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Obligatory blog entry based on Playing Around with Chat GBT, Pt. 1: Bowie’s best since Scary Monsters?

Inevitably, while it’s new and still funny because it makes mistakes (and not terrifying because it doesn’t), I started asking Chat GBT questions about Bowie. The answers to some, like “what are some of his best songs” are boring (they response came back with a pretty familiar list). But today and tomorrow I’m going to share a two more interesting responses. Here I was trying to get to what the algorithm came up with in terms of what were Bowie’s best albums since Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). After Never Let Me Down, it became a trope and I’m pretty sure an in-joke for some critics to call every subsequent Bowie album his best since Scary Monsters. This was, I think, partially done for laughs and partially to cordon off the 80s as Bowie’s creative nadir (which is a broad oversimplification, but that’s a topic for another blog post). More seriously, Bowie continued to produce great music late into his career, though I think its safe to say that even his critically acclaimed and commercially successful later works are not as well known as his output from the 70s and early 80s. So what does Chat GBT have to say?

The following list is quite plausible. Four of GBT’s top five are Bowie’s final four studio albums, but it didn’t just list his final five albums— passed over are Earthing and hours… in favor of one of my favorites, Outside (actually, its 1. Outside, but I won’t count that as a mistake). GBT gives some reasonable explanations for why it selected each album and hey, the reasons are sensible.

I also tried to zero in on what GBT thought was Bowie’s very best album since Scary Monsters. I asked the question a few different ways and though versions of the answer equivocate, GBT provided a consistent answer— Blackstar.

To illustrate today’s post, I’m using a Bowie cover band’s (portBowie) performance of the entire Blackstar album in concert.

Here’s Chat GBT’s top 5 list of Bowie’s best albums since Scary Monsters:

Opinions about David Bowie’s best album since “Scary Monsters” can vary greatly among fans and critics. Here are some different viewpoints regarding his albums released after “Scary Monsters”:

1. “Outside” (1995): Some argue that “Outside” is Bowie’s most adventurous and conceptually rich album since “Scary Monsters.” Its dark and dystopian narrative, combined with its industrial and experimental sound, garnered praise for its boldness and willingness to explore new sonic territories.

2. “Heathen” (2002): Considered by many as a return to form for Bowie, “Heathen” received acclaim for its introspective and melancholic atmosphere. The album’s reflective lyrics and refined production captured a sense of maturity and emotional depth, appealing to those who appreciated Bowie’s more introspective side.

3. “The Next Day” (2013): Regarded as a powerful comeback album, “The Next Day” delighted fans with its energetic and nostalgic rock sound. Critics praised its ability to blend elements from Bowie’s various eras, creating a cohesive and satisfying listening experience.

4. “Reality” (2003): Often seen as a companion piece to “Heathen,” “Reality” continued the introspective and reflective themes found on its predecessor. Fans who appreciated Bowie’s introspective lyrics and emotive vocals found this album to be a strong addition to his discography.

5. “★” (pronounced “Blackstar”) (2016): As mentioned earlier, “Blackstar” is widely regarded as a standout album since “Scary Monsters.” Its experimental sound, intricate arrangements, and poignant lyrics resonated with fans and critics alike, cementing its status as a masterpiece in Bowie’s catalog.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples, and opinions on Bowie’s best album since “Scary Monsters” can vary greatly. Each album has its unique qualities and resonates differently with listeners based on personal tastes and preferences.

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