Even if you're not a David Bowie fan, I am sure you must have heard of the lost record "Toy" by now.
Back in 2001, Bowie decided to relive and re-record his past, by offering up brand new versions of a dozen pre-"Space Oddity" tracks. Virgin Records rejected it. Bowie jumped ship to Sony and released "Heathen" instead.
Ten years later, "Toy" was leaked, and of course, everyone loved it.
Ten years after that, and five years since his death, David Bowie's "Toy" gets an official release, first as part of the big "Brilliant Adventures" era box and now, on its own in a limited CD or 10" vinyl boxed set.
The "Toy:Box" is set up thematically across 3-CDs or six 10" LPs. Disc One is the album proper. Disc Two consists of "Alternates & Extras." Disc Three is titled "Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric."
Let's get to it.
I love "Toy."
The "Alternates & Extras" did nothing for me. Maybe if I knew "Toy" inside and out, the way I know most of the classic catalogue inside and out, I'd have noticed just how alternate these extras were. Alas, I did not.
The real prize in the "Toy: Box" is the stripped down version on CD 3 and LPs five and six.
In a word, these versions are stunning. Bright acoustic guitars, violins, trumpets and pianos take these songs to another level. I can't be sure if all of this instrumentation was already there and the rock mix made it difficult to notice, or if new instrumentation was added to the basic tracks, while stripping some of the more "electric" bits. Whatever the process, the outcome has made "Toy: Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric" a new favorite in a long line of favorites.
If you're a vinyl kind of person, this limited 10" box will set you back a little over $100. The CD set hurts a lot less at $35, Or, if you're a been there/done that kind of person who cares little about hard copies, it's probably waiting for you to steal with just a few key strokes.
But by all means, listen to at least Discs One & Three. "Toy" is one of David Bowie's best.