Now then, a story.
In 2001, David Bowie had the idea to re-record several of his songs after playing them on tour the prior two years. Those songs, coupled with a few other covers and newer material, were recorded and prepared for release. To maybe give you an idea of what this would be like, break out the version of “Rebel Rebel” found on Reality.
However, Bowie’s label, Virgin Records, didn’t like the idea - mainly because they didn’t have the rights to a lot of the songs that comprised the album. Bowie went as far as to try and release the record on his own label, but it never happened.
Ten years later, Toy has seen the light of day. Not officially, mind you; the album has never been let go by either Virgin or Bowie himself. Nonetheless, it’s been leaked online now to be found by Bowie fans smart enough to know where to troll.
And there are quite a few. In fact, they are legion. And they have been starved since 2003; that’s when Bowie’s last album, Reality, came out. Since then he’s taken an indefinite hiatus from recording to do...whatever. Paint. Sculpt. Be a dad. Other stuff. None of it recording.
That said, it’s understandable why this would be a prize. It’s unknown if - much less when - we may hear a new Bowie album. In light of that, we now have Toy (although we shouldn’t). And yes, there will be a review of it soon. Probably right here.
As for how it got out there...who the hell knows? There have been “dream” versions put together by fans comprised of live outtakes, versions of songs that appeared elsewhere (such as “Uncle Floyd” and “Afraid”, both also on Heathen), and other bootlegged tracks that made it sound like just that. What’s out there now, however, is the real deal.
There are several things that could have happened. Someone could have been sitting on it, inadvertently left their computer open to a file-sharing service and had it jacked. Someone could have timed this to be out there now. Hell, Bowie himself could have been sick of being asked about it and quietly put the subject to rest by letting people hear it (although he swears a proper release is coming one of these days).
For now, however, it’s out there. And, by now, probably not that hard to find.
I so want one of these...