A nasty/under appreciated gem from David Bowie's Berlin period, "Beauty and The Beast" is sheer perfection/pure malice in musical form. Ominous squibs of sound coalesce around an almost crocodilian groove and Robert Fripp's hissing, poisonous guitar line. Then Bowie makes one his most memorable vocal entrances with a sound somewhere between a croon and a scream. Things just get nastier from there - David playing the hipster, killer android on the lead vocal, while the backgrounds get all down and dirty on chorus. Then, as if he's suddenly come his senses after committing some atrocious act, Bowie howls over the break: "I want you to believe me!/I wanted to be good!/I wanted no distractions!/Like every good boy should!" - before sliding back into the sociopathic sleekness of the last verse. The genius of the tune is that it suggests all manner of violence/bad shit without actually describing any act of mayhem. Therefore the imagination runs riot. A brilliant/evil track.
A fascinating out-take from the "Diamond Dogs" sessions, “Dodo” can be seen as the starting point of Lady Stardust’s shift from glitter space-boy to paranoid, plastic soul stylist. Like almost everything on D. Dogs, the lyrics are inspired by Orwell’s “1984”, but the music seems to be profoundly damaged by sleek, eerie production style of Willie Mitchell.
Thus the song plays like Al Green in Hell, w/a great groove and deeply creepy feel. The Thin White Duke starts here.
from Diamond Dogs (out-take) (RCA) available on CD - Diamond Dogs (30th Anniversary edition) (EMI)
This is so wrong; it ends up being right somehow. On paper, this cover is a car wreck. Barbara takes on Bowie’s brilliant, epic ballad of camp surrealism – his homage to big, theatrical female belters like Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and…Streisand, herself – and the song escapes her utterly. Her delivery sound like she learned the lyrics phonetically. (She might as well be singing in Cantonese.) And Jon Peters’ production/Tom Scott’s arrangements bring to mind the cool, “L.A.-sound” of Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” LP – minus all the clever bits Joni brought to the table. Yet it spite of all of these faults – this version works. The song is just too good, and Babs’ charisma is just too powerful. It’s a [Space] oddity you’ve got to hear to believe.