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David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.00 | 339 ratings

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4 stars After the slight flop of Space Oddity, Bowie decided, in his anger at the music industry to make a slightly more angrier and hard rock album. And with Bowie's art pop approach to music, he scanned the area and saw what was popular. So with Hard Rock coming from the States, and the Prog Rock scene coming from the UK, Bowie decided to meld the 2 and create a godly amalgamation.

So did it work for him. Yes and no. When this album came out, it didn't do the best for Bowie. It did alright for him, but really didn't achieve the success his future career would soon bestow upon him. I do think as time progresses, this album will get another look and everyone will see that it is actually a brilliant album.

Sound wise, this must be Bowie's most consistent album. Usually on Bowie's albums, the sounds and paces of the songs can change a lot throughout, but on this album they all seem to have a similar tone throughout.

Bowie's vocals are definitely one of the biggest highlights of the album. Throughout his career his voice has opted for a lower and more defined range, but in his early career, especially shown on this album, Bowie's voice seemed to have no range whatsoever, and was hitting notes even trained opera singers would have trouble belting.

The albums sound is also backed up with his musical ensemble, who contains non other than his future guitar wizard and musical partner Mick Ronson, and some other musicians who would be involved in his future classic line up, The Spiders From Mars. If anything, this could even be considered the proto Ziggy period of Bowie.

The album opener "The Width Of A Circle", one of Bowie's longest compositions, is up there among my personal favourites. Almost like two songs in one, the first half shows the more rock orientated sound of Bowie while the second deals with some slight more soulful moments. The real highlight of the track is Bowie's vocals, which imitates Mick Ronson's guitar playing in a brilliant fashion.

As much as I like the song "After All", I can't help but find something very Spinal Tap about the vocals, especially with the phrase 'oh by jingo.' Other than that, it is a very well arranged song and does have some rather surprisingly beautiful moments.

"Running Gun Blues," a song about the Vietnam war has some surprising lyrics (Gooks is the word that comes to mind. A brilliant satire about the war and some pretty nice rocking moments throughout, especially Bowie's screaming vocals.

The title track is probably the most known track from the album, due to the many covers. In my opinion, it would probably be the weakest track on the album. The arrangement is great though throughout, especially with the walking bassline in the chorus.

The album closer "The Supermen", a Nietzsche inspired lyrical tale ends the album in a very pompous and over the top manner. Brilliant end to a rather gilded affair.

In conclusion, this is definitely up there with one of my personal favourites of Bowie. It's not my favourite album, not by a long shot, but during this period of Bowie's career, I do see the seeds of his future and relative genius. I recommend really giving this album a listen, it may surprise you.


arcane-beautiful | 4/5 |


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