Monday, May 28, 2007

273. David Bowie - Aladdin Sane (1973)

Track Listing

1. Watch That Man
2. Aladdin Sane
3. Drive In Saturday
4. Panic In Detroit
5. Cracked Actor
6. Time
7. Prettiest Star
8. Let's Spend The Night Together
9. Jean Genie
10. Lady Grinning Soul


This is the third in a triology of amazing albums by David Bowie, although most of his production in the 70's is really amazing, these three albums, the present one, Ziggy and Hunky Dory really define early 70's Bowie. Aladdin Sane is definitely an album that could only have happened after Bowie cracked the States with Ziggy Stardust.

The American influence is plastered all over the album, from almost doo-wop numbers to Stooges like numbers, to the subjects it shows an artist which has had his horizons opened to a new world. This is at least intellectually very interesting, but it is more than that, it is also very musically successful, because Bowie didn't limit himself to lifting American musical styles into a pastiche album. Bowie recreates music with a keen eye not only for the music itself but also on how to subvert it. This is most aparent near the beggining of the album with the title track, where the disjointed piano transforms what would be an otherwise trite track into something different.

This is also one of the most risque albums of the period, lyrics like "Suck baby suck, give me your head" or "Flexes like a whore, falls wanking to the floor" are definitely not family friendly but they add a certain rawness to the album that is not just gratuitous.

I can't really say that this is the apex of early 70's Bowie, because it isn't as good an album as Hunky Dory but it is an essential album of the era not only for Bowie fans but for fans of music all around. That Bowie is a musical chameleon has become a cliché, but that he is such a successful innovator is something that needs to be listened to to be believed, so you owe yourself to get this album. So get it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Panic In Detroit
2. Cracked Actor
3. Lady Grinning Soul
4. Time

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

With a purported 100,000 copies ordered in advance, Aladdin Sane debuted at the top of the UK charts and reached #17 in America, making it Bowie's most successful album commercially in both countries to that date. Critical reaction was generally laudatory, if more enthusiastic in the U.S. than in the UK. Rolling Stone remarked on "Bowie's provocative melodies, audacious lyrics, masterful arrangements (with Mick Ronson) and production (with Ken Scott)", while Billboard called it a combination of "raw energy with explosive rock". In the British music press, however, letters columns accused Bowie of 'selling out' and Let it Rock magazine found the album to be more style than substance, considering that he had "nothing to say and everything to say it with".

Anime video for Panic in Detroit... whatever:

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