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David Bowie - Aladdin Sane CD (album) cover

ALADDIN SANE

David Bowie

 

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3.86 | 357 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
5 stars LET YOURSELF GO!

"A Lad Insane" was written on the roads during the extensive "Ziggy" tour. But David was extremely busy in those days. Not only is he reaching the stardom he was looking for since the mid sixties as a band leader/solo artist.

He co-produced (with Ronson) another great album in 1972. "Transformer" form his mate Lou Reed. And as a fan (as I was), he wanted to help another one of his idol. The charismatic Ian Hunter, the front man of "Mott The Hoople".

In those days, the Hoople was in an all-time low (actually, they never lift off). Bowie proposed them "Suffragette City" but they didn't take it. Then came "All The Young Dudes". THE glam-rock anthem. And it will peak at the third spot of the UK charts. The Hoople were launched.For the best of us all.

The third and by far the most complex album is the one with Iggy & The Stooges. David is producing that one as well. As the name shows "Raw Power" won't be a great example of subtlety. But it will be a landmark of the rock history.

During the US leg of the Ziggy tour, the band is traveling by bus (David feared the plane in those times) and this long trip will inspire him for six of the songs form this album. One can follow their route while reading the titles of the songs on the sleeve. From New-York ("Watch That Man") to L.A. ("Cracked Actor").

"A Lad In Sane / Aladin Sane" is the most rocking album from Bowie. Seriously influenced by the Stones and the simple but so effective Richards riffs. It is actually a vibrant homage to rock (he will confirm this in his next album "Pin- Ups", but that's another story).

The most experimental track of the whole is definitely the title track. Decadent and chaotic, this song is totally different from the rest of the album. The piano play, the jazzy feeling is a huge contrast here. An excellent piece of music.

With "Drive-In Saturday" (originally written as a follow-up to "All The Young Dudes" for Hoople) David got back to the apocalyptical atmosphere which contrast with some doo-wop influence. A post-nuclear drive-in movie party during which the audience made up of mutants can watch how to make love. Because they forgot how to do it.. A kind of simulation before going home.to bed.A highlight.

The rocking mood goes on with "Panic In Detroit". It is depicting the wild environment of the city. With an excess of violent lyrics: "Found him slumped across the table. A gun and me alone, I ran to the window. Looked for a plane or two. Panic in Detroit"

Inevitably, L.A. will inspire "Cracked Actor". A harsh description of the showbiz: "You sold me illusions for a sack full of cheques. You've made a bad connection 'cause I just want your sex". Might well have happened.

The B-side opens on another great song. My fave (in conjunction with another Genie one). It is a complex one, cabaret-like oriented, decadent as well with the omni-presence of a fantastic piano play. The finale is truly bombastic and pompous. "Time" of course is another highlight.

The next song "The Prettiest Star" is an old one that David wrote in 1970 for Angie. On the original single version (which was a complete flop) Marc Bolan was playing the guitar. It is another one of the very good songs of this album, but a bit lost compared to so phenomenal other great ones.

How can you be more Stones oriented than covering one of their songs? And one of the most sulfurous ones, which is probably not chosen at random? Here you go with "Let's Spend The Night Together".

Now, "The Jean Genie".

This one hold a particular place in my heart. It is thanks to this song that I was put in contact with Bowie for the very first time in 1973. It was aired quite a lot on the Belgian radio ("Formule J"). I succumbed immediately and it was the start of a loooooong story. Infectious riff, hard-rocking beat, wild. Perfect.

It is Bowie's biggest hit single (peaking at the second spot in the UK, just after "Blockbuster" from Sweet which was using a similar type of riff). This album will reach the number one spot. In my heart as well.

Did I say masterpiece?

ZowieZiggy | 5/5 |

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