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David Bowie - Aladdin Sane CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.84 | 374 ratings

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4 stars Essential Bowie! Along with a lot of other Bowie albums of course. Although it's a slight dip in quality from the previous three masterpieces, this is a real feast for music fans. I should warn you, though, that there is very little prog here, and the string arrangements and mellotron have gone. The Spiders from Mars are still his band, and Mick Ronson still packs the best punch of the pack, with his super glammed-up riffs. Mike Garson on piano is an excellent addition to the team, giving more than one absolutely memorable performances. Bowie takes on the persona of Aladdin Sane (obviously), a continuation of the Ziggy Stardust character, only more alien-like.

'Watch That Man' kicks off with a lot of energy, and sets the tone as a pure glam rock song. The mix is a bit unorthodox, with vocals very low, but this adds to the atmosphere, and it really feels like party time with this song on. 'Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?)' is a more interesting track, with some of the most impressive piano playing this side of J. S. Bach! The piano solo takes the form of avant-garde jazz, and the rest of the song is very dreamy and odd. 'Drive-In Saturday' is what Bowie calls a futuristic nostalgia song, and was a hit single. It's very interesting lyrics tell a story about a society where reproduction is forgotten about and has to be relearned. Mick Jagger and Carl Jung are name checked here, among others. 'Panic in Detroit' is the weak link in a strong chain. It is typical glam rock, but there is nothing here to keep my attention. 'Cracked Actor' on the other hand, is glam done right: catchy energetic and oversexed. 'Time' is a brilliant song taking a very dark cabaret style. David dares an expletive or two here, making this song very controversial. The piano, once again is fabulous. 'The Prettiest Star' is a love song of high quality. Not a standout, but a good song. 'Let's Spend the Night Together' is a Rolling Stones cover, which I prefer to the original. The pure energy shown by Ronson is amazing and the song is reinterpretted into the language of glam rock. 'The Jean Genie' is a single with a killer riff, and far out, science fiction lyrics. Translate that last sentence as 'the essence of classic Bowie'. 'Lady Grinning Soul' was intended for a James Bond film, but was rejected. What a shame, because the sexy class shining from the song, would fit perfectly. Here we get... a great performance from Mike Garson!!!

For a Bowie fan this is an essential album. Alos essential for glam fans, and most classic rock fans. A prog fan would find little of interest here, although Bowie covers several genres.

I would recomend it to anyone who wants to hear some good music really, but because of a weak link or two, I will award it four stars.

I would like to dedicate this review to the late, great Mick Ronson. A guitarist from my own home city in England, he deserves a special mention in regards to his work with Bowie. As the second greatest Hullensian (in terms of Chronological order and importance) he deserves a lot more respect than he gets.

burtonrulez | 4/5 |


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