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

THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

4.00 | 200 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars YOU'RE FACE, TO FACE, WITH THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD

Needless to say that 1970 is the year of "In Rock" and Led Zep was peaking everywhere in the charts. "The Man Who Sold The World" will be the hardest album that David will ever release. The Spiders gang is almost there: David, and both Mick's (Ronson & Woodmansey) recorded the first important Bowie album.

The cover of the album is rather controversial and will be the first opportunity for David to play with his androgynous look. He will regularly confirm / negate this. Being opportunist he took advantage of a situation he totally created. It is also rather contradictory with the content of the album: David dressed up in a "men's dress" showing a gentle and sweet character while the album is the harder he will ever record!

David is going to get married to Angie, and needed to have his financial situation (which is far from brilliant) settled. Visconti organized a meeting with one of his acquaintances: the lawyer Tony De Fries. Another MAJOR meeting. He will soon be David's manager. For five years.

While I discovered Bowie (in 1973), I bought his back catalogue and was quite amazed with this album. It is one of his darkest works in term of lyrics. Full of schizophrenia and craziness. The absolute highlight is the huge opening song: "The Width Of A Circle". A mix of schizo frenzy and obvious homosexual references.

Ronson's work on this track (but not only) is just incredible. Of course, he listened to both Jimi and Jimmy. There is even a moment during which a riff comes rather close to the one from "The Jean Genie". One of the most guitar oriented Bowie track (together with "Station To Station"). The wild instrumental middle part is a great tribute to the guitar heroes. I am found of it. THE highlight.

Craziness is again the central point of "All The Madmen. David refers to his half-brother Terry who was confined in a mental hospital. Again lyrics are very explicit: "Here I stand, foot in hand, talking to my wall I'm not quite right at all. Dont set me free, Im as helpless as can be My libidos split on me. Gimme some good old lobotomy".

The other side of this album is related to some sort of apocalyptical analysis of how the world is ruled (and the ones who govern it). From "Saviour Machine" and its related "2001 A Space Odyssey" story to "She Shook Me Cold" and its serial killer character. "Ill slash them cold, Ill kill them dead Ill break them gooks, Ill crack their heads Ill slice them till theyre running red But now Ive got the running gun blues".

This album holds several good to very good songs but might well be difficult to bear if you are not into some sort of hard-rocking mood. But not all the album is full of these hard sounds; these are frequently combined with some acoustic parts. The overall atmosphere is oppressive, gloomy and not really the kind to listen to if you are a bit depressive. Hammill is at hand, lyrically.

"The Man Who Sold The World" is a very dark (but alas accurate) report of our society. Power, influence, violence and death: a daily business. I hope that one day, David will release an album called "The Man Who Saved The World".

Seven out of ten. But I'll give it an upgrade to four thanks to the lyrics.

"Who knows, not me, I never lost control, You're face, to face, With the man who sold the world".

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |

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