After reviewing what I personally regard as the top 11 singles by the one and only David Bowie, I shall now review his albums. David Bowie has produced some of the most unforgettable albums in music history, even the tracks, including those that were never released as singles, are classics! So without further ado, This is my personal list of Worst to Best; Albums by David Bowie.
Keeping in mind that this is a personal opinion.
David Bowie (1967)
Tracklist: “Uncle Arthur” / “Sell Me a Coat” / “Rubber Band” / “Love You till Tuesday” / “There Is a Happy Land” “We Are Hungry Men” / “When I Live My Dream” / “Little Bombardier” / “Silly Boy Blue” / “Come and Buy My Toys” / “Join the Gang” / “She’s Got Medals” / “Maid of Bond Street” / “Please Mr. Gravedigger”
Style: Mod, Pop Rock, Music Hall
Overall Rating: 56.43%
If there’s one album I’d label the worst, it’s David’s self-titled debut one. It ain’t flat-out terrible. It was a fair starting point for young David who was roughly 19/20 back then. The various themes covered through the songs (i.e. drug use through Join The Gang and abortion/cannibalism through We Are Hungry Men) are interesting and Love You Till Tuesday is especially a nice tune, but the majority of the tracks ain’t as memorable as his later works and, yeah, the music hall genre…? If you class David Bowie as your favourite album, fair enough, but dude, did you listen to his other albums?
Tin Machine II (1991)
Tracklist: Baby Universal / One Shot / You Belong In Rock N’ Roll / If There Is Something / Amlapura / Betty Wrong / You Can’t Talk / Stateside / Shopping For Girls / A Big Hurt / Sorry / Goodbye Mr. Ed
Style: Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 62.5%
The second and final album by Tin Machine, David’s short lived Pop Rock band, also one of the most underrated bands in music history. Tin Machine II, despite the occasional enjoyment, proves to be a weaker album and lacks much themes and creativity, compared to their first one. And I’m a little unsure about the album cover…
Tracklist: Thursday’s Child / Something In The Air / Survive / If I’m Dreaming My Life / Seven / What’s Really Happening? / The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell / New Angels Of Promise / Brilliant Adventure / The Dreamers
Style: Electronic/Alternative Rock
Overall Rating: 66%
Following Earthling, David switches to a softer rock genre for his final album to be produced by the high profile record company, EMI. There’s nothing much I can say about Hours. It maybe soothing and is about 47 mins long, but it kinda feels longer and is a bit of a snore-fest compared to David’s other 90s albums.
Space Oddity (1969)
Tracklist: Space Oddity / Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed / Don’t Sit Down / Letter To Hermione / Cygnet Committee / Janine / An Occasional Dream / The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud / God Knows I’m Good / Memory Of A Free Festival
Style: Folk Rock, Country Rock, Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Overall Rating: 66.5%
Space Oddity, or David Bowie as the album was originally called, but was also called and I’m calling it Space Oddity to avoid confusion with David’s first album, was an improvement to his debut album. The opening track is a definite masterpiece and contributed to the exciting news that Neil Armstrong became the first guy to put his feet on the moon, and a cool collaboration with the incredible Rick Wakeman on the electric harpsichord and mellotron. Space Oddity is his first ‘rock’ album, though I wouldn’t say this album is as super great as his further later stuff.
Tracklist: New Killer Star / Pablo Picasso / Never Get Old / The Loneliest Guy / Looking For Water / She’ll Drive The Big Car / Days / Fall Dog Bombs The Moon / Try Some, Buy Some / Reality / Bring Me The Disco King / Fly / Queen Of All The Tarts (Overture) / Rebel Rebel [re-recorded version]
Style: Art Rock
Overall Rating: 67.73%
Remember when Disney announced they was doing no more 2D animated films following the release of Home On The Range, but soon they did Princess & The Frog? Well, some of us thought that David was officially calling releasing new material a day after releasing Reality, but we had to be patient for another 10 years. How much can I remember from this album? Well, not much. None of the tracks are exactly Everybody Says Hi or I’m Afraid Of Americans, but with that said, the artwork of the cover is stylish and the bonus track, a re-recording of Rebel Rebel is decent.
Tracklist: Beauty & The Beast / Joe The Lion / Heroes / Sons Of The Silent Age / Blackout / V-2 Schneider / Sense Of Doubt / Moss Garden / Neukoln / Secret Life Of Arabia
Style: Electronic/Experimental/Ambient/Art Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 68.5%
Firstly, does the album or the title song really need speech marks? But oh well. “Heroes”, the second album from the Berlin trilogy and one of David’s collaborations with keyboard guru Brian Eno. David tries out more of a Kraftwerk-style – very electronic and a lot of relaxing ambience. David doesn’t do a lot of singing. The only true classics are the first three tracks, plus V-2 Schneider, in fact I wonder what would’ve happened if Beauty & The Beast was used as the theme tune to the Disney cartoon of the same name. The rest of the tracks are better off when you listen to them all together. I personally prefer the single version of Heroes, but I’d take any version over that David Guetta song; ew!
Next Day (2013)
Tracklist: The Next Day / Dirty Boys / The Stars (Are Out Tonight) / Love Is Lost / Where Are We Now? / Valentine’s Day / If You Can See Me / I’d Rather Be High / Boss Of Me / Dancing Out In Space / How Does The Grass Grow? / (You Will) Set The World On Fire / You Feel So Lonely You Could Die / Heat
Style: Art/Glam Rock
Overall Rating: 71.43%
The album cover says it all. David Bowie had returned after a longish break in the music industry and without a word, hence why his face is hidden behind the title. It’s like he didn’t want every Tom, Dick & Harry knowing that he was back in business and had a feeling The Next Day would sell a lot anyway. And gee, was he right. Solid glam rock. Also an improvement to his previous album Reality. The music videos are also worth a viewing. Of course, this album was released during the time when chart music was clearly going downhill. The Next Day does make up for it.
Tin Machine (1989)
Tracklist: Heaven’s In Here / Tin Machine / Prisoner Of Love / Crack City / I Can’t Read / Under The God / Amazing / Working Class Hero / Bus Stop / Pretty Thing / Video Crimes / Baby Can Dance
Style: Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 75.83%
And this was the first of only two albums to be released by Tin Machine. Always a pleasure to listen to, the first two tracks especially, with it’s harder-rock style. The majority of the material is quite political, I Can’t Read being about joblessness and homelessness and Under The God which is an attack on the “right wing d**ks”. There’s also the cover of John Lennon’s Working Class Hero. The songs may not be pure classics, but the album’s worth a listen.
Let’s Dance (1983)
Tracklist: Modern Love / China Girl / Let’s Dance / Without You / Ricochet / Criminal World / Cat People (Putting Out Fire) / Shake It
Style: Disco / Pop Rock / Soul
Overall Rating: 76.86%
And now we enter the eighties, the period where Britain was ruled by Thatcher and America was ruled by Reagan. And David gets into the groove with Let’s Dance, a feel good disco album. My main nitpick with the album is the extended versions of Modern Love, China Girl, Let’s Dance and Cat People. I personally prefer the single versions, but they’re still a joy. Did you know that Let’s Dance displays a metaphorical message on anti-racism?
Station To Station (1976)
Tracklist: Station To Station / Golden Years / Word On A Wing / TVC 15 / Stay / Wild Is The Wind
Style: Art Rock / Funk / Blue Eyed Soul / Pop
Overall Rating: 77.5%
Station To Station begins with a superb opening, the title track that is. If you thought Blackstar was the longest track David ever recorded, the title track to this one is several seconds longer and is indeed so rhythmic, the harmonica sound is distinguishable! Though it does introduce The Thin White Duke, David’s most conservative character, if you compare him to Major Tom and Ziggy Stardust, and it was a pretty dangerous move to the public. Golden Years creates a funky groove to the album, TVC 15 is one of my favourite songs of hi, the closing track, Wild Is The Wind, is one of my least favourites, not terrible, just a bit drab and boring.
Tracklist: Loving The Alien / Don’t Look Down / God Only Knows / Tonight / Neighborhood Threat / Blue Jean / Tumble And Twirl / I Keep Forgettin’ / Dancing With The Big Boys
Style: Funk / Soul / R&B / Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 78%
Tonight is the sort-of return to David’s old school roots; his alien creations, hence Loving The Alien for instance. Blue Jean is likely to remind listeners of The Jean Genie with a little more grooviness. Speaking of which, one main difference is that the album is slightly more funky and largely influenced by the classic rock & rollers such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Tonight may not follow much of a particular theme, but I seriously can’t understand all the hate-mail it gets. David got soul!
Tracklist: Fantastic Voyage / African Night Flight / Move On / Yassassin / Red Sails / D.J. / Look Back In Anger / Boys Keep Swinging / Repetition / Red Money
Style: Art Rock / Avant-Guarde / Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 78%
David’s final album of the Berlin Trilogy, that is Lodger. The Thin White Duke was definitely reaching the end of his era, which was a relief, because it was in fact David’s dodgiest character to date, hence the famous Nazi-salute he made. Boys Keep Swinging may suggest conservatism, hence the lyrics; “nothing stands in your way/you’re always first on the line, when you’re a boy” But what about when you’re a girl? Maybe the video will help. That said, the video’s one of the reasons why I do happen to love that song, and how groovy the music is. D.J. is fairly more democratic and focuses on the protagonist who’s “home, lost my job”, but does Djing in his spare time. Then there’s the opening track Fantastic Voyage which sympathises with those who suffer from depression (“learning to live with somebody’s depression”).
Tracklist: Leon Takes Us Outside / Outside / The Hearts Filthy Lesson / A Small Plot Of Land / Segue – Baby Grace (A Horrid Cassette) / Hallo Spaceboy / The Motel / I Have Not Been To Oxford Town / No Control / Segue – Algeria Touchshriek / The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction (As Beauty) / Segue – Ramona A. Stone / I Am With Name / Wishful Beginnings / We Prick You / Segue – Nathan Adler / I’m Deranged / Thru’ These Architects Eyes / Segue – Nathan Adler / Strangers When We Meet
Style: Industrial Rock
Overall Rating: 78.03%
Man, you could make a movie/musical out of this one, considering how many tracks there are and that some of them are monologues. Outside reminds me a bit of that Terry Gilliam film, Twelve Monkeys. If you think about it, the album demonstrates a dystopian view of the early part of the then-yet-to-come 21st Century. That I can also judge by observing the chalk-style art on the album cover. The music is Brian Eno and the Pet Shop Boys both put together, though Brian Eno was one of the producers and David did duet with the Boys for Hallo Spaceboy, which is a pure bouncy one!
Man Who Sold The World (1970)
Tracklist: The Width Of A Circle / All The Madmen / Black Country Rock / After All / Running Gun Blues / Saviour Machine / She Shook Me Cold / The Man Who Sold The World / The Supermen
Style: Hard Rock / Heavy Metal / Glam Rock / Blues Rock / Folk Rock
Overall Rating: 80%
The Man Who Sold The World signified how much David’s creativity was improving following his self-titled album and Space Oddity. Music-wise, the album is like a mix between Bob Dylan and Black Sabbath, in short, folk and heavyish metal. The title track is a nice folk song with a distinctive heavy guitar riff. All The Madmen draws on the schizophrenia his half brother had, while Running Gun Blues draws on the influences the Vietnam war had with a great gun (well, drum) riff. Did I mention that it also signals Mick Ronson’s first contribution to the legend?
Young Americans (1975)
Tracklist: Young Americans / Win / Fascination / Right / Somebody Up There Likes Me / Across The Universe / Can You Hear Me / Fame
Style: Blue Eyed Soul, Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 81.25%
Dave switches glam-rock for a bit of soul. We always knew his voice was as strong as say, James Brown’s, plus I reckon Diamond Dogs and his cover for Knock On Wood which he did for David Live definitely defined him as a soul musician. High points; I’m always in favour for some soul. The opening track makes me really want to visit the USA. Fame is what you call David’s Bohemian Rhapsody. I so want to cover that song, but it’s impossible to play on guitar. dunno how David managed it. A little less of a major theme, compared to Diamond Dogs and/or Aladdin Sane, but Young Americans still has the groove.
Hunky Dory (1971)
Tracklist: Changes / Oh You Pretty Things / Eight Line Poem / Life On Mars? / Kooks / Quicksand / Fill Your Heart / Andy Warhol / Song For Bob Dylan / Queen Bitch / Bewley Brothers
Style: Folk Rock / Glam Rock / Art Rock
Overall Rating: 81.82%
Many people consider Hunky Dory as David Bowie’s best album. Some readers are going to wonder why I ranked this album so off the top 10. I admit I like it better than The Man Who Sold The World and I give it credit for David’s first contribution to the glam rock era. But I don’t think Hunky Dory is as strong as, say, Aladdin Sane or Ziggy Stardust. Most of it’s a bit folksy and quiet, more like Tyrannosaurus Rex’s (later known as T.Rex) earlier material. However, the piano riffs from Rick Wakeman are so boogieing-great, especially on Changes, and there’s the nice soft melody on Life On Mars too. David also contributes to piano, on Oh You Pretty Things and Eight Line Poem. My favourite tracks from this album are Changes and the good ol’ rocking Queen Bitch! Speaking of Life On Mars, surrealism at its best also! “Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow”, what next, Bugs Bunny has grown up an orang-utan? lol.
Tracklist: Rosalyn / Here Comes The Night / I Wish You Would / See Emily Play / Everything’s All Right / I Can’t Explain / Friday On My Mind / Sorrow / Don’t Bring Me Down / Shapes Of Things / Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere / Where Have All The Good Times Gone?
Style: Glam Rock / Protopunk
Overall Rating: 82.5%
Okay, there ain’t much of a particular theme to Pin-Ups. It’s basically just a covers album, entirely with covers. David Bowie is best with his originals. But in the end, it doesn’t mean the album’s dreadful. There are some music artists who have made some awesome covers; The Searchers, Showaddywaddy, Marilyn Manson,… some to name. But then you had The Sex Pistols’ Great Rock & Roll Swindle which is worth skipping. It so can’t compare to Pin-Ups. David’s covers are great! So what if he’s performed songs by other artists. He’s added a different sound to them. His version of Here Comes The Night by Them is really rocking, as is Where Have All The Good Times Gone? and See Emily Play. Hell, his version of The Merseybeats’ Sorrow is really creative; the strings really contribute to the sadness of the thing, hence Sorrow.
Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps) (1980)
Tracklist: It’s No Game (No. 1) / Up The Hill Backwards / Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) / Ashes To Ashes / Fashion / Teenage Wildlife / Scream Like A Baby / Kingdom Come / Because You’re Young / It’s No Game (No. 2)
Style: Art Rock / Post Punk / Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 82.5%
Starter from ten, David’s stylish contribution to the post-punk/new wave era and the beginning of the eighties, Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps). Scary Monsters demonstrated how much David was moving on up in the various musical eras that went by. He did indeed kiss his butt goodbye to glam rock after his release of Diamond Dogs and he finished with kraut-rock, hence Lodger. For those who don’t know, post-punk is a type of music genre that emerged in the late 1970s and was an experimental version of punk rock. The title track uses a similar style to the Pop Group and Joy Division. Fashion, by its funky bass riffs, sounds a bit like Devo, while the pop-oriented Up The Hill Backwards is much like the Talking Heads.
One thing’s for sure, Dave was still at his storytelling mode; Ashes To Ashes resurrects Major Tom (originally from Space Oddity), while Scream Like A Baby is about a guy who’s being held in a political prison.
Tracklist: Speed Of Life / Breaking Glass / What In The World / Sound And Vision / Always Crashing In The Same Car / Be My Wife / A New Career In A New Town / Warszawa / Art Decade / Weeping Wall / Subterraneans
Style: Art Rock / Ambient / Avant-Pop / Experimental Rock / Electronic
Overall Rating: 82.96%
First of all, I love the cover to this album. It has a beautiful analogous colour scheme and the orange background contrasts really well with David’s hair. Did you know that it was also used on the film poster to The Man Who Fell To Earth? And my God what an awesome film it is!
Anyway, back on the subject of Low. This one was not only the introduction to the Berlin trilogy, but it’s the best one. It’s a lot different to most albums. It’s purely atmospheric! David provides less vocals, but so what? Did you expect him to just sing? David is fluent on so many instruments; saxophone, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, synthesizer, er… xylophone, some to name, and Low demonstrates so. If he wants to give his vocals a break, let him. Take the Eric Clapton style Sound & Vision for example; The first half is vocal free with an awesome guitar melody, then he digs into the singing. Even the jazzyish Breaking Glass has only one verse, but we’re still entertained by the contribution from the guitars.
I should also mention that Low is also David’s first collaboration with former Roxy Music synthesizer player and general music guru Brian Eno. He too makes a difference to the album. If you don’t believe me, have a listen to the beautiful ambience, i.e. on Warszawa.
Never Let Me Down (1987)
Tracklist: Day-In Day-Out / Time Will Crawl / Beat Of Your Drum / Never Let Me Down / Zeroes / Glass Spider / Shining Star (Makin’ My Love) / New York’s In Love / ’87 And Cry / Too Dizzy / Bang Bang
Style: Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 85%
So David wasn’t receiving much critical acclaim through the late 80s. (sighs) I dunno. Many people admire 80s music and yet they stand clear of Never Let Me Down, David’s most underrated masterpiece. What could be so wrong with a former glam rockster like him contributing to a bit of 80s pop. Alvin Stardust got a chance. Oh and I should also state that Never Let Me Down is also one of David’s most political albums.
Day In Day Out is a fantastic opening which attacks homelessness. I would also recommend checking out the music video which is about a young single mother who struggles financially to look after her kid and as a result turns to prostitution. Time Will Crawl, apparently one of David’s favourite songs, is a smooth classic which owes a lot to Neil Young and concerns the events of the Chernobyl disaster. 87 & Cry criticises then UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher. And we have a bit of old school art rock through Glass Spider, about spiders and corpses.
Tracklist: Sunday / Cactus / Slip Away / Slow Burn / Afraid / I’ve Been Waiting For You / I Would Be Your Slave / I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship / 5:15 The Angels Have Gone / Everyone Says ‘Hi’ / A Better Future / Heathen (The Rays)
Style: Art Rock / Progressive Rock
Overall Rating: 88.33%
If Hours wasn’t so brilliant, how about Heathen, Dave’s return to a bit of space rock? Well, it does sound rather space-ish, and the artistic album cover says it all, helped by David’s glowing eyes. David turns to the more modern style of Pink Floyd for this one. Sunday is a splendid smooth opening with space control style guitars. Slip Away is another cool contribution, helped by the lyrics; “twinkle twinkle uncle Floyd”. Even I Took A Trip On The Gemini Spacecraft is an atmospheric yarn! Everybody Says Hi is a pop classic! I can’t believe its UK chart position was kinda low (20).
Modern prog rock at its best! And I also thank the guest musicians; Pete Townsend and Dave Grohl , for making a difference to this albu.
Black Tie White Noise (1993)
Tracklist: The Wedding / You’ve Been Around / I Feel Fine / Black Tie White Noise / Jump They Say / Nite Flights / Pallas Athena / Miracle Goodnight / Don’t Let Me Down And Down / Looking For Lester / I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday / The Wedding Song
Style: House / Soul / Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 91.67%
If you thought the 90s was all about Britpop and ‘Girl Power’, clearly you’re living in a small world. I grew up in the 90s and I distinctly remember it was so much more than them; the Disney Renaissance, the Nicktoons, the game shows (i.e. Fun House and Gladiators), them cool BBC 2 idents, Sega(!), the Beautiful South, the Corrs, M-People, and there was David’s classic house and soul album Black Tie White Noise.
Black Tie White Noise is a great opportunity to get you in the 90s groove. It also relates to Dave and Iman’s then new marriage. Love maybe a cliche to the music industry, but the funky rhythm helps to keep us invested. We begin with The Wedding which starts with a lovely melody of bells, which also ends the last track; The Wedding Song. Miracle Goodnight highlights the best part of a wedding day, the evening, which the newly wed husband and wife get to spend a peaceful moment alone. Of course, not all the songs are in relation to the wedding. Jump They Say, despite its bounciness, is a song which relates to mental conditions and how it can sometimes lead to suicide. It sees the narrator attempting to talk a guy out of jumping off a tall building (“I say he should watch his ass”). Did you know that David lost his schizophrenic half-brother to suicide? The impression I get from Black Tie White Noise (title track) is the joys of black and white people interacting with each other. This I personally prefer to Ebony & Ivory.
I recommend you get a hold of the 2003 remaster. It contains some badass remixes of the songs, which is great, because not all remixes are that great, but them ones definitely are. It also contains the theme tune to that Ralph Bakshi movie, Real Cool World.
I may not pay much attention to the charts, but Black Tie White Noise deserved that UK#1 spot!
Aladdin Sane (1973)
Tracklist: Watch That Man / Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?) / Drive-In Saturday / Panic In Detroit / Cracked Actor / Time / The Prettiest Star / Let’s Spend The Night Together / The Jean Genie / Lady Grinning Soul
Style: Glam Rock / Hard Rock
Overall Rating: 95.5%
Aladdin Sane, David’s ultimate rock album, ‘ard rock I tells ya. Well most of the material relates to hard rock. Who says you can’t do a bit of air guitar to The Jean Genie, a simply written, but entertaining rock song? Speaking of which, Jean Genie and Aladdin Sane; a subtle reference to the story of Aladdin. Though in actual fact, the album brings awareness of schizophrenia (and I did mention David’s brother on numerous occasions), hence ‘a lad insane’. Panic In Detroit is another great tune, yet still relates a bit to the condition, hence ‘panic’.
But let me make clear that this album does not poke fun at people with schizophrenia. If you listen closely to Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?) (“we’ll love Aladdin Sane”), the lyrics actually accept them into society. That track is the best part. I swear that Mike Garson’s piano playing was so improvised!
Tracklist: Little Wonder / Looking For Satellites / Battle For Britain (The Letter) / Seven Years In Tibet / Dead Man Walking / Telling Lies / The Last Thing You Should Do / I’m Afraid Of Americans / Law (Earthlings On Fire)
Style: Industrial Rock / Drum & Bass / Pop Rock
Overall Rating: 96.39%
Another 90’s gem. If Black Tie White Noise’s music was written in a similar style of Shamen and M People, Earthling relates more to the Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails. See what I told you about the 90’s?
Earthling demonstrates how confident David was and how fantastically he did in trying out new music styles. Little Wonders hardly sounds much like Changes or Rebel Rebel, but it doesn’t have to. It’s still an unforgettable classic as is the funky fish-out-of-water song I’m Afraid Of Americans. The whole album contributes to the fish-out-of-water theme as suggested by the title Earthling. I’m Afraid Of Americans, as I discussed in one of my previous blog posts, is also a political observation on the country, where politics of course vary.
Diamond Dogs (1974)
Tracklist: Future Legends / Diamond Dogs / Sweet Thing / Candidate / Sweet Thing (reprise) / Rebel Rebel / Rock & Roll With Me/ We Are The Dead / 1984 / Big Brother / Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family
Style: Glam Rock / Hard Rock
Overall Rating: 97.73%
Diamond Dogs; David’s last contribution to glam rock and his darker album. Technically, 1975 was the official end to the glam rock era, but let’s just say that David observed the future and was ready to move on. Here’s what I was getting at when I was talking about darkness.
Diamond Dogs begins with Future Legends, basically David’s spooky introduction to the album, helped by his wolf-like howling, then ending with ‘this ain’t rock and roll, this is genocide!’. That’s when we dig into Diamond Dogs. Sweet Thing, joined with Candidate and Sweet Thing (reprise), is one such epic-ally written suite, lyric and music-wise! We Are The Dead, need I say what it’s about, but it does contain some swearing. Big Brother and 1984, the latter complete with a distinguishable string ensemble both pay tribute to one of the greatest novelists in history George Orwell.
The title track is a more light-hearted tune, certain lyrics aside (“Come out in the garden baby/You’ll catch your death in the fog”), which didn’t come with an official music video. But just imagine if there was one and it starred Goofy, Scooby Doo and Deputy Dawg.
Rebel Rebel, one of my favourite songs by David Bowie, is always a lot of fun and it showed how awesomely David managed on the guitar without needing Mick Ronson’s support. He’s a regular Jimi Hendrix.
Tracklist: Blackstar / ‘Tis A Pity She Was A W***e / Lazarus / Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) / Girl Loves Me / Dollar Days / I Can’t Give Everything Away
Style: Art Rock / Experimental Jazz
Overall Rating: 97.86%
Well I can’t talk about Blackstar without mentioning that it’s David’s last album,… permanently.
It’s been only several months since the album came out, so I understand if some of you are surprised that I’ve ranked Blackstar at number 2 on this list.
First of all, I have to give a lot of credit to the album for its front cover being the first and only one not to have the singer pictured on it whatsoever. It’s basically a white background with a black star shape. Very symmetrical, very subtle and it looks very basic. However if you reflect the picture in the bright sunlight, you’ll notice a luminous pattern reflected on the star.
Secondly, if you thought Diamond Dogs was David’s darkest album, then you ain’t heard much of Blackstar yet! Blackstar reminds me of Queen’s Innuendo album. If you think about it, Freddie Mercury was seriously ill during production and I think Innuendo was fully aware of that and made it clear that it was going to be Freddie’s last album with Queen. Blackstar highlighted David’s illness due to cancer. If you observe the music videos to Lazarus and Blackstar, he looks in a right state (don’t take that the wrong way).
The opening lyrics to Lazarus (“look up here, I’m in heaven”) is in fact the truth. Blackstar is a lengthy, haunting and epic opening. Girl Loves Me, which contains a strong use of profanity, loses touch of the past. The album closes with I Can’t Give Everything Away, a purely heavenly finale. Its music video is fairly simple, but also extremely moving.
Not only is Blackstar one of my favourite albums by David Bowie, but I rank this as a favourite from the 2010s-onwards by any artist in general; the period in which I personally think the majority of chart music is going downhill. Luckily there’s always some good stuff that comes out, i.e. this powerful masterpiece, which rightfully hit number one in so many countries!
And the number 1 album by David Bowie is…
Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars (1972)
Tracklist: 5 Years / Soul Love / Moonage Daydream / Starman / It Ain’t Easy / Lady Stardust / Star / Hang On To Yourself / Ziggy Stardust / Suffragette City / Rock & Roll Suicide
Style: Glam Rock / Art Rock
Overall Rating: 98.18%
And we have ignition! Many David Bowie fans consider The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars to be his best one. Of course, despite it being David’s fifth album to be released, Rise & Fall was his first one to chart in the UK.
But there’s so much more. The Rise & Fall tells a very definite story; it’s about a Martian bisexual pop-rock musician called Ziggy Stardust (well duh!) who forms a band called The Spiders From Mars, and goes through a period of drug problems and fan troubles.
Five Years acts as a warning to the earthlings that the world is about to end, because if its apparent lack of resources. This is the voice of the mysterons! Only kidding. With that said, it’s a great message for people to quit wasting things.
Lady Stardust, I always presumed was about Ziggy’s wife, though it’s possible that Lady is secretly a transvestite.
The beautifully composed Starman, which has aged so damn well, represents Ziggy both as a true musician and as a literal star-man from outer space (‘there’s a star man waiting in the sky’), who’s attempting not to make much of a scene (‘he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds’). Of course, being that the space theme is involved, it does go back to the time when the moon landings were so high profile.
Star follows the similar meaning to Starman, though it’s more upbeat.
Hang On To Yourself is a definite glam-rock/protopunk anthem! Fast-paced, grungy, rhythmic, always a lot of fun. This would make a great song to promote drug awareness.
Ziggy Stardust is a basic summary on the character, his occupation (‘Ziggy played guitar…’), his fame and his apparent death (‘when the kids had killed the man, I had to break up the band’). The guitar and bass parts are so awesomely written; who else could’ve possibly pulled it off! I also swear there are some references to Jimi Hendrix (‘he played it left hand), because of course, that guy died at a young age and his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience would’ve ended so soon after that as a result (‘I had to break up the band’).
Suffragette City; one of the main reasons why I adore this album so much. It’s my favourite David Bowie song! I never get tired of this one. It’s a rock anthem! This could be a great song for feminist rights. I’m one myself.
Rock & Roll Suicide signals Ziggy’s final moments of his life. And before David performed that one live, he did make clear that this was Ziggy’s last ever gig; drug problems and very rough fans that contributed to the character’s eventual passing.
At times, the album is gentle, but then also upbeat. Subtle political messages, too much to say about The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars. It’s the greatest album of David Bowie’s I’ve ever heard in my life. I totally agree with those who think so.
Righty ho, I’d best go fix a spaceship or something. I hope you had a pleasant read of this post. Feel free to share your opinions.