Music: Space Slacker

David Bowie's latest has cool covers, lazy originals

David Bowie should think about starting a cover band. It's the only kind of self-transformation he hasn't tried yet, and the only two really good songs on his new album, Heathen (Columbia), are the covers. After 36 years in pop, Bowie still has the patience to build intriguing atmospheres around other people's melodies with synthesizers, guitar and dramatic vocals. And what he comes up with sounds fresh and unearthly. But his own melodies are about as inspired as gags on a David Spade sitcom.

To be fair, Bowie's lyrics are clever, full of dread of the future and longing for escape....

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