Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs CD (album) cover


David Bowie


Prog Related

3.60 | 274 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
3 stars My first Bowie review. Very cool. Good use of saxophones, moog synthesizers and a whole lot of signature Bowie vocal stylings, Diamond Dogs is one of his better efforts, and although I'm not as huge a Bowie fan as some others on here, I can recognize his ability to tell stories through music, and this album also tells a story of sorts. But come on, let's not be coy; first and foremost, this is a collection of songs. Yes, most of them segue together, and there is a sense of flow to the whole thing, but these songs are just as enjoyable when listened to on their own, and this is not a 'concept album' in the traditional sense of the term. I think that actually does good for it, however, since a small handful of tracks on here aren't as strong as most others, and the 'flow' isn't disrupted when hitting the '>>|' button.

''Future Legend'' starts out with a distant howl, then consists of synthesizers and echoey guitars serving as the backdrop for a very eccentric narration leading into the title track.

''Diamond Dogs'' is the longest song, clocking in at 5:56. It's a good song, fairly predictable. I suspect that's the idea, as the cliche old style Rock 'n' Roll melodies and beats are the stars, and the fun-loving, upbeat attitude of Bowie and co. clearly needed the more conventional song structure to be there so they could just let loose without having to think much about the timing or key. It's certainly not my favorite song on the album, and its lack of originality causes me to skip it more often than not, regardless of how good the instrumentation is. I've heard hundreds of other songs just like it.

''Sweet Thing'' has an epic opening full of dread and that dark tone continues into the song itself, despite the vocal melody being lovely. This is one of the better tracks on the album, and Bowie's spoken-word-meets-singing vocal style suits the music very well, here. The song seamlessly bleeds into the next one, titled ''Candidate''.

''Candidate''. I think of the light-hearted gothic pop tunes from Rocky Horror when hearing this type stuff. Although the songs themselves are much better than anything heard in that film, I feel the goofy, dark attitude is often the same. A particularly cool section of this song features sax and electric guitar trading off lead roles. Very good track.

''Sweet Thing (Reprise)'' is the most beautiful movement in this three-part track, and ends with a lovely piano flourish soon followed by a bass and drum-led march, stomping on with determined ferocity and accompanied by some of the funkiest distorted guitar work on the record. The song instantly ends, and the album does not pause at all before the next song takes the wheel of this ongoing musical ride.

''Rebel Rebel'' features one of my all-time favorite Rock guitar riffs. It's just so groovy and melodically sound. It serves as the intro and main riff for not just the verses, but also the chorus. The pre-chorus is the only musical section that doesn't feature it. Now, knowing that, you may think this song is weak due to the lack of variety, but the beautiful thing about Bowie is that he so often is able to keep things interesting no matter what. Yes, it's true the same musical moments are happening over and over, but he's also singing a vast array of different melodies overtop of that basic riff. So it means that the song doesn't get boring because Bowie's diverse vocal stylings won't allow it to. It's actually my favorite song on the album.

''Rock 'n Roll With Me''. Another lovely, simple tune. Again, it's elaborating on already-existing themes and song structures, but it is more successful at maintaining its own identity than the title track. Not too long, either, so even though it's pleasant enough, it is also not a huge deal if you end up skipping this one as well.

''We Are The Dead''. A song that a lot of people seem to like, but for me it's just not as exciting or flavorful as most other songs on the album. Another throw-away song for me, personally.

''1984''. Wonderful, wonderful song. Very seventies-style wah-guitar being palm-muted and strummed with plenty of energy and attitude. As a complete song, it rocks, and yet I find it hard to pinpoint specific moments in the song that particularly stand out to me. That being said, it's still fantastic, and even though it may not have any starring moments for me personally, I still find it to be among the best tracks on the album-- certainly in my top three.

''Big Brother'' is probably the proggiest track on Diamond Dogs, with a very eery synthesized opening, and even when the song really gets going, the singing style is highly reminiscent of Frank Zappa. Not the first time Bowie has reminded me of Zappa, but certainly one of the most obvious moments. However the melodies themselves are much too poppy to be considered full-on 'Prog' by most. This song is fantastic also, and features a nice mixture of everything. The chorus is just dynamite, and really conveys the emotion behind the message. A well performed song that leads into my personal favorite track on the record.

''Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family'' is one of the first Bowie tracks I ever heard, and I loved then and still adore it now. It's so much fun! Almost maddening, but in a friendly way, the short song is basically just the same chant of nonsensical vocals while a variety of circling sound effects and a consistent, groovy guitar riff serve as the environment for the silliness to run rampant in. Eventually, the shocking, humorous ending brings things to a sudden and unexpected halt, and that is the end of Diamond Dogs.

A very good album with a few rough patches, David Bowie's Diamond Dogs is a nice poppy diversion from all the constant Prog, while also having enough proggy, experimental passages itself to make sure things stay interesting. A good album, but won't appeal to everybody, and certainly not to every Prog fan. Still, worth checking out. If you're a fan of the physical album, the trippy cover art alone makes it worth owning.

Fairly happy listening.

JLocke | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this DAVID BOWIE review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives