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David Bowie - Hunky Dory CD (album) cover

HUNKY DORY

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

4.19 | 272 ratings

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burtonrulez
5 stars This is, quite simply, everything that I love about music. It's dramatic, depressing, energetic, epic, satirical, sexy and PROGRESSIVE! It is hard to pin down the style and genre that this album encompases, but needless to say, the heavy guitars have been left far behind. It could be described as progressive glam. Bowie twists and turns through eleven tracks, nine of them being absolute gems, one being a mediocre transitioanl track, and one being in my humble, honest, and correct opinion the best song ever. (The correct was for dramatic effect, please don't be offended if you are not of this opinion). On my favourite album ever. By my favourite artist ever. So how does one go about reviewing one's favourite album. Well, since I probably have a considerable amount to say about each song, I'll do what I normally do, and take it track by amazing track.

So, 'Changes', both a commercial hit, and an eerily prophetic description of Bowie's future career. This self portrait of our favourite chameleon (musically speaking) is a great opener to an album that will spawn better songs, but none more famous or instantly recognisable. Bowie's chant of ch-ch-ch- changes is utterly iconic, and the phrase 'strange fascination' is the title of a book written about him. 'Oh! You Pretty Things' is a brilliant tune, epitomising Bowie's glam rock period (although this album is not pure glam, this song is). It is a good piece of story telling as well, describing the uprise of children as a higher race of humans, the 'homo superior' since 'homo sapiens have outgrown their use'. An utterly brilliant sing along chorus cements this song's legendary status as a glam rock anthem along wiht Mott the Hoople's (Bowie-penned) 'All the Young Dudes' and T. Rex's 'Bang a Gong (Get it On). 'Eight Line Poem' is th only time the quality suffers on this album, having more lyrical merit than musical. But these lyrics only occupy eight lines (unsurprisingly) off a two minute song, and interest may be lost during this track. Not to say that is bad, as a drop in quality on such a great album is far from disasterous. 'Life on Mars?' remedies any boredom, with one of Bowie's greatest songs. This one is beautiful yet depressing, as well as having one of David's greatest vocal performances. This is one that will be on every single compilation, played on every single radio station, and sung at every karaoke event, but it is not one bit less amazing for it. Not many tunes can stand up to over exposition like this one. 'Kooks' is a funny and humourous track, seemingly about a very odd, and possibly homosexual couple, adopting a child, predicting the fun to be had (not of a sexual nature, thank goodness Bowie leaves that topic alone for once). This ranks amongst Bowie's most truly uplifting tunes. But 'Quicksand is pure depression. Name-checking historical character's such as Himmler and Crowley very early on, you know this isn't going to be a happy ride. Bowie speaks about meaninglessness and futility, with very tortured vocals, and a tune as somber as death. If you are suicidal please do not listen to this, it may just push you over the edge with lyrics such as 'Don't decieve with belief/ Knowledge come's with death's release'. Fortunately we are treated to an extremely cheerful song next, a cover of Tiny Tim's 'Fill Your Heart'. David puts on a very high pitched voice here, to sing the very uplifting lyrics, even more hapilly than on 'Kooks'.

Next we have several character sketches. 'Andy Warhol' is a light hearted criticism of the famous New York artist. It starts with a discussion about the pronunciation of Warhol, before the song starts. This one is notable for an extremely minimalistic solo, fitting in as being a satire of Warhol's work. 'Song for Bob Dylan' is a very heart felt and underrated. Bowie takes on the tone of classic Dylan ('witha voice like sand and glue'), and pleades wiht him to return to his roots of classic folk rock, rather than the subpar commercial music he had taken to. A very catchy chorus is a highlight of this song. 'Queen Bitch' is one of Bowie's most full on glam songs, but unfortunately does not have an anthemic chorus. That aside it is a very brilliant song focusing on Lou Reed of The Velvet Undergound fame (another of my favourite bands). Bowie would go on to produce Reed's 'Tranformer' album, which I intend to purchase one of these days. And finally, as I promised you, there is the best song ever. 'The Bewlay Brothers' is a CRIMINALLY overlooked gem. This song is so emotional with the some amazing lyrics, drenched in wonderful mellotron courtesy of Mick Ronson (not Wakeman, who only played piano on this album!) The weird ending finishes the song, and album, perfectly. Its talk of gravy and shoes maybe a inspired by a part of Bowie's impenetrable, complex and drug-inspired psyche that we will never understand.

So, to conclude, Hunky Dory, is simply amazing, and in my opinion every fan of good music should not be without this. I will doubtless play this regularly until the day that I die.

This is particualrly recomended to fans of classic, and particularly glam, rock, but an open minded prog fan should have a space in their heart (and shelves) for this disc of incredible and eclectic music. Without a doubt in my heart, I shall give this five stars.

burtonrulez | 5/5 |

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