David Bowie reissues have been hot items for 2007. With such a push to re-engage the Bowie fan, it’s no surprise that Virgin would reach into the catalogue and re-introduce an album that has been out of print for a while. The music on Bowie’s The Buddha of Suburbia is largely uncharacteristic of Bowie compositions although certainly not out of the realm of his creativity. It’s an album that has allowed him to stretch his arms and back, producing music that swirled in his head without the stringent need to develop within a tightness of style to fit an album or some level of radio accessibility. The title track ended up being the only music used in the actual BBC series. The remaining songs found on this album are compositions aside from the film but within the framework of Bowie’s existing Buddha of Suburbia mindset.
The songs move between styles. You have jazz (“South Horizon”), soundtrack-like ambient instrumental (“The Mysterie”), the Rave-ish electronica of “Dead Against It,” the familiar Berlin Trilogy-like (Low, Heroes, Lodger) song of “Strangers When We Meet,” which was also deservedly included on Outside, the danceable “Untitled No. 1,” and an eclectic variety of other tunes.
Although accessible, David Bowie has long been unconventional in his many musical forays. But that is what has endeared him to his legions of fans. However, The Buddha of Suburbia (1993) was off the radar to all but this most loyal of fandom. As such, it is nice to see Virgin bring it back as a reissue. Hopefully, this excellent work will creep out into the hands of his fans that are not fully aware of its existence. The Buddha of Suburbia is a superb album where marketing went all wrong. It is now re-released and it’s up to you to check out what you’ve likely missed.