David Bowie was a certified superstar when he released Station To Station in 1976. He was also a cocaine-addicted burnout dabbling in occultism and, by many reports, living on a diet of peppers and milk. Clearly he was falling victim to the pressures of stardom and a demanding schedule. Station To Station is a reflection of that chaos – a mix of rock, decadent funk and disco, theatrical overtures, and krautrock-inspired minimalism. The opening title-track lasts no less than ten minutes, and introduces Bowie’s latest character, “The Thin White Duke.” “TVC15” and “Golden Years” are the pop songs; likable funk-rock fluff not terribly dissimilar to 1975’s mega-hit collaboration with John Lennon, “Fame.” “Stay” is weird disco schmaltz, while “Wild Is The Wind” (a Johnny Mathis cover) and “Word On A Wing” are sentimental ballads. It’s an uneasy transitional point between Young Americans’ disco-funk, and the Berlin Trilogy that would begin the following year. However confused it sounds at times, it’s also far more interesting than the sum of its parts.
The 2010 reissue has the remastering and liner-notes (by Cameron Crowe) you expect, and adds two discs from an oft-bootlegged 1976 Nassau Collesium concert. Bowie and his touring band handle the Station To Station material well, but it’s hard for staunch Ziggy-era fans to approve of the swishy disco arrangements given to “Suffragette City,” “Queen Bitch,” and his cover of “Waiting For The Man.” There’s also DVD-Audio version of the album for all you audiophiles.