Few artists in the history of modern music are as diverse as David Bowie was. Most great artists are able to evolve over the course of their careers; Bowie did it over the course of singular albums. Compare the grounded sentimentality of “Be My Wife” with the extraterrestrial wail of “Warszawa.” For the uninitiated, it would be hard to conceive of the two songs coming from the same artist, much less co-existing on the same 11-track LP.
While Bowie’s heterogenous tendencies are often heralded as a strength, they are also conducive to anomalous records that none but the most devoted fans will find entirely satisfying. Other than the humdrum “What in the World,” it would be hard to classify any of these songs bad, but equally difficult to declare them all keepers. To truly appreciate Bowie, you have to be willing to either embrace the strange, or sort through the alien wreckage with a fine-tuned pen. With “Low,” it’s worth the effort.