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David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars', often shortened to 'Ziggy Stardust', is the fifth studio album of David Bowie and was released in 1972. It's a conceptual album based on a story of a fictional rock star named Ziggy Stardust. Ziggy is the human manifestation of an alien being who is attempting to present humanity with a message of hope in the last five years of the existence of Earth. Ziggy represents the life of a great rock star with the excessive use of drugs and sex, and where in the end he was able of destroy the message due to his own excesses.

'Ziggy Stradust' has eleven tracks. All songs were written and composed by Bowie, except 'It Ain't Easy' written by Ron Davies. The first track 'Five Years' tells of an Earth doomed to destruction in five years in the aftermath of this knowledge. It's a song that begins with a very simple musical idea but that slowly and gradually changes due to a fantastic and an emotional crescendo. This is a fantastic song, very well orchestrated, and that represents an incredible opening number. The second track 'Soul Love' isn't one of the highlights of the album, but definitely is a great song. It's a very good glam rock song, where the guitar and the saxophone play wonderfully and where we can hear the great and powerful voice of Bowie. This version was also released as the B side of the live single 'Blackout', released in 1978. The third track 'Moonage Daydream' is the song that depicts Ziggy's transformation. Lyrically, it describes the creation of is own person from a combination of religion, romance, sex, rebellion and passion, and subsequently he metamorphoses into the rock star. Musically, is an excellent pure hard rock song with some symphonic musical arrangements. It's truly a classic rock song, the heaviest song on the album. The fourth track 'Starman' is the song chosen to be released as the first single of the album. The lyrics describe Ziggy bringing a message of hope and salvation to Earth, through the radio by an alien, Starman. Musically is a song in a gentle pop rock vein, featuring great and beautiful acoustic guitar work and string arrangements by Mick Ronson. This is one of the highlights of the album. The fifth track 'It Ain't Easy' is a cover of a song of Ron Davies. It sounds to the southern country American rock and because of that, in my opinion, it seems to be a song a little bit out of the place. This is my less favourite song and probably the only weak song on the album. The sixth track 'Lady Stardust' is in generally interpreted as alluding to glam rock icon Marc Bolan, the front man of the rock group T. Rex, an artist very appreciated by Bowie. It's a very nice acoustic space ballad, mainly performed by piano and acoustic guitar. This is a song that reminds me very strongly the piano acoustic ballads of Elton John. The seventh track 'Star' is a short song and one of the greatest songs on the album. Lyrically it's the song that begins Ziggy journey as a Rock'n'Roll star. It's a truly glam art rock song which proves that a short song can be a great song. This is the prototype of a perfect rock song. The eighth track 'Hang On To Yourself' is another good and wonderful song of the album, portraying the Spiders from Mars comforting Ziggy. This is a song quite representative of glam rock's influence as a bridge between rock and punk. It's a catchy and wonderful song, as everything on the album is, but a little bit dark. The ninth track 'Ziggy Stardust' was inspired by the legendary Stardust Cowboy. It's a very sad song that shows the decline of the alien rock star. This is the most famous song of the album and probably its best song too. It's an extraordinary iconic song with immortal lyrics, where Bowie's vocals seduce us as never, and Ronson plays as if it was his last time. The tenth track 'Suffragette City' is the song chosen to be released as the third single of the album. It's a fantastic hard rock song that describes Ziggy's paranoia. This is one of the most energetic Bowie's rock songs that feature a very heavy piano riff. It's a kind of a semi-punk/rock music that reminds me Roxy Music. The eleventh track 'Rock'n'Roll Suicide' is the second song from this album to be released as the second single of it. Lyrically it detailed Ziggy's final collapse as an old Rock'n'Roll star. Musically this is a superb song. It's a song at the same time beautiful, dramatic, emotive, passionate and dark. This is one of the best and one of my favourite songs too. It represents a dramatic and a perfect way to close this special and unique album.

Conclusion: 'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars' is a very special album and one of the best and most representative albums of the glam art rock from the 70's. It became also a landmark and one of the most known and important rock albums ever made. So, 'Ziggy Stardust' became with other albums like 'Roxy Music' and 'For Your Pleasure' from Roxy Music, as one of the albums that most contributed to influence the punk movement and the new wave. Despite 'Ziggy Stradust' being not a truly progressive album, it would be a perfect tragedy not has it in your personal collection, because it's absolutely essential for any classic rock fan. In reality, we are in presence of a brilliant conceptual album that became as one of the greatest musical influences even in the progressive rock music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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