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David Bowie - Hunky Dory CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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4.18 | 530 ratings

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5 stars Often when people are asked to point to David Bowie's first truly amazing album, Hunky Dory is the one that gets mentioned, for reasons that are quite esay to see once giving it a listen. What we've got here is an album that took the grandiose anthems of the previous couple of albums and then ups the ante even further, with countless hooks everywhere underpinned by some remarkable variety in terms of tone and overall feel. This ultimately provides a listening experience that's far more consistently engaging while also having some incredible highlights that still remain some of Bowie's greatest work.

When talking about these highlights, the unforgettable Changes and Life On Mars? are the ones likely to immediately come to mind, and for great reason. With Changes, while the verses are all around well constructed, it's the iconic chorus that really seals this as such a wonderful song, the wonderful escalating flourish of strings right before it erupts into such a simultaneously upbeat, yet wistful feeling burst of energy being charming no matter how many times you've heard it. Life On Mars on the other hand takes a far more grandiose approach, where every moment of the song is leading up to the awe inspiringly climactic chorus. While the melody of the verses is somewhat repetitive, the key changes give it the constant feeling of escalation that makes the song as memorable as it is. In terms of a couple of other songs that are particularly noteworthy, you've got Oh You Pretty Things, which is a similarly fun and infectious track with a very upbeat sound that manages to be outstanding once again based mostly around the charm and amazing melody that Bowie is able to create to such an effective degree. The biggest outlier on the album, yet one of very high quality, is Queen Bitch, which is not only far more energetic, but utilises a more abrasive guitar tone, which when combined with the more sarcastic vocal delivery that Bowie provides on this track, makes this sound very much like a Velvet Underground song. Not only does this bring some freshness to the album, but it's a blast to listen to.

While Hunky Dory likely contains some of the highest highs in David Bowie's career however, it's definitely another very inconsistent album, and one that's extremely top heavy, with most of side A being noticeably better than the second half of this, with the exception of the inconsequential, forgettable Eight Line Poem. It definitely feels like this side of the album was dedicated to the quirkier cuts of the album, and this works to varying degrees of success, as while the majority of these songs are very good, they don't really compare for the most part to the breathtaking highlights of the first half. What makes this less of a problem for the album is that when I listen to songs like Andy Warhol and The Bewlay Brothers without thinking about the masterpieces that came before, they really do reveal just how great they are in their own right, ultimately revealing this to be an album largely composed of amazing tracks, just with some being on a higher calibre.

It's really easy to see why many people consider this album to be one of David Bowie's absolute greatest, given how many stunning moments this has spread throughout, with the filler still for the most part having some semblance of charm, even if FIll Your Heart and Eight Line Poem definitely feel a few cuts below the rest. This is just a really entertaining album all across the board that balances decent variety with a constant sense of fun in order to create a near unforgettable listening experience, and the start of the long line of truly amazing albums that David Bowie would release.

Best tracks: Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, Life On Mars?, Queen Bitch

Weakest tracks: Eight Line Poem, Fill Your Heart

Verdict: This is just one of those albums that is basically essential listening, with there being so much charm packed into almost every moment, making it just an overall joy to listen to, despite the fact that it can initially feel inconsistent. This is one of the albums that I'd consider a great place to start when listening to David Bowie's catalogue for sure, at least for his glam era.

Kempokid | 5/5 |


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