May 25, 1987 12:00 PM

David Bowie

Throughout his recording career, Bowie has been running wild and free, leagues in front of the rest of the rock pack. Even when he stumbles slightly, as on this record, he’s clever and experienced enough to disguise it. Never Let Me Down is certainly not bland. Such musicians as Carlos Alomar, Peter Frampton, Erdal Kizilcay and Sid McGinnis lend panache to the project. And the record is well produced by Bowie and David Richards, especially in the handling of Bowie’s mercurial vocals. But it is difficult, even after repeated exposure, to generate much of an emotional reaction to this material. Even the catchiest songs, Day-In Day-Out and Beat of Your Drum, lack the melodic inventiveness that is Bowie’s outstanding talent. The record’s most interesting moments come on the one song Bowie did not write, Bang Bang, by Iggy Pop and Ivan Kraal. Here Bowie emulates to good effect the arch detachment that marked Iggy’s latest album, Blah Blah Blah. From most rockers, Never Let Me Down would be something to crow about, but we expect more from a musical sorcerer like Bowie. (EMI America)

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