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David Bowie - Pin Ups CD (album) cover


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2 stars Even if this album is made of covers, it is the fourth one that David released in twenty-two months!

In the meantime, David/Ziggy put an end (?) to his stage life on July 3rd, London. Hammersmith Odeon. Bowie said in front of a petrified audience: "From all the shows from this tour, this one will be the most remembered because it is not only the last one of this tour. It is the last one.for ever". And there we went for "Rock'n'Roll Suicide".

Even if he killed Ziggy, Bolder and Ronson will still survive for a while and do play on this recording (but it will be their last album with Bowie). The press unanimously shot it down but the fans pushed it again at the first spot of the UK charts.

Still, this is not a good album IMO. My fave songs were (and still are) "Here Comes The Night" (from "Them"), "Friday On My Mind" ("The Easybeats") and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" ("The Who"). The Floyd cover ("See Emily Play") is average, less childish than the original but not really convincing. David was rather attracted by Syd with whom he had lots of things in common in the late sixties.

On a remastered CD edition, one can find a cover from Maître Jacques. This version of "Amsterdam" is not bad but during the finale, David is quite noisy in his vocals. The passion of Maître Jacques is not very well represented. But so far, I've never heard someone (except "Ange", maybe) capable of convincing me with one of his covers.

Bowie's love for Brel is not new: as soon as in 1967, he was covering him already. At the end of the day, you might well add this one in the good category. It backed up "Let's Spend The Night Together". At least in Belgium.

The other songs are quite dispensable. I have never really liked this album. I was more on the side of the critics than of the fans. Maybe premonitory of my "no more heroes" philosophy which will see the light in 78. And will never leave me.

Two stars. One of his weakest album.

Report this review (#174858)
Posted Sunday, June 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Notably there are many artists nowadays doing cover song albums of other artists. Yawningly there are so many now one can almost cringe. Even Robert Plant is doing it. BUT David Bowie decided to do his version in 1973 with Pin Ups. Speaks volumes! And because of this while he was still full of ideas and creative genius it carries a hell of a lot more weight too.

Pin Ups gets plenty of airplay in this household with some excellent covers and is heads and shoulders above many failed embarrassing attempts from other musicians in recent years. Not necessarily progressive either. Highlights would have to be See Emily Play, Sorrow, and Shapes of things. Great addition to your collection. Good covers.Good all round.

Report this review (#176906)
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is David Bowie's first and only cover album,shortly after he killed his Ziggy Stardust character. But,he still works with The Spiders minus Mick Woodmansey.

Pin Ups open with ''Rosalyn'' this is a very Proto-Punk track.Bowie gives this song a new edge.

''Here comes The Night'' is a great cover.A very excellent track.He makes it his own song.

''I wish You Would'' continues the trend of the last two.Excellent as well.

''See Emily Play'' is the most progressive you get on this album.Bowie uses voice effects on this song.Which you would later see on ''Fame''.Probably the best track,in prog terms.

''Everything's Alright'' is a personal favorite of mine.I love the funk that Bowie mixes in it.And the chorus is also why I love it.

''I Can't Explain'' sounds older than the original that The Who made.It sounds very 1950's.

''Friday On My Mind'' is one of my favorite tracks by him.I actually have had this cover stuck in my head for the longest time.

''Sorrow'' took a few listens for me before it could really take full throttle on me.But I find it really great. The violin intro,Bowie's voice near the end is exceptional.

''Don't Bring Me Down'' is not very good,next to the other songs.

''Shapes of Things'' is another progressive track.Bowie brings his brilliance to this track with effects and Mick's guitar work.

''Anyway,Anyhow.Anywhere'' is a great cover.Bowie really sings good and it ends up creating that same edge the original song did.Its the heaviest song on this album.Aynsley Dunbar's drums are really stick out.

''Where Have All the Goodtimes Gone'' is actually great.Because Bowie just sings it like its one of his original songs.

Now here comes the harsh part,as a Bowie fan,I love it but most prog fans would hate this album. It has only two prog type songs.Really this is for fans only.Its not remotely progressive so I will have to give it two stars.

Report this review (#178197)
Posted Friday, July 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Long before cover albums became a fad (along with the equally almost obligatory MTV umplugged CD), David Bowie released this very interesting collection of cover songs that gives a clue about his musical tastes as an english teenager in the 60´s swinging London. It was also his last work with his famed backing band, The Spiders From Mars. Drummer Mick Woodmansey was fired before these sessions but guitarrist extraordinaire Mick Ronson and bassist Trevor Bolder (future Wishbone Ash and a member of Uriah Heep to this day) remained, along with celebrated pianist Mike Garson and studio ace Aynsley Dunbar replacing Woodmansey. Future Rolling Stone Ron Wood guests on one of the bonus tracks.

David Bowie gives his interpretations of songs by The Yardbirds, Them, Pretty Things, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Easybeats and The Kinks . All arrangements are respetful and quite faithful to their original form. Of course some are better than the others, but it is quite interesting to see how an original and skillful songwriter like Bowie sings his favorite tunes of the past. Sorrow, See Emily Play and Where Have All The Times Gone are some of the CD´s highlights. Bowie also shows he knew how to play some fine harmonica (plus sax and moog on some tracks) when needed to. My CD copy came with two bonus tracks: the unreleased Growin up and the Sorrow´s single b side Port Of Amsterdam. Nice additions.

Conclusion: a fun record to listen to. Not essential in any way, not to be taken too seriously either, but quite entertaining. It was the first Bowie record I ever heard (thanks to my sister´s collection) and I still like it. 3 stars.

Report this review (#229059)
Posted Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Matthew T
5 stars With Twiggy on the cover and heaps of hype Pin Ups was released back in 1973 and lasted in the charts for 4 to 5 months. Mr Bowie had decided to do an album of covers and not just any covers but what today are considered Rock,Pop and Psyche classics. With only the style that is Bowie he rips through these numbers and he is trying and giving the songs his stamp. Much maligned by the critics but for me they missed the point,so what if there is not an original on this album, the versions that David Bowie has created here are driving and rocking and this album will always be considered to be my favourite of his. I found many of his own albums great but there was always a bit of patch in them but not so with this. There is not one bad track.

Off we go with the the first track Rosalyn originally performed by The Pretty Things and he approaches it with fervour and one hard rocking song gets this album going. The single which sold by the bucket load taken of the album was Sorrow and was a hit for The Merseys who covered the song as well. He does covers of the Sid Barret ( Pink Floyd) classic See Emily Play, Easy Beats..Friday on my mind,The Who ..I Can't Explain another Pretty Things and Who cover as well as songs by Them,Yardbirds, Kinks etc, as you notice all top notch material from that era in British music.

When I bought this album about half of the songs listed on this album I had never heard in their original version myself and today I still love this album. One other note this was his last recording that he did with with The Spiders and that period was over. Classic time in the 70s and a classic album of covers which other great musicians attempt but do not succeed like this. I was given this album by a girl when I was 14 ( first thing I think I ever got off one) and I know many may wince but to me this a masterpiece and a quick history of that era ,A La David Bowie.

Report this review (#258407)
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.)

Report this review (#259033)
Posted Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I did not expect to dislike this album this much. I mean, I knew that pretty much everybody disliked this album, considering this one of Bowie's career low points, but I didn't see how that could be possible; just how harmful could an album of covers of songs from the previous decade be? Especially when it was recorded after two albums that, at the worst, were in the top quarter of Bowie's career? Especially when it's only about half an hour long?

Well, um, this album is really bad, especially given how promising the track listing makes it look. I'm only familiar with a few of these tracks in their original versions, but they're all tracks I've always liked, and I figured that, at worst, Bowie would give them slightly eccentric tweaks that would produce alternate versions I could come back to once in a while. What I didn't expect was for him to suck so much of the life and enjoyment out of these songs, and for every single change to be one for the worse. The only track that I end up enjoying in its entirety, "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," is the one where Bowie takes a relatively conservative approach and doesn't tweak much. People tend to offer praise towards "See Emily Play," but I'm at a loss to understand why. I do admit that the addition of an extended pseudo-psychedelic section at the end is kinda neat, but the main portion just doesn't sound good to me at all. "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?" is decent enough, but far less exuberant than the original; "I Can't Explain" is slowed down to a crawl and made sleazier, I guess, but the saxophone and David's singing don't help things much; and "Shapes of Things" is about a dozen times worse than either the Yardbirds original or the great Jeff Beck version on Truth.

So anyway, like I said, I don't know the original versions of the other tracks on here, but I'm willing to bet that the originals all sounded way better than these covers. Ronson does his best to save the album from Bowie's, um, "inspirations" and his awful singing, which is what saves the album from an even lower grade, but even he can only do so much. I think what ultimately irritates me the most about the album is that it sounds like a two-week tossoff project by a drug-addled superstar who's come to believe his own press, which I'm guessing isn't too far from the truth. Bowie could have, nay, should have made something better out of this project, but as is, it's an album that most people can do without.

Report this review (#291391)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars After Aladdin Sane, Bowie decided that he wanted to take a bit more time about crafting its followup, Diamond Dogs - but his record company were constantly pestering him for more material, even going so far as to reissue Space Oddity and The Man Who Sold the World with anachronistic cover art depicting Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust phase. To placate them whilst he worked on the abortive 1984 musical which would become Diamond Dogs, he quickly cut this album of covers, giving a dirty glam rock veneer to Bowie's favourite songs from the Swinging London scene of the 1960s.

Aside from Sorrow, which is genuinely affecting, most of the songs here suffer on most issues from a mastering job which fails to tease out the wild garage rock stylings that Bowie was trying to bring to the material here - a sound reminiscent of Bowie not so much directly covering the material as Bowie covering the Stooges covering the Britpop originals. Thankfully, the Five Years boxed set and its accompanying reissues of the individual albums solves this issue magnificently, with the remasters finally teasing out the true quality of the material. (Possibly it helps that the set includes the Santa Monica '72 live release, which showcases Bowie and Spiders in a garage rock mood that could have helped the remastering crew find the appropriate spin to put on the material.) Star rating is for that issue of the album; earlier CD issues lose several stars for burying the release's charms.

Report this review (#508117)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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