Though one of rock's most influential figures, David Bowie's accomplishments are pocked by some distinct ironies. His willful efforts at being a musical and visual chameleon spurred triumphs in genres as diverse as folk, glam, new wave, and electronica. Given the dizzying range and success of his '70s incarnations--from Ziggy to the Thin White Duke to the gaunt, goth-cypher ofLow
--he seemed the artist most well-equipped to weather the changing tides of taste and trend, yet saw his career essentially shrink to cult status after scoring his biggest triumphs when he reshaped the soulless, dance-oriented club music of the early '80s into his own image. This 20-track compilation does little to address the Chinese puzzle that has been Bowie's post-'85 career, but it does deliver an artistically dizzying slate of hits as it skips from one early peak to the next, from evocative cabaret ("Space Oddity," "Changes") through muscular glam-rock ("Suffragette City," "The Jean Genie") to R&B ("Young Americans," "Fame") and post-punk flirtations ("Ashes to Ashes," "Fashion") to the dance-club hits ("Let's Dance," "China Girl," "Modern Love") and '80s one-off duets ("Under Pressure" withQueen
, "Dancing in the Streets" withMick Jagger
) that essentially marked the end of his superstar reign. Whole eras and at least one classic '70s album (Low
) go completely unaddressed, but all of Bowie's signature hits are here, as well asEarthling
's powerful, underappreciated "I'm Afraid of ...