Tracing Time: David Bowie Complicated The Compilation.

David Bowie made a return to Earth at the start of 2013, on his birthday no less, with the announcement of his new full-length, The Next Day. Later in the year he released a bonus EP with yet more music, including a ten minute dance remix of one of the album’s less notable tracks. The compilation Nothing Has Changed came a year later partnered with a vinyl release of a new song, a seven minute jazz odyssey about domestic abuse, with a B-side titled ‘Tis Is A Pity She’s A Whore. What was Nothing Has Changed then, but much needed affirmation that yes, everything is still okay: this is still the same David Bowie who danced in the street with Mick Jagger, stormed America with Fame and glammed up as Jean Genie.

And which manner of new release could be more comforting than that of the compilation? The most reliable of mediums, featuring all the hits with the boring bits banished to recycle bin perpetuity. Just the headlines, the column inches exonerated. Except this was David Bowie, one of the most curious and consistently enigmatic figures in the history of popular music, and Nothing Has Changed held no solace for the fly-by listener. For a start it doesn’t even have all of his greatest hits. For second, it’s structured in reverse chronological order, starting with said previously unheard seven minute jazz cut and ending with his obscure first single under the name of Davey Jones in 1964.

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