folks moving in the clubs and the tune reached #10 on the Dance chart. It didn't do quite as well at Pop where the single just stopped shy of the Top 20. That result combined with a lack of critical support kept the album from going any further than #34. Still, it would end up being a gold seller.

ReduxReview:  The Never Let Me Down album was much maligned at the time. Critics really tore it to shreds. I sometimes find that the albums that critics love from a specific artist I don't like while the ones they hate I gravitate towards. This was one of those albums. I loved it at the time and played it a lot. Yes most of the songs are clouded with way too much production making them sound muddy, but I was mainly drawn in by the songs. Bowie even said later in retrospect that he didn't like the album mainly because of the production and arrangements, but he did like several of the actual songs. The material was there, it just wasn't showcased in the best light. (In 2018, the album got a do-over that corrected a lot of the problems, but more on that in another post.) I especially loved the fake band/music biz/60s influenced "Zeroes" and the theatrics of "The Glass Spider." Elements of previous Bowie personas were all over the place including on this R&B styled jam that in another arrangement might have fit well on Bowie's 1975 Young Americans album. I really didn't know how this song would do on the chart when I first heard it, but it ended up doing better than I thought. I still like the Never Let Me Down album despite its flaws and consider it underrated in Bowie's catalog.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Bowie wrote this song as a sort of social commentary about the treatment of homeless folks in the US. For the accompanying video, Bowie worked with director Julian Temple to create a reflection of the song's lyrics. It follows a young homeless couple struggling to survive in the streets of L.A. The video contained a few moments that got censors a little riled up. An implied rape scene along with a kid spelling out a foul word and a guy peeing on Ronald Reagan's star on the Walk of Fame got it banned from some stations. The video was re-edited to appease some folks, but it still didn't get the same airtime as videos from other superstars.  2) After the album's released, Bowie launched his theatrical Glass Spider tour. The name and inspiration for the tour's theme came from one of the songs on the LP. It was a high concept production that featured one of the largest stage sets ever done for a music concert. Also on board was Peter Frampton, who played guitar and did background vocals. While audiences flocked to the show and loved it, critics panned it calling it pretentious and overblown. In the end, the tour was highly successful bring in over $86 million. Decades later, critics who revisited the show were more favorable and praised many aspects of it.


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