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David Bowie - Pin Ups CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.04 | 217 ratings

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4 stars I can't believe this album has received such low ratings! For me, this is one of the most enjoyable albums in the Bowie canon. The recording is crisp and immaculate, the band are on FIRE, and Mike Garson's crazy piano is all over the place: a delight!

Even though I respect and enjoy nearly all of Bowie's 1970s albums, few of them give me as much pleasure as PIN UPS. Not even ZIGGY STARDUST. You may laugh if you like, but PIN UPS has far more pizzazz than comparable albums by John Lennon or Bryan Ferry that were released around the same time.

Hell, I've never even heard the 1960s originals of "Rosalyn", "Everything's Alright" or "Friday on my Mind". But I can hardly imagine they're as much fun as Bowie's. Where I do know the originals (as with "Here Comes the Night", "Shapes of Things", "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" and "Where Have All the Good Times Gone"), I can tell that Bowie has a great time camping up the original vocals by the likes of Van Morrison or Ray Davies. Aynsley Dunbar actually surpasses Keith Moon's drumming on "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere", which also benefits from early 1970s' superior recording technique. Dunbar shines once more (and frenetically so!) on in "Friday on my Mind", and Mick Ronson has a whale of a time emulating Jeff Beck's epic solo on "Shapes of Things".

The only tracks that don't work too well are "I Can't Explain", which is unforgivably slowed down, and a rather turgid ballad called "Sorrow". The latter may, however, be of historical importance since it's the earliest track I'm aware of where you will hear Bowie croon, using his voice's lower register. Also, Syd Barrett freaks won't be too happy with Bowie's cover of "See Emily Play", since it lacks the subtlety of the Pink Floyd original. But it is bearable.

If you don't mind buying a second-hand copy, go for the (remastered) Rykodisc reissue from 1990, which boasts two fascinating bonus tracks: Jacques Brel's melodramatic "In the Port of Amsterdam" (Bowie solo, using acoustic guitar) and Bruce Springsteen's very own "Growing Up" (Bowie with band). It turns out Bowie was a Springsteen fan from day one. (Something virtually no one would have believed in the late Seventies, when Bowie and Springsteen seemed to have two mutually exclusive fan clubs.)

fuxi | 4/5 |


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