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David Bowie - Heathen CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.74 | 205 ratings

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4 stars Before recording Heathen, David Bowie and Tony Visconti had been tinkering away at Toy, an attempt to produce an album in the style of Bowie's mid-60s recording as a combination of old material and new songs written in that sixties pop style. In the end, they decided to make this much more modern-sounding album instead, but some of the songs from Toy were reused for this one with updated music - so you end up having this curious juxtaposition of sixties pop rhythms to the lyrics whilst musically we're in a sort of mildly industrial slightly glammy version of then-current post-Radiohead art rock.

To be honest, this is a style which suits Bowie down to the ground. He'd ceased being a trendsetter since Scary Monsters and had spent most of the subsequent decades chasing fashion instead of blazing a trail for it, but finally fashion ended up coming up with something that played to Bowie's strengths. With cover versions of selected songs by The Pixies, Neil Young and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Bowie acknowledges some unexpected influences on his music, whilst the original material is some of his strongest for a long, long time. It's not a new classic, but it's certainly his best album since Scary Monsters and a pretty artistically successful piece in its own right.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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