Station to Station is an odd album for me, in that I feel I would probably have a higher opinion of it than I do were it not for the album that immediately preceded it. It’s not that I prefer Young Americans, far from it, but I feel that if Bowie had been able to make a smooth transition from the Glam-flecked dystopia of Diamond Dogs to the disconnection of Station to Station, I may have a far higher opinion of Bowie’s late 70s work.
As it is, Station to Station is a vast improvement on the shiny and disposable Young Americans, but there’s nothing on it to lift it to the level of anything from his early 70s hot-streak. That said Station to Station does have its moments, none more so than its epic title track, which brilliantly re-establishes Bowie as an artist of genuine depth after his previous stumble from greatness. “Golden Years” follows up the title track with a sprits of the type of funk soul that Bowie had dabbled with previously, but was an enjoyable single nonetheless.
The thing about Station to Station though is that while it gave notice that Bowie hadn’t totally lost his marbles, it also simultaneously marked the point where he traded ‘entertainment’ for ‘serious artistic statement’, and to me at least, became a lot less fun. That’s not to say that the albums from this era are without charm, but for me they suffer in comparison to his earlier work which managed to juggle rock, artistic statements, great songwriting and brilliant entertainment. For me Bowie’s albums from Station to Station through to Lodger just took themselves to damn seriously, and as a result, I don’t hold them as dear to me as I otherwise might have.