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


David Bowie


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4.00 | 338 ratings

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4 stars If ever I was forced with the horrible task of choosing just one David Bowie album to accompany me to that storied desert island, it's likely that 1972's THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD would make the boat. Granted, it would be very difficult to leave the other main contender for my affections, the Mick Ronson (guitar, Mott The Hoople) era companion piece ZIGGY STARDUST, behind. Track for track ZIGGY is arguably the more unified whole, but there are simply too many outstanding tracks on this one which I couldn't do without on my coconut-strewn sand spit.

My bitter exile would be sweetened by the rocking lead, driving bass and sweeping acoustic strains of the epic opener "Width of a Circle," the absolutely essential "All the Madmen," the infectious, joyous "Black Country Rock" and the psycho-anthemic "Running Gun Blues." Meanwhile, my sun-seared cerebellum could seek succor in the lullaby-like "After All," while the driving, cautionary sci-fi themed rocker "Savior Machine" might lead me to less lament the technological world I'd left behind. Thundering bass and great lead guitar aside, the erotic verses of "She Shook Me Cold" might lead to a fevered -- but ultimately unfulfilling -- undertaking: that of constructing a buxom coconut-breasted "girl Friday" from a washed-up Wilson soccer ball, palm frond skirt, sundry swatches of my discarded threadbare clothing, and some of those countless plastic water and detergent bottles which always end up in the sea. (Yes, much like Tom Hanks in Castaway -- but this time without the unhinged, hopelessly dependent, disquietingly homoerotic relationship with a gory piece of underinflated sports equipment). On second thought, it might be best to avoid that track... The words of the title song would doubtlessly speak volumes to me in such a situation ("You're face to face with the man who sold the world..."), and that wonderful Ronson lead motif could provide me with the just the hook I'd need to catch some protein and omega 3-rich fish -- must keep my strength up for raft building! Finally, album closer "The Supermen" could inspire the raising of a private army of coconut shell- armoured warriors to annex the next islet over, as the track's pounding, tribal drums give the signal to advance! (Or maybe to just caper in ash-painted delirium around the signal fire..)

Eccentric reviewing techniques and belaboured metaphors aside, THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD is a fabulous, essential early Bowie album. Crank it up -- it's not as if there are any neighbours to disturb!

Peter | 4/5 |


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