Let’s Talk, You And I. Let’s Talk About Toy.

(It’s a paraphrase, that I remember, from the introduction to a Stephen King novel, or collection of short stories. Let’s talk, you and I, he’d written. Let’s talk about fear. I have this image of placing the butter knife in the toaster. The amount of strange phrases we let leak into our brains when we are young.)

Today (yesterday), February 5, 2014, is the first I’ve heard in its entirety the mythical, long lost “Toy” album, which was shelved by Bowie’s record company in 2001 — or both shelved it, or there was a big nasty argument over music rights (which would seem inevitable given that so many of the tracks are old; logistical nightmare) — what we know is that it was never released, although a couple of tracks made it to Heathen.

Those tracks — Slip Away (Uncle Floyd) and Afraid — are better on Toy. They are edgier, less produced. Apart from that, I don’t have much to say about Toy except… what the heck was going on with Toy? It was “leaked” onto the internet in 2011 which, if the timeline for The Next Day is correct, was just as Bowie was beginning work on the new album. It’s like whatever forces were at work (accidentally or deliberately) wanted to begin the rumblings again, remind us that Bowie was out there, somewhere, lurking, ready to pounce.

Maybe not “lurking.” It sure wasn’t creepy, having Bowie come back.

(The Reality Tour in 2003-4 gave a bit of a nod to this version of Slip Away by including the intro from the Uncle Floyd show in the live performance, much as it introduces the track on Toy. I wrote about that here, in a roundabout way, by including the concert link where Bowie explains the song’s origins — way off from what I interpret(ed) the song to be about.)

Leaking music on the internet is one way to ensure it stays out there. You can quibble about music rights — a legitimate concern for artists and as a content writer I have extreme sympathy for the argument that content is cheap, too cheap, and artists can’t really make any money — but if you hold on too tightly people will forget the music is there. If you protect your rights to such an extent that people never hear your music, they won’t go looking for it. It will, essentially, disappear into the ether. But I am straying off topic.

Note: in the description of this YouTube video is the following: “The music herein is owned by David Bowie. Without it your life would suck.”

‘Nuff said.

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