With “Superblind Forever Free”, Danish artist, musician and writer, Francis Bowie has meticulously crafted a musical journey that meanders through various soundscapes and experiments with broad variations in tempo and style. Although the universal sentiment is one of introspection, disillusionment and even anger in considering the diverse aspects of conformism, it is not crowded with thoughts and messages of gloom. Instead Bowie is breaking out and stating his case for the power of individualism.
While it would be fitting to assert that the drifting arrangements and psychedelic sounding instrumentals are reminiscent of classic art rock influences, it must also be affirmed that through the melodies, harmonies and keyboard sounds, Francis Bowie maintains a sense of innovation and novelty.
It’s safe to assume that apart from the catchy “It’s in the Way” ( ignoring the risqué lyrics), “Cathedral” and “Fit In”, there are few other top 40-like hits on this 14-track album, but this was most likely intentional. It seems that Bowie’s artistic course is a direct reaction to the standards of the radio industry, as accessibility was not a consideration. After all, his intended audience is not the mainstream crowd that flock the TV talent shows. He is aiming higher…
For me “Superblind Forever Free” is one of those singular albums that need to be experienced with an uninterrupted flow, as each track blends seamlessly into the next. While there are certainly stand out tracks, such as “The Idea Is Always Free”, “Superblind”, “Fuck Education” and “Rebirth of Pop”, the remainder of the album should not be considered any less momentous.
Despite the variations, both in the midst of songs and among tracks, they play off of each other in a manner that makes them all significant to the overall theme. In fact I found the album to be very cinematic in its approach, as each song is configured of varying parts of melodrama, dripping sarcasm, and antipathy.
I believe Francis Bowie chose a great path with this album and it will sit highly with those who really appreciate music. People considering buying this album must note that it is not like precious Bowie releases: it is a whole lot better. Francis Bowie more or less ignores much of radio-friendly land and enters a place where albums matter more than singles and music matters more than image.
It’s one of those timeless recordings that will still be great a few years from now. Something about this record will keep you completely enthralled. Maybe it’s the genre shifting or the unexpected turns the songs seem to take. Maybe its Bowie’s varying vocal intonations, his sometimes colorful and always hard-hitting lyrics; it could be his poetic, social or political insight, maybe his particular brand of envelope pushing – either way “Superblind Forever Free” by Francis Bowie makes for an intense, intelligent, and fully satisfying listening experience.