David

Genius? Or Genus Edition of Trivial Pursuit? Only I am qualified to make that decision.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Early On (1964-1966)
*The World Of David Bowie
*Space Oddity
*The Man Who Sold The World
*Hunky Dory
*The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
*Aladdin Sane
*Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture
*Live Santa Monica '72
*Pin-Ups
*Diamond Dogs
*David Live
*Young Americans
*Station To Station
*Low
*"Heroes"
*Stage
*Lodger
*Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
*Let's Dance
*Tonight
*Labyrinth Soundtrack (with Trevor Jones)
*Never Let Me Down
*Black Tie White Noise
*The Buddha Of Suburbia
*Outside
*Earthling
*...Hours
*VH1 Storytellers
*Bowie At The Beeb: The Best Of The BBC Sessions
*Heathen
*Reality
*A Reality Tour

Although best known as the lead singer for The Tin Machine, David Bowie actually had a long illustrious career with ups and downs before he joined the band, and Black Tie White Noise was not, regardless of popular opinion, his first solo album. He has been around since the late 60's, changing his persona as often as most people change their pants (every four or five years), presenting himself in such guises as The Great White Doke, Ziggy Spacedust and The Thin Man. Personally, I think his hits are money, but I've always had difficulties enjoying his full albums. He has a knack for playing a really generic melody, then changing it ever so slightly so that it sounds ugly, wrong and shitty. If memory serves.. To be honest, I haven't heard any of his albums very many times, so what you are going to be experiencing as you read these reviews is a real-time demonstration of a child growing into a man. Not just metaphorically either; I'm one year old right now and I plan on reviewing only one album a year until I run out of ink.

Reader Comments

Scott.Douglas@PWGSC.GC.CA
Sorry to bother you but you wrote :

"Not just metaphorically either; I'm one year old right now and I plan on reviewing only one album a year until I run out of ink. "

..... in the David Bowie intro and it should have said this :

"Not just metaphorically either; I'm one year old right now and I plan on reviewing only one album a year until I run out of crayon. "


Early On (1964-1966) - Rhino 1991
Rating = 4

I don't know if you've ever had unpleasant dealings with blowhard celebrities as I and people in my line of work (investigative journalism) do on an hourly basis, but I'll be good and goddamned if I'm letting some dinky little man call me "...a jerk" and "...a jerk" after I spent four days coming up with the whimsical idea of dressing my penis up like a microphone and taking a whiz on Tom Cruise's nose. It's not my fault he can't act, it's not my fault he reads everything backwards, it's not my fault the Scientologists are blackmailing him for gayness, and it sure as HELL isn't my fault that he's marrying a fetus. So don't go asking ME, "What's so funny about that?" and don't go asking ME, "Why would you do that?" and "Why would you do that?" And don't go telling ME "that's incredibly rude" and that "I'm here giving you an interview and you do something really nasty." And don't go asking ME, "Do you like making less of people?" Because the day that Tom Cruise actually ACTS in a film, rather than just smugly reciting his lines like a fratboy and clenching his jaw during the 'serious' scenes, is the day that Johnny Depp realizes that his "anti-Hollywood" schtick doesn't make him look cool or intelligent so much as immature and desperate (ie "Look at me! Look at me! I'm different!").

And that's today's Hollywood Minute. I'm Gene Siskel, and you can catch me here every Saturday night at 6 AM reporting from Bald Person Heaven, the eternal paradise for bald people (except for female chemotherapy patients, who go to Hell).

Hi, I'm Mark Prindle, world-famous Record Music Reviewer. I don't mean to blight, but something must be done about dead people and how they're constantly taking advantage of my Internet account. I'm PAYING for this web space - isn't there some way of keeping corpses from scrawling their SHIT all over it? If my readers wanted to hear the latest celebrity gossip, they'd turn on their Entertainment Weekly TVs or buy a copy of That's Incredible! But such is not the case; rather, they turn to Mark Prindle, well-established Internet Guru of Musical Opinion, to direct them towards the latest releases by The Music Explosion and Ghoul, and away from the smegma-drenched ego squirts of Tori Amos and David Bowie. Have you heard of David Bowie? He's AHSOME!

Hang on one second. I just received an important email from Fliers F. Baggiest. Hmm, says here that I can get OEM software including Microsoft/Microsoft Office, Adobe, Macromedia, Corel, even titles for the Macintosh up to 80% off. Apparently I need to see it to believe it, I can download it straight from this site by going here, keep in mind I'll need to burn the ISO to a CD, if I don't have a CD burner I can go here and have them mail it right to my doorstep at no extra cost. This is exciting and important stuff, Mr. Baggiest! No wonder you wrote your entire message as one endless comma splice!

Back to Bowie. Bowie wanted so dearly to be a pop star. It was his biggest dream. Granted, EVERYBODY who pursues a life in popular music wants to be a star, but Bowie's attempts have always been a bit more obvious than most because he's based his entire career on ripping off other peoples' sounds. "Oh! He's such a chameleon! Always changing!" Yep, changing to match his surroundings. Although the world will forever be grateful to him for saving Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, the man has never had a creative idea in his life. And he has ALWAYS been this way -- for proof, check out this collection of early Bowie singles and demos dating from 1964 to 1966.

Let's see what kind of innovative ideas we have here. First there are four tracks by "Davie Jones with the King Bees" and "The Mannish Boys," presenting Bowie as a gritty blues-rocker like the Stones or Yardbirds, but with a punch-in-the-mouthingly raspy, nasally voice and the stupidest fake American accent since George Washington (prickin' Limey cur). When this approach failed to pan out, Dave moved on to drafting some man-and-his-guitar Gene Pitney/Donovan ripoff dicktrickle with greatly improved vocals but still not much in the way of melody. No hits there either, eh? Why then, how about some Who-style rave-up garage Nuggets? Surely there'll be a hit THERE, yes? No. A couple of the songs are Friggin' GREAT and definitely SHOULD have been hits (!!!), but quality alone was never enough to satisfy the young Jones' yearnings. He was in it for the fame, not the self-actualization. Thus he moved on to uncompelling Jonathan King ballads, gentle Association hippy pop, girl-group imitation (David Bowie with The Lower Third!?), orchestral pop, swing jazz, bubblegum - ANYTHING FOR A POTENTIAL HIT! But no go.

The optimist would argue that Jones/Bowie's early stylistic flailings simply show that he is a man of many musical styles and interests. However, (a) most of the songs are so cliched and un-non-in-compelling that it's clear he knew Jack Schidt about songwriting, and (b) he was pretty obviously just following trends in hopes of finding success on somebody else's proverbial coattail. (Or CAT tail! Ow! Can you imagine stepping on a cat's tail? Ha! We all can, yet NONE of us can!) I mean, I don't really CARE either way, and certainly he wasn't the only songwriter to follow musical fads in the '60s - I guess I'm just tired of Bowie being celebrated as a trailblazer when he was actually a born follower of limited abilities. How indeed has one man managed to write and record so many grievously bland songs encompassing so many different styles? (And I don't just mean from '64 to '66).

Still, four of these songs are fuckin' great as a boner (awesomely loud stomper "You've Got A Habit Of Leaving," super-catchy Pebbles-rocker "Baby Loves That Way," surprisingly smart Easybeats/Whoer "Do Anything You Say," speedy jazz swinger "Good Morning Girl"), so I gotta give him that. And you'd have to have a heart clogged with cement not to smile at David's hilarious 1964 Mr. T parody, "I Pity The Fool." Honestly, I should just face the fact that the fucker does have some killer material. Not enough to warrant his legendary celebrity status, but enough for me to stop bashing the prick all the time! In fact, if you were to take the best songs off of each of his albums and put them all together, they'd be called Changes I and II.

Incidentally, am I the only one who noticed that Johnny Knoxville's Hollywood career hasn't exactly 'taken off' since he stopped dropping croquet balls on his nuts?

Add your thoughts?


The World Of David Bowie - Decca 1970.
Rating = 4

This collection of early tracks is probably available under many different titles - my version is called The World Of. and features a Ziggy-period Bowie pic on the cover to screw the buyer five ways til Sunday. Not me though, as I bought it for .99. This music is sissyish, "childlike," prancey-fairy folksy ULTRA-British music with lots of bells, horns and pianos piled on top of the way- in-the-background acoustic guitar, bass and drumkit. I suppose some of this is meant to have a "spyhceedicl" feel to it, but mostly it just sounds like a solo Davy Jones album (it's no coincidence that Bowie's real last name is "Jones" - no coincidence at all. NO COINCIDENCE. *moves eyes nervously back and forth*),

Check out these dipshit song titles - this is like the WORST misuse of Syd Barrett's "starry eyed acid child" motif: "There Is A Happy Land," "Silly Boy Blue," "Come And Buy My Toys," "Sell Me A Coat" - You know, I actually really like "Sell Me A Coat": unlike most of the record, that track has a beautiful horn line in the verse and decent enough chorus too.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a pretender (HAHAHAHAH!! WHEEEEE!): there are some really good tunes hidden within these GROOVES: "There Is A Happy Land" has a terrific bass/drum sound, "Silly Boy Blue" is a slow organ song with one superloud drum smack noise that creates a strange sick mood (as opposed to the rest of the record, which sounds like Rainy Day London in the Spring - and of this I do not hyperb), "Rubber Band" is so goofy it's great and "Let Me Sleep Beside You" is a great driving pop rock song that sounds like the Moody Blues if they had Michael Meyers' "'Elo my name Is Simon! I like to do drawrings!" character singing lead (zeplin). The rest though - just nothing new and good here. Irritatingly sugary orchestrated child folk and bland pop - not to mention "She's Got Medals," which couldn't be more of a "Hey Joe" ripoff if it was titled "Hey Joe, She's Got Your Balls Dangling Out Of Her Ear."

And missed notes? OH! The missed notes. The Bowster does fine in the lower registers, but check out every instance in which he tries to hit a high note. FLAT! WAVERY! ATROCIOUS! By the way, did you ever notice that "The ABC Song" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" have the same exact melody? That's the kind of thing that can really piss a guy off.

Reader Comments

ajkenyon81@yahoo.com (Amanda Kenyon)
"Baa Baa Black Sheep" has that same melody too.

ddickson@rice.edu
MY GOD!! I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT THOUGHT BEFORE! wowowowooowOOOWW!! THAT'S INCREDIBLE!! MY ENTIRE THREE-YEAR-OLD HISTORY HAS BEEN REWEITTEN!! AHHHHH!! (choo)

God. The obvious things one learns. I'm a simp. (son.)

Add your thoughts?


Space Oddity - RCA 1969.
Rating = 5

The guy has hereby left childlike folk mostly behind and is trying to replace it with slightly more "real" adult music with snatches of psychedelia, blues and pop rock. Sidenote: I'm suffering from a horrible hangover right now, so this review is going to be pretty disjointed and boring. Bowie's emphasis is still mostly on acoustic guitars and his own weak voice - he tries to hit WAY too many high notes on this one and sounds just awful - but the tunes are much less sing-songy la-de-da. It still has Rick Wakeman on mellotron though, as well a cellos, flutes and organs going down. Seems you can take the Renaissance Festival out of the boy, but you can't take the shitty songwriting out of David Bowie!

No no, I'm being unfair. It's just that he keeps setting up these really simplistic but ugly, wrong-sounding melodies that aren't very catchy at all. He tries to kick out the jam sandwich once or twice, sure (especially in the blues rockin' "Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed," which would be a good little Stonesy rocker if not for the fact that Bowie drags the two chord moronfest on for SEVEN EXCRUCIATING MINUTES), but for the most part, we're talking acousticy songs with electric soloing and overblown orchestration on top that are obviously reaching for something great, but completely fail due to mediocre melodies. Honestly, most of this album is comprised of truly forgettable songs whose chord changes are so unforgivably generic that Bowie's only "creative" input seems to be just throwing extra chords in at random, as if he gave the band a sheet of paper saying "play generic melody in key of E for four bars, then oh I don't know F-flat or M-sharp or Q-tips or whatever the hell would make it sound really ugly, then back to generic melody in E. Repeat. Fade!"

The standout song is of course the title track, which discusses a fellow named Major Tom who goes into space as an astronaut and decides to stay out there. It also influenced a fantastic song in the mid-80s by some dumbass guy who had a minor hit called "Major Tom." Unfortunately, nothing else on the album resonates anywhere near as much as that song. Except of course the lengthy fade-out ending to "Memory Of A Free Festival," which you may know as "the lengthy fade-out ending to `Hey Jude.'" Or perhaps the descending bass line in part of "Cygnet Committee," which you may know as "the bass line to `Tales Of Brave Ulysses.'"

You know, he really did have a crappy voice at this point in his career. His voice wavers all over the place as he amateurishly tries to hit high notes that he simply can't reach. Say - the liner notes say that his music is "both ecstatic and uncomfortable - discomforting." I actually think that's a really good description. But I don't think "uncomfortable music" is necessarily something that one should be striving for! Come on, Bowie. Hurry up and mature - I'm not digging this directionless early stuff. Here's my closing one-liner - "If I wanted my ears filled with piss, I'd come HANG OUT WITH YOU (fag)!"

As a side note, I purchased 16 Sesame Street albums earlier this week (including Grover Sings The Blues!), so be sure and send Rich Bunnell (mprindle@nyc.rr.com) a bunch of emails telling him how much you want me to review them. I don't make these decisions anymore. Turns out that difficult, important decisions of that nature can wreak havoc on the OCD-addled mind.

Reader Comments

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
5/10

Known for the stunning title track, and commonly referred to as "The one with that Major Tom song on it," Bowie's first official record is a little... different. That is to say - as opposed to being a complete trendsetter, he spends most of the album's playing time imitating both Bob Dylan and generic psychadelic music. Why anyone would want to mirror either one is beyond me - however, there are a couple of fine songs on here. The afformentioned title track is, like I said, stunning, "Janine" is a catchy piece of rollicking pop, "Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud" and "An Occasional Dream" are both really pretty (albiet unmelodic), and, for some reason, I absolutely love "God Knows I'm Good."

But it's got the ugliest cover photo of Bowie in rock history! And the rest of the songs are just lame, unnoticable things or tunes that have about thirty seconds of catchiness and five minutes of boring music with ugly chord changes. I mean - Bowie obviously wasn't a great songwriter at this point, but these songs are bad even for early attempts. He's trying so hard to be different - finding new chord progressions - that he don't realize it's just hideous!

I really like the songs I mentioned, though. I like to think of this as David's "embarrassing baby photos" - it's so ridiculously pretentious, you can't help but laugh.

vincentb@speedlink.com.au
Okay. I'm not going to support this record to the extent that I did The Man Who Sold The World; cause while I really like the overall ambient and psychedelic rock sound, the album as a whole really does leave something to be desired. But there are some redeeming features! Why does no one ever mention 'Unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed' when they talk about this album? I reckon it's one of Bowie's most catchiest rock tunes. Why it was never released as a single is totally beyond me, cause I'm sure it would have been a hit (a shortened version anyway!). 'Letter to Hermione' is truly beautiful, and of course 'Space oddity' is a gem. Maybe I'm just a sucker for epic rock songs or something cause I think 'Cygnet Committee' is horribly under-rated! Let's not forget that rock music is about storytelling and poetry. This is a great song about hope, which builds and builds and has a great climax. It's always been seen as pretentious- but when the fuck has Bowie not been pretentious? Listen to this song and it will grow on you! The book 'Bowie Style' mentions a song called 'Hole in the ground' which was recorded during these sessions but never released on the album. I can't find anything about it, but it'd be interesting to see what it's like. Bowie does have a terrible tendancy of leaving good songs off albums! (and leaving shitty ones on them!)

rcbmc@bentonrea.com (Richard Burger)
I just want to say that you have no idea how much I long to see Prindle review those sixteen Sesame Street albums.

Add your thoughts?


The Man Who Sold The World - RCA 1970.
Rating = 6

I need to come clean about something here. I've never been terribly impressed by David Bowie (pronounced "Boooee"). He has always struck me as an extremely normal person of average intelligence who has been told over and over again that he is a genius so he goes out of his way to dress like a clown and create pretentious "art" that hardly ever rises above generic rock, characterized by unexpected shifts into odd, unappealing chord sequences and topped by a nothing British bland voice of nothingness (though his later low croon sounded pretty good, I thought). I have always been confused by people who put him up on a pedestal because aside from an album's worth of great hit singles, he has never struck me as anything more than a simple-minded follower, definitely not an innovator (or at least, not an innovator of anything worth innovating!). But he has a ton of fans, so I'm going to try really hard to focus on these records and both describe how they sound to me personally and come to an understanding of how everybody who likes him is somehow not a stupid asshole with ears literally dripping shit all over the floor.

This album is the first to feature legendary glam guitarist Mick Ronson (see my Meatmen reviews to learn of a time when I couldn't remember who he was), who brings more of a blues/rock feel to Bowie's acid- folk-pop. The bass is superloud on the whole album, with the usual high level of acoustic strumming and Ronson tearing away at his distorted pre-New York Dolls swagger every once in a while. David's still singing too high and missing notes aplenty, but he does come up with a few killer songs (distorted rocker track 2, oddball bass walker track 9 and especially the somber, "Space Oddity"-style title track, made famous to a younger generation when Kurt Cobain And His Nirvanas put it on their Unplugged album). There's also an interesting UFO-ish sound that pops up in a few tunes - I guess it's a synthesizer or one of them antenna deals or something. Unfortunately, a whole heck of a lot of this stuff is either instantly forgettable or really lame. Track 5 and track 7 in particular are miserable blues-rock shit. "I killed the gooks"? That's not a good lyric! And then there's track 6, in which he tries to recreate the psychedelic avant-jazz rock of the first Alice Cooper album. Maybe these songs have titles - I didn't care enough to check.

There are lots of things going on in the mix in each speaker - synth, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals, drums, bass, sometimes more, but only about half of every song has a RIFF that tugs the brain and says "Hey, dance to this - this is pretty good." Then they drift off into pointlessville and it takes `em forever to come back. Maybe it's the sci-fi weirdness that appeals to people - you got me. I find him about as lovable as Elvis Costello, whom I find about as lovable as a restaurant chef squeezing pus into my soup.

Reader Comments

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
5/10

Okay, you know the title track, right? Nirvana did a swell version of it on their "Unpugged" album, and it's had quite a bit of airplay since. Well, it's a real killer - a depressing dirge anthem with twiddling guitar riff, an awesome bassline in the chorus, and this funny percussion that almost makes it sound happy. Almost.

While the rest of the album doesn't stray much from that very dark mood, it doesn't come anywhere near to improving it, either. The opener, "Width Of A Circle," is, in my opinion, just boring, boring, boring - and the T-Rex homage "Black Country Rock" is just stupid, stupid, stupid. The rest of the songs just don't grab at all - the exceptions being the Syd Barrett homage "All The Madmen," and the utterly spooky "After All." I really like them both - problem is, the rest of the songs are just crap, crap, crap.

In conclusion - a few good songs, but otherwise just a waste of my hard-earned cash.

vincentb@speedlink.com.au
Hold your horses honey! TMWSTW is not a waste of hard earned cash! Far from it! I'll be the first to admit that it is far from perfect. Bowie wasn't at the peak of his song writing skills, and some of the songs can be irritating. But the real trouble with the record is that it lies in the shadow of his following records. Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust are just such kick arse records that anything before them would have looked shit. But there's a lot going for TMWSTW. It's incredibly unique. While Bowie got 'hard' on albums like Heroes and Scary Monsters, there's no other album in the Bowie canon that sees him delve into metal. This is one of those early heavy metal albums like Black Sabbath that aren't perfect but still fucking original and brilliant and a landmark in music history. 'She shook me cold' is just a fucking awsome metal song. Ronson's guitar seriously kicks arse. 'Saviour machine' is some of Bowie's finest lyrics, and the moog synthesiser used in the song has an incredibly haunting effect. And 'The width of a circle' is not boring, boring, boring! I'd go as far to say that it's one of Bowie's greatest songs. The lyrics are surreal and exciting, Ronson's guitar work is truly sensual, and Bowie's voice has a raspy thinness to it that just makes this song a tour de force. It taps into the darkness and mystery of metal and blues music that Black Sabbath's first album of the same year did. The key to understanding this is to actually listen to the album. I remember the first time I heard the Heroes album. After falling in love with Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardaust I thought it was the most fucking awful thing I'd heard. But I now consider it to be one of the finest (if no the finest) records ever made. While I don't consider The Man Who Sold The World one of the finest records ever made, it is still a great album and has to be listened to to be understood. It's not single quality. You can't pop it into the Cd player and just listen to The Supermen in the spur of the moment. That particular song has to be listened to in context. Same for Running gun blues. Not a great song in it's own right, but quite accomplished when placed with the other songs. TMWSTW demonstrates Bowie power of transporting you. It's a dark and haunting album that takes you to not very nice places- but it's an experience only Bowie can give you! Lie on your bed in the dark and listen to TMWSTW and you'll seriously go for an adventure. It's a raw and exhilirating experience.

Also, like most albums, TMWSTW proves management means everything. A little reworking and a bit more effort could have made some of the poorer songs on the album fantastic. 'Holy Holy' (the original 1970 version!) should have been on the album. And (although I know all you Hunky Dory maniacs out there will want my scalp) I firmly believe 'The Beweley Brothers' should be the last song on TMWSTW. I've listened to it straight after TMWSTW finished and it's a truly fitting finale- and it sounds like it belongs on it. (There's an incredible Bowie song called 'Shadowman' which is unreleased that would be a perfect ending for Hunky Dory and should replace The Beweley Brothers.)

madfrankiefraser@everyday.com
this is a horrible, horrible review Mr. Greenstein.

you're saying exactly what every other Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane Bowie fan have been saying to me about this album for aaaages.

this is the only Bowie album except for Low and 'Heroes' that i actually found interessting. no way you could have given this album time. my guess is you never EVER gave it a chance. you just heard Ziggy Stardust and picked up Bowie's previous albums cuz you felt you had to cuz your a such a 'big bowie-fan'.

i find all these commercial success-albums (1972 - 74) to be totally uninteressting plainly cuz such a huge amount of bands have been ripping it off for the last 3 decades. if you give this album a chance you will soon hear the pure brilliance of All the Madmen, After all, the Supermen and She Shook me Cold. these lyrics are the BEST Bowie's ever done. all of you embrace the title track just cuz it's on every goddamned singles-collection and cuz it was such a important breakthrough song in Bowie's career. commercially!

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
This album is so underated! Personally, I think it's one of Bowie's finest and most consistent efforts, despite the horrid mennonite dress he's wearing on the cover. See, if I was doing the whole drag thing, I would put more effort into it, like donning skin tight slut wear like tight little short shorts (like the ones Tom Selleck wore on Magnum PI) shave my legs, cake on tons of whore make-up and have those open-toe come-fuck-me stiletto platform heels while I'm on a pink satin bed with my legs spread. *sigh*...Bowie's lack of shock sense is discouraging.

I really do have sensational legs though.

openmindedonly@mail.com (Darren Finizio)
im listening to this lp as i review this...no im not a bowie enthusiast,but i can't help but notice his genius in his satirical and usually misunderstood deram recordings...his "space oddity album" strikes me as a new way to do folk,unmemorable at first because its so different but becoming more understandable as truly authentic folk music with real passion in the lyrics and great care taken in presentation...which brings us to "the man who sold the world",its rather agitating to see that your take on it has it being boring bluesrock crap:the point seems for this highly original and imaginative artist to meld his unique kind of folksong to a black sabbthy type instrumentation,but don't be fooled,theres still the psychedelia and offbeat colorings as well as the terrific lyrics not to mention a topnotch band backing him up...i find this album thoroughly exciting and contrary to the popular critic line an album which shows bowie at his most realistic,undiluded and rawest ...bowies voice?again,theres some validity to the adulation masses of people heap upon him:his voice sounds like a fifth beatle,actually i hear john lennon with a georgeharrison intro/outro-spective flavour,although on the strange "superman"he sounds like a cockney d slimeball villain...i believe the album that follows this is a great pop album and "ziggy stardust" is challenging but sees him going further into the realms of what interests me least about him:glitter,overproduction and image...theres more than a grain of truth to the fact that part of the appeal of an artist like this,as bowie himself will admit,is based on his appearance/image which,from my observations has amassed quite a following of straights and notsostraights...the aspect that many fail to acknowlege is that this marketing tool has enabled him to do just about whatever he wants artistically(within'those conceptual parameters),so even the stuff we most overlook by him has an artistic/intellectual validity...i noticed this most when i saw his live audience-request show on bravo (yes,someone made me watch it!),i was amazed by how much the man cared about what he was doing,enough to rearrange his material quite dramatically with his new band...one shouldn't be put off by the fact that his later material('73 on) seems socially directed,a closer look at his earlier recordings reveals that bowie was so extremely different and misunderstood that,for the sake of being successful,he really had to redirect himself...yes,his character explorations enabled him to connect to a wider audience...as one who has been known to don a frogs head now and then or pump iron to get attention i fully realise the logic of such behavior.

stroudley_loco@hotmail.com (Sam Davenport)
I'd just like to point out that All The Madmen is not a Syd Barret tribute as far as I know. Instead, it's about Bowie's half-brother, who was a patient in Cane Hill Asylum [a now disused mental hospital near where I live] for a while, until he killed himself in 1985.

I haven't listened to this album properly yet. All The Madmen and the title track are good songs though.

stevenjules@xtra.co.nz
I know it's uncool to like early Bowie albums but Lulu covered "The Man Who Sold The World", I mean LULU! How cool is that? and a band who's name I can't recall but their lead singer should have finished reading "How To Safely Clean A Loaded Gun". This album is remarkable for a couple of things, the song, "All The Madmen" is Bowies first taste of prog/glam (althrough I'm not Mr music head, so I could be wrong on that one) and it's the first album with ace guitarist, Michael Dwight Ronson (b.1958-1995) (who incidentally has an action hero actor brother, Charles Ronson, who's films include, Magnificent Seven, Magnum Force and Boogie Nights) Also Michael Dwight Woodywoodmansey (b.1957) played drums, so all they really needed was a Trev (b.1923) on bass (who didn't know it at the time but would later write a book about his time as a gay school teacher) and they would become the "Women From Venus, Spiders From Mars".

Music made in the 70's, sounds so clear, so crisp, like every instrument has its own space and was recorded pretty much as is, but it's not all beer and skittles, "After All" is so slow, even I fall asleep at the wheel and "The Supermen" is just plain weird. And the four bonus tracks if your lucky enough to have this rereleased version, show me that Bowie was never stupid, because NONE of these should have been on an album (including a most insipid early version of Moonage Daydream, WITHOUT Ronsons' blistering crank right up, then record in the next room, guitar solo). But it could be worse, we could be discussing an EAGLES album, so, who would have thought, that it would be 30years BEFORE Bowie descovered THE PIXIES.

Comment: An important document on Bowies meteroric rise and fall to stardom, but there's probably more people who haven't heard this, than people who have. Also Greenstein, if you had your own music site, you would get heaps of hate mail.

My rating is, for an early, early period Bowie, it's not that bad of 8's

thepublicimage79@hotmail.com
David Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World is an extremely underrated album that documents a part of Bowie's evolution that we'd never see again. Basically, Die-vid rocks the fuck out on this album more than he almost ever would again, which is definitely a reason to get this. There is a lot of hard rock influence on this album and it shows on many of the tracks, but David still gives the album that trademarked Bowie-treble sound that would distinguish every damn one of his early albums, up until Aladdin Sane. Actually, this album stands out production-wise for having one of the most unique mixes I've ever heard. The entire album sounds really rainy, depressive, and downed out - gray and lonely. Mick Ronson's lead guitar is often really sludgy, but somehow still sounds thin and sharp. Tony Visconti's Gigantor bass dominates the sonic landscape, but never seems to have any real bass presence. Mick Woodmansey's drums are often thin enough to sound like they may go into tin can territory, but they never do. Ralph Mace, who makes his only appearance on a Bowie album here (is this actually just a Bowie pseudonym? I've never heard of this guy doing anything else), contributes Moog synthesizer that sounds like the long-lost alien brother of Ray Manzarek's Vox organ, and often sounds nearly as nursery-rhyme disturbing. Bowie's vocals are, without fail, distant, completely European, cold, sometimes processed, a little ridiculous, and maximally weird, and on almost every song there's that thin Bowie acoustic-rhythm track that would be another one of his early trademarks.

This album is not perfect. "Running Gun Blues" is a cartoonish, ill-considered, and finally laughably bad song about a psychotic Vietnam soldier that is dated, overblown, and stupid (though still catchy), and "She Shook Me Cold" is a blues-rock jam about a straight hookup with drugged Bowie vocals and a wah riff that was probably meant to kick ass in a Cream-esque vein, but just sounds like Tony Iommi with indigestion instead. Normally, that would be pretty damn cool, too, but the song is just too unfocused to make any real kind of impact. These two relative misfires only show how great the rest of the material is.

"Width of a Circle" is an eight-minute epic with an unforgettably toxic main riff, verses where Bowie waxes incomprehensible about God, Khalil Gibran, and his reputation sweeping home in drag, a middle-and-ending section so blatantly alluding to and documenting a gay hookup that you'd have to be dead to miss it, completely ass-kicking instrumental interplay, strangled, ripping Ronson guitar solos, and interestingly psychedelic late '60's/early '70's production effects like backwards echo. Simply put, the song rules merciless quantities of ass. Other quality rockers here include the heavy-R 'n B-esque "Black Country Rock," with an absolutely beautiful, momentary Ronson guitar opening that has nothing to do with the actual song, wild Bowie vibrato, and even wilder Visconti bass, the bizarre, heavy-handed metal of "The Supermen," which features more great bass from Visconti and successful, though hilariously grandiose tympanis doubling up with the drums, and the strange herky-jerky riffing, burbling synth, and cartoonish, but still unsettling technology-gone-insane lyrics of "Saviour Machine."

The album's peak is with the slower material, though. All of the songs are very disturbing (which is somewhat odd for Bowie), and all of them are superb (which is also somewhat odd for Bowie). "All The Madmen" starts off with a depressive acoustic riff, and then can't decide if it wants to be a distorted, angry, overblown rocker or a weird examination of mental illness and asylums from the inmate's view, and ends up becoming both. The incohesive tone actually works here - insanity is not a cohesive thing, and the schizoid push-and-pull between the two halves of the song are really evocative and unsettling, climaxing in one of the weirdest mid-song breaks you will ever hear. "After All," the slowest song on the album, is where the synth work is most effective - the bridge section where the synth and the carnival organ mirror the sung verses is truly creepy - and probably features Bowie's best untreated vocal of the entire set. That leaves the title track, which is as chilling, painful, and terrifying as the day it was recorded, and an early Bowie masterpiece that went unappreciated for years until Nirvana famously did a wonderful acoustic cover of it for their legendary Unplugged album. While Kurt Cobain's uncomfortably personal interpretation turned the song into a meditation on total alienation, Bowie's version is cold, reptilian, and almost flippant, which highlights the soulless betrayal and resignation of the lyrics even more. (Bowie's phased vocals certainly help in conveying the heartlessness of the characters - or character.) It still sounds scary and hopeless.

Overall, this album, to me, is where David Bowie really got his shit together and started making good music consistently, and it's undeniable that The Man Who Sold The World is unique within his discography. It isn't where you should start with him, but it is a rewarding and bizarre listen. I'd give it a high A minus.

sasa.podunavec@yahoo.com
Not bad at all. Sure, there's some filler, but a lot of the material on this record is powerful. I think that this is where David's efforts began to pay off.

Benjamin Burch
What I think people often forget about this album, is that this is the one that made David Bowie David Bowie. Maybe adding Mick Ronson helped out a lot, but either way, this is probably the biggest step up Bowie made in his entire career. Going from doing lame self indulgent psychedelic albums to glam rock, it works great for me. I love every song from this album except "After All" and "The Supermen," (a better version of this song is on the "Ziggy Stardust" reissue). For me, songs like "The Width of a Circle," "Running Gun Blues," "She Shook Me Cold," "Black Country Rock" and of course the title track are songs I never get tired of. Along with "Pin Ups" this is IMO one of David's most underrated albums.

Ben
Forget "Space Oddity," THIS is where David Bowie finally got it. Though he still had a long way to go, he did manage to make one of his best and most interesting albums right after two of his absolute worst. Even though the production kind of sucks and it gets a little indulgent at times, this is probably David's hardest rocking album. Though it might not be one of his best, "The Width of a Circle" is one of the most intriguing songs he's ever done. That wouldn't sound out of place on the first two Yes albums. "All the Madmen" is cool too (though that spoken part is kind of ridiculous).

Where the last two albums had about two songs that I liked on them, there's two songs on here that I don't like: the slow, boring dirge "After All" and the flat out ridiculous "The Supermen" although a better version of that song is on the "Ziggy Stardust" reissue. The other five songs I haven't mentioned yet are awesome, and yes this includes the often disrespected "She Shook Me Cold" and that other song you don't like "Running Gun Blues." "Black Country Rock" is great for just about everything and along with the title track is one of the best songs he's ever done. Even though it took me a while, I'll gladly award this one an 8.5.

Add your thoughts?


Hunky Dory - RCA 1972.
Rating = 8

Or perhaps the REAL problem is that those first three albums were geared towards my DICK. And my dick, she don't have good mustical taste's! With Humphrey Dorby, David Booie has found a piano-filled style of such garnish and clear vision, it's hard to imagine that he is the same artist who floundered his way through The Man Who Sold The World Of David Bowie, Space? Oddity!. Every track features a catchy normal melody, strong, mature playing, clear production (Hornys! Violince! Sexophones!) and TUNEFUL(!!!!!), at times double- tracked (for fullness) vocals. Lots of bouncy piano and acoustic guitar will greet you as you enter and carry you along as you encounter such highlights as the groovy pop ballad smash "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!," dark and plotting-something-probably acoustic evilness of radio's popular "Andy Warhol (jiiiiing-a-jiiiiing-a-joobyjoobyjoobyjooby-joo!)" and the wild fun glam riff rockage of hit record (and VU homage) "Queen B-tch" (I can't write the whole second word because it's as offensive as that time I dipped my balls in your ice water in the middle of your graduation speech. Hey! They were hot!).

One question that DOES arise when I think of this album, however, is this: why is Mick Ronson's glam pants action NOT the center of musical attention? Most of these songs are so pianoey, it's like bisexual Elton John was hanging out in the studio, helping out his bisexual friend David Bowie to create a pleasant, normal-like, non-psychedelic album designed for bisexuals of all genders to have bisex to. Alas, it's not Elton John at all, but RICK WAKEMAN! From YES! RICK WAKEMAN! FROM YES!!!! FROM YES!!!!! ARE YOU READING ME??? RICK "PATRICK MORAZ" WAKEMAN!!! FROM YES!!!!!

So it is as they say apparently - David Bowie is not the throwaway irritant I previously accused him of being. These are nice tunes! Not a single bad song from beginning to end. Some of them are a little more "Show Tuney" than I would normally enjoy, but no more so than your favorite Elton John songs. His vocals are much stronger than before, as is his songwriting. I gotta hand it to the guy - he actually DID manage to pull his creative muse out of the huge pile of earwax in which it, or rather, which it created in the world and then became. or instead to be..

Look, not every sentence I write is going to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Reader Comments

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
9/10

Wow! David finally grows as a songwriter, branching out to include piano and strings, and writing classic tunes such as the anthem "Changes" and the beautiful "Life On Mars?" It's packed with fun, silly songs - "Oh! You Pretty Things," "Kooks," the still-kind-of-dark "Andy Warhol" - but it also has a great dirge in the form of "Quicksand." A lot of folks complain that it's too long - I, for one, think it's an ultracool tune. The album closer is sort of gloomy, too - until David screws it up by throwing in those stupid helium voices.

A couple of songs aren't that great, but the ones that are more than make up for it. The Velvet Underground homage "Queen Bitch" honestly sounds nothing like that group, but I still like it. The album, as a whole, has a great mood to it - fun but also pretty dark. And there's evenbetter ones on the way!

cola@together.net (Colasacco)
What do you mean a couple of the songs aren't GREAT? They're all GREAT! (Well, "Fill Your Heart" isn't, but it's just a cover...) "Life on Mars?" is DB's best song EVER, bar none. Even "Space Oddity" pales next to it. "Changes" and "Oh, You Pretty Things" are absolute pop classics. The rest aren't as well known, of course, but they hold up just as well. "Quicksand" and "The Bewlay Brothers" aren't really overrated - I've actually never heard of anyone liking them - and are both quite enjoyable listens. "Kooks" is fair (relative to the rest, that is), but "Andy Warhol"...YEOW!! "Queen Bitch" sounds like Lou Reed at the beginning, but quickly turns into something else (equally likable, however). The "Song for Bob Dylan" is a personal favorite, cause I'm such a Dylan nut. A little weird, but awesome. The whole album rocks. His best, even after Ziggy. 10!

dis_gus_ted@my-deja.com
Why is everyone so down on "Fill your heart"? It's a great performance on Bowie's part, I think. Why? Because the song is so finely balanced between absolute sincerity and mercilessly taking the piss. Every time I listen to it I still get that giddy feeling as I think I know that he must really mean it - how could he sing it in such a heartfelt way if he didn't - and then suddenly, I think - you're such a fucking idiot, listen to his voice, man, he's laughing out of his backside while he sings this sentimental twizz. The point is, I guess, that there's a kind of beautiful tension between these two extremes that is never resolved, which makes the song exciting to listen to every time.

As for the rest of Hunky Dory, first rate lyrics, first rate musicianship, solidly entertaining, not a single weak track - could this be Bowie's greatest album? If there weren't so many other great albums it'd be a shoe-in...

festivefriend@volny.cz
'Quicksand' and 'The Bewlay Bros.' are so baaaad that every time I want to hear them, I want to kick seven shades of boiled shite out of that posing, tenth-rate, pretentious, arty-farty, plagiarising little queen-fuck that is Dame David Bowie. The songs are so dated and so irritating that they make even Elton John's most toe-curling musical moments seem positively entertaining. And the man Bowie is a cunt. Just read any one of his self-absorbed, show-offy interviews.

mdenster@yahoo.com (Adrian Denning)
Ah, but Elton never did anything quite as wonderful as 'Quicksand' did he? Well, did he?? 'Quicksand' rules more than sex with everyone i've ever wanted to have sex with. It really is that good! And, i'm a sexy guy!!!

drazy@gatecity.com
One of the great thing about Prindle is he gets you all worked up to the point where you're boiling and then you see he gave the album an "8." It's a high ranking, but I'd go up a notch because of sentimental reasons. Maybe that's what makes Mark the owner of this site and me just a trivial little music collector emailing Taosterman on a fucking Sunday night. "Quicksand" is brilliant and the Ryko release (I guess the catalog's on some major now, all spruced up for you to buy again) includes the demo which just knocks the piss out of the admittedly overproduced original. I put "Queen Bitch" on a comp tape for my then-girlfriend and we later got married. That's enough for me to keep this one at a "9," or a "10" if my then-girlfriend was Bo Derek.

okeydoke0@yahoo.com (Barrett Barnard)
i might be gay.thats what i say everytime i listen to this ultra catchy skippy dippy collection of cabaret songs.that bowie shore can write a darn good melody.the first 2 songs are pop classics.Changes and Oh you pretty things are just great pieces of songwriting by a bisexual man unless that man is mick ralphs.then 8 line poem is a nice quiet diversion that grows on me like a flesh tuxedo.Life on mars is another great piano driven songs.which reminds me that rick wakeman has sucked for all but 40 minutes of his life and this is it.theres 2 rockers in song for bob dylan and the ultra mega great QUEEN BITCH what a fucking riff.and mick ronsons guitar playing is second to no other bisexual other than you guessed it mick ralphs.2 little catchy side pieces in Kooks and Fill your heart.Andy warhol is a personal favorite with that great little acoustic line in the verse and bowie's ultra cool bisexual voice in the chorus.quicksand is very nice with yet another grand chorus and seriously fucked up lyrics.The Bewlay Brothers is the greatest song ever written.

josephwahler@yahoo.com
What I love most about this album is that the synthesizer noise on "Life on Mars?" sounds very much like Disney, and I was listening to this song and "Space Oddity" when i was in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. "Fill Your Heart" may sound weird and silly, but it helps change my life whenever I feel depressed and hear voices in my head talking shit. This wonderful song relieves, and Bowie is like a therapist to me. This is a perfect album that gets me to like Bob Dylan!

helios.marzal@club-internet.fr
Contains one of the only two sublime songs Bowie has ever written : Life on Mars. The second one is Heroes.

David Bowie : an interesting, charming and smart character. His music : basicly overrated.

Ben
As hard as I've tried to appreciate this album, I can't. It's too singer/songwriter-ish and self indulgent. "The Man Who Sold the World" proved that he wasn't a one hit wonder with the title track to his otherwise pretty much unlistenable second album. Sure there are some good things about this album ("Oh You Pretty Things," "Changes," "Queen Bitch," "Song for Bob Dylan" and the terrific "Life on Mars?") but that's about it. I really can't stand "Eight Line Poem," "The Bewlay Brothers" and especially "Andy Warhol." Those tracks bore the shit out of me. As much as "Hunky Dory" disappointed me, I'll give it a 6. Not as bad as the first two, but not even close to being as good as the third album ("Life on Mars?" is better than anything from that album though). Definitely David's most overrated album.

Add your thoughts?


The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars - RCA 1972.
Rating = 7

Have you heard that song that goes "Ch-ch-ch-ch- changes!"? Aw man, it's the coolest. It goes "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!" It's not on this album though.

Let this serve as official public notice that I stand by my original conviction that this album is overrated.. Now don't get me wrong - it DOES have a bunch of killerass wicked boner songs that tear up your radio dial like an angry Moroccan looking for a DVD copy of The Secret Of Nimh (hey, similes don't grow on trees) - but as a cohesive whole, there's a bit too much nostalgia mongering for my tastes. Let's go back to the beginning.

Have you heard that song that goes "Ch-ch-ch - NO NO, I'M KIDDING YOU! I'M ooo

For this album, David Bowie "reinvented" himself as a glam rock star named Ziggy Stardust. And here is my first problem with the record - I constantly hear it referred to as one of the top "glam" albums, yet, by what I could have SWORN is the definition of glam, THERE'S ONLY LIKE TWO OR THREE GLAM SONGS ON HERE!!!! Isn't glam that stuff with like loud generic style distorted rock and roll decadent guitars? Like The Sweet and The New York Dolls and The Alice Coopers and Queen? If that is correct, then "Suffragette City" is basically the only glam you're going to find here. Luckily, it's one of the greatest, hardest rocking glam songs EVER! But most of the rest of the album (aside from "Hang On To Yourself," which is The Ramones four years early) is piano-heavy theatrical Elton John-style stuff. Or is THAT what glam is supposed to be? If so, FUCK GLAM UP THE ASS! But be careful `cuz your penis might be worn down from FUCKING JAZZ UP THE ASS!

To my point: Certainly the title track is a classic, but it don't exactly ROCK. or even GLAM, does it? Does it glam? And "Soul Love"? That's SOUL! "Starman"? That's a show tune! "Lady Stardust"? Reginald Dwight stopped in to see what condition his condition was in! "Star"? That's bouncy `50s style doowop! More like "SHITman," "Lady SHITdust" and "SHIT" if you ask me! But the title track is still "Ziggy Stardust" and not "Ziggy Shitdust."

And it's not just the lack of glam - that in and of itself is a minor, minor complaint that just happened to occur to me. My real complaint is that those songs that I cleverly replaced the word "star" with "SHIT" in really aren't any good. I mean, I can see liking PARTS of "Star" (the chorus is pretty glammy, I admit. I ADMIT WHEN I'M WRONG! Except for that whole "Girls pee out of their butts" thing that I believed when I was 6. I still insist that this is the case. Girls just haven't noticed yet, because they're out shopping.), but the other ones are REALLY awful. Musical clich‚s that go nowhere and teach you nothing. "Soul Love" isn't exactly a stroll down Fleet Street either. Unless you're a retard walking with shoes on your feet.

Ah! I forgot the most important part. It's kind of a rock opera - based on the true story of that comic strip Ziggy.

Reader Comments

bgreenstein@nctimes.net (Ben Greenstein)
9/10

There are two types of Bowie fans - those that think this is his best album ever, and those which hate it and find it to be tremendously overrated.

I am neither one.

I think that it's a great album - but not his best. It's got a cool concept (a post-apocalyptic rock band), and great songs (very few of which fit into the story at all), but it honestly doesn't stand up against a lot of other albums that he recorded afterwards. This is a very low nine - only because few of the songs are at all great. But what a fine collection of good songs!

The classics include the absolutely amazing glam-punk of "Suffragette City," with it's hookline of "Wham! Bam! Thank you, Ma'am!", the title track (featuring the ultimate "pied piper" guitar riff), the catchy, corny single "Starman," and the sad ballad "Rock `N Roll Suicide." But the rest of these are good, too! Sure, they're just really simple rock tunes, but they're quick, catchy, and quite fun!

A "best of" collection would be a better first buy, seeing as there aren't as many standout tracks as the critics would have you believe. But this is certainly an essential album - if only for the four songs I mentioned.

RichardMelchior@aol.com
Mark, I'm afraid I've just lost total respect for you. "By the numbers rock 'n roll with no reason to exist"? Give me a break! Why don't you just say the same thing about London Calling while you're at it? A perfect 10.

chaucer@ix.netcom.com (Ryan Maffei)
Honestly, why does nobody ever mention "Five Years" as one of the most heart-wrenchingly, cynically beautiful songs Bowie ever recorded? This whole album's great, but the only reason I still put it on nowadays is for the first track. The atmosphere is maintained so steadily and majestically throughout that whole tune, the lyrics so poetically ominous...how can it be overlooked? I mean, it's the first thing Bowie shoves into your face on this record, for Christ's sakes!

Jcjh20@aol.com
I agree that both "Suffragette City" and the title track are absolute classics, but i also love the rest! I dont hear anything awful or boring or uninteresting in my shit filled ears. I also thought i was the only one who thought "Hang On To Yourself" sounded like The Ramones before The Ramones even formed yet! I like it more now that you've mentioned it! "Starman" quite possibly is my favorite song on the album. I love the distorted "glammy" guitar, the orchestration (mellotron? whatever it is), the "na-na"'s at the end and the chorus, even though it sounds so much like "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" so i can understand how you might think it sucks! "Five Years" is absolutely powerful, and i love how it just builds and builds until it ends on that same drum beat it started with. "Lady Stardust" may sound like Elton John but its quite a nice piano ballad to me. Overall i give this album a 9.

stephen-cleary@lineone.net
Whatever people think of Dave Bowie's early seventies albums in the cold light of hindsight, in the context of the UK music scene at the time he was important. Don't know about the US but here (UK) he was mostly appreciated by young teens who heard something in his pretentious weird-o-sexual orange-haired sci-fi constructions that chimed with their adolescent going-throughs. Bowie was pop; he was never really an artist for adults (thank God) but he did his job, i.e. suggested something beyond and above the mundane restricted world of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin etc. 13-year-olds were not to know that his lyrics were mostly rubbish. That said, this album still sounds alright, mainly cos of Mick Ronson's great guitaring (see also 'Queen Bitch' on Hunky Dory, and many others). Also, the timbre of Bowie's voice was fresh then. Now, of course, we are all sick to death of it. Anyway, there was no need for Suede to come into being; once was enough. Death to Suede!

TVEye70@aol.com
Definitely overrated, but still an excellent album. In comparison to a lot of other crap released around the same time (anything by Chicago or Jethro Tull, for example) this sounds heavenly. Now, however, it still sounds good. A little dated, and not utterly packed with strong songs, but still holds together pretty well. I personally don't much like "Starman" or "Ziggy Stardust", but "Hang On to Yourself", "Star", "Rock and Roll Suicide", "Moonage Daydream", and "Suffragette City" are all classics. 8/10

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Funny tidbit about "Suffragette City" - Alice Cooper has claimed for years that Bowie had a nasty habit of ripping off whatever he was doing in the early 70's, and one of the things he likes to point out is that he claims that "Suffragette City" is a virtual copy of Cooper's own 1971 garage-glam classic, "Under My Wheels"...at first I couldn't really hear it, but upon further listenings it became very obvious to me that the background music is very similar, and that you can easily interchange Bowie's shouts of "It's a suffragette city!" with Coop's shouts of "You're under my wheels!".

WHAT A CAD.

Bowie, of course.

robert.suszek@edwards.af.mil
The Ziggy review is the funniest fucking thing I've read in a long time.

markphilipevans@hotmail.com
How can you give this the same rating as friggin Tormato?. Ziggy Stardust is gruesomely overrated but is nevertheless one of Bowie's best albums and far better than that worthless piece of shit Yes album (I'm talking about Tormato not The Yes Album). The lyrics are utter hogwash though as Bowie was definitely no Bob Dylan (that's for sure!). However this still deserves an 8 in my view.

ddickson@rice.edu
Glam rock started in 1971 with T. Rex's Electric Warrior. Half the songs on here sound like ripoffs of the style of those. And Elton John ripped part of his "theatrical" piano ballad style off Bowie. So yes, this is what glam's supposed to sound like. It was Bowie (and his guitarist, Mick Ronson), in fact, who invented the "loud generic style distorted rock and roll guitars" glam style heard on a couple of the songs of this album.

Dammit, I haven't looked at the other reader comments yet. Did 50 million other people say these things already?

And I agree with you, it doesn't quite gel into a cohesive whole. But fuck it--every single one of these 11 songs rules. 10 out of 10.

This is the only Bowie album I've ever heard, too. He'd better not suck on all his others.

gag05@bigpond.com.au
so wat if bowie ripped of Alice Cooper? so wat if ziggy isn't glam? so wat if ziggy takes it up the ass from mick ronson? So wat if he rhymes too with two in "Starman"? it's fukin classic and I give it a 10.

Ben
A 7? I'm more inclined to give this one a 9 or 9.5. "Starman" just doesn't really do it for me anymore. This is my personal favorite Bowie album, and it contains one of my favorite songs of all time: "Moonage Daydream" which features an amazing guitar solo at the end. "Five Years," the title track, "Hang on to Yourself" and "Suffragette City" are great too. This might also be David's best produced and most melodic album, and has great use of a string section on most of the songs. Aside from the overrated "Starman," which would have stood out on the previous album, I can't really find a bad moment anywhere, other than the fact that "Moonage Daydream" should have been longer. Although to be fair, there's a cool remix of it on the deluxe edition. Yeah, definitely David's finest moment, and one of the few times that he did something better than what Elton John was doing that year ("Honky Chateau"). I also noticed his voice drastically improved on here, especially on "Soul Love."

Add your thoughts?


Aladdin Sane - RCA 1973.
Rating = 7

This album shows David Bowie at his most glamourous - his guitars are so loud and his voice is so confident and his songs are so sexy and his picture on the inner sleeve is so embarrassingly homosexual. The hit single is glam classic rock and roller "The Jean Genie" and don't even TRY looking for another hit because you won't find it here.

I saw Nick Cave last night and thought again about "entertainment for a living." I have tremendous respect for anybody who can pull it off. I know just from minor-league experiences that it is hellish. After three similar shows, the boredom kicks in something fierce. But then what do you do? The fans expect a certain thing. HOW CAN YOU not play "The Mercy Seat"? Nick Cave is a brilliant songwriter. David Bowie is a hack. Fuck David Bowie. Nick Cave has some of the most brilliant lyrics. His images are so vivid and frightening. He is a brilliant songwriter- who else could have written "Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow"? It's about God destroying the world a second time with a DIFFERENT form of precipitation. Of course it's beautiful. It's SNOW. But it's death. Suffocation. Either that or it's about cocaine addiction, but I doubt that. He hasn't been on drugs for ages, and he's totally into Old Testament-style religious terror. David Bowie is a hack. He's simply no Nick Cave. He relies on generic rock and pop forms, with his shitty voice and generic or UGLY melodies. David Bowie is a genius for retards. He is a half-wit who lucks into catchy melodies every once in a while. This album is good, but by "good," I mean that some of the melodies are catchy. Listen to what Nick Cave has to say about a man being led to the electric chair: "AND THE MERCY SEAT IS WAITING - AND I THINK MY HEAD IS BURNING - IN A WAY I'M YEARNING TO BE DONE WITH ALL THIS MEASURING OF TRUTH - AN EYE FOR AN EYE AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH - AND ANYWAY I TOLD THE TRUTH - AND I'M NOT AFRAID TO DIE." So what does David Bowie have to say - "His name is always Buddy!" Fuck you, David Bowie. You're too stupid to ever hold a candle to Nick Cave. But how much more money do you make, you talentless shit? "Suffragette City" was as brilliant as you will ever get. I'm sorry to be so mean. I'm not really trying to attack YOU, I promise. I'm being mean because I just saw Nick Cave last night. Lord knows that I will never be as great a lyricist as Nick Cave. Maybe I'm just jealous. David Bowie has a lot of catchy tunes. It's not fair to blame him for his success. If nobody had ever heard of David Bowie, I'd be raving about him. But Nick Cave is amazing. Just amazing. His lyrics are so brilliant. And I NEVER rave about lyrics, because most of them are so lame. Nick Cave is extremely talented. EXTREMELY talented. I urge you to go out and buy some.

Let's talk about the album now. It's theatrical! Like the last album, but more glam. Mick Ronson rocks it to and fro! There's still some piano and 50sish teen lust, as well as Andrew Lloyd Weber- style "emotions represented by overblown fakery" but more so, there's just crunchy glam guitar. I LIKE GLAM GUITAR! It makes me feel sleazy and decadent, but in a nostalgic way instead of a GG Allin way. Jesus Christ, check out "Cracked Actor" - that song is BOMBASTIC and GREAT! But some of the songs are, you know - like the title track just repeats the "Tired Of Waiting For You" bass line for like five years. And fuckin "Time" is that same old Elton John piano horseshit. And "The Prettiest Star' - I HATE THE 50s - THAT"s WHY I STAYED IN MY MOTHER'S VAGINA CLINGING FOR DEAR LIFE FOR A FULL 14 YEARS UNTIL NIXON WAS SAFELY IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE COAST WAS BEER. AND HE DOES A CRAPPYASS VERSION OF THE ROLLING STONES' "LET'S SPEND THE NIGHT WITH FEATHERS." I don't need you to tell me that this review is not very good - I just need you to carry my long flowing King's gown while I walk down the street to collect my trillions.

Do this - take a shit and then stick your hand in the toilet and pick up the pooplog. Then try to jam it up your pisshole. There! Now you know how it feels to have as little talent as David Bowie, the least talented man in the world.

Nah just kidding. If he was untalented, he wouldn't get so many 7's. He's a talented guy. I'm just sticking rhubarbs up your metacarpus in the name of NICK CAVE! NICK CAVE! NICOTINE CAVEAT! NICODERMUS CARPE DIEM! THIS IS A SECRET. SHHHH. ARE YOU READY FOR MY SECRET? HERE IT IS, MY SECRET:

EVERYTHING FEELS WRONG A TREMENDOUS DEAL OF THE TIME. I SEARCH FOR PERFECTION WHERE LIFE OFFERS NONE. AND IN THIS WAY, I AM UNLIKE EVERYBOY ELSE IN THE WORLD BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL HAPPY ALL THE TIME AND DON'T UNDERSTAND MY PLIGHT. I can't even lift my head. I like everything except this Matthew Sweet cd that Rich sent me. If you ever need proof that David Bowie is talented, just play him back to back with Matthew Sweet. Holy Christ, is generic power pop worthless. What am I getting out of this? I'm LOSTING full hours of my voice sitting through this worthless pissfart. Don't ever do anything. Because you'll never be as good as the top 16 artists. So why bother, loser? My home is beautiful. Youth is painful - I used to be there. You hang excuse me YOUNG people just need to hang in there. I I I I I IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Hey I'm not a ba guy, jimbobbil. MATthe SHIT oncccnd AND THE MRECY SEAT IS WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Reader Comments

mdenster@yahoo.com (Adrian Denning)
Nick Cave rules more than god himself. Alladin Sane isn't half bad either, you know? It's very easy to be utterly dwarfed by the talent of Mr Cave, but come on? Mr Bowie did well here. True, the Stones cover sucks. But then, what do you expect? Wait until 'Rebel Rebel' comes along. Dave out-stones The Stones! But, that's on a later record, and has no relevance to Alladdin Sane whatsoever!!

rcbmc@bentonrea.com (Richard Burger)
I just want to say that I saw Nick Cave about a month ago, and agree with Prindle wholeheartedly. The man amazes me beyond words. It also makes me wonder how many other mind-bogglingly brilliant artists there are out there that I'm not familiar with because of their obscurity, and then I glance at my CD collection and note how disturbingly loaded it is with mediocrities like the last three studio albums by Metallica, and feel a quick stab of depression.

TVEye70@aol.com
Probably Bowie's best Ziggy-era album. Basically, all of the songs are good except his rather nasty version of "Let's Spend the Night Together". (What was he thinking?) The atonal piano of "Aladdin Sane" is great, wonderfully bizarre, and even the attempted tough-guy rock of "Cracked Actor" works. Sort of. Regardless, it's also got "Panic In Detroit" and "Drive In Saturday" on it, which are two of his finest songs. So I think it deserves an 8/10.

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
To be honest, I only listened to Ziggy Stardust once, but I agree with you, Marky Mark, that it is quite overated. While I found it to be good, I definitely didn't think it was some sort of watershed in rock history the way it's made out to be. I found some of the material bland, while Aladdin Sane rocks! I prefer Aladdin Sane over Ziggy simply because I think the songwriting is just as good, if not better, and more energy has been added in. The only problem I have is that all these early Bowie albums seem to have pretty lousy production. Just compare to Black Sabbath albums of the same era and you'll notice.

Awful make-up he's wearing on the cover photo. Looks like an extra on the set of Flesh Gordon.

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Earl McPherson)
If my memory is right, wasn't it a fold open album and on the inside he's wearing some kinda sheer body stocking and his chest is poked out and the palms of his hands is on his back? I showed it to a guy at work and he looked at it and laughed for five or ten minutes. I guess the crotch shot got to him.

oliver5200@hotmail.com (Adam Bruneau)
The first time I listened to this I just didn't get it at all. Unlike pretty much every other of his other 70's albums, this one didn't leave a very good impression on first listen, in fact the only song I could remember was "Watch That Man" and the only memorable thing about that one is the chorus. Also a couple songs felt like COMPLETE T-Rex rip-offs. One has the bongos/congas groove, one has soulful black female vocals, etc. But the more I listen to it the more i like it. Still, it seems like a record that's unjustly canonized..

ddickson@rice.edu
Actually, for the record (vinyl), I'd like to say that I think this LP is exactly as good as Nick Cave's Tender Prey, the CD that "Mercy Seat" comes from. Keep in mind, I only listened to Aladdin Sane once and I've heard Prey twice already. That said, the first run-through, I thought it was exactly as good as David Bowie's Young Americans. Which I've never heard, of course, but I've heard it sucks.

Nick Cave's an interesting bugger! Albeit difficult as heck. Tender Prey's the only CD of his I've heard so far (thank Only Solitaire's recommendation for that), but after two listens, I'm alternately intrigued and disappointed. He's one helluva songwriter, that I can tell already. Eh. . . but there's problems: awful production--REALLY REALLY awful, somewhere between Sonic Youth's early EPs, Black Flag's Damaged, and 1982 Cocteau Twins, and Nick Cave's voice, which sounds like really angry, drunk Ian Curtis on a particularly sarcastic literary rampage. Then again, that's better than just plain really angry, drunk Ian Curtis, period. See, Bob Dylan may be a bad singer, but he at least gives the impression of aiming squarely for the notes of the melody. Cave doesn't give a fuck whether he hits the damn notes or not. He's going to declaim, son, and you better take what you're given. Maybe I should wait for Boatman's Call.

Oh, but the songs. They're good. Melodic, dramatic, and they sound really good after two listens. You're like: "HEY! This is actually above average songwriting. Not beeeeeeehd" (Cartman voice) The only problem is, because of the horrific production and the bad singin', it's only IMPLIED good songwriting. You have to work the songs through a mind-filter before you strike gold. That's good, but not Automatic for the People good. Why I made that comparison is a mystery for us all.

Good songs. Except for "New Morning." It's a crap song that's crap. Why he had to put it at the end of the album I have no idea.

David Bowie? A GOD on Ziggy Stardust. A WAD (of chewing gum, albeit flavorful) on Aladdin Sane. Go glam rock.

And I'm with you on that Matthe shit oncccnd business. Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo indeed.

remistewart@bellsouth.net
Nick Cave is of course a bad mother f*cker even though he and the Seeds have become middleaged aged a little dull; his lyrics (you're right) are powerhouses. You might really been buzzed because you sure hit some typos LOL

Far as Bowie goes - Alladin is actually my fave Bowie album because he is staright up glam here. The only thing he did fairly well. He wrote some decent ballads like "Starman" and "5 Years" too and he would do "Low" later. But AS is IMO the centerpiece.

Ben
Well, it's not "Ziggy Stardust," but it is better than "The Man Who Sold the World." David really pulled his shit together for the last album, and here he aims for a bigger and harder sound. My favorite here is one of his most underrated songs: "Watch That Man." Other favorites are just about everything, including the cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together." Also, by process of elimination this might be David's most accessible album.

Add your thoughts?


Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture - RCA 1983.
Rating = 7

My God, the bias in these reviews is despicable. As a professional music journalist, you really must learn to keep your personal opinions in check and simply describe the music as is, and perhaps utter a few platitudes about its political significance. Let me illustrate my point with a brief review of this LP:

Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture is decidedly a double-live document of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" period. Set against a backdrop of Watergate and a growing economic recession, the pubescent fantasy offered by Ronson, et al was happily accepted by music fans as a respite from the growing disillusion of everyday life. The drums are decidedly crisp, the bass is arguably loud, David's voice, one might decide, is rough and out of tune and the set list, it could be argued, features both classics that alone make this record worth the price of admission ("Ziggy Stardust," "Suffragette City," "Space Oddity," "Changes") and arguably unexpected covers and songs penned for other decidedly artists (an unexpectedly brash and powerful version of "All The Young Dudes" that rivals the Hoople's rendition, Jacques Brel's pompous "My Death" and "White Light/White Heat," by Bowie's obvious key influence and creative mentor, Lou Reed). With the legendary Ken Fordham on sax and up-and-comer Brian Wilshaw on horns, the stage show was replete with ego, dripping with pretension, yet somehow stinking to high heaven of good solid pop/rock music in the era of glam.

Oh my, I must say I didn't mean to include such vapid terminology as "stinking to high heaven." I of course meant "decidedly."

And that, my (john) good man, is how a true music journalist operates.

POOP! POOPIDY-DOOPIDY-DOOPIDY-DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (does funny hand trick that makes it look like thumb is being ripped in two)

Reader Comments

michael.mcdonell1234@gmail.com
Way to raise the middle finger to the allmusic guide..... your review totally owns pretentious avant-garde critics like Thom Jurek who worship stupid random noise bands like Acid Mothers Temple.

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Live Santa Monica '72 - EMI 2008
Rating = 5

David Bowie? Yeah, more like David BOWEL the way his "music" sounds like SHIT comin outta my ASS!

It's unfathomable to me that I neglected to use that line when I first wrote this page in 2002. But here we are six years later, and I've become even less tolerant of the Andrew Lloyd Weber ballads that exemplify his supposed 'glam rock' period. And that's important to note: I was 28 when I gave Ziggy Stardust: The Movie a 7. If I were to listen to it today, that grade would likely be much lower. Luckily, I threw the fucking thing away years ago so I don't have to listen to it again! Yay for trash and the garbage people!

Sorry. Just a little shout-out for that great new band Trash and The Garbage People. Have you heard their hit song? Here, I'll play it for you on my text record player:

DON'T LET YOUR DOG PEE ON THAT BAG
by Trash and The Garbage People

I handle garbage for a living
I come home smelling like human shit
My flesh is imbued with the rank stench of spoiled meat
But if your dog pees on a garbage bag, I'll throw a fit

Yeah, don't let your dog pee on that bag
Yeah, that one sitting there overflowing with soiled diapers
Yeah, don't let your dog pee on that bag
What, do you think bags come with little windshield wipers?

I haven't bathed in four months
I just crap in my pants because you can't smell it anyway
As such, I've no problem acting like a complete asshole
When a dog shoots some urine in the fray

Yeah, don't let your dog pee on that bag
I'm a rapist and I'm breaking into your house tonight
Yeah, don't let your dog pee on that bag
Wait a minute, this song doesn't sound like it's from the point of view of a garbage man at all!

Who wrote this?

(*confusion solo*)

Now see, could David Bowie write lyrics like that? Sure he could. But that's not my point.

My point is this: if you're looking for a CD that features live versions of 6 Ziggy Stardust tracks, 4 Hunky Dory, 2 Man Who Sold The World and one each from Space Oddity and Aladdin Sane - as well as a b-side, a Jacques Brel cover and a Velvet Underground song - why not just turn on the burner and set your ears on fire? You're not using them anyway! David Bowie is terrible.

Actually, that's an oversimplification. David Bowie has an unpleasant voice - he sounds like a humorless old British schoolmarm. He also at this early stage in his career was more interested in theatrical music than straight rock or pop. It's for these two reasons that I personally do not enjoy a tremendous amount of the material on this live record. I'm fine with gentle balladry; I've always enjoyed "Space Oddity," for example. It's the fruity showtune piano crap like "Life On Mars," "Five Years" and "Rock 'N Roll Suicide" that drives me up said wall. Well, that and the songs that seemingly have no hooks at all, like "The Supermen," "The Width Of A Circle" and "Moonage Daydream." Or, to be more specific, if they do have noticeable melodies, they fail to come through in these sloppy, unbalanced recordings. Far too often, (a) David's vocals are mixed 95 billion times louder than the music, (b) one guitar is mixed 300 trillion times louder than the other, and (c) there is so much space in the mix that it sounds like only half the band showed up. It all adds up to one rotten concert recording!

But here's the main reason that "David Bowie is terrible" is an oversimplification that I should try to stop using: even during this yucky early period, his actual 'rock' songs were fantastic! Crunchy, hooky classics like "Hang On To Yourself," "Queen Bitch," "John, I'm Only Dancing," "The Jean Genie" and "Suffragette City" are tremendous fun - why couldn't all his songs be this catchy and energetic? He even throws in a great version of "I'm Waiting For The Man," complete with an astonishingly accurate Lou Reed vocal impression! So shame on me for concluding in my written notes here, "Shitty songs by a shitty guy." The only thing shitty is YOU, pal!!!

I apologize for being so mean to George Pal. But you gotta admit, Atlantis, The Lost Continent wasn't exactly Schindler's List II!

No wait, I stand corrected. According to Wikipedia:

Schindler's List II: Atlantis, The Lost Continent.

Plot: A Sudetan German fisherman named Schindler (Sal Ponti, under the screen name of Anthony Hall) and his father rescue Princess Cohen (Joyce Taylor) from a shipwreck without knowing that in fact she is from the technologically advanced Land of Israel. Upon returning her to her civilization, Schindler is placed into slavery. It turns out that the King Hitler (Edgar Stehli) is being manipulated by an ambitious usurper, Himmler (John Dall), using an evil sorcerer (Frank DeKova) who wishes to AND IT JUST GETS FUNNIER FROM THERE!

Thanks,
Bill Hilarious

Reader Comments

dennisbandiero@hotmail.com
I was boycotting this site due to Prindle's now 7 year refusal to review Thin Lizzy and Queen, but he KEEPS DRAGGING ME BACK IN. As far as SM '72 is concerned, I think you're going glass 1/2 empty here. This recording, never released during the heyday, is the ONLY recording made by Spiders of Mars that actually features the historically underrated Mick Ronson and band. All the other records* are prissy Brit productions with gobs of strings and mellotrons burying one fine hard rock act. Also, typical live mix problems aside, this thing sounds light years better than the drugged-out mudfest that is the "official" Ziggy concert recording.

*Yes. I know Man Who Sold World rocks somewhat but that's Visconti, the producer, on bass.

Add your thoughts?


Pin-Ups - RCA 1973.
Rating = 8

I realize that it seems a little condescending to give one of the highest grade to an ALL-COVERS album, but the fact is that Bowie is apparently much more capable of recognizing a great song than writing one of his own. Check you out all these cover tunes that he and Mick Ronson all glam up: Pink Floyd's "C. Emily's Play," The Who's "I Can't (have) Eggs Plain" and "And He Weighed Annie Hall's Underwear," The Easybeats (featuring George Young, older brother of Malcolm Young and Angus Young, and presumably son of Neil Young and adulterer of Loretta Young)' "Fried Dates On My Mime," The Kinks' "Wear A Vulva Goat Tie, Scott?" (later to be covered by Van Halen!!!!!!!) and The Yardbirds' "Shave Some Thingies." Believe me! It's a great album that can't be beaten! If only it had The Five Americans' "Wes' Turn, You Nun," The Electric Prunes' "I Had Two Pints Of Cream, Last Knight" and The Hombres' "Lead Tit Balls Hang Out," it'd be stupendifferly fabulimiddy!

Was that okay, Mark? Please let me know,
"Weird Al" Yankovic

Reader Comments

TVEye70@aol.com
Maybe Pin Ups is one of Bowie's best cause nearly every song on it is solid, unlike most of his albums. Take another look at the track list, it's damn near faultless. And the Spiders of course may not top the originals, but there's some rockin' music on here! It's deserving of the 8/10, cause it's a great album. Screw the Ziggy concept, entertaining as it was, this is just having fun and isn't that what rock's supposedly about?

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
We agree again on this all covers album! Awesome, ain't it? And embarrassingly more rocking and consistent than his own studio albums haha! Quite a strange way to end his (arguably) most creative, unique, and respected career period. Apparently this was the last album to feature the wonderful Spiders From Mars backing band he had used since 1970's The Man Who Sold The World.

Normally I'm not a big fan of covers albums, but this one works brilliantly like no other I've heard. Since I'm not familiar with the original versions of all of these songs, I can't compare them, and therefore these all sound like supercharged Bowie originals to me! Oh, if only the panzi could write a whole album of original stuff this good!

Pin Ups plays like a greatest hits album...all the songs are strongly written, unique from each other, have great melodies, and given the early 70's Bowie treatment, making them all his own. I'm not sure whether these songs all sound like material he would have written simply because of his unmistakable vocal style combined with Mick Ronson's awesome off-beat guitar playing, or because he just picked songs which originally had qualities similar to his own. It really doesn't matter either way, because the performances are electrifying! But despite the above mentioned Bowie treatment, you won't really find any of his occasional tendencies towards fruity artsy fartsy glam pop here...this album rocks hard! Harder than any of his own originals! And it's even raw and filthy punky in many spots, a lot like the Stooges or early Alice Cooper! And check out Bowie's bizarre vocal chops on "Here Comes The Night"!

Anyways, awesome album...great singing, playing, arrangements, production, and song selection. "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" is the only song I recognize, and while this version is fine, it's not nearly as great as the version covered by Van Halen 9 years later! So, 9 out of 10, only because Bowie didn't write the music!

oliver5200@hotmail.com (Adam Bruneau)
This is what i'm talking about, this is easily my favorite Ziggy album. The band he has on this recod is just sooo tight. Damn it's awesome.

Ben
Noticing that you gave a positive review for this album, I realized that all of your reader comments were positive too. It's about time that someone said something good too, let alone three other people. I almost skipped this album, but I saw too many songs I recognized and decided to go ahead anyway. David did a great job at taking songs and making them his own here, and I actually prefer his version of "See Emily Play." The best one here is "Sorrow," which ended up being one of my favorite songs by him, and I also love the hilarious "Rosalyn"/"Here Comes the Night" medley. I'll give this one an 8.5, and the rating would be higher if it was longer than 31 minutes, especially if his version of "Growin' Up" was included (but thank god his version of "Amsterdam" wasn't!).

Add your thoughts?


Diamond Dogs - RCA 1974.
Rating = 6

Whistle, whistle, whistle a happy tune! Whistle, whistle, whistle a merry tune! Whistle, whi - Oh! I didn't see you over there! Hello, and welcome to my work environment. As you can see, I am wearing a full suit right now - pin-stripe gray with a light blue shirt and grey tie with squares (aha! Spellcheck accepted BOTH spellings of "gray"! Let me try one more - "grae." Awww! Come on you fuckin' pissdick!!!!). This is because I am critiquing the Diamond Dogs product by artist David Bowie, released to the public by the RCA recording corporation in 1974. It sold a number of units, I'm told, so I am here to make a recommendation regarding whether or not the 18-25 demographic with a household income between $20,000 and $49,000 should spend $18 on a new copy of this disc down at the local Record Bar. Certainly I support capitalism in all its forms; however, I must warn those of you who purchase musical products based on "quality" and "not sounding like shit" rather than "status symbol" or "trying to show off to your little arty butt-friends" that this may not be the album (or, in fact, artist!) for you. Please, sit down in that swivelly chair on the other side of my office and let me explain:

Don't swivel too much - it's not actually a swivelly chair; it's just really close to breaking in half. You see, I found that particular model in the front yard of some smelly Puerto Ricans in my neighborhood. But we can discuss Latin American commodities at a later time.

You see, Mr. Bowie (nee Jones) has decided to move on from his "Ziggy Stardust" glam period. However, he hasn't come up with anything new to move on TO! So instead, we find ourselves with a piece of work that seems to be somehow based on George Orwell's 1984 literary product (also very successful, I'm told) and sounds like glam music that has been slightly slowed down, made a little bluesier and recorded inside a gym locker at the bottom of the ocean (figure out the unstated play on words - FIGURE OUT THE FUCKING UNSTATED PLAY ON WORDS). The album had two hits, both of which are somewhat indicative of the direction he chose for this release - perhaps in your youth, you purchased the "Diamond Dogs" and "Rebel Rebel" 7-inch singles for your collection - BUT it should be understood that neither of those rocking "tunes" are anywhere near as cocaine downer-sounding as the rest of the record. A lot of it, in fact, reminds me personally of another fine work of commerce released in the early 70s = The Rolling Stones' Goats Head Soup. Everything just seems murky and odd. A little tired.

Instrumentally, you shall encounter lots of guitars (all played by David "Letterman" Bowie! Can you believe that fucking shit? Who thought he had any talent AT ALL?!), plus some pianos, organs - and hold on tight - AN EARLY DISCO SONG! AND IT'S NO GOOD AT ALL!

Another interesting thing, if I may loosen my tie for a moment - track A on this LP, a short pretentious stupid intro called "Future Legend," mentions a locale entitled "Love Me Avenue." Maybe you weren't there (but then again maybe you were because believe me the place was PACKED), but a long several times ago, an Atlanta band called "Love Me Avenue" played at the Wreck Room in Atlanta when I was KNEEHIGH TO A GRASS(-smoking Dennis)HOPPER. The lead guitarist was a seXXXy long-haired devil named Mel who had surrounded himself with a seXXXy drummer, a seXXXy glam singer and a fat dorky bass player who kept shouting, "Whoo! That was an original! Whoo!" into the mic at the end of every song. If you look very closely, you may hear this self-same statement REFERRED to at the wee end of "Jello, Iced Tea And A Slab Of Fried Okra," a non-hit single from my old band Low- Maintenance Perennials' debut CD Work Bench Drawer which to date has sold less than 15 units.

In summation, David Bowie is underrated.

Oh wait no, that was a typo. I meant "a fagit."

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
"Rebel Rebel" is a great song...for the first minute. After that it just gets as repetitive as a jackhammer drilling up yer anus. No bridges, no choruses, just one verse and one nifty guitar riff over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over

NPpdmtr@aol.com
This was the first album I ever bought. I used to do a paper round in those days and I remember the huge cardboard cut out of Bowie (to whom this album is credited - not David Bowie) in full Dog regalia sprawling six feet across the record shop's ( or record store to you yanks) window. I ahd heard Rebel Rebel, Diamond Dogs and 1984 on the radio I had in my bare and cold bedroom. One week I actually went out to the record shop and handed over œ2.50 for a cassette copy of the album. I recall stammering as I asked for the album from the sexy 23 year old shop assistant. I recall also being awfully aware that I was the most spotty, ugly, squatted individual who had ever walked the Earth. The shop assistant went off and whispered to the shop manager who looked at me like I was a proto-stalker or something. You can see what I liked about the album - Bowie felt a freak at the time and so did I.

Unfortunately, being very poor I didn't actually have a cassette player to play it on. Never the less I lavished my attention on the cassette itself, whining over the canine Bowie on the cover and those short stumpy blue men in the background. I listened avidly to the radio waiting for tracks from the album that I could check were actually on the track-list printed on the cover. In my fetid bedroom that smelt of...well, we won't go into that, I heard for the first time, one saturday afternnon in 1983 "sweet thing" and I have to say, I had never heard anything like it in my life. It was so deformed and rancid and felt like the way I saw the world had become in recent years. My cover listed "Sweet Thing" as a reprise and I assumed that the whole 9 minute cycle was duplicated twice on my cassette.

I recall the glorious day i nicked a cassette player from a car in the area (or neighbourhood as you say over there) and getting it home plugged it in and slung on Diamond Dogs, while literally slavering at the mouth. My god what I experianced over those next 40 minutes. True there were parts I didn't like, and still don't, notably "When You Rock and Roll With Me" but overall I got my œ2.50's worth. Remember this is my first album. If knew then what I now know about what was coming up, all the gupp and shite and turgidity that is Bowie after "Scary Monsters" I would've loved it even more than I already did. "Sweet Thing" remains for me the defining moment of the album. Sadly I only have it on cassette and I don't have a functioning player at the moment.

jsaenz@sagetelecom.net (Jason Saenz)
I disagree with you Mark, I dont think "1984" is no good at all, in fact it's probably the most solid song on the whole album. I do agree with you that this is one of those downer albums, but it's not a peice of crap. I am a little bit sick and tired of all the praise that "Rebel Rebel" receives, it's certainly not Bowie's best so please stop that bull shit.

Ben
The worst David album since "Space Oddity." He got a little ahead of himself here, and how this album gets a lot of criticism from people is definitely understandable. I even thought it was a total disaster when I first heard this, and the only things that stuck out were the title track (which I've since gotten sick of) and "Rebel Rebel" (my favorite Jones song until I heard "Moonage Daydream"). Later on, I learned that this was a failed attempt to make a concept album, and I realized that this album sucking wasn't entirely David's fault.

Keeping it short, I realized that this isn't an easy album to get into, and the more I listened to this the more I ended up liking it. "1984," "Sweet Thing/Candidate/Reprise" and most of the other songs are good too, but nothing really catches my attention more than the singles. On the bonus disc of this album, there's a cool version of the song "1984," that's linked up with another song called "Dodo," and a cool stand alone version of that song as well. 7/10. With that song, this could have been a 7.5 or 8.

Add your thoughts?

David Live - RCA 1974.
Rating = 3

The thing that really bugs me about Hendrix is the way that he's always asking me questions. "Are you experienced?" No. "Have you ever been to Electric Ladyland?" No - I didn't even know that studio was still around! "Can I stand next to your fire?" No! I paid a lot of money for this fire, and I'd rather not have you vomiting all over it. (A TRUE conspiracy theory = A. Jimi Hendrix was afraid of his manager, who had been linked to the mafia and the CIA. B. The amount of alcohol in Jimi Hendrix's stomach was more than a human being could drink in the time period it would have taken to cause his vomiting death; in other words, the wine was FORCED down his throat. C. Jimi Hendrix's manager made more money from releasing postmortem Hendrix releases than he ever made while Jimi was alive. IT'S TRUE! I heard it from a source of questionable reliability!). So whenever I'm in the mood for some good old black person funky rock music with SOUL, I turn to David Live.

I bet you're thinking to yourself, "Gee, I've never heard anybody make that argument about this album before." Well, that's because IT'S NOT FUCKING TRUE!!!! WHY THE FUCK HAS "THE GREAT WHITE MORON" DECIDED THAT IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO TAKE GREAT OLD GLAM CLASSICS LIKE "REBEL REBEL," "SUFFRAGETTE CITY," "ALADDIN SANE" AND "ROCK AND ROLL SUICIDE" -- AND COMPLETELY REMOVE EVERY SEMBLANCE OF "MELODY" THAT THE SONGS EVER HAD?!?!?!?!!? DOES HE HONESTLY THINK THIS IS "SOUL" MUSIC BECAUSE HE'S GOT THE "MEDIOCRE WHITE DUKE" DAVID SANBORN PLAYING A SAXOPHONE? OR BECAUSE HE TOLD THE GUITAR PLAYER, "DON'T PLAY THE ACTUAL MELODIES. JUST PLAY REALLY REALLY LONG SOLOS THAT DON'T GO ANYWHERE"? OR BECAUSE HE'S WEARING A STUPID WHITE "MATURE" SUIT AND REDUCES THE VOCAL MELODIES TO HIS MISGUIDED APPROXIMATION OF "SEXY" HALFASSED SPEAK-SING? THIS ALBUM IS A PIECE OF SHIT ALL DRESSED UP LIKE A FANCYPANTS! LOOK AT THAT DUMBASS PHOTO OF HIM ON THE COVER!!!!

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....

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NOW FOR THAT PHOTO TO HAVE APPEARED ON THE COVER MEANS THAT MR. BOWIE MUST HAVE LOOKED AT IT LONG AND HARD AND THOUGHT TO HIMSELF, "MAN, I LOOK REALLY GOOD WITH MY TIMELESS WHITE SUIT AND "SHORT IN FRONT, LONG ON THE SIDES" HAIRCUT. AND THAT LOOK ON MY FACE? I LOOK LIKE A FULL WEEK OF NONSTOP ASSFUCKING HAS CREATED A BACKUP OF HARDENED FECAL MATTER IN MY LOWER INTESTINES! AWESOME! LET'S GO WITH IT!"

On the day of reckoning, I don't know how I'm going to be able to justify giving this record 2 points higher than a 1. I guess there are a few songs in this world that are absolutely impossible to ruin, no matter how rottenly you play them. Plus, the best song on here is a COVER!: the classic Stax record classic "Knock On Wood" classic. If you like double-albums that don't even come close to actual "music," make this your next purchase right after Metal Machine Music and the double-album version of Loverboy's "Lovin' Every Minute Of It" single.

Huh? Well if it doesn't exist, it SHOULD! Just so nobody would BUY it!

(asshole)

Reader Comments

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Earl McPherson)
Back in '74 four or five of us guys rode to Greensboro in a brand new Nova to the first concert we had ever been to. It was to see Bowie when he had his 'Diamond Dogs' tour. I think that the tickets were like eight or ten bucks apiece. This one friend and I liked it but I didn't know about the others. Bowies' biggest prop was a giant hand that he got into without us looking and the hand came down and a gaudy-looking purple light was coming out of it and he was sitting in the palm of this thing. I bought the eight track of "David Live" after it came out and this one friend and I thought that it was pretty good at the time but when the eight track broke like they usually did, I didn't replace it. I figured that it wasn't essential like "Blood on the Tracks", which everybody liked. - A five.

markphilipevans@hotmail.com
Great review. I've only ever heard samples of this but it really does sound like one of the worst albums ever. If I rember rightly, at the time Lester Bangs described it as 'dismal flatulence', which sums it up perfectly.

djxerx@hotmail.com
After all the reviews I've read here, I can't believe this is the first one I've ever written-in about. But here I am, because I've wondered why albums everyone hates so much stay in print, but now I know because I love this album.

OK, that's not really true. In the 80's I bought it used and really loved it. Then I lost it sometime around 1989 and every 1 star review I read made me want to buy it again so a couple of years ago I did. And I was slightly disappointed, but still thought it was a solid 6—which means I like it at least SIX TIMES more than the average of all reviews I’ve ever read.

Wondering why, I realized it was all about Diamond Dogs (the album, not the song), which is the album this tour supported and has somewhere around SEVEN tracks on this album. And Diamond Dogs is probably my favorite Bowie album, so now it all makes sense.

So if you listen to Diamond Dogs enough to get a little tired of it and wish "Boy, I wish there were versions of these songs that were a little different so I could keep listening to it some more," then you should get this album. The bonus is that you can hear what "All the Young Dudes" would have sounded like if Bowie hadn’t given it away, and "Time" which sounds far better than the album version (but not as good as the Pink Floyd version).

And while I have the attention of Dog lovers, if you've ever wondered what Diamond Dogs would have sounded like as a big Broadway musical, then find the version of "1984/Dodo" that was released on the Sound+Vision compilation. Because that was Plan A for the material before the album was recorded. Except it was going to be called "1984, but he couldn’t do that because someone else already copyrighted those numbers.

Add your thoughts?


Young Americans - RCA 1975.
Rating = 6

On this album, David Bowie refashions himself as a funky soul African-American with saxophones, wah-wah pedals, electric pianos, female backup singers and a coating of overserious disco r'n'b sex so thick and juicy, it's like walking into a strip club and taking a bite out of one of the naked people up there (usually frowned upon). This is the most unpredictable stylistic change you will find throughout his wild, woolly, eminently unsatisfying career, and a short-lived change it proved to be! Nevertheless, the album is pretty intriguing if not particularly un-makefunof-able. HOLY SHIT, I JUST REALIZED THAT IT'S DAVID SANBORN THAT PLAYS SAXOPHONE ON HERE!!!! REMEMBER DAVID SANBORN??? THAT REALLY COOL WHITE GUY THAT PLAYED SAXOPHONE ON LATE NIGHT TV SO MANY YEARS HENCE???? Well, it's him. The only other famous person on here is backup singer Luther Vandross. Everybody is a bunch of no-names like Pablo Rosario, Earl Slick, Willy Weeks, John Lennon and Jean Fineberg.

You're gonna recognize two of these songs when you buy the album. The first of these will be the title track, strangely entitled "Young Americans" (this is incredibly ironic, since David Bowie is from Portugal) and "Fame," a great classic funk rock tune that does not include the lyric "I'm gonna learn how to fly," no matter how many copies of the album I've opened in the store and scrawled that line onto the little sheet with the words all over it. He also does a cover of - you ready for this? You're totally gonna laugh at this - The Beatles' "Across The Universe"! Obviously he got permission from his little alcoholic friend but still - surely he doesn't fancy himself anywhere NEAR the level of songwriting genius that the Beatles were, right? I mean, even Ringo - hell, even Cynthia Lennon probably writes better songs than this twit. But speaking of this song, people often moan and complain about David's corny Vegasy Tom Jones approach to the song, but I'm here SOLELY to tell you that the song is so great, it cannot be ruined. Even Bowie makes it sound great.

Whew! Well, my purpose in life has been fulfilled - time to return to my home planet! WHOOSH!!! (Rich, it would be great if you could put together a nice special effect of a spaceship flying up the screen here - money is NO OBJECT, as long as you're paying. Thanks, Rich!).

(Oh! Also, thanks for all the blow jobs!)

(Hee hee - now's when we find out whether Rich actually reads my reviews before he posts them. HEEEEEEE!)

Did I ever tell you about how Rich made me go on a music-related message board and post the subject line "*washes everybody away*," and then sign it as "A Giant River Of Cum"? Jesus Christ - what's UP with that Rich guy and his shenanigans? Here I am trying to present a positive Christian viewpoint on popular music and he's trying to drag me down into his gutterworld of sewage and whores!

Reader Comments

rbunnell@uclink.berkeley.edu (Rich Bunnell)
Yeah, really, what is with that guy?

Oh, and this album is terrible.

TVEye70@aol.com
What the hell is this shit? This is fake, lousy, obnoxious garbage! "Can You Hear Me" is gorgeous but the rest of it is slick goldfish-bowl-of-cocaine processed cheese. I don't remember any of the songs besides "Fame", the title track, and "Can You Hear Me". But it can't be that bad if it just floated away after hearing it. So much for resonance. Almost as bad as Hours.... 4/10

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I think 6 is a bit generous for this. Soooooooooo slow and boring. What the hell happened? I mean, it's not like the previous albums were works of genius, but most of them were at least one half to three quarters full of decent to good songs. I guess I can see how the Thin White Puke started to get labelled as the Chameleon before he joined the Chameleons UK. I respect him for taking a stab at different genres of music that nobody expects him to fiddle with, but the final results are pretty weak indeed. This stuff doesn't come anywhere near the real funk and soul that came out in those days in the States ('ere's lookin' atchoo, George "Fat Fuck" Clinton), although the song "Fame" rules, thanks to Lennon. Ever seen Lennon's video for "Property Of Goatfucker"? Man I'd love to give that bitch a tit fuck.

By the way, my buddy made me keel over with laughter the other day when he said "Reunite the Beatles! Only two more bullets!"

By the way again, ya ever see that episode of Rock 'n Roll Jeorpardy with George Clinton as a contestant? He just stood there with a zombie-like gaze, sorta like a Haitian voodoo shaman or something smelly like that and didn't even try to answer a single question, while Dave Mustaine answered like 99% of them and got them all right, the fuckin geek!

I guess "celebrity guest appearances" by Dave will have to become a tad more regular so that he can continue his drug habit unabated now that he can't play guitar anymore! He really has to do something about that hurtin' hand of his though...I imagine that slappin the salami on a regular basis would make for some fine physio-therapy.

It's not like the asshole is gettin laid anyhow!

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Earl McPherson)
This album here kept me from buying anymore Bowie albums. I remember seeing him lip-synching the words to "Fame" on 'Soul Train' one Saturday afternoon and thought it was a joke. He even faked the high pitched ramblings of 'Fame! Fame! Fame! Fame! Fame!' right down to the lows that come at the end of the song. And "Across the Universe" is downright depressing. Luckily I bought the eight track and it eventually broke.

weegie@pookielife.fsnet.co.uk (Geoff Saunders)
Hi Mr Prindle!

Just like to say this record is shagging music, the kind of stuff todays bump' n' grind merchants are rolling off of the conveyor belt called R&B, but Our Hero got there first 25 years earlier. And it has Luther Vandross guesting (probably with the offer of a free lunch thrown in), how more hip do you want? Claustrophobic production job though.

danielrosenbe@gmail.com
Mark,

I've never heard this album, but I still think this is the funniest review on your site. Your reference to John Lennon as one of the "no-names" who performed here cracks me up, as well as your reference to Lennon as Bowie's "little alcoholic friend." And yes, sometimes I think Ringo and Cynthia Lennon are more capable song writers than Bowie (though I do admire some of his music, including the title track to this album. Great song. It really captures the spirit of the 70s).

There's a great DVD out there of Bowie's appearance in 1974 on the Dick Cavett show. Bowie gives an excellent performance of "Young Americans," and is suitably weird in the post-song interview with Cavett. Asked by Cavett what Bowie's mother thinks of him, the singer replies, "I don't really talk to my mother too much."

Ben
God, WHY does everyone hate this album? This is one of the coolest and most interesting albums David's ever done. The whole soul/R&B thing actually worked out quite well for him. The title track and "Fame" are terrific songs, and deserved to be hits ("Fame" was actually the first Bowie song I ever heard). "Somebody Up There Likes Me" is gorgeous, and "Can You Hear Me?" is great too. I honestly can't find a weak point here, other than the fact that a few songs ("Somebody"... included) drag on a little long, but I'll give this one an 8.

Add your thoughts?


Station To Station - RCA 1976.
Rating = 8

This was originally given a high 7 until Rich Bunnell confronted me in the gymnasium, roughed me up and said, "But it has "TVC15' on it." And that's all it took to convince me to change a high 7 to a low 8. This one only has 6 songs, but they run the gamut of poorly produced, muddy goodness all up. The title track starts us off with some rock that abruptly turns into a cheery Elton John-style pino corn stalk. "Golden Years" was the funky wonderful single, "World On A Wing" is really BAD piano Elton John puke (which I just did a couple of minutes ago thanks to the business end of a toothbrush - you see, a number of alcoholics vomited down my throat tonight, inebriating me in the context of a twilight massacre). "TCV16" makes it hard to sing the tile and that's funny, and the song is cute. "Stay" is funky as greatness, and "Wild Is The Wind' is romantic guitar beauty of the cocaine snort citytime Don Henley sex variety. But he IS SINGING LOW! HIS VOICE IS LOW! LOW! LOW! LOW! LOW! It reminds ome of Iggy Pop, with David Bowie telling him what to do. That gets me - that David Bowie "influcneced" Iggu Pop, when Iggy is naturally so much greater a talent and interesting human being. If you're okay with 6 songs, you're okay with Station To Station. Ther's not room for filler! The whole idea of getting drunk to write a better review is a charming one, but I drank so much tonight that my stomach felt like it was on fire. I hurried home, induced vomiting, and now I'm basically sober except less smart than I would be if I were sober. To conclude, this album is diverse - it is NOT a natural follow-up to anything he's done before. And it's a lot of fun to listen to the whole way through. Definitely one of his best, if not his absolute best. So grits were .

Reader Comments

pneumoniaceilings@yahoo.ca (Ken Stuebing)
Mark, been reading through your review archives for months now, and you've done an amazing job. Consistently, surprisingly funny and readable reviews. Thanks for finally adding a Meat Puppets section (yer Mirage review's a bit... um... unexpected, of course). Dude, might I add that you need to start a Kinks record review section, like, now. Because the Kinks rule (have proof, & it's a-called Lola vs. Powerman Part 1!!).

Anyways, I ask, why have legions of Bowie fans commented on your reviews of Ziggy and Hunky Dory, while omitting to follow up on your (embarrassingly drunken) approval for Station to Station?? Station to Station's a top Bowie album! Quite obviously, THIS is the album with which one starts an "intelligent David Bowie album collection." This album offers a great, revealing dose of Bowie's classic, one-of-a-kind croon, in the title track, Golden Years, Stay, why, in all of the songs, except for the abrasive TVC15 chorus. This album's got hips. It's got uber-hot guitar-work from Slick, or Alomar, or both. It's got good lyrics! & the title track is ominous! Spooky, too! Until the cathartic disco climax, at which point "It's too late" to stop the rock-rhythm boogie train! The whole album feels really smart and ironic! And there's whistling, if that's your thing!

Yea, as I suggested above, if yer new to Bowie, START here and work chronologically through Low (by the way, the cover's a visual pun on "Low Profile," which is what Bowie was on about in Berlin), "Heroes", Lodger, ending with Scary Monsters (which is still too, er, scary for me to really embrace, though its greatness is impressive and clear). The prior glam stuff is fun but dated, while (for me at least) these albums represent Bowie's artistic pinnacle. Yes, pinnacle I say!!

& still I wonder, how the heck hadn't anyone said anything about Station to Station before me?! I rule the Bowie page!

weegie@pookielife.fsnet.co.uk (Geoff Saunders)
Hello Mr Stuebing I've just joined you on here. Top Bowie album for me, the natural progression from Young Americans, looser production, more groovy. A time capsule of the whole 70s Rock Star-coke-limo-private jet-dyke of a girlfriend-Jimmy Carter for President lifestyle (OK scratch that last one)

This album defines Adult Orientated Rock and that is no bad thing....the title track, starting off slowly and building speed like the train it is about, Golden Years, that effortless tune drifting away like a hot summers afternoon, containing that classic line "run for the shadows", with the whistling at the end!!!..Word On A Wing, understated, beautifully played, yes TVC15, (played at Live Aid!) 10/10 for the idea and lyrics if not necessarily the tune itself, Stay, my personal favourite, which seems to go on forever, forgotten who played bass but they did a damn fine job holding the thing together, finally Wild Is The Wind, top production, "don't know you know your life (pause for effect) it's hell", (cue drumroll), a perfect ending to the best album of this man's career to date.

stevenjules@xtra.co.nz
Hello Stuebing, might as well join in, maybe Station to Station is Bowies most mature album of them all (that's not saying much, J) and possibly his most conceptual (although "Golden Years" doesn't seem to fit here and is the weakest track and the title track although surprisingly sophisticated, is a little bit clunky, and with its "It's too late" refrain, lyrically no "Macarthur Park"). Recorded in a sort of "let's snort so much cocaine, that it's all over our noses, lips, down the front of our shirts etc" fashion, then "slow the songs right down and drag them out, repeating the chorous, 20 times, so that only six fit on the "album" (term used to describe the musical format of the time, also LP or long player). "And use SAX, plenty of SAX, to flesh out the sound and we'll add in synth, congos, bongos, finger clicks and whistling". "Make it a real downer". "But let's use really talented session musicians, (I'm looking at you Carlos Alomar), guys from really famous bands, (I'm looking at you Roy Bittan) and any other blow throughs, (I'm looking at you Earl Slick), that just want a "top up" (term used to describe drug addicts and there habits) and they can "jam" (term used to describe loose music) on the ends of the songs and we'll spend four days solid in the recording studio, with little or no material". "And I'll throw in some Hebrew and songs about God, so that people can hear that I'm in touch with myself" Yip, I can see it now. So, the middle of the middle period Bowie, not really a good place to start if you suffer from depression but with songs like "Stay" which could be the mirror image to say, I don't know, something by a really popular band in the late 80's that had a hit album called "Remain In Light" and it's the dopey lyrics in "TV15" that MAKE IT, but the real jewel here is, "Wild is the Wind" it has his best?!? vocal delivery (which I am reliably informed is a COVER) honestly, I didn't think he (Bowie) could sing until I heard that song. It is him isn't it?

Comment: Second only to that horny old K9, "Diamond Dogs" (a real downer of an album from the end of the first period Bowie, in the mid 70's, that had the hit single "Sweet Thing" (reprise))

My rating is a 9

Benjamin Burch
As much as I like this album, I slowly realized that after hearing "Stage" and "Live at Nassau Coliseum" the majority of the songs here work a lot better live. Anyway, this is one of David's most interesting albums, mainly because it only has 6 songs and it's like a cross between the "Berlin Trilogy" and his soul brother period. There's also a lot of diversity here.

The title track starts out slow and prog-ish, but once it gets going, it ends up being a lot of fun, and the second best song on the album. Also, the line "it's not the side effects of cocaine, I'm thinking that it must be love" is one of my favorite lines in David's songs.

"Golden Years" is by far the best song on the album, easily up there in my top 10 Bowie songs. Has a great bassline, and it's very catchy.

I used to not like "Word on a Wing" either (for the exact same reason you don't like it -- it did sound like a shitty Elton John song), but after listening again, I did realize it's a cool song. Very soulful and melodic.

"TVC15" and "Stay" are great songs too (kind of in the same category as "Golden Years"), but they sound a little too tame and restricted here. Both songs lived up to their full potentials on "Stage."

"Wild is the Wind" was the one song on here I used to actually hate, mainly because it's predominantly acoustic and 6 minutes long. Then I saw the movie "Alpha Dog" recently and realized it's actually a very good song.

Back in the day, I would have given this album a 6, after seeing "Alpha Dog," I'll give it an 8.5.

Add your thoughts?


Low - RCA 1977.
Rating = 7

"Low." What is "Low"? Webster's defines it as "near to the ground; depleted; soft; sad; trough (n)." But to the rest of us, it means simply "stumpy." To achieve the most accurate musical depiction of "stumpy" possible without the aid of hatchets, Bowie called up his best friend Brian Eno, former synthesizer fiddler with Roxy Music and ongoing electronics-freaker solo artist/pornography aficionado. The result is an album that sounds an awful lot like Brian Eno, but with David Bowie singing.

Side one is a new wavey-ish collection of Devo-style stilted jaunty guitar pop songs with weird bubbling, shrieking and pippity-poppy synth noises layered on top. An interesting sound definitely, with a very active lead guitar fighting for prominence against ridiculous artificial noises that keep popping in and out ("What In The World" has a HILARIOUS synth effect - it sounds like somebody is playing Pac-Man in the recording studio! And this was 1977! Long before Pac-Man and Monaco GP had captured the hearts of a tender young nation yearning to breathe free!). Bowie trumped nearly everybody on this one, beating out the Talking Heads, Cars and even Alice Cooper at usurping the technological obsessions of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and whoever else were into that crap. So I'll give him "properties" for that. I'll also give him a hearty hi-ho for the song title "Sound + Vision," which, in my opinion, would make a great name for a box set someday. Maybe one by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

The problem for ME is this: side 2 is just a bunch of Eno ambient crap! Instrumental, nearly amelodic, bland. The only real winner there is "Weeping Wall," a cool gamelan song that gets absorbed by Snakefingery guitar and synths by the end. If you don't know what gamelan is, definitely look into it. It has to do with these clinkety note thingies being played in rapid succession with lots of repetition - very mesmerizing yet kickass at the same time. I'm no expert on it - and in fact I wouldn't be surprised if somebody were to tell me that "Weeping Wall" is NOT a gamelan song - but boy does it sound like one, and boy is it awesome. As for the other three songs on side two - hey, if you're into pompous, dramatic, slow-moving synths, wouldn't you rather buy a recent Burzum CD so at least you can feel really evil walking down the street with it before you put it in and fall into a coma?

OH NO! Maybe that's his whole intention - to commit MORE murders by BORING EVERYBODY TO DEATH!!!!

Heh heh - Bowie fans love my black metal humor. Hey check this one out - Why did Abruptum cross the road?

Because Hellhammer had stolen the master tapes of In Umbra Malitjag Ambulabo, In Aeternum In Triumpho Cenerrath and was laughing and waving them up in the air slightly out of the reach of "It - The Evil Dwarf," so "It" needed to go ask Grutle Kjellson if he could borrow his long pointy sword to get it back! HA AHEHHE!!! AHAHHA!!! HHEA A m.

Reader Comments

adamburtrules@yahoo.com (Adam Burt)
Ha! Great black metal joke! There's probably only about 8 people in the world who would get it, though. "It" and Hellhammer!! Oh man, that's rich.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Eh, this review is bloody not in the right for a stompin' good time. I give Low a 10. Low, Heroes, Station To Station are albums that seemed to be above what Bowie would ever make.... and they are all stellar. I still need/want to listen to Heathen and Reality, but I have a feeling that these will end up being a wee bit better. So, Low, you either think it's not-so-good/bad or GREAT. It's kind of take it er leave it.... like Mako sharks, which ill eat'cha.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
THIS is David Bowie at his best. Well, this, "Heroes" and Station To Station; glam-rock be damned. The last five songs are the ones that get on peoples nerves most often....... I guess Eno was still perfecting his amelodic crap... ok, sorry, I actually like 'em. A New Career In Town and Weeping Wall are the tow highlights of this 'side two'. Warszawa is pretty good too. The ambient instrumentals, in short, are just not as compelling as the instrumentals on "Heroes" this may have something to do with Bowie's vocals on some of the tracks which only distract from the synth washes which, alone, are just melodic enough to keep Low on a plane and not drag it down. I got to empasize, though, I REALLY don't think Bowie should have added his voice to ANY of the ambient tracks, it's very distracting. I'll get used to it. Speed Of Life is perhaps one of the hookiest instrumentals that I have ever heard, it's damn good. Low, of course, has no songs that are quite as compelling as the title track of "Heroes" and the instrumentals are also not as interesting as the ones offered on "Heroes" but it is also a bit more even than that album. Heh, heh, kind of like Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water! It's a very interesting album, a 9.5 from me.

ddickso2@uccs.edu
Well, I can say with great confidence now, Mark: Stay the Hades away from Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht album. It will possibly kill everyone within a mile of it, if played in your general vicinity. City that never sleeps + The Lost Chord sustained for 52 minutes = (Antimatter/Black Hole)^2, proportional to Creeping DEATH. (And I don't mean the GOOD kind of Creeping Death.)

But how about that Low! Haven't heard Lodger or Scary Monsters yet, but I'd say this is the one album from Bowie's robot period that can stand up to Ziggy Stardust in gregarious goodness. Yeah, the last four songs are instrumentals, but that's why they're last. "Revolution 9" and "Good Night"--same reason.

Plus "Art Decade" makes me feel happy and hopeful, "Subterraneans" just the opposite, and "Weeping Wall" like I'm playing Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo. I'm not kidding--try it.

Yeah, "Warszawa" makes it very totally crystal sparkling clear that the year is 1977 and technology is blocky and noisy and vacuum tubey and retro, but they always do that halfway through the album. Witness: Any Run DMC album.

Perhaps it's not so much the soundcraft as the mooooood. Station to Station just makes me feel plastically soulful, Heroes bizarre and playful, Hunky Dory drama-queenie, and any of his '80's albums retarded. Low makes me feel all of the above, as does Ziggy. Well, Ziggy only the first three. Low all four, due to that "Speed of Sound" borefest opener. But the rest? Oh are they so not borefests. Or, for that matter, openers. Blows away the entire Talking Heads catalog and then some.

Ben
This has gotta be one of the most overrated albums of all time. All that ambient crap on the second side is so boring, and sucks the life out of what could have been David's best album. I can't get into ambient music. The first side is pretty awesome though, and I don't really mind that the songs sound half finished, just as long as they're good. I'll give this a solid 6.

Add your thoughts?


"Heroes" - RCA 1977.
Rating = 7

This is the second of three LPs Bowie did with Eno (called "The Berlin Trilogy" in homage to that song "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun), and it features an even denser mix of electronics, guitars, pianos and rhythm section - instead of bleeps and bloops atop songs, the noises are now meshed and integrated into the songs, making for lots of disorienting, exciting noisescapes (not to mention some ugly vomitous crap like "Blackout"). Even something as deceivingly normal-sounding as the classic title track's gentle piano and delayed-guitar poppiness (which foreshadows the gorgeous work Eno would do with Ireland's own U2 on The Joshua Tree and The Unforgettable Fire, which I've heard referred to as The Forgettable Album, incidentally) nevertheless phases a golden wash of lush swooshiness like an ocean of bliss around the heads of those like myself who find My Bloody Valentine'sLoveless fair too tinny and bottomless to have any hypnotic effect whatsoever.

So the record sounds like a mature, layered, alternately mesmerizing and irritating rock and roll album (rather than the new wave/power pop focus of the last album) - UNTIL side two brings yet another 20 minutes of ambient instrumentals. Not that they're all THAT bad (honestly "Neukoln" is among the coolest background music I've ever heard - excellent sax wash and cool noises), but taking the place of what could have been actual *songs*, it just again makes me feel like Bowie completely turned the record over to Eno so he could go to Studio 54 and give Lou Reed a shakey-squirt.

Dude, I TOTALLY just made up the term "shakey-squirt"! Which reminds me - don't you think this War Against Terrorism would be a lot more fun if we started calling them the "Weird Al" Queda?

Reader Comments

drazy@gatecity.com
Without this, there would be no Berlin Pleasure Victim e.p. and Terry Nunn would have moved up to "Senior Whore Waitress" at the local sports bar. I understand you're point, but again, memories make this album stand out for me. Alone, with an ounce of good weed, a freshly printed Bachelor's Degree, unemployed in my old bedroom of my fucking parent's house, side two of "Heroes" prevented me from selling the weed, buying a handgun and blowing my head off. The routine was to put on side two, take small hits, exhale the smoke through a cardboard paper towel tube stuffed with Bounce, go to bed, and get up in the morning to look for a fucking job in the classifieds. I repeated this for three weeks, found a job, and saved up enough money to get my own apartment with "Heroes" in a box labeled "B" for Brian, not Bowie. Thanks Eno!

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Oh, man, you're givin' me brain tumors made of weasel hair with these reviews, 'Heroes' is a fine album, worthy of a 10........................... except fot Sons Of The Silent Age and The Secret Life Of Arabia............. which is Lodger-level material............. review some Prince, Stevie Wonder and Elvis Costello albums...... if you want to...... if not, oh well, I guess.

(a few months later)

So............. I'm thinking to myself......... hmmm......... it's 4:52 A.M. in the morning, why am I up? I'm still not sure, but I feel like putting something new on "Heroes" because my last little coment sucked. So I just took this shark quiz, I was supposed to find out, based on certain behaviors, what kind of shark I am. So, I was excited, WOW! maybe I'm a great white or something........ and it took me like 45 minutes to find out. I'M A NURSE SHARK! It was gay. I was UPSET.

You know what else is gay? Calling everything gay. But really, this book, called Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. That's gay. It's the most bloody boring book I have ever read.

Oh yeah, Star Wars wasn't too bad, nope, not too bad. Not as good as say........ Microbiology: A Chest of Drawers! But really. You see, even the strongest household soaps kill only around 15 percent of bacteria. AND Japan and South Korea have two of the highest average IQ scores in the world, actually, they might even be 1 and 2. BUT, American Jews have average IQ's of 115.

David Bowie is British.......... I think their scores average like......... 102? or maybe 104.

You know, I just saw Labyrinth, a movie David is in, it was interesting. It has that actress........ what's her name........ Jennifer Conley...... or something, who won some award, I think, for A Beautiful Mind. Yeah, that was an interesting movie. John Nash, what a genius, I'm bloody jealous. SO, from what I remember.... his theory must have done something with economics, I mean, they're talking about Adam Smith and how John proves him wrong.... blah blah blah. Then he gets Schizophrenia. I'm not sure what kind. Maybe paranoid scizophrenia. Yeah, I bet. Hmmmm.... what are the kinds again? Paranoid, catatonic, disorganized... and somthing like residue or reoccuring or something. Psychology, interesting stuff. That reminds me, when I saw Annie Hall, I realized that all the damn Manhattan Jews were talking about was Marxism and various Freudian terms. Are Jews still stuck on those topics now, I wonder. I mean, c'mon.

BUT really, the best of Bowie are "Heroes", Low, and Station To Station, the rest can eat my shorts. But, in the end, the best of Bowie usually doesn't seem to amount to much anything. Pitchfork magazine can just take that.

Another upsettingly bad-grammar and punctuation induced comment from Matt Byrd.

What an idiot.

Ben
This album just feels more "together" than it's predecessor, and the songs here are actually more interesting and feel more complete. No question about it, the best song is the magnificent title track, and "Beauty and the Beast" is not far behind. Unlike "Low", the ambient stuff on this album is actually tolerable. "The Secret Life of Arabia" is my favorite of these.

Add your thoughts?


Stage - Rykodisc 2004
Rating = 6

PLEASE NOTATION: I am herewith reviewing the most recent remaster of this legendary double-live album, complete with different song order and three extra songs. So if you've only got the LP version, this review will be like an ice cube to a spider: cold, wet and big!

At this "stage" in his HA HA AH! HA AHA HA ! Hey, maybe they should have called the album Stag because he's so fuckin' sexy on the cover. Or Sage because he's such a genius. Or Stae because that's what illiterates will want to do when his awesome music starts playing. Or Age, because that's what he's doing gracefully. Or Ge because he brings good songs to life. Or Tag because no matter what price they put on it (the price TAG), it'd still be worth it because he's so great. Or Ag because that's what you'll be yelling when it ends, you'll be so sad. Or Stage because it's a live album.

This live album features live performances of live songs previously appearing dead on such albums as Low (6 songs), The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (5), "Heroes" (in quotation marks) (4), Station To Station (3) and Young Americans (1). If you went to this concert expecting to hear your favorite spicy delites from Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs or Aladdin Sane, well I'd say you're up Shit Creek without a paddle! Luckily Shit Creek, though malodorous, is mostly solid, so you can walk to the nearest shoreline and walk home from there.

Several of these songs are the loveliest and most evocative songs ever recorded by Mr. Bowie, full of interesting guitar textures, odd note phrases and unforgettable hooks. That's because they were written by Brian Eno. Most of David Bowie's contributions, on the other hand, are tuneless disco funk crap. How did this guy manage to write songs as kickass and bubbly as "Suffragette City" and "Hang On To Yourself" anyway? Did Mick Ronson write those or something? At any rate, "S.C." isn't even on here, but "H.O.T.Y." sure is - and baby, it's 'HOT!'(y)

Though this certainly isn't a must-own, at least David doesn't rework the songs as soul music like he did on Live. These basically sound like the album versions, with slight variations due to band membership shifts. It's all pretty dark and dancey, but strangely sluggish - dance music for heroin heads (or 'mushroom heads,' in youth slang) perhaps?

Incidentally, I know you think it's a big game and all, but believe me if a bunch of spiders really DID come down from Mars, it would be no laughing matter. I hope David Bowie takes this into consideration the next time he decides to be 'artistic.' Remember when he recorded The Man Who Sold The World and then a man really DID sell the world? I don't see anybody laughing about THAT! And Christ, if I find one more of these dogs made out of diamonds, I'm gonna piss a brick.

Ahh!!! Scary monsters!!!

Ahh!!! An Earthling!!!!

Ahh!!!! Reality!!!!

Maybe I should go Outside for a couple of Hours and calm down. I'll see you Tonight.

Ahh!!!

Ahh!!!

Ahh!!!

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CHOO!

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(*is offered job of head writer on Mad TV*) <

Reader Comments

Ben
This is fuckin' great. Finally, the last three albums come to life, and produces great results (except for the ambients). Shit, even the "Ziggy Stardust" tracks get reworked. They work great too. Best of these songs is still "Heroes", but "Station to Station", "Hang on to Yourself" and "What in the World" are other highlights. Sure "Fame" isn't as good as the record, but it's still a lot of fun.

Add your thoughts?


Lodger - RCA 1979.
Rating = 8

Da woild would have you believe that this is the least good of the Bowie/Eno collaborations, but that's like saying that You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can't Tune A Fish is the least good of the REO Speedwagon live LPs. It's not that these songs are any BETTER than those on the last two (though several of them are), but that there are more "songs" to enjoy. NO AMBIENCE! Instead, this is a collection of more normal new wave/rock - he has smashed the guitar/piano pop/rock and kooky electronics together into the same songs with good solid American results. Nice diversity as well, with piano pop, World Beat, violin reggae, guitar rock, funky disco-rock and slow industrial groove framing such oddball items as "Repetition," whose woozy bendy lead guitar make the record sound like it's all warped from sitting in the sun getting a tan, "Look Back In Anger," which sounds an awful lot like the Electric Light Orchestra letting their hair down for a light-hearted cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," and "Boys Keep Swinging" which has FAG LYRICS FOR HAVING SEX WITH A BOY, PERHAPS FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A PRIEST BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL PEDOPHILES. Eww. Who needs lyrics like "Life is a pop of the cherry"?

My final synopsis - it's a really dancey record, and quirky (perhaps TOO quirky for many critics?), but also awfully interesting in the production department with lots of little effects and repeated noises that you likely have never heard in pop music before. And NO AMBIANCE!!!!! That's right - no atmosphere at all! Thanks for NOTHING, Ozone Layer!

Mark this date: May 26, 2002. That was the day I became a vegetarian. I'm not kidding! I watched Animal Planet for 5 hours on a flight a couple of days ago and finally decided that I like gentle animals far too much to eat them. It would be ONE thing if McDonald's served Wolverine McNuggets or Big Shark Mac, but no cow, pig or chicken has ever attempted to harm me or my family and regardless of how tasty their meat might be, I don't want them to die. Let the cow live and give milk, let the chicken live and give eggs, let the pig live and just "Oink" all the time. It may be a stupid, smelly animal but as far as I know, it's not going out of its way to burn down buildings or knife people in the park. My New Idea: LET'S EAT CRIMINALS! <

Reader Comments

ricardo.nunez@poliformusa.com
To me this is THE BEST David Bowie album. The guitar playing is amazing, the rhythm section is the tightest of all Bowie records and the songs themselves are twisted, catchy and very original. All songs are different from each other but the album is tied together by the production and performances. I could never understand why a lot of people hate this album; well, it is kind of weird, but that’s the whole appeal, I mean, take “African night flights”, this is a fucking weird song, but it KICKS ASS!!, and so does “Repetition”, and “Look back in anger”, and “Red Sails”, you get the point… This is the David Bowie I grew up to love, this album is the reason I like David Bowie as a musician. People can say what they want about “Lodger”, but never before and after has Bowie created an album as peculiar and intriguing as this one. What the hell where these guys thinking in the studio? “Yassassin”?- crazy stuff in here.

Ben
This is actually a lot better than I remember. I like eight of the songs here ("Move on" and "African Night Flight" are big exceptions). Back in the day, I thought only about half that number. I grew to really like "Yassassin" and "Fantastic Voyage", the latter after seeing the "Reality Tour DVD" (one of the only highlights of it). Favorites are the singles, but "Boys Keep Swinging" is probably the best. Took a while (about a year) for me to really appreciate it (I thought it was a bunch of lame dance songs), but it's a lot of fun. I'll take this over the previous two any day.

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Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) - RCA 1980.
Rating = 6

An oddball mixture of murky, grubby, clueless robotic dance/romance funk/pop/rock. Not nearly as "mature" or sterile as he would sound in three short years, Bowie at this point just sounds confused. Eno is gone and he's left with all these different influences yanking and pulling at him from all angles of his brain (one ghastly song even reprises "Major Tom," a little-known character that appeared in an obscure early album track!!!!). It's not an uninteresting record though - just not particularly good. You'll shake your tail feather (slang term from the `50s, presumably referring to butt hair) and perhaps bury your ears in the strange, bassy production style, but "at the end of the day" as we say in the business, you won't be able to "speak to its qualities," as we say in the business. "Kooky-sounding" doesn't necessarily equal "worthwhile," "catchy" or "not so ugly it made me smear human shit all over the record just to stop the needle from touching the vinyl."

To give a better indication of the album's FUCKed up nature, the hit off of this album was "Fashion." Have you ever heard "Fashion"? It's a slowish, dumb-sounding funk song highlighted by two different scratchy guitars flacking around in air at each other like they're trying to swat flies away from Bowie's marmalade-coated penis. Was he on cocaine at this point? Because Scary Mobsters (And Scary Creeps) is yet another Bowie album where the songs seem slower and more depressingly decadent than one would expect from a "lucid" artist.

One other thing: The first song on here = The greatest David Bowie vocals EVER. Listen close and laugh your eyes on.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I remember being very impressed by this album when I heard it, but I only scanned it briefly. It sounded like a return to his harder rocking glam days of the early 70's after years of fooling around with weird styles of music that didn't really suit him. I love the guitar playing on Scary Monsters; very quirky, but unique and interesting...actually, doesn't Robert Fripp from King Crimson play on some of these tracks? That would certainly explain why the guitar work stands out.

mohsinw@absa.co.za (Mohsin Wadee)
Looks like you need another ‘roughing up in some dark alley’.

An album that contains brilliance like Scary Monsters, Ashes to Ashes, Fashion, Teenage Wildlife and Because You’re Young and you give it a 6???

Mark I really respect you, but this time you’re off the fucking handle.

peace

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Let's Dance - Virgin 1983.
Rating = 6

David Bowie cleaned up his vagrant act for this slick, overproduced spandex thong. NO NOT A SPANDEX THONG! Damn that wife of mine for putting immoral thoughts in my red hot cock. NO! NOT MY RED HOT COCK! My Boston Bean. NO.. screw this

David Bowie used to be a messy, druggy- sounding buttpirate - on this release, none is such the case! Everything is perfectly synthetic, sterile and note-exact. The instrumentation is dull, but (pirate) the melodies are so appealing, he had a bunch of hits! Reinventing himself (like Madonna or the baby Jesus) as the "Thin White Dork," David is a neatly dressed, sophisticated, low-voiced boring old fuck now. But again! The songs are captivating! Three hits - the peppy "Modern Love" (not to be confused with the Hall & Oates prog rock epic "Method Of Modern Love"), the oriental "China Girl," which slickens up the original Iggy Pop cover of David Bowie's "China Girl" and last but not least, "Cat People" which made the charts.

Made the charts LAUGH ITS ASS OFF, THAT IS!!! No really, the hit was the title track - "Let's Prance (Around Like A Bunch Of Mustachioed Dick Vacuums, Which Is A Synonym For "Gay Person" That Took Me Several Minutes To Make Up. That Time Can Never Be Retrieved. I Could Have Saved A Life Or Helped A Child.) Those songs are suave, with horns and pianos - three "P"s come to mind: Perfect Pristine Production. A fourth "P" would drain my kidneys completely. HA! YOU SEE MY JOKE?

But again, the last three songs are blander than bland has ever been boring. To the point that a possible 10 was brought down to a definite 6. Disappointing as all heck, but a good indication of where Bowie was heading..

See below!

No no, I mean the review below. Quit staring at your balls.

No no, not my balls. You can stare at my balls all you want.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Awww, a special lovey dovey nod to a Foland Ratzl review in the form of a totally ridiculously obscure in-joke!

I'm just gushing with cum! Or umm, flattery!

slb23@shaw.ca (S.B.)
I bought this album for A DOLLAR about one year ago (on record.)

The FIRST THREE SONGS are the only GOOD ONES. i'm serious. THE REST IS CRAP. So don't, what ever you do, buy this on CD !! Don't waste $20 bucks on three songs!! GOD, "Modern Love" is catchy, but then so is "Let's Dance". "China Girl" was originally on Iggy Pop's first solo album, The Idiot (1977) in a competely different form and version.

DArmstrong@bryson-architects.net (David Armstrong)
My mate is a big fan of the guest guitarist on this album, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and it's interesting to see he has no mention in your review. Probably because of his over-earnest, generic, widdly diddly white boy blues guitar playing and his overall worthless contribution to the world of music.

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Tonight - Virgin 1984.
Rating = 3

When people, critics and fans refer to David Bowie as an "artistic genius," THIS is what they're talking about. The dark synth pop of "Loving The Alien," the anthemic glory of "Blue Jean," the leaking diarrhea-filled garbage bag of every other song on the album - Tonight is sheer slick featureless and instantly forgettable synth pop with occasional reggae aspirations. Consider it to be the last three songs of Let's Dance expanded into a rock opera of awkward, timeless (if I may define "timeless" as "doesn't belong in any time period - or record collection") and above all UNINSPIRING "mature" "adult" music to drink champagne and dance slow like a sad old bachelor to. Soulful back-up singers, corny synths and worthless horn sections combine with absent melodies to create a whole suite of rotten songs that are as comatose as any post-Blue Turtles Sting album. For dog's sake, he even ruins "God Only Knows" - and that's like one of the best songs ever!!! It sounds like he wants to be Frank Sinatra! And there can be only one Frank Sinatra.

Carrot Top.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Throughout his distinguished career, Bow Wow Wowie has successfuly blown hits out of superior songwriters than himself in order to keep his constantly stalling position as an innovator intact, and while the list is not nearly as long as my cock, it nevertheless contains such dignataries as Brian Eno, John Lennon, Robert Fripp, Bing Crosby, Trent Reznor, Iggy Pop, and a 1982 gang bang with the members of Queen under pressure! Gawd, can you imagine Freddy Mercury's buck teeth and smelly Tanzanian pornostache chomping down on your manhood? Not I. I would sooner decapitate my head! The bigger one. The one that I think with. No, not the one on my shoulders.

So in 1984 Sir Mick Jagger was added to Bowie's impressive list of professional concub - I mean professional collaborators. And what a professional collaboration indeed! Between tokes of meat poles, they even managed to record a cover duet of some 60's Motown (or, in their case, Moantown) hit called "Dancin' In The Street".

Now, I know that Mick is notorious for bedding thousands of female supermodels the world over, but c'mon - he was already looking pretty ugly and wrinkly by then, his hot daughter was still too young for even him to fondle, and Jerry Hall was getting nailed by the crew at all her photshoots, so when Bowie came along to offer a change of direction (yes, that's all intentional innuendo), he jumped at the chance.

Besides, they must have rehearsed the in-unison butt shaking in the video SOMEHOW.

weegie@pookielife.fsnet.co.uk (Geoff Saunders)
Or should that be "Too Shite (for words)". I could waffle on but I'll just say this is awful. I had a week off work recently and thought "I'll play some of my old vinyl", played this and it sounded as bad in 2004 as it did in 1984.

Ben
Man, I don't get how this album has such a horrible reputation. I'd say an album is pretty strong if it's got the lovely title track, "Loving the Alien", "Blue Jean", "Dancing with the Big Boys" and "I Keep Forgetting" (one of my favorite Lieber/Stoller songs), and that's over half the album. Though it isn't great, "Don't Look Down" is interesting and David's voice suits "God Only Knows" pretty well. So yeah, forget all the eighties shit, I think this album needs a lot more respect. Sure it's not a classic, but it's still a lot of fun.

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Labyrinth Soundtrack (with Trevor Jones) - Twenty One 1986
Rating = 1

In 1986, David Bowie starred with Jennifer Connelly and the Muppets in a PG-rated Jim Henson film entitled Labyrinth. Please understand that I'm not talking about the 1915 silent film Labyrinth, starring Gail Kane as a dancer trapped in a love triangle with a sleazy producer and a loving minister. I realize that this is the more well-known Labyrinth but David Bowie had nothing to do with it, though Jennifer Connelly served as dolly grip on two key scenes. Also, please don't mistakenly believe that I'm referring to Rolf Thiele's 1959 alcoholism drama Labyrinth, for I am not. This is why I specifically mentioned "1986" and "Jim Henson" in the first sentence. So you'd know that I was talking about Jaromil Jires' 1992 Kafka/Nazi meditation Labyrinth.

The influence of Jim "Jaromil Jires" Henson's vision on generations of young people cannot be overstated. How many of us stayed up late on ripe school nights, aching for the gentle erotic touch of Herbert Birdsfoot? How many of us laughed and loved as the "Mah Na Mah Na" song conjured up fond memories of Swedish wife swappers and lesbian bars? And perhaps most importantly, how many of us learned how boring other cultures and nature are by sitting through the shitty non-Muppet scenes on Sesame Street, impatiently waiting for more jokes? I can answer all three of these questions, and will do so someday, although probably not in a public forum.

Yes, Jim Henson was a great man before he died of what we all assumed was AIDS back in the cold spring of '90. His most popular character was Kermit the Frog, but don't forget - he also designed the creatures for the blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Frank "The Wizard Of Id" Oz loved him, Richard "Smell Mike" Hunt loved him, but more than anybody else, his son Brian loved him. And this is nothing to be ashamed of. Many fathers and sons enjoy sexual relationships, and it doesn't mean that either are gay or incestuous - many times, it's just the natural outcome of, say, a friendly fishing expedition. You're sitting there in a boat putting a worm on your hook, and next thing you know you're sucking off your father. It just happens. Not to me obviously, and probably not to Brian Henson, but to most of you.

Which brings me to the Labyrinth soundtrack, haphazardly tossed together in a series of cocaine-fuelled sessions in the early days of the mid-80s. It's children's music, I guess, but perhaps the worst children's music ever pressed onto vinyl. In a word, it RULES.

Wait, no. What's the word for when something sucks really bad?

Ah yes, I remember. In a word, it KICKS ASS.

There are many fine words in our American language to describe such a work as this. "Corny" is one. "'80s Synths" is another, sort of. "Reverbed Fake Drums" is a good one, though more a phrase than a word. The guy who's not David Bowie was a TERRIBLE songwriter!!! Given the rare opportunity to share his prodigious talents with the entire little peoples' world, the best he could come up with was a bunch of nondescript Star Wars ballads and faux-tough electronic rockers in the style of "Axel F", all presented through state-of-yesterday's-art keyboard tones that put the "synthetic" back in "synth." Usually I try to keep my personal life out of the public eye, but in all honesty, these synthesizer tones give me painful diarrhea. I noticed it both times I listened to the album. Was the record made this way on purpose? Like, was I supposed to be making my own little Shit Muppets to listen to the album with me? I don't need that kind of stress, nor do my towels.

The Bowie songs are of course, being Bowie songs, uniformly awful. Fakey-sounding garbage for little kids. Fruity serious-ish pop songs with funk synth bass, huge drums, Miami Vice-level 'drama' and 'intrigue,' imaginary melodies, lyrics like "Dance the Magic Dance! Jump the Magic Jump!," fake handclaps, fake horns - you name it, it's FAKE! Add to all this the joy of singing Muppets and you've got yourself an unbeatable 40 minutes of existential horror.

So take it from me, if you like The Simpsons Sing The Blues, you'll LOVE Labyrinth!

And if you love Labyrinth, you'll REALLY love thousands of hornet eggs hatching in your ear canal!

Reader Comments

dan@dankoster.com
I was 14 years old when Labyrinth was released, and it made me gay.

Not that this is a problem for me. I just think all you parents and future parents out there should be aware of the unique power of this film and its soundtrack. Use this knowledge as you see fit.

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Never Let Me Down - Virgin 1987.
Rating = 3

More back-up vox, horns, "funky" guitar (except during songs that are meant to "rock out," which feature "noisy" guitar), unnecessary backup vocal choirs, synths, big drums and an aging Britishman who is no longer capable of writing anything even remotely related to a melody. He sounds SO dim-witted and archaic here. Those who rave about Bowie's miraculous ability to predict trends before they happen (don't ask me for examples; I've never followed the guy's career) must have gone to the graveyard and dug up some graves so that they could jump in them and roll over when this instant throwaway hit the shelves.

Now we both know that I'm the last guy to criticize Bowie, I mean I love the guy like a brother who puts out shitty albums. But exactly what audience were these songs supposed to appeal to? Definitely not a rock audience. A pop audience? Teens? The songs aren't catchy! And who the hell wants to dance to some stupid old bag? I can't even imagine this appealing to the guys who played on it. (If anyone of you are friends with Earl Gardner, ask him if he HONESTLY feels like these songs are worthy of his brilliant flugelhorn stylings).

The only songs that I honestly like are the outlandishly bouncy "Shining Star" and the closing track "Bang Bang" (not a cover), which - shockingly - has a MELODY!!!! An actual guitar chord sequence that you can listen to, tap your foot to and enjoy! It should've been the single - it's just a simple little tough `60s-style rocker, but after an album of clueless synthetic `80s meanderings, it's a breath of Fred Astaire.

And I suppose "Time Will Crawl" is passable. And "Beat Of Your Drum" has a really captivating chorus. But that's it - the rest sounds like Robert Plant's Shaken Not Stirred except not nearly ridiculous enough to enjoy. Again - TEDIUM is the overarching mood.

Reader Comments

dan@dankoster.com
"Bang Bang" *is* a cover. Iggy Pop, Party, 1982. Like all the rest of Bowie's Iggy covers, it's weak. Yet still a strong point on an album that blows goats, because Mr. "I'm so hip with my referencing of Burroughs' cut-up technique to disguise the fact that I just shat these lyrics out on a coke binge and you just bought it, ha ha ha" didn't write it.

Never Let Me Down is what happens when you have no songs, and you record them anyway. The worst excesses of 80's production techniques -- all of them, every last horrible one -- propped up in the shape of an album with nothing actually inside. 1/10.

Ben
I was surprised at how much I liked "Tonight", and I thought I'd like this just as much, but this album is just too shallow, and not as fun. "Generic" would be the best word to describe this album. Just a bunch of stupid nonsense lyrics mixed in with synthesizers and electronic drums. However, the best songs are really good, these being "Bang Bang", "Day in/Day out", "Never Let Me Down" (apparently about John Lennon) and my personal favorite "Time Will Crawl". "Glass Spider" is also the worst song he's done in years. I'll give this a 6.

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Black Tie White Noise - Virgin 1993.
Rating = 3

Like a sarcophagus awakening from the vestiges of a long cold winter, David Bowie decided to leave boring synth pop behind to dazzle the kids with a boring rock band called Tin Machine. After two or three hours of this boring project, he went back to doing what he does best - boring solo material. I have NO clue where he got the term "White Noise" for this album title because there is nothing on here that even approaches the kind of guitar feedback tension that that term implies. Instead, he's attempting to catch up with the times through danceable tunes with modern r'n'b- style melodies and instrumentation. Easy to groove around to, but very hard to listen to past the first two songs (which are honestly pretty darned good!). Worse yet are four really dull cover tunes - Cream's "I Feel Free" reduced to an unrecognizable shell of its former goodness, Morrissey's "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday," and then somebody-or-other's "Nite Flights" and "Don't Let Me Down & Down." I felt I should tell you the names of the cover tunes, in case you are such a huge fan of one of those songs that you will do anything to get the chance to hear a lost old man recreating them in his image of suave early-90s club music.

It's quite amazing how insulting I've been to Bowie throughout these reviews. In all honesty, I don't loathe the guy at all. I find his music to be mostly uncompelling, both musically and emotionally, and his voice has never thrilled my ears to any extent, but his work isn't any worse than a billion other "artists" I could name. I think I'm just immaturely reacting to his ridiculously huge fame and standing as one of the top figures of rock history. I personally don't believe that he has done anything to earn his position. For my money, The Guess Who wrote a ton more great songs than Bowie did. But they're just a band you make fun of these days. So, in hindsight, please read my Bowie insults as "sour grapes," not as true hatred or disgust. I do not hate David Bowie - he is a human being and I know nothing about him. And believe me, there are enough people in the world that worship the guy to easily drown out my tiny dissenting voice. I am the underdog! Cherish me!

Reader Comments

Ben
Awwww a 3? I would have skipped this over if this album didn't have a super cool album cover and a dance version of "I Feel Free". Reading that on the track listing I couldn't resist. It's not only better than the Cream version but it's also the best song on the album. This version of "I Know it's Gonna Happen Someday" certainly pales in comparison to Morrissey's excellent version, but it's still good. "The Wedding" pieces are pretty cool, and "Jump They Say" was a good choice for a single. Now that I think about it, it's the only song from this album on the "Best of Bowie" cd. There's plenty of other highlights, but all the songs sound exactly the same. I guess that middle-eastern-ish "Pallas Athena" stands out, and so does the title track. I give this an 8.

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The Buddha Of Suburbia - Virgin 1993.
Rating = 6

This is an extremely rare CD that not very many people know about or own. In fact, they only made one copy and I own it now so if you want to hear it, too bad, it's mine. It's apparently a soundtrack to a British telly series (IMPORTANT NOTE: The British call a TV a "telly." In honor of Kojak's Telly Savalas, star of TV's Kojak), and it's pretty good! It's split between mostly instrumental background music and fully-formed relaxed, lush pop songs. What I like about it is that it's PLEASANT. Not overdramatic. Not trying too hard to be cool. Not avant-garde (except for the grating noisemaking crap of "South Horizon," which you should skip when you're listening to it because it's about as easy on the ear as a q-tip covered with fire ants). It's mostly David Bowie and some nice smooth ambienty synthesizers just taking it easy, letting life flow by and presenting some simple little ez-listening adult pop pieces like the last few Moody Blues albums, with a couple of tougher, faster synth rockers to mix things up like a jingle-jangle. One of my music guides says it's a "collection of throwaways," but if that's the case, he should do NOTHING but throwaways because this beats the hell out of his last three albums. Get this - there are actual MELODIES instead of just dance beats! I know! I reacted the same way! So I guess we BOTH need breast reduction surgery!

Melody is important. So is overall "sound." Even when the melodies on here are lacking, the sound is always pretty good. And you know why? Because there's no goddamned OVERCOMPRESSION! If there's ONE THING I hate in this world, it's dynamic overcompression! You can steal my car, wreck my face, toss my penis all over the place, do anything to aid yourself in this recession, but don't you gimme no overcompression! Don't you step on my blue suede Ooes. You can do what you want, but dynamic overcompression has GOT TO GO! They pump every fucking thing way up in the mix and it all sounds like a friggin' Pantera album! This is not what we need! Hell no! We won't go! (buy any more albums with dynamic overcompression). I'm pig-biting mad and I will no longer buy any album with overcompression. Because believe you me - it doesn't matter HOW shitty an album is - if it doesn't have dynamic overcompression, it RULES!

Review: The Entire Billy Joel Catalog: Boston Spring Harboer. Dynamic overcompression? NOPE! 10 out of 10. Tossing Rocks Through A Window. Dynamic overcompression? NOPE! 10 out of 10. The Nylon Stranger Dynamic overcompression? NOPE! 10 out of 10.

Hey! Who smelled my gack?

Reader Comments

ooes42@hotmail.com (Ooes)
Just so you know, I fucking loved your hilarious presentation of dyanmic range compression practices. Except it's pronounced "ooh-ess", not "ooze". Say it real fast.

Sorry about bugging you about the whole thing, but I do kinda get pissed when record labels and mastering engineers decided that they have the right to fuck up the music that *I* am listening to! I hate recording middlemen! If it were up to me, all pressed albums would be raw recordings printed on a supercomplex computer chip that you would attatch to your brain and out would come your perfect mix! Oh well...

Add your thoughts?


Outside - Virgin 1995.
Rating = 5

So it is said, this CD is actually called 1. Outside, as it was intended to be another 3-part trilogy with Brian Enough. Luckily, Bowie Constrictor gave up on it - hopefully forever. There's a little book inside telling a "non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-cycle" called "The Diary of Nathan Adler Or The Art- Ritual Murder Of Baby Grace Blue" with story and layout revolving around dumbass techno-cyber buffoonery that has aged every bit as well as the ageless `80s synth drums of Never Let Me Down. Not only that but the album is his longest studio creation ever (74+ minutes) and is bogged down by indefensibly humdrum "segues" that purport to carry the story forward but actually just give David a chance to talk in a bunch of silly voices.

When the songs ARE songs, they're absurdly ultra-serious (yet impossible to take seriously) and are for the most part pretty second-rate (except for garbage like "No Control" and this song based on a sampled belching noise called "Wishful Beginnings," which wouldn't pass for like twenty-third rate). However, Eno does a great job (no no - BRIAN Eno), bringing Bowie into the Future-Age with bundles, layers and spirals of throbbing club darkness, delayed clamor, technological sound effects and oddly treated distorted guitars. And who needs memorable vocal lines when you're on 10 pounds of ecstasy?

In my nutshell, you get confusing lyrics, forward-looking /space-age sound, overdramatic yet not very inventive melodies and lots of breathtaking noises that'll twirl your ears around until the second half of the CD when Emo (Phillips) starts repeating himself, something that I would never do. And there can only be one Frank Sinatra - Yahoo Serious.

And there you have it - Andrew Dice Clay's Dice Rules LP.

Reader Comments

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
What do people see in this album? I bought it based on the hype that it was Bowie's so-called brilliant foray into the mid 90's industrial craze, but there's nothing to get excited about here. It's entirely boring, with Bowie occasionally blurting out a line here and there amid ambient atmospherics by Brian fuckin Eno that go absolutely nowhere. The only thing worth mentioning is that the video for the song "I'm Derranged" got banned because of it's twisted graphic violence and gore, with Bowie pretending to be Hannibal Lecter.

How about a few melodies next time, eh guys? Thanks.

gpdecuir@yahoo.com (Gavin DeCuir)
This is Bowie's best album since Scary Monsters, but that's not saying much since Bowie devoted the two decades in between to making crappy records. I think the hype surrounding Outside's release was more like ecstatic people shouting "Hey! This doesn't suck!" and "It's got Eno!". Not an album to rush out and buy. I bought a used copy a decade after its release and I'm a big David Bowie fan (sorry Mark). I just couldn't get excited about this one and still can't. Eno's contributions make Outside okay for a rainy day. (Maybe they should have called it Inside?, Inside Half-Asleep?, Inside Doing Housework and Not Really Paying Enough Attention to Find It Boring?) Anyway, I have ambient albums much nicer than this and industrial albums much meaner than this. There's a few decent tunes here but nothing too original. The bassline from "We Prick You" is lifted from Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" for instance. When David Bowie starts to rip off his own clones, you really have to wonder why he's still making music. Hell, he's even ripping himself off here. Buy four CD players, then listen to Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, Scary Monsters, and Low all at the same time if you want to hear this kind of thing done right.

thehellhecould@hotmail.com
Most of the people rubbishing Bowies Album have not really listened to it enough. I had a similar reaction to it at first, but the more you listen the better it gets. He IS the king-never playing safe-ploughing his own furrow. Power to DB!!

ricardo.nunez@poliformusa.com
It’s funny how one man’s wine is another man’s poison. I find “Outside” to be David Bowie’s best album since “Lodger” (those two happen to be my 2 favorite Bowie albums). I like it. In fact, I find it to be a very entertaining album, intriguing and very dark (in a good way). I love the production and the performances. And, for crying out loud, this is not an industrial album. The fact that it contains synthesizers, noise and electronic textures does not automatically make it an industrial album; it doesn’t sound like it, much less feels like it. He just happened to use modern recording technology to create it, because it was recorded in 1995, and just like any other decade, the 90’s are defined by a certain sound, right?. I could understand why a lot of people hate “Outside”, it is kind of inaccessible and chaotic, but what the hell, it doesn’t have to appeal to everybody, for example, You like Metallica, right?; well, I FUCKING DISPISE THEM!!!

Add your thoughts?


Earthling - Virgin 1997.
Rating = 6

Can everybody keep it down please? I'm trying to listen to David Bowie making an ass out of himself. See, that's the thing - people always give credit to Bowie and Madonna for constantly re-inventing themselves, but. isn't that generally the sign of a midlife crisis? In what way is David Bowie's co-opting of Aphex Twin-style impossibly fake techno drums any different than a bald guy who hits 40 and buys a Trans Am? People can argue, "Well, he's just trying to keep up with the times and not sound out-of-date," but do we really WANT our pushing-50 rock stars trying to sound like 18-year-olds? I don't! It's embarrassing! Almost as embarrassing as 18-year- olds trying to come across as deep, mature adults (I'm looking at YOU, Leonardo Dicaprio).

(No no, I wasn't using you as an example - I meant I'm looking at you naked through my binoculars.)

This album only came out five years ago, and already it sounds more dated than any other album he's ever recorded - simply because of those ridiculous, stupid "hip-for-about-a-week-and-a-half" pippity techno drums. Which is a shittypame pityshame because on top of the drums is a collection of some pretty damn good songs! It may start on a sour foot with the endless and endlessly shitty "Little Wonder" (about Bowie having anal sex with that little girl robot from the old tv show), but then kicks into high-gear with the mesmerizing hypnotizing vocalizing harmonizing of "Looking For Satellites" (about Bowie trying to watch The Playboy Channel through all the scrambly lines on the screen) and loud-guitar-cracklin'-oat-bran-with-awesome- vocal-melody-rock-song "(something I can't read on my Xeroxed copy of the cd cover) for Britain (The Letter)."

After that, there's more of the similar with superfun fast tunes like "Dead Man Walking" (about Bowie giving oral sex to a strap-on-wielding Susan Sarandon) and "The Last Thing You Should Do" (about Bowie agreeing to let the Minnesota Twins fuck him in every hole he's got as long they finish by simultaneously ejaculating all over his face), all full of kooky synth/electronic noises, lovely vocal harmonies and bursts of loud distorted guitars. Even the ones with less memorable tunes are still fun to listen to. It's an honestly pretty good record! I say his best since Let's Dance and maybe even since Lodger! Could this be a comeback?

Could I pull out and give you a come-back?

Reading back over this "review," I can't help but think that the dancefloor eroticism of Earthling has somehow affected my writing.

This entire review is written in semen, by the way, so don't lick the screen.

Reader Comments

robotica@rocketmail.com (Sir Adam Boysen)
I remember when this album came out I saw Bowie on some late night talk show, performing "Dead Man Walking" as just him with an accoustic guitar, and it sounded FANTASTIC. Then I heard the album version on the radio, and forgot all about the song...until now.

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Ah yes, yet another in a long line of frustratingly inconsistent albums by Jimbo Wie. This time he tries his hand at Prodigy style electronica, since I guess the "industrial" style of 1995's Outside was no longer hip in 1997. Man, what a desperate tool. "Little Wonder" is a very good song however - catchy, although it sounds like Bowie doing a guest vocal for Liam Howlett and Co.

"I'm Afraid Of Americans" saw Blowie team up with another hip artist of the day for some suckage, but the song is a stand out, with it's quirky melodies and Nine Inch Nails type music, which is no suprise seeing how Trent Reznor co-wrote the song and added guest vocals when he wasn't busy blowing Marilyn Manson.

Earthling isn't horrible, but there's not much here that's great either. It's just so-so, with a couple of good songs among oceans of filler, but hasn't that been the case with almost every Bowie disc since 1967? How this guy continually gets more respect than the more innovative and talented Alice Cooper is unfathomable to me. Hey, I guess a pretty face is all one needs to manipulate the masses into thinking you're a genius. Women are so bloody stupid.

ricardo.nunez@poliformusa.com
Earthling is not a bad album; it has its good moments and some very shity ones too. But there is something that does not appeal to me in this record. Earthling tries too hard to sound “hip” and up to date. The "drum and bass influence" is way too obvious; to the point where it saturates you (I never was a big fan of “Jungle” and “Drum & Bass” anyway). Having said that, most of the songs don't really need all this "techno touch" because they are already properly written, so I think they would've even sounded better had he cut down a little on all those electronic beats and textures (Dead Man Walking is the perfect example, I have an acoustic version of it and it sounds light years better than the one on “Earthling”). But there is no denying that the good moments are actually good and that the album contains a high level of energy (PLUS A KICK ASS BAND TO BACK HIM UP!!!).

Add your thoughts?


...Hours - Virgin 1999
Rating = 8

NOTE: I ORIGINALLY GAVE THIS ONE A 10, BUT I'VE NO CLUE WHY. HERE'S THE 10 REVIEW:

This is going to be a hotly contested decision on my part, but I'm a hotly contested young man so I feel I'm up (boner) for the challenge. In Mark Prindle, Famed Web Reviewer That Like Ten People Have Heard Of's opinion, this is the most consistent album that David Bowie has ever recorded. Out of 10 songs, only 2 strike me as not great - and even one of those is pretty good! Or maybe I'm just so happy to be finished reviewing this jerk, I've lost all sense of taste.

I don't think so, though. This CD just has so many great ballads. Very relaxed, pretty and above all MELODIC. The magnificently plump and blossoming production combines exquisite lead guitar stylisticings and lovely keyboard tones with really solid, grown up, "hip to be normal" vocals (and harmonies!) from Mr. Bowie. As such, unlike his last two decades of output, Hours doesn't seem like it will ever sound outdated. Even when the melodies are only "good," the songs sound so pretty that they'll drag your hate- filled heart over into Camp David, as did they me. It's kinda like that latest U2 album (Everything That You Used To Have But Don't Now) in that respect. It's slow, introspective and emotional - yet it doesn't sound like a self-pitying little Billy Corgan "Cry-On-Tape." Heck, a lot of it even reminds me of late-period Moody Blues - talk about having your finger on the pulse of stuff that nobody listens to!!

If you want to hear the strangest pick for "best Bowie album ever," do try to pick this one up, just so you can write to tell me what a loser I am for rating it two points higher than the classic Biggy Smalldust LP. But keep in mind that it's not my fault he wrote so many crappy songs for that album. People have been blaming me for that since I was a baby, but I'm not going to just sit back and take it anymore. Feel free to blame John Fogerty's Eye Of The Zombie fiasco on me, but I take no responsibility for Niggy Spaceballs.

Perhaps it should upset me to know that these reviews AT POSTING will be out of date since David just put out a new CD called (I think) Heathen, but I'll get to it eventually. Probably after it bombs and you can pick up copies for 6 bucks! So let me hope that he continues in this "image-free singer- songwriter" vein as I leave you with a hilarious joke I made up in the bathroom at work today: What's the difference between David Bowie and my penis?

David Bowie is a THIN white duke! HA WW AHAHAHAH! HAHAHAHHAHAHHA!!!!!!

Reader Comments

drazy@gatecity.com
Eat crow Mark, as Heathen entered the charts in the top twenty. That, combined with his awesome Today show performance and brilliant A&E concert should guarentee him his first gold record since Tonight. Bowie's mouth has got to be sore from blowing the entire staff of the Today show, the A&E network, and the hard beancounting staff of Soundscan for that faux-gold disc that'll sit nicely in Iman's decorated study. Haven't heard "Heathen" 'cept for the tepid Pixies cover and Davey Jones probably just did it to bring some cash into Frank Black's pocket as some mouthbreather stole his entire gear on his last tour.

But the review's about ...Hours you say (jump they say) and it's a Jim Dandy, one of the few people that Bowie hasn't blown. That bald fucker playing guitar is awesome, which scares me from the new one cuz he ain't on it. "Seven" is one of the best songs in Boowee's catalog and ...Hours is the best album our bisexual friend has done in over twenty years. And speaking of bisexuals, how is it that Ol' (and I do mean wrinkled) Dave keeps looking better the older he gets? Gotta run as my wrist just got too limped to type.

TVEye70@aol.com
Crap. Plain and simple. Boring, pointless pop balladry. "Thursday's Child" is a fine pop song but the rest of it puts me to sleep. Cool 3-D cover, though. 3/10 for that one song.

By the way, Heathen is a damn fine album...lots more interesting stuff going on than on this album, and the version of Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting for You" is pretty intense.

foland_ratzl@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Wow Mark, sick minds do think alike! We must be the only two freaks who think this is Bowie's best album, as you can see by my very own 2 year old review of Hours on Ben Greenjeans' Bowie page in the outside reviewers section...no need to go check though, since I've decided to post my review on your page as a reader comment where people will actually read it and stroke my co...umm ego

I'll admit that I've only become a David Bowie fan more recently, and that I have not heard all of his albums just yet, but I have at least partially heard of all his early classic ones. Some are better than others, but even the best ones, like Paladin Slain (now available on Marvel Comics!) or Jiggy, Starburst Gum's new flavour! - seem to have some filler on them. I would have to agree though with most of these Bowie album reviews that none of his studio albums really deserve a ten due to the unfortunate presence of a few (or in most cases, many) lame songs here and there on all of them. I'll also admit that while the guy can occasionally be a brilliant songwriter (but only when he's blowing real songwriters to help him out), a lot of his songs seem to be really weird without any focus...in other words, being weird just for the sake of being weird, which hurts the actual writing...his contemporary and biggest competitor, Alice Cooper, manages to avoid this much more effectively and consistently.

Anyways, this album is fantastic. Compared with the other albums I've heard, this is about as close as Bowie has ever come to making a perfect album. I was going to rate it ten actually, but I feel I really have to hear all of his other albums first before I can do that.

From beginning to end, this thing is a masterful blend of spacey pop rock filled with great hooks...it is a fine return to the glam rock style which launched his career. In fact, this is one of the best glam albums ever in my opinion. When I first listened to it, I thought the album was a bit slow and quiet for my tastes, but boy did it ever grow on me...in fact I like it better with every listen. There are just so many nice little subtle details in the music which you notice upon further listens. The arrangements are saliva inducing! The music is so diverse and completely unique sounding, with that vintage spacey Bowie sound...there is nothing cliched or predictable here, making for an endlessly fascinating listen! Not only are there great catchy hooks in abundance here, but the overall feel of the album is somewhat moody, melancholy, and ambient. Not bad for an old coot!

"Thursday's Child" is the first track and single...the whole album has a recurring theme of Bowie feeling like he's going through some kind of mid-life crisis, announcing his regrets in life...this is the only down side that I can find on the album...I mean, who wants to hear one of the most popular, respected, innovative, and filthy rich rock stars in the world complaining about anything at all?? Especially when he looks about as amazing as a 55 year old man possibly can, on top of that. Anyways, the song is a beautiful relaxing ballad, with some of the nicest melodies he's ever put to tape. It has a nice 70's feel to it, with some great sultry (a more polite way of saying slutty?) female backing vocals.

I also want to add that the production of this album is about as perfect as I've ever heard...it's nicely layered, everything is loud, crystal clear, and the mix gives equal prominence to all aspects of the music. It's also quite contemporary, incorporating loops and synth programming, but on a very restrained level to complement the actual melodies instead of being a distraction. This is a production job by which all other albums should be measured.

I was worried because several of the tracks start with a mellow acoustic guitar, thinking "what is this, Bob Fuckin Dylan?" but soon enough other instruments join the mix, making it so much more interesting. Reeves Gabrels, the lead guitarist here who has worked with Bowie on past albums, is supremely talented...he routinely comes up with tasteful, engaging, unique guitar melodies which suit the song perfectly without ever becoming an intrusion...I don't know why many label him as a guitar wanker, when I think he is anything but...I guess in this day and age with these abysmal nu metal bands around, anybody who is actually a skillful craftsman on any instrument, particularly guitar, is unfairly labelled a wanker.

Listen to "Something In The Air", with it's magical, almost hypnotic groove, and "Seven", one of Bowie's finest acoustic ballads, filled out by an actual nice keyboard sound! On "The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell" Bowie lets loose! And for once I don't mean his lips on a cock! It's a heavy, distorted rocking tune, up there with the best in his back catalogue...this song was also on the "Stigmata" soundtrack, which apparently is a real shitfuck of a flick!

The great material just keeps comin' at ya, kinda like Davey's spunk on Iman! Check out "Brilliant Adventure", an instrumental track with an exotic Japanese sound, kinda like the soundtrack for some ninja movie! I know that description sounds cheesy, and I have no idea why it's on this album, but I think it's a cool and unexpected addition.

Just an inspired album in every way...much more interesting than the last few "experimental" albums that he did in the late 90's...it's a fine, more mature return to his roots without sounding at all rehashed or outdated, and it definitely has a darker, pensive mood about it. Definitely up there with his classic early material, and more consistent...there is not one bad song here. After thinking about it though, it would be unfair to give this album the ten rating. Those early 70's classics actually had a large social impact in rock music (even though he just ripped off Alice Cooper and stole the credit) in addition to being great albums and they also had a bit more muscle, and that's something you really can't ignore...while this one is probably just as good musically but quite a bit mellower...he's an old coot now, times have changed, and this album bombed, making no such impact. Still worth a high nine in my opinion though.

jersyboy5@hotmail.com
ok, now you're just being perverted.

ricardo.nunez@poliformusa.com
“Hours”- 10 and “Outside.1”- 5? “Hours” is the best David Bowie album? Interesting. Sick, but interesting.

Add your thoughts?

VH1 Storytellers - EMI 2009
Rating = 5

"You know that song 'My Way'? Ha ha!"

Great story, David Bowie! You are hilarious!

"I'll never forget back when I met Marc Bolan. Yep, I met Marc Bolan alright."

Wow! You're blowing my mind with your amazing anecdotes, David Bowie! Where do you get them?

"This is a new song. I used to love Eartha Kitt. This song has nothing to do with Eartha Kitt."

WHOA! Save something for your memoirs, David Bowie!

"I remember this one time Steve Marriott told me he was going to form a band called the Small Faces. Isn't that exciting? I'm totally just namedropping."

Wow, David Bowie! What a life you've led, and things you've seen!

"Have you heard of Iggy Pop? Well, I've met him."

Holy SQUIRTS, David Bowie! You've impressed me with your memory of having met somebody else famous!

"Abbie Hoffman something something."

I fainted because you're so amazing, David Bowie!

"Between 1974 and 1978 was the darkest period of my life. Okay, here's a song!"

Man, you have taught us lots, Mr. Bowie. Thank God VH1 exists and got you talking and spreading all your deepest secrets and anecdotes! It's incredible the things you've (etc).

This shitty album features 2 Hours, Bowie's first single ever under the name "Bowie" and one each from Let's Dance, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs, Station To Station and Aladdin Sane. But what will REALLY blow your mind is what an incredible storyteller he is! Oh my shiftless Jesus! Everything! Wow!

(*urinates on David Bowie's grave*)

Fuck you, Mr. Shitty!

Add your thoughts?

Bowie At The Beeb: The Best Of The BBC Radio Sessions - Virgin 2000
Rating = 5

This may come as a shock to you, but I don't like David "Bowie" Jones. In fact, every time I enjoy a song by him, I'm astonished by the fact that I have done so. Because I don't like his voice, his songwriting style, his dumbassed art poses, his penchant for following trends around like a scared animal - in fact the only thing I DO like about him is that he seems like a nice guy. Unsurprisingly, I don't "dig" his BBC Sessions, comprised of alternate 1968-1972 recordings encompassing 7 non-album originals, 7 Space Oddities, 9 Ziggy Stardusts (11 if you count the second run-throughs of "Ziggy Stardust" and "Hang On To Yourself"), 6 Hunky Dories, 2 Men Who Sold The World, 2 Velvet Underground covers (both of which, as much as I loathe the Velvet Underground, are 40 BILLION times more energetic and entertaining than any other song on this double-disc), 1 Chuck Berry cover and 1 Jacques Brel cover. It's pretty astonishing to hear his sudden conversion from a GODFUCKINGAWFUL old-fashioned British songwriter of the WORST POSSIBLE CHORD SEQUENCES (cold! casutic! dull! uncatchy! terrible!) into a '70s glam rocker with some actual good rockin' tunes for a goddamned change, but will even fans want to sit through such shitty early material? They'll have to decide that for themselves and their children, at risk of death.

But wait, there's more! Those who stretch their dollar for the special THREE-disc set will get to enjoy a full BBC-sponsored year-2000 concert performed for a tight squeezey audience of only 130 people (coincidentally the exact number of fans he SHOULD have altogether!). Though not any more consistent than the first two discs, this concert at least demonstrates yet another side of Bowie - his sleek, lower-voiced, romantic, Leonard Cohen side. Though the songs start to feel awfully similar to each other after a while (the entire album sounds like "Let's Dance," basically), it's a nice career-spanning set featuring 2 non-LP tracks, 2 songs each from Station To Station, Hours and Earthling, and 1 track each from Scary Monsters, Low, The Man Who Sold The World, Young Americans, Outside, Aladdin Sane, Let's Dance and Diamond Dogs.

Incidentally, for some reason I'd never noticed exactly how offensive "Kooks" and "Cracked Actor" are, the latter for lyrical reasons I'd never noticed ("Suck baby suck/Give me some head"!?), the former because it's about Dave's first daughter, born WHILE HE WAS AWAY ON TOUR, and to whom he has penned a repulsive ode basically daring her to put up with her parents' immaturity ("So take a chance on a couple of kooks..." -- Umm, Dave? She's an infant. SHE HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO 'TAKE A CHANCE' ON HER BIRTH PARENTS, YOU IRRESPONSIBLE ASSHOLE). However, in the interest of equal time, I once knew a man who liked David Bowie, and he simply loved this release. So if you're one of THEM, you should probably pick it up. Get ready to wade through a bunch of HORRIDEOUS early material before you get to "Suffragette City" though.

Which reminds me - in the song "Jet," why does Paul McCartney pronounce "suffragette" with a hard "G"? That's not correct, is it? It makes it sound like he's saying "Suffer again," which isn't at all the case! On an also-related note, isn't it awesome how in "Band On The Run," he makes up a character named "Sailor Sam" just because he can't think of anything to rhyme with "jailer man"? In the hilarious "Weird Al" Yankovic-like parody I wrote of that song earlier today while walking Henry The Dog, I followed suit as you shall see in the following excerpt:

"Well the night was falling and the desert world began to settle down
And the town was searching for us everywhere, but my dog is grey and brown
Dog on the run!
Dog on the run!
And the dog catcher...
(Here it goes! The part I was talking about!)
And MR. FLETCHER(!!!!)
were searching everyone
For the
Dog on the run! (be dee be dee down down dooee)
Dog on the run! (be dee be dee down down dooee)
Dog on the run! YEEEEAAAHHHH!
Dog on the run! (etc)

If only David Bowie were talented enough to write such timeless classics as "Band On The Run," "C Moon" and "Spies Like Us." Instead he's going to remembered by history as "that singer from Tin Machine whose name I can't remember, I don't think it was Robert Palmer but it may have been, he wore a suit like that."

Reader Comments

ebenac@nmu.edu (Eric Benac)
Hello Mark I have noticed your new bowie reviews. At one point in time, I was a big bowie fan. Then I heard some better music, and that went away. And I completely understand the issue you have with him i.e. people giving david blow jobs about how amazingly brilliant he is/was/always will be. I find him inconsistent at best. But he is not, in my opinion, the most over rated musician I've ever heard. There is a tie; between Bob Marley, The Grateful Dead, and Neil Young. Today I'll tackle Neil Young. Post this any damn place on your Bowie site I don't really care.

Okay Neil Young. Where to begin. The legend of Neil Young is of course legendary. The man is considered one of the all time geniuses of rock music. An untouchable legend; besides his undoubtably crappy 80's material (and a lot of his 90's material, natch). But generally people say he's a complete genius with any massive discontent (besides Starostin, which always made me happy to see. Glad he didn't buy into the Young myth).

The myth is so out of control, that Young completely surrenders himself to it as well. I was recently reading a book of interviews about Crosby Stills Nash and Young (ROCK AND ROLL!!) and the interviewer asked Neil if they "reached their potential, or if they were about to" and he said, basically "No, because before I was just an added guitarist. Now I'm the driving force. I think we'll hit our potential now." So, obviously, he's saying that now that he's the "MAIN MAN" in the band, and without him, CSNY was shit. Funnily enough, he was saying this about their 1988 album American Dream, which is inarguably one of their worst albums. WAY TO GO NEIL!

Enough of his CSNY "legacy." And before anybody gets completely mad at me, I'm going to admit, Neil does hit gold with songs often. Old Man, Cinamon Girl, Country Girl, Rocking In The Free World, Cortez The Killer, and Heart Of Gold are very good songs. However, he doesn't hit gold often enough; even on his best albums he hits gold what, every other song?

Musically he's limited, at best; rock, folk, country, blues. Seems to be about it. Sure his 80 stuff his weird, but it's awful. Trying new things, Neil realizes he sucks at it, returns to what he can actually do. Plus his voice is crappy, and his lyrics while seemingly poetic are just bad Bob Dylan rip offs, usually.

And he started the whole "writing songs about national tragedy" trend that really pisses me off. Plus, his guitar playing is awful usually, and on one of his better albums in the 90's, that I can't remember, he decided to end every single song with extended feedback drones. All because Sonic Youth did that on "Expressway To Your Skull." And he said that was the best guitar song he ever heard. And I mean that literally, every single song has that feedback ending. WAY TO OVERDO A GIMMICK NEIL! What an asshole, what a douche bag. Bob Marley is another thing I could do for hours, but I'd rather not.

Any ways, good Bowie reviews. Reading your Miles Davis reviews right now, hilarious. I saw this jazz quartet at college I think you'd like. They played really complicated melodies, with tons of interplay really really fast, with minimal, always structured soloing. They played slower stuff too, but it was actually pretty. Check it out; he actually played with miles davis later in his career too! It was one of the best concerts I ever saw. BUT FUCK JAZZ UP THE ASS.

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Heathen - ISO/Columbia 2002.
Rating = 5

A lot of people levelled citizen arrest charges at ...Hours, the last David Bowie album, saying that it was a bunch of slow adult pop for old boring people who drive cars. I'd like to double that assessment for this Heathen thing if I may. Forget about any so-called ongoing comeback -- a good portion of this album is as stodgy and church-boring as anything on Tonight. Lots of smooth synths abound, with active lead guitars kinda buried in the background most of the time. Occasionally, the bass line will be bouncy and fun enough to attach your tappyfoot to. And a few of the songs are even really uptempo like rock and roll, a genre of music that David Bowie supposedly used to dabble in about thirty years ago, but even those songs kind of wallow and flop around in about two inches of melodic water before surfacing to die slowly on the shore of Go Nowhere Shoals, Florida.

It's pretty pitiful, though not unexpected, that the two most infectious tunes on here are covers (Pixies' "Cactus" and Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting For You," which was also covered by the Pixies years ago), but what's surprising is that, in a year in which he apparently discovered the melodically innovative and exciting music of The Pixies (By Frank Black and That Breeders Lady), his original music shows no signs at all of their influence. Like I said, all you get here are synth washes, a few bouncy fun bass lines and distorted echoey lead guitar noise flowing and ebbing around in the background every once in a lifetime (oh hell that reminds me -- I forgot to pick up my really big white suit from the dry cleaners). A couple of people have suggested that one of the faster tracks on here ("A Better Future") resembles the kind of song that Mark Prindle, Famous Internet Record Reviewer The Worldround, has been known to record. DO NOT BELIEVE THESE PEOPLE!!!! Never (or seldom) have I ever (or more than a couple of times) featured a corny "Head On The Door"-style pussyass keyboard boop-beep-boop as a driving force in my Tough American Rock Music For Men (And Lesbians). ("I Would Be Your Slave" sounds like something I might do though.) What you and David Bowie need to do is send me $4 for a Mark Prindle CD and finally hear what GOOD music sounds like.

If only those two actions had anything to do with each other, I'd be a much more talented man than I am today (by default).

And so it is that Heathen unveils David's latest persona, Wrinkles McBoring. It's not that David sounds washed up. Just old. And lazy in the "hook" department -- aside from AGAIN FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME the catchy bass lines in ""Slow Burn," "I Would Be Your Slave," "A Better Future" and whatnot. I wouldn't be surprised if his next album was pretty good - these things are cyclical, like the stock market. Remember, he had a record year during the tech boom! Unfortunately, just like everybody else, he couldn't keep bookings up once investors got wary and consumer spending began deteriorating. In summation, I wouldn't recommend investing your entire 401K in him, because historically, even during peak periods, his performance still isn't all that impressive.

Reader Comments

DisclaimerWill@aol.com (Chris Willie Williams)
As one of the people who thought that "A Better Future" sounded like a Mark Prindle song, I thought I should clarify what I meant by that: it's really more like Bowie COVERING a Mark Prindle song. (Specifically, one of the more sing-songy tracks off Nature's Smelly Ass or Stop, Drop, and Roll.) Bowie's arrangement is kind of weak, sounding like an unintentional tribute to Wesley Willis's keyboard demo button, but the catchy little vocal melody and style of harmony totally sound like Mark's stuff to me. And on an album that also features covers of the Pixies and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, a Prindle cover would've fit perfectly. Bowie missed his chance.

ricardo.nunez@poliformusa.com
… Sunday is a nice song, although I agree that unlike “Reality”, “Heathen” is kind of a disappointment. If Bowie decides to release something following “Reality” I hope he’s a little more selective with the stuff he’s gonna put out.

mattdklein@gmail.com
Hey Mark... truly great site. I thoroughly enjoy reading your hilarious reviews.

I agree with you that much Heathen is rather weak, but I think you rate it a bit too low. Songs like "Sunday," "Cactus" and "Slow Burn" are really terrific, even if I start to lose interest by the second half of the album. I'd also have to say that Bowie officially became a wrinkled old fart with the release of Hours, which is a much weaker album than this one, and just sort of... well, ordinary. At least here, the melodies are more interesting. I give it a 7.

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Reality - ISO 2003
Rating = 8

I have this thing about Bowie -- I can't imagine EVER "loving" him and I am always astonished to hear about people who do (or did -- The Germs' Darby Crash, for example). When I look very closely at the problem, I think I can pinpoint it as his voice. I don't actively HATE his voice -- I just don't particularly LIKE it either. He just sounds like a guy that isn't any fun at all -- a haughty Britishman. So I'm never ever biased TOWARDS him - always against. This means that he has to work extra hard on memorable melodies and intriguing production to twist the ear of multimillionaire international playboy record reviewer Mark Prindle. He did this to a "T" on ...hours (regardless of what every other music fan in the entire world would have you believe), and has done it again to at least a Q or an R on Reality, a "high 7" of a record if ever a "high 7" of a record was ever a "high 7" of a record. Speaking of which, did you know that some cats can have up to 7 claws on each foot? I wonder if you could train a cat like that to give you a "high 7" on command? Like a "high 5," you understand, but completely entirely different in every single possible way. I mean, a "high 7" includes female nudity and a gun, for example.

Ah fuck it - I'll give it a low 8. Pretend those last several sentences are just ink stains on your computer. Christ! Clean your messy computer! How are you going to read the rest of the review with all those ink stains spelling out words like "claws" and "nudity"?

As for the CD -- it's a sad one. (Sad meaning "unhappy," not "pathetic") The production is top grade A good clearness like you'd expect from the '00s, the guitar tones are splendid and pretty, and there's plenty of piano for the "ivoryheads" in the audience. An almost Radioheady mood of melancholy drifts throughout the songs, as well as an occasional -- and probably unintentional -- Beatlesque bouncy feel ("She'll Drive The Big Car" sounds like a sad Lennon tune, "Days" sounds like a somber McCartney tune and "Try Some, Buy Some" IS a depressing Harrison tune - but where's the Richard Starkey? In fact, where the FUCK is the Richard Starkey?!??!! "Fat Dog Bombs The Moon" sounds like Frank Black, but he's not in the Beatles as far as I can tell from old photos.).

The record's surprisingly memorable combinations of notes and tones are presented through many different sound backings and instrumental approaches, but always with an overriding sense of wasted time and depression. Thus, the ethereal black electronics of "New Killer Star" (which appears to have a 9/11 theme, judging from the opening lines "See a great white scar/Over Battery Park/Then a flare glides over/But I won't look at that scar") rest comfortably alongside the drum stomp and cock rock guitar whip of "Looking For Water," the chilling harmony vox and sick funhouse plinking of "Pablo Picasso" (which sounds NOTHING like the Modern Lovers' version) and piano jazz desolation of the seven-minute album closer "Bring Me The Disco King." Jeez, there's almost no happy music on this thing at all!

Is "reality" really this depressing? Maybe it is. Even the uptempo slam-jammers are buried in minor keys and yearning chord sequences of unrequited life. Even the lyrics ache of age, fatigue and self-disgust -- "She waited by the moon/She was sick with fear and cold/She felt too old for all of this/Of course he never showed" -- "I lost God in a New York minute/I don't know about you but my heart's not in it" -- "All you gave/You gave for free/I gave nothing in return/And there's little left of me" -- "You promised me that the ending would be clear/You'd let me know when the time was now/Don't let me know when you're opening the door/Stab me in the dark, let me disappear."

In short, it's not a good time. But it feels pretty real. And the songs are darn, darn good songs. Can you believe that this is by the same jerk that did White Tie, Black Noise and Never Let Me Down? Who knew that talent could take such a long hiatus and still come back as strong as ever?

I'll tell you who -- Pink Floyd!!!

And when their talent finally gets around to ending its long hiatus, you'll be the first to - HAY! NO WONDER MY FEET HAVE BEEN SO WARM ALL DAY! THOSE AREN'T MY SLIPPERS AT ALL, BUT IN FACT A PAIR OF HUMAN BABIES!

Reader Comments

bylcote555@yahoo.com
I really don't think you've exhibited enough intelligence in any of your reviews to comment on David Bowie's. The man has been nothing less than a prophet in many cases.
I just need to say, I'd rather listen to any of Dave's records than read your reviews of them.Even fucking Black Tie White Noise for Christ's sake, which sucks, has more redeeming qualities than most of your drivel. Sorry, but I just don't feel you are qualified to discuss the subject.

(about ten minutes later)

Your extreme homophobia is evidence in my mind that you, Mark Prindle, are a flamin' fag from FAGLAND!!!
If you had one measly crumb of Bowie's talent, you would not only be a lot richer, but maybe a couple more people might have heard of you. Not that fame equals talent, I mean there's Justin Fingerlake and all, but shit man, what the fuck is your problem?
Even Lester Bangs, who's dead balls you aren't qualified to suck, in his dislike of Bowie made some fucking sense. Get the fucking penises out of your ears and fuckin' LISTEN!
Every Bowie record up to Scary Monsters is GREAT. Sure he borrowed stuff, but he borrowed it and fucked it up in the Bowie fashion.
John Lennon, who's ass I'm sure you lick, wouldn't waste his time in his last interview praising Bowie if he had no talent. His records were art, from the cover to the contents.
Any way I don't know why I'm telling you this, your probably too busy sucking Tommy Ramone's flaccid penis.
Maybe you should throw on Animal Boy again and revel in the "normal" sounding chord progressions because your ears obviously aren't advanced enough to listen to David Bowie.

melt_down04@msn.com (Mr. Lewis R. Harvey)
Dear Sir,

I'm highly amused by your intelligent ramblings, HOWEVER - you obviously are from the colonies, although quite sharp for an American.

Basically, David Bowie is one of the most poignant, interesting and well-loved pieces of art from Britain (from which Jesus came from!). Quite simply, you Americans only appreciate British pop culture if - and only if they make an effort to make something that you Yankees like (e.g. Young Americans). You are not willing to broaden your horizons by taking in good British humour and culture, forget the humour bit because baltently you lot have never heard of irony and sarcasm!

I don't feel you have really given any of the early '70 - '83 material a chance. The truly great albums are as follows in order of greatness:

1. Station To Station (10/10)

2. Low (9/10)

3. Aladdin Sane (9/10)

4. Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps) (8/10)

5. Hunky Dory (8/10)

6. Diamond Dogs (8/10)

6. Lodger (8/10)

7. Heroes (7/10)

8. Pinups (7/10)

9. Young Americans (7/10)

10. Let's Dance (6/10)

11. Ziggy Stardust (6/10)

12. The Man Who Sold The World (5/10)

13. Space Oddity (5/10)

THIS IS CORRECT! You my friends, are a fool and blackguard! I strongly suggest that you listen to each of these albums again! I agree Ziggy Stardust IS completely overated, BUT you are incorrect about the remaining catalogue!

Take your cock out of your ear and go fuck yourself!

poorroyschieder@hotmail.com (Derek Nicholson)
You forgot about the Labyrinth soundtrack.

ebenac@nmu.edu (Eric Benac)
david bowie a prophet?! hehehe. that's rich. i'm not sure how much intelligence it takes to listen to David Bowie's normal sounding chord progressions. david bowie is a limited song writer, as George Starostin pointed out. If you take his songs, strip them to the base levels of chords and notes and what have you, they're very simple, very repetitive, and very similar. it's only in arrangements that bowie is diverse.

And I'll give him that, Bowie is not an uninteresting song arranger, although he's still not that amazing.

I find it interesting that these two fellows who insult your intelligence find it important enough to debase their intelligence by a) calling you a fag from fagland and b) telling you to get your cock out of your ear and fuck yourself. Sure, they'll defend themselves, saying this is irony but it is not: it is sarcasm, and sarcasm is the lowest form of wit imaginable.

Also, only one song by David Bowie has ever truly been poignant for me and that was Heroes. That song makes me cry to listen to it, the music, the lyrics, the singing everything combines into a completely amazing ball of beauty. Though, I would have to think we'd have Eno and Fripp (two MUCH more talented, interesting, unique, and ahead of their time fellows) for that. I'm not sure why I felt the need to defend Mark. Stupid comments about how he's a "fag" or how he should 'suck tommy ramones cock' not only render your argument against mark's intelligence null and void, as you stoop to such infantile name calling, but calls up the question of your obvious lack of intelligence.

MatthewByrd@hotmail.com
Hey Hey, My My(Into The Black) I'll have to buy this and like it and give it a 9.

cocoagirl34@hotmail.com
I realize this page is basically dedicated to the overall ridicule of David Bowie and I have many comments, both pro and con, regarding your reviews however, the stupid fuck ebenac@nmu.edu (Eric Benac) who puffed out his chest and got all indignant on your behalf is my inspiration for writing this email (and quite possibly the longest sentence in history)

And I quote " I'm not sure why I felt the need to defend Mark. Stupid comments about how he's a "fag" or how he should 'suck tommy ramones cock' not only render your argument against mark's intelligence null and void, as you stoop to such infantile name calling, but calls up the question of your obvious lack of intelligence. I find it interesting that these two fellows who insult your intelligence find it important enough to debase their intelligence by a) calling you a fag from fagland and b) telling you to get your cock out of your ear and fuck yourself. Sure, they'll defend themselves, saying this is irony but it is not: it is sarcasm, and sarcasm is the lowest form of wit imaginable."

I am assuming from his comments that Mr. Benac is illiterate so perhaps he should take his cock out of his ear and go ask somebody to read him the dictionary definitions of the words irony and sarcasm.

Calling Mark 'a fag from fagland' is infantile name calling. Nothing more, nothing less. Although the level of Mark's intelligence is clearly debatable and sticks and stones may break his bones, calling him names is neither irony nor sarcasm. It is just infantile name calling.

Ironically, contrary to Mr. Benac's belief, irony and sarcasm register at the high level of the wit scale. Mr. Benac also infers that irony is the opposite of sarcasm, which it is not. Sarcasm is bitter irony - recognized, understood and practiced with fervor by cynical intellectuals everywhere. Irony in turn can be defined as covert sarcasm, practiced by touchy-feely, cynical intellectuals everywhere.

Alas Mr. Benac, for complete understanding, you will have to locate the other half of your brain. Until that time, please refrain from commenting on the intelligence of the infantile, name calling, mostly Bowie-hating morons that have contributed to this page. Although a very noble gesture and despite Mr. Prindle's obvious deficiencies, he doesn't need someone of your calibre standing up in his defence.

stephen.ca.simpson@comcast.net
Hey man, some people just don't dig Bowie. It's all cool.

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A Reality Tour - Columbia 2010
Rating = 5

Yeah, more like A Reality BORE, if you ask me!!!

Compiled from two NovemBORE 2003 performances in Ireland, A Reality BORE features six songs from BANality; five from HeathYAWN; three from The Rise And DULL of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; two each from BLow, Hunky BORy, EarthSTINK and 0. Outside; one each from The Man Who BORED The World, Codger, Diamond DULLS, DUNG Americans, Scary MonOTONOUS (And Super Creeps), ToSHITE, Zeroes and Let's SUCK; and three songs that he originally wrote for and/or with Iggy Pop, Mott the Hoople and Queen.

David BORie sounds very friendly and the band's performances are mostly fine, but it is astonishing how many dull-as-a-dishwasher songs this man has written during his career. And I'm not just talking about the calmer new material (which doesn't lend itself to live performance at ALL); I've never understood the appeal of tedious children's songs like "Changes" or "Five Years" either. Furthermore, he manages to louse up even some of his few GOOD songs! He rushes through his "Rebel Rebel" vocals like a lazy asshole, sings "Life On Mars?" in a drab low register that sucks all the fun out of the once-giddy tune and, worst of all, fucks over "Heroes" by removing the catchy keyboard line that *MADE* the song in the first place!

High points are few, and mostly due to him just not SUCKING TOTAL DICK for a change. "Hang On To Yourself" still kicks some ass, and "Ziggy Stardust" is fine. Furthermore, his cover of Iggy Pop's "China Girl" works wonders, his cover of Nirvana's "The Man Who Sold The World" is excellent, and his cover of Paul Rodgers & Queen's "Under Pressure" is so good I literally didn't vomit while it was playing. Fuck his cover of Cactus's "Pixies" though; those guys tear.

And good American assrabbit is it a long concert. 154 minutes long! In fact, here are a couple of exchanges that took place between myself and the stereo the other night:

David Bowie, who sucks: "Do you have sleeping bags and tents? 'Cuz this might be a really long show tonight!"

Me: "'Sleeping bags'!? See, even YOU think you're boring!"

David Bowie, who seems like a nice enough guy but Christ have you heard his fucking music?: "We got a LONG way to go yet, I'm tellin' ya!"

Me: "Go into cardiac arrest, bag."

Reader Comments

Tanx615@aol.com
If you hate Bowie so much,don't review his albums.Plus you include reviews from other Bowie haters.At least you had to listen to most of his music.No one is more original than Bowie.
I'll admit,most of his stuff after Scary Monsters was crap,but up to that point,pure genious!

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