Lodger (album)

Lodger (album)

Infobox Album
Name = Lodger
Type = studio
Artist = David Bowie

Released = start date|1979|5|18|df=yes Rykodisc/EMI Reissue start date|1991|8|27|df=yes EMI/Virgin Reissue start date|1999|9|28|df=yes
Recorded = Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland, start date|1978|9 Record Plant Studios, New York, start date|1979|3
Genre = Art rock
Length = 35:07
Label = RCA
Producer = David Bowie, Tony Visconti
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|4.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:31r67ub0h0j3 link]
*Robert Christgau (A-) [http://www.robertchristgau.com/get_artist.php?name=david+bowie link]
*"Rolling Stone" [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/davidbowie/albums/album/103858/review/6067548/lodger start date|1979|8|9|df=yes]
Last album = "Stage" (1978)
This album = "Lodger" (1979)
Next album = "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)" (1980)

"Lodger" is an album by British singer-songwriter David Bowie, released in 1979. The last of the 'Berlin Trilogy' recorded in collaboration with Brian Eno (though in fact produced in Switzerland and New York), it was more accessible than its immediate predecessors "Low" and ""Heroes"", having no instrumentals and being somewhat lighter and more pop-oriented. However it was still an experimental record in many ways and was not, by Bowie's standards, a major commercial success. Indifferently received by critics on its initial release, it is now widely considered one of Bowie's most underrated albums.David Buckley (1999). "Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story": pp.335-356] Nicholas Pegg (2000). "The Complete David Bowie": pp.310-312]


Originally to be titled either "Planned Accidents" or "Despite Straight Lines", "Lodger" was largely recorded between legs of Bowie's 1978 world tour and featured the same musicians, along with Brian Eno. Lead guitar was played not by Robert Fripp, as on "Heroes", but by Fripp's future King Crimson bandmate, Adrian Belew, whom Bowie had "poached" while the guitarist was touring with Frank Zappa. Much of Belew's work on the album was composited from multiple takes played against backing tracks of which he had no prior knowledge, not even the key. Other experiments on the album included using old tunes played backwards, employing identical chord sequences for different songs, and having the musicians play unfamiliar instruments.

Eno felt that the trilogy had "petered out" by "Lodger",Ian Gittens (2007). "Art Decade", "MOJO 60 Years of Bowie": pp.70-73] and Belew also observed Eno's and Bowie's working relationship closing down: "They didn't quarrel or anything uncivilised like that; they just didn't seem to have the spark that I imagine they might have had during the "Heroes" album." An early plan to continue the basic pattern of the previous records with one side of songs and the other instrumentals was dropped, Bowie instead adding lyrics that foreshadowed the more worldly concerns of his next album, "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)".

tyle and themes

Though missing the songs/instrumentals split that characterised "Low" and "Heroes", "Lodger" has been interpreted as dividing roughly into two major themes, that of travel (primarily Side One) and critiques of Western civilisation (primarily Side Two).Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). "Bowie: An Illustrated Record": pp.102-107] Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: pp.172-173] The final track on "Heroes", "The Secret Life of Arabia", anticipated the mock-exotic feel of "Lodger"’s travel songs. "African Night Flight" was a tribute to the music and culture of the veldt, inspired by a trip to Kenya;Christopher Sandford (1996, 1997). "Loving the Alien": pp.177-191] its musical textures have been cited as presaging the popularity of world music, Bowie considering it a forerunner of the sounds developed by Brian Eno and David Byrne for "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" (1981). "Move On" was lyrically Bowie's ode to his own wanderlust, sonically his earlier classic "All the Young Dudes" played backwards. "Yassassin" was an unlikely reggae song with a Turkish flavour. "Red Sails" was inspired in part by the ambient "motorik" of German band Neu!; for Bowie, it combined "a German new music feel" with "a contemporary English mercenary-cum-swashbuckling Errol Flynn" to produce "a lovely cross-reference of cultures".

Of the album's critiques, "Boys Keep Swinging", the first single, was seen partly as a witty riposte to the Village People but also, combined with its cross-dressing video clip, a comment on ideas of masculinity; musically it was notable for guitarist Carlos Alomar and drummer Dennis Davis in the unfamiliar roles of drummer and bass player, respectively. According to Tony Visconti, the song featured the "exact same chord changes and structure, even the same key" as "Fantastic Voyage", Bowie's take on the possibility of nuclear war. [Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: p.74] The second single, "DJ", took a sardonic look at the world of the disc jockey. "Repetition", Bowie's exploration of a wife-basher's mentality, was sung in a deliberately unemotional tone that highlighted the lyric and the unnatural slur of the bass guitar. "Red Money" added new words to a Bowie/Alomar tune that had originally appeared as "Sister Midnight", with lyrics by Iggy Pop, on the latter's album "The Idiot".


David collaborated with British pop artist Derek Boshier on the cover design. The original gatefold album sleeve featured a full-length shot of Bowie as an accident victim, heavily made up with an apparently-broken nose. For effect, the image was deliberately of low resolution, taken with a Polaroid SX-70 type camera. The inside of the gatefold included pictures of Che Guevara's corpse, Mantegna’s "Lamentation over the Dead Christ", and Bowie being readied for the cover photo. [ [http://www.derekboshier.com/gate/pages/bowie.html Derek Boshier Web Site] ] These images were not reproduced in the Rykodisc CD reissue in 1991.

Release and aftermath

"Lodger" received relatively poor reviews on its original release, "Rolling Stone" calling it "one of his weakest ... scattered, a footnote to "Heroes", an act of marking time", [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/davidbowie/albums/album/103858/review/6067548/lodger "Rolling Stone" review] ] and "Melody Maker" finding it "slightly faceless". It was also criticised for having a thinner, muddier mix than Bowie's previous albums. "Lodger" peaked at #4 in the UK charts and #20 in America at a time when the artist was being "out-Bowied" commercially by his New Wave "children" such as Gary Numan.

Soon after its release, "NME" editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray predicted that "Lodger" would "have to 'grow in potency' over a few years, but eventually it will be accepted as one of Bowie's most complex and rewarding projects". While biographer Christopher Sandford calls it a "slick, calculatedly disposable record", author David Buckley contends that "its stature grows with each passing year", and Nicholas Pegg sums up, "undervalued and obscure practically from the moment of its release, its critical re-evaluation is long overdue".

Track listing

All songs written by David Bowie and Brian Eno except where noted.
# "Fantastic Voyage" – 2:55
# "African Night Flight" – 2:54
# "Move On" (Bowie) – 3:16
# "Yassassin (Turkish for Long Live)" (Bowie) – 4:10
# "Red Sails" – 3:43
# "DJ" (Bowie, Eno, Carlos Alomar) – 3:59
# "Look Back in Anger" – 3:08
# "Boys Keep Swinging" – 3:17
# "Repetition" (Bowie) – 2:59
# "Red Money" (Bowie, Alomar) – 4:17


"Lodger" has been re-released several times on CD. RCA issued CDs of the album in the 1980s, which existed in at least two separate editions: Japanese-sourced pressings and German-sourced pressings (at least some of the early Japanese discs are defective, with severe audio dropouts throughout the album). Rykodisc (in the USA) and EMI (elsewhere) released a version with two bonus tracks in 1991. The most recent iteration appeared in 1999 on EMI (featuring 24-bit digitally remastered sound and no bonus tracks); subsequent editions are merely repackagings of the current EMI edition.

1991 reissue bonus tracks

# "I Pray, Olé" (Previously unreleased track recorded 1979) – 3:59
# "Look Back in Anger" (New version recorded 1988) – 6:59


* David Bowie – vocals, backing vocals, piano, guitar, synthesizer, Chamberlin, producer
* Carlos Alomar – guitar, drums
* Dennis Davispercussion, bass
* George Murray – bass
* Sean Mayes – piano
* Simon Houseviolin, mandolin
* Adrian Belew – guitar, mandolin
* Tony Visconti – backing vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass, producer, recording engineer, mixing engineer
* Brian Eno – synthesizers, ambient drone, prepared piano, cricket menace, guitar treatments, horse trumpet, eroica horn, piano
* Roger Powell – synthesizer
* Stan – saxophone
* David Richards – recording engineer
* Rod O'Brien – mixing engineer




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