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LET'S DANCE

David Bowie

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David Bowie Let's Dance album cover
2.97 | 182 ratings | 15 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Modern Love - 4:46
2. China Girl (Bowie, Iggy Pop) - 5:32
3. Let's Dance - 7:38
4. Without You - 3:08
5. Ricochet - 5:14
6. Criminal World (Peter Godwin, Duncan Browne, Sean Lyons) - 4:25
7. Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (Bowie, [Giorgio Moroder]]) - 5:09
8. Shake It - 3:49

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

* Carmine Rojas: bass guitar
* Omar Hakim, Tony Thompson: drums
* Nile Rodgers: guitar
* Stevie Ray Vaughan: lead guitar
* Rob Sabino: keyboards
* Mac Gollehon: trumpets
* Robert Arron, Stan Harrison: tenor, flute
* Steve Elson: baritone, flute
* Sammy Figueroa: percussion
* Frank Simms, Geoge Simms, David Spinner: vocals
* David Bowie, Nile Rodgers: horn arrangements
* Bernard Edwards: bass on Without You


Releases information

EMI America Records (1983)
Virgin Records (1995)
EMI (1999)

Thanks to micky for the addition
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DAVID BOWIE Let's Dance ratings distribution


2.97
(182 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(23%)
23%
Good, but non-essential (41%)
41%
Collectors/fans only (19%)
19%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

DAVID BOWIE Let's Dance reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With the release of "Scary Monsters", David was able to combine critics acclaim for this original album as well as huge sales (number one in the UK, and twelve in the US). With "Let's Dance", David will do even better: same Nr. one in the UK, but Nr. 3 in the US. But this album won't be praised by the critics and some fans will also be disappointed by the popish and excessive simplicityof this work.

Nile Roger ("Chic") is playing the guitar but also co-produced the album. So, no wonder that it will sound more commercial ("China Girl" and "Let's Dance").

But unlike the album "Young Americans" which I could never swallowed, I instantly liked "Let's Dance". Of course, there is no talk of a masterpiece here, but songs are catchy, easily memorable and fun. Almost from "Modern Love" through "Shake It".

It features a version of "China Girl" which David originally wrote for Iggy Pop ("The Idiot"). This version is of course more "disco" oriented and will be famous for its video clip (the end of it was even censured). I preferred the original and much rawer version from Iggy.

Most of the critics will concern the title track. Fully discotheque oriented and repetitive. It will be a HUGE hit worldwide, peaking at the first spot both in the UK and in the US. It is Bowie sole example of this feat.

Actually, side one is very enjoyable, great for nightclubbing. Even if the closing song "Without You" is a bit too much "Chic" oriented.(just as "Criminal World on the other side of the vinyl).

B-side opens on a more complex song. "Ricochet" and its funky-reggae-pop mood is not easy to apprehend but is one of the best moments of this second side of the album, which is by far the weakest one. At this time, the disco mood is just too much especially during "Criminal World" which is just a sub, sub-par "China Girl "(Bowie's version).

My fave out of this second side is by no doubt "Cat's People". Lyrics were written by David and the song is the main theme of the soundtrack for the movie. Unfortunately, the album version is a cut-down version of four minutes, while the whole appeared on a 12" and lasted for about nine minutes.

The closing number "Shake It" is the weakest of the whole. Some sort of clone for "Let's Dance". Best avoidable.

All in all, "Let's Dance" is not a bad album. Of course, David was used to lot better but it was the occasion for him to reach a worldwide recognition, the tour will be EXTREMELY successful. Three stars.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Commercially very successful, Let's Dance will leave an indellible mark in most peoples memory for the single ' China Girl'. A great song co-written with Iggy Pop and an equally great video filmed in Australia filled with red desert dust and lyrical utterances of Baby just you shut your mouth.... The title song Let's Dance' is the main drawcard on side one along with ' China Girl', but ' Modern Love' and ' Without You' are largely forgettable.

The strength of this release though is side two which returns Bowie to the darker side. ' Ricochet' has a great hypnotic feel to it and ' Cat People' from the movie of the same name ( could anyone forget Natassja Kinski?) which is a great tune, I think another single with the great succinct chorus line of Putting out Fire with Gasoline. Shake it in closing the album the weakest song off Let's Dance. Three stars is a good reflection for this album and one of his strongest 80's releases.

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Unlike some people, I think David Bowie did best when he stuck to the pop and rock format. I said pop - not soul, funk, progressive, electronic, etc. He was and always will be a popster to me, and Let's Dance is a show of his prowess in that large sold-out arena. The problem is, when he went this route in the 1980s, he was in a very large field of competent performers, and only stood out for being David Bowie.

Young Americans heralded a change in his voice to a deep mouth-breathing white soul persona, and left his more engaging pop voice behind. "Let's Dance" is no exception, and it's also blessed and cursed with 1980s production such that he sounds like any one of the numerous bands of the era, or they sounded like him. SIMPLE MINDS is one group that comes to mind. I acknowledge his role in that sound, and responsibility, but at this point it seems he made an easy album and millions.

The first two cuts are the big highlights - "Modern Love" a deceptively cheery drama that has some similarities to the more subdued "Stepping Out" by JOE JACKSON, and the superb "China Girl" which finished in a lengthy Stevie Ray Vaughn solo that steals the show. He tries again with the title cut but this is where SIMPLE MINDS was so much more convincing, a la "Promised You a Miracle". Nothing here makes me want to ignore the triteness of the theme that was at least 10 years overdue and overdone.

Most of the rest is undistinguished and tepid, especially the closer "Shake It", which is "Let's Dance" revisited, with the expected result. It is telling that the most interesting other tune is "Criminal World" that he did not write, and had been a hit for METRO. Brass and multilayered vocals cannot hide the banal reggae of "Ricochet", for instance. "Cat People" isn't bad but sounds a lot like an inferior "Rockin the Casbah" by the CLASH. Was Mr Bowie the innovator just a follower at this point? I think I will let him go to the dance floor alone and stay behind with my ULTRAVOX.

Review by Dobermensch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A good solid pop album by Bowie during an era that was riddled with mediocre bands who were hugely influenced by the man himself. It must have been a tough act to follow after 1980's magnificent Scary Monsters and in many ways 'Let's Dance' fails.

Fortunately the vocals and composition are fantastic. You could easily criticise the pop sensibilities that are evident throughout 'Let's Dance' but at the end of the day it's actually an album of very strong tunes. You're not going to find 'Low', or 'Heroes' originality anywhere on this LP. Bowie knew exactly what he was up to in 1983 and he got the rewards. I'm just glad the man is alive and well in 2013. after all his drug addled antics during the previous 14 years.

The whole of 'Let's Dance' has a feel that it's firmly entrenched in 1983 with those loud booming drums that are separated from the other instruments in the mix. They're SO loud! The non single tunes are uniformly excellent. In particular 'Ricochet' which has a Welsh miner mumping his gums about the state of coal mines in Wales. Everything's loud on 'Let's Dance' - the guitars - the bass - the vocals. All in all, I really like this album, despite the negative reviews of other contributors.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I loved that Bowie album starting from very beginning. During years my musical interests were changed, but returning back, I love it till now.

I hate pop, so it is even more strange. Because generally "Let's dance "is high quality pop- album. Best songs are "China Girl" (yes, it is different version from Iggy's , but this, more poppy one is even better for me), "Let's Dance"" , "Modern Love ". Disco producer Georgio moroder put his fingers in "Cat People ", but the song is strong enough, at least not most poppish song in an album.

It is strange even for myself, that hating pop-music a like this album. I think the reason is Bowie's talent, special magnetism he put in music.

It is easy listening but with clever underlayer. Just enjoy!

P.S. : It will be extremely difficult to find prog in this album!

Review by Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Scary Monsters" announced in 1980 can be counted as one of the important albums where the act and the necessity of nature are included for David Bowie. It is thought to be should a chase by cutting out the first half from the latter half of the 70's to the 80's a little when talking about the music character of David Bowie in the flow that reaches this album.

In so-called Berlin, work with Brian Eno is a part of the trilogy of known David Bowie. "Low" and "Heroes". And, the flow by "Lodger" has exactly established the element as Rock Star of apart from others enough. And, the activity of the music of David Bowie that rushed into in the 80's exactly included a revolution and an inevitable flow a lot. It exactly became a shift of Berlin in the age to "Thin White Duke" from the establishment of "Ziggy Stardust", was expressed, and meant one top and change as cult Star.

"Scary Monsters" was an album caught as a flow that shifted to one reform and the next stage for David Bowie as a work in RCA. The Tom major who appeared in "Space Oddity" was digested by "Ashes To Ashes" collected to this album and was a work at time when the age that David Bowie had caught was remarkably expressed. And, he shifts to the activity with diversity indeed after announcing "Scary Monsters".

He has the work of the drama and the movie, etc. run side by side with music in the first half of the 1980's and having gone is a well-known fact. It is said that he had had the will of the pantomime before tried to be aimed at the musician. The actor's work might have been a part of his character for him. "Scary Monsters" The actor's work was a little remarkable as his activity from now on.

The element of cult Star of apart from others might be gradually excluded and proceeded flow and element to the next step be almost consolidated in this "Let's Dance". Some respects can be discovered in the element. Part where Nile Rodgers was appointed from old friend's Tony Visconti as producer. The point that ..recommendation.. E was done according to Nile Rodgers. the participating musician record this album andAnd, the point that this album was recorded in Manhattan. And, the title of this album. These elements might be the parts that appear remarkably as the following music character that David Bowie exactly creates. And, the work that trust in Nile Rodgers had shared with each other will have been a challenge of music that exactly caught the age.

This "Let's Dance" was announced from EMI on April 14, 1983. The music character of the point and this album that he had transfered the register from RCA to EMI might also have accompanied the necessity. Tony Thompson of companion of Nile Rodgers. And, Omar Hakim to listen to an overwhelming performance with Weather Report. And, Nile Rodgers that voluntarily plays the guitar. Or, the guitar of Stevie Ray Vaughan that shows the existence over the whole volume. The age exactly and it revolutionizes it to this album. And, it might be an album including the new element that David Bowie creates.

"Modern Love" starts because of the sound of cutting of the guitar and an overwhelming drum. The song in close relation to the sound of the shining keyboard surely sends new David Bowie to the listener. Song and chorus in close relation to steady rhythm. And, the part of the wind instrument has an exactly good flow. The soundscape boldly given might succeed consistently as work that Nile Rodgers did.

"China Girl" has the theme of an impressive guitar. The sound of the song and the keyboard in close relation to an Oriental melody gives a good impression. The song in close relation to a new element might be also exactly invariable. Solo of the guitar is also impressive. This tune is credit of two people of Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Therefore, the space of an exactly good sound is produced including the melody.

"Let's Dance" has splendidly decided the directionality of this album. The band combines from a complete chorus attended with coming in succession of the sound. The element where the sound slightly has the part of the echo might be a technique of Nile Rodgers. The obbligati of Ensemble and the guitar of the band is also splendid. Nile Rodgers was made remarks that the synthesizer was not used in this album. The impression that fights as a work that gives priority to the performance as the band will be exactly given. Groove tries to continue and to complete the quality of the tune. The guitar and Sax also splendidly contribute to the tune.

In "Without You", the song in close relation to the element of POP is a feature. The song and the chorus who made good use of the falsetto put the impression of the tune. Drum that gives change to rhythm of eight. And, the impression with good sound of the guitar and the keyboard that twines invariably is given.

A good song and the chorus of "Ricochet" are impressive. Collage of shortwave radio. And, Omar Hakim that applied the change to the rhythm. The part of Sax and the guitar also raises the quality of the tune.

As for "Criminal World", the sound of a vocal keyboard twines round the guitar that the mute is done. The song progresses with the anacatesthesia. The progress of Chord is suddenly converted and shifts to a complete part. Changing Chord is boldly exactly given and has succeeded. A limited, of this tune transparent feeling has acted well overall, too.

As for "Cat People", the sound of a bold guitar and the drum is impressive. The flow round which a delicate part of the tune twines is exactly consistent though the element of Rock has gone out strongly. It might be a task accomplished by Nile Rodgers. The chorus and the guitar also consistently do a good performance.

The melody and the chorus of "Shake It" who has some humours are impressive. However, this tune might be a flow digested as a part that derives from the element of the music that David Bowie did. The song and the chorus twine round a steady rhythm well. It might have the element of the dance music a little. However, these are creativity and ideas always involved to David Bowie.

This album will be able to be counted as one shape to pursue a new music character with a complete revolution in the work of David Bowie in the 80's. The activity at that time of David Bowie with diversity got into the news exactly in various respects. And, the music character of this album might exactly contain the part in the turning point for David Bowie. However, it can be taken up as an album that contains the element that derives to the idea of the album announced further.

Review by fuxi
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This is the saddest David Bowie album ever. As soon as this appeared we all knew his career as a trend-setting artist was over. There are those who believe the 21st century has helped him recover a little, but he is now just one rapidly ageing singer among many, and I don't think he'll ever again make albums that will excite and inspire dozens (thousands, even!) of other artists.

What have we here? Oh, the title track may have been a worldwide hit, but it was also the least meaningful Bowie single that had ever appeared (apart from, perhaps, "The Laughing Gnome") and it fully deserved to be mercilessly lampooned, as Frank Zappa would do with "Be In My Video".

"China Girl" is a not too uncharming cover of a superb song; problem is that Iggy Pop's original recording sounds at least thirty times more powerful. I'm by no means an uncritical admirer of Iggy's oeuvre, but his "China Girl" makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, whenever I hear it, while Bowie's version merely tickles.

That leaves us with "Modern Love" (since all the rest of this album is sleek but utter tripe). Well, the best I can say is that it's a fun little ditty. The great David Bowie refashioning himself as Wham.

Oh David, how could you?

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars On paper, this album looks hideous. Scary Monsters found Bowie at a career and philosophical crossroads, between eccentric weirdness and mainstream popularity, and after a lengthy layoff this album showed that Bowie had fully committed himself to the latter. Putting aside the fact that 90% of the instances when a 70's mainstream artist gunned for 80's mainstream popularity ended up as massive gaffes in retrospect, the degree to which Bowie goes out of his way to make himself appear as normal and as quirk-free as he does here makes me a little sad. Anything that could possibly offend the sensibilities of an average listener, who may not have (for whatever reason) ever heard of Bowie, is suppressed as much as possible (there's sure no Robert Fripp here!!!), and given that Bowie's rough edges were half the charm of his albums in the first place, that's a major blow. Along these lines, the album is horrifically slick: Tony Visconti is no longer around, replaced with Nile Rodgers, and anybody who dislikes quintessentially 80's production as a rule should probably stay far away (my brother has told me this album is unlistenable based on production alone).

And yet, this album is decent and then some, and not just because of the great guitar contributions from Stevie Ray Vaughn (whose presence on the album, while very welcome, makes almost no sense in retrospect). The first three tracks are all pretty solid as far as early 80's, borderline-guilty-pleasure pop songs go, and while it's disconcerting at first to enjoy them as David Bowie songs, it's also pretty easy to get over this initial hesitation. "Modern Love" is full of big fast beats and a big fat chorus, and it's just so intoxicatingly enjoyable that I can mostly ignore the weirdly inane lyrics. "China Girl" is an update of a track Bowie had contributed to an Iggy Pop album a few years earlier, and it manages to strike an effective balance between the intrinsic darkness of the basic tune and the slick finishes that are applied to give it more commercial appeal. The short moody guitar passages are pretty killer, too. And as for the title track, I actually feel this is the one serious callback to the slightly artsy pop of Scary Monsters, even if it was the album's biggest single (albeit in a shorter version): after all, isn't this track essentially a slicker, more commercial sequel to "Fashion?" There may be no off-kilter Fripp lines here, but there are some terrific Vaughn ones in their stead, and the stern coldness of the "LET'S DANCE" backing vocals is fascinatingly disconcerting. It's funny to me to imagine people actually dancing to this.

Unfortunately, out of the other five tracks, I only really like the cover of "Criminal World," though I do find some intrigue in the awkward "Richochet, it's not the end of the world!" chorus of "Ricochet" (which otherwise isn't very good). "Without You" is hookless balladry that sounds way too much like a reject from Avalon, "Cat People" (a collaboration with Girgio Moroder, oy) makes little impression at all, and "Shake It" is quintessential background noise dance pop. Gosh, it's a good thing these last five tracks weren't released as a standalone album. Anyway, while about half of the album does pretty much nothing for me at all, and the good half probably could have been done by a couple dozen artists not named David Bowie, I still can give it a decent grade without much hesitation at all. Don't get this before Scary Monsters, but make sure you get the best tracks somehow.

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars To be fair to Bowie, his attempt at going commercial did at least pay off big time, which is more than some art rockers from the 1970s can say - remember Camel's debacle with The Single Factor? Still, there's no denying that Let's Dance is a dated piece which sees Bowie once again chasing current fashions as opposed to trailblazing them. The best song on the album is probably China Girl, but even then the original version on Iggy Pop's debut solo album The Idiot is far superior - Iggy's tortured roar really brings out the raw emotion of the piece, the post- punk delivery rocks harder, and it isn't afflicted with the irritating appropriation of Chinese musical motifs that Bowie indulges in here.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars A product of the 80s

Look out, it is the dreaded 80s and the saccharine sterile sounds permeated the airwaves and Bowie bowed down to the gods of radio convention to produce this wishy washy tripe. But I loved it! At least back in the 80s this was unforgettable especially with the streamlined video clips. I was not heavy into prog in the 80s, who was, let's face it. However in hindsight this is so unprogressive it is mind numbing in comparison to the inventive Bowie of yesteryear. This is as far removed from "Low" and "Heroes" as ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery" is in a different universe to their infamous "Love Beach".

The songs on "Let's Dance" are designed to groove to, like a disco awakening, and all feature choruses to sing along to. The radio was saturated with the synth soaked drum machine sounds that bombard this album. I admit a liking to the catchy danceable 'Modern Love', especially its fast paced Genesis synths and incessant drum crashes, and the silly but infectious 'China Girl' with Iggy Pop, who I learned to detest. I remember the film clip caused quite a stir at the time with lots of nudity and politically incorrect imagery. 'Let's Dance' is the one with tons of synth blasts and those 80s echoed drums, but wow it is a catchy beast. I also admit a fondness to 'Cat People (Putting Out Fire)' mostly due to the fact that it opened the breathtaking trippy movie starring Mr Bowie as a demented cat changeling with Nastasha Kinski's gorgeous feline eyes.

I won't mention the rest of the album is it is not worth anything, as throwaway as you can find, but overall the album made a big impact and is a product of the 80s. there are 4 killer tracks if you are in the mood to kick back and let it flow over you in a cloud of nostalgia. No prog, not even a sliver, just a lot of radio fodder, which is well past it's use by date.

Latest members reviews

4 stars AWESOME. In my opinion, "Let's Dance" is David Bowie's strongest moment. The idea sounds pretty horrible; a disco/party album embellished with blues guitar. But this album is actually one of my all time favourite albums. Not only are the tunes catchy and great to dance to, but the songs are ... (read more)

Report this review (#918366) | Posted by The Mystical | Saturday, February 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Why all the harsh reviews on this album? Alright, it may not be as progressive as his earlier attemps. In fact there's only two slightly progrelated tracks on the entire album, namely Without You and Ricochet, but as a pop album it actually works pretty well. Yes, it was a watershed record co ... (read more)

Report this review (#595813) | Posted by LakesideRitchie | Sunday, December 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Rating: 7/10 Definitively the peak of Bowie's efforts in a decade in which he almost always -but in this occasion- got there late. But here he develops an instinctive bunch of '80s classics that now can be considered as some of the greatest singles in his career. He also seems to fit ... (read more)

Report this review (#459200) | Posted by Mattiias | Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Bowie goes big dollars. I remember this album from when it was released. The majority of my local school (high school) loved it. The geeks hated it. My own attitude was "could not care less" because I was in a Neil Young phase of my life. Well, I guess this review means I have fallen down f ... (read more)

Report this review (#263089) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Popular music experienced a surge in the 1980's thanks to the advent of the so-called Second British Invasion and MTV. In the middle of all the English pin-up bands such as Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet was the old (by MTV standards) Thin White Duke himself, David Bowie. 3 years removed from th ... (read more)

Report this review (#191803) | Posted by jimidom | Thursday, December 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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