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Old 06-12-2009, 07:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You could have waited until I set the thread up properly FFS.
That's why your a mod, fix it. My review will be posted tomorrow afternoon, have to run now.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default The Man Who Sold The World



David Bowie
The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
Mercury Records


Side one

1. "The Width of a Circle" – 8:05
2. "All the Madmen" – 5:38
3. "Black Country Rock" – 3:32
4. "After All" – 3:51

Side two

1. "Running Gun Blues" – 3:11
2. "Saviour Machine" – 4:25
3. "She Shook Me Cold" – 4:13
4. "The Man Who Sold the World" – 3:55
5. "The Supermen" – 3:38




The epic two-part opener, “The Width of a Circle”, makes a clear and conscious declaration of a new, more comfortable and confident artist. That is the story of the album really; an every evolving artist, Bowie had made the first perfect mutation of his career with heavy metal foray “The Man Who Sold the World”. Its uncertain what made Bowie make this or any of the other transitions of his career and why this one worked so well. Perhaps it’s more then coincidence this progression coincided with the addition of guitarist and right hand man Mick Ronson. The key piece of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars band, along with Ronson Bowie would release several albums and the duo even produced a number of albums for other artists including Lou Reed’s “Transformer” a few years later.



As noted there is a noticeable tinge of heavy metal in place of the acoustic sounds of its clumsy precursor “Space Oddity”. The first two songs are perfect hard rock numbers that stand up to the giants of the time like Led Zeppelin and The Who. “All the Madmen” is my favorite track on the album; it’s a slow builder with an eclectic ambiance to draw from and the most notable of several tracks dealing with the albums underlying theme of paranoia, schizophrenia and insanity. The songs “Zane zane zane, open the dog” outro is a fantastic feet of lunacy. There are notes of Blues Rock and the Psychedelic to close out side one and opening side two more akin with what you’d expect from Mick Ronson then Bowie. Ronson’s major influences heavily including Jeff Beck era Yarbirds Rock & Roll. Still Bowie’s penchant for the unusual is irrepressible and evident in the dynamic side two second “Savior Machine”. Ronson’s most “Metal” contribution to the album came in “She Shook Me Cold” which gives early Black Sabbath a run for its money. The descent from sanity resumes with the title track and it’s a simpler traditional melodic rock rhythm. As pleasant a song as any on the album to the virgin ear, it’s a good place to start.



An unquestionably excellent album and as ambitious an effort as anyone could have asked for. This is the album I believe Bowie found the formula on and thus launched him into an epic era that spanned the entire decade and beyond. Drawing inspiration from literature, philosophy, modern musical trends, personal experience, and the deepest darkest recesses of his own mind, Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” is a prefect example of musical adaptation. Ever changing but never relenting in bringing a new and creative approach to music.

8.5\10
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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David Bowie
Hunky Dory (1971)
RCA Records


Side one

1. "Changes" – 3:37
2. "Oh! You Pretty Things" – 3:12
3. "Eight Line Poem" – 2:55
4. "Life on Mars?" – 3:53
5. "Kooks" – 2:53
6. "Quicksand" – 5:08

Side two

1. "Fill Your Heart" (Biff Rose, Paul Williams) – 3:07
2. "Andy Warhol" – 3:56
3. "Song for Bob Dylan" – 4:12
4. "Queen Bitch" – 3:18
5. "The Bewlay Brothers" – 5:22

Possibly the most ambitious songwriting effort of his career thus far, David Bowie’s Hunky Dory is a commanding and impressive canon of the golden years of glam. While not as iconic or recognizable as 1972’s Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory is nonetheless a gross genre-bending accomplishment. Employing a dynamic tone and a consistent depth, it traverses the boundaries of pop music with stifling audacity and undeniable charm.

From its commencement, Hunky Dory pursues a direction not traversed by Bowie in any of his prior work. Gone are the bland, derivative songs which make his first few albums so immeasurably difficult to digest and replaced with imaginative bravado. In a sense, the opening track, “Changes,” crafts a mantra for which Bowie’s songwriting was to follow for years to come: “Time may change me / But I can't trace time.” And it doesn’t stop there.

Bowie wastes no time before he ushers forth the well-constructed, dynamic melodies which distinguish the majority of his works. Glorious refrains such as the chimerical “Oh! You Pretty Things” and equally vibrant “Life on Mars?” explore fantastic themes that habitually rise to the surface during his radiant age of glam. As anyone that’s ever listened to his music can attest, David Bowie rarely achieves heights as dizzying as the climax here:



Hunky Dory later eschews the bombastic fanaticism for a more subtle form of songwriting, from his exhibition of helplessness in “Quicksand” to his dense collage of wordplay in the mournful closing ballad “The Bewlay Brothers”. And through it all Bowie’s backing band performs admirably; Wakeman’s piano is present through all of it, while Mick Ronson’s cathartic riff on “Andy Warhol” is just one testament to their skillful attack:



And while Hunky Dory never really attains the far-reaching exposé that culminated during the Berlin era, there’s plenty that can be said of Bowie’s ballad-laden kaleidoscope of pop ballast, none of it bad. It remains today a standing example of glam perfection, a depiction of the young man who took the best of pop music and transcribed it into a formidable and lasting incarnation. Perhaps not the best work of his career, Hunky Dory is nonetheless one of David Bowie’s expansive masterpieces and one of the greatest pop records in music history.

10/10
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Love the reviews so far, brilliant idea to have different reviewers do different albums. Makes this a very quick review thread by the forum's standards. I'll hopefully have Ziggy Stardust done before I go to bed this morning.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Great work so far people. Enjoyable thread.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars


  1. Five Years
  2. Soul Love
  3. Moonage Daydream
  4. Starman
  5. It Ain't Easy
  6. Lady Stardust
  7. Star
  8. Hang On To Yourself
  9. Ziggy Stardust
  10. Suffragette City
  11. Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

Year: 1972

The year is 1972, concert albums are all the rage, and a chameleon is on the loose. In a year known for some of the greatest albums of all time, this one always gets a mention alongside them. And it really isn’t hard to see why. From the first few minutes you’re already enthralled with the story. Anyone familiar with the album by this point will be singing along enthusiastically. Knowing every word from a multitude of repeated listens.

This is the kind of album you have here, this isn’t an album you get tired of. It only gets better and better the more familiar you get with it. You can even see for yourself thanks to our friends at last.fm, the entire album is fully streamable. The whole album flows very well, if not entirely consistently. You’ll notice a lot of stylistic changes held together well by the plot.

Parts of the album, like Moonage Daydream feel very heavily produced, which adds to the desired futuristic-ish effect. The album even gets a spacey feel from time to time. Mick Ronson, as always is on top form, all of the solos here are efficiently done. I’ve always wanted him to do a bit more on the album, but the restraint here works well. The overt glam rock is just pure heaven; you’ll very quickly find yourself lost in the music.

I’ve always gotten a Beach Boys vibe from Star, the background “oohs” and vocals just add so much to the song. My favourite part of the album is the three songs leading to Ziggy’s stardom, Star, Hang On To Yourself and Ziggy Stardust. Just following the story here is insanely entertaining, and every time Ziggy Stardust comes on I can’t help but smile. Everyone knows the title track, but it really does need to be appreciated in the album context. Mick Ronson excels himself here, the solos, the riffs, everything just works so well.

Following here is the insanely catchy Suffragette City, which has some of the most infectious guitar playing in the history of glam. And, of course, Wham bam thank you ma'am! If you don’t feel any form of emotion at the end of the album, then you’re a heartless, worthless poor excuse for a human and I want nothing more to do with you. Sitting here, swaying side to side, I can only wish it was possible to give more than maximum marks.

The album takes you through a rollercoaster of emotion, musical shifts and vocal hooks. David Bowie really outdoes himself here, this is a must have, regardless of your tastes.

10/10
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Old 06-14-2009, 08:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:14 AM   #18 (permalink)
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David Bowie
Aladdin Sane (1973)
RCA Records



1: Watch That Man - 4:30
2: Aladdin Sane (1913-1938-197?) - 5:07
3: Drive-In Saturday - 4:36
4: Panic in Detroit - 4:27
5: Cracked Actor - 3:01
6: Time - 5:14
7: The Prettiest Star - 3:31
8: Let's Spend the Night Together - 3:10
9: The Jean Genie - 4:06
10: Lady Grinning Soul - 3:52

"The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" was pretty much Bowie's magnum opus and thus many saw it as being nearly impossible to top, not that "Aladdin Sane" managed to do so, but it certainly came very damn close.

This and "Pin Ups" would mark the closure of Bowie's glam rock Ziggy Stardust period. This was the last album to feature the lineup of Bowie, guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansy, with pianist Mike Garson filling in Rick Wakeman's shoes this time around.

That may sound like useless trivia, but that lineup was an important part of Bowie's glam rock sound, especially Ronson's chaotic guitar solos. This is a very piano oriented record, and Garson's jazzy, somewhat atonal style makes it a very uniqie record in the Bowie discography, and easly his most ambitious record at the time. A very bizarre yet sophisticated art rock album.

The bulk of the album was written during his 72 US tour. Each song was written in a certain city and reflects the various musical moods and impressions Bowie felt at the time.

Watch That Man starts with a rocking Keith Richards esque riff from Ronson and boogie piano from Garson, a lot of people call this song an imitation of Exile era Stones, but even so, I think it comes to show how talented Bowie was when he could imitate someone else's sound and improve on it in every way. Every Ziggy era Bowie album has at least one great track where Bowie just lets it all hang loose, for "Ziggy Stardust" it was Suffragette City and for "Hunky Dorey" it was Queen Bitch. But instead of being the closer, Bowie wisely made this the opener.

Because then the album goes into a completely different direction, starting with the title track. Aladdin Sane opens with a gorgeous classical piano melody, and is later joined by spacey sounding saxophone. Garson eventually kicks things off with an over the top solo that recalls freeform jazz, yet admist the avant garde influences, it's still a very hypnotic, sophisticated pop song. This is my favorite song on the album, it's certainly the weirdest.

Drive in Saturday brings things back to more "Ziggy Stardust" esque territory, this song could best be described as "Sci Fi doo wop", with doo wop background vocals, cosmic sounding synths and soulful saxophone. The story is just hilarious, it's set in a post appoclyptic Earth where people have forgotten how to reproduce, so they must watch old porn films to learn how. Isn't that great? Bowie really is the master of sci fi rock.

Panic in Detroit is built around a salsa rendition of the Bo Diddley beat and it indeed sounds very Detroit, it has a Martha and the Vendettas meets Iggy Pop vibe to it, punk with soul. It's such a chaotic but groovy song, the screeching guitars and the rather dissonant background vocals gives it a very dirty sound, another high point.

With Cracked Actor Bowie goes back to hard rock, Ronson really caries this song with a monster rock riff, this is the kinda thing New York Dolls were doing that same year, but Bowie does it even better. This one was written in LA and boy does it sound like it. Ronson really lets it rip with his solo on this one, it kinda reminds me of London Calling for some reason.

Time represents New Orleans, and characteristically opens with a ragtime style piano melody, but the song takes many twists and turns from there, Bowie goes all out vocally on this one. And Ronson once again has some tricks up his sleeve, his vibrato heavy guitar solos have to be heard to be believed.

Prettiest Star is a remake of a song Bowie had released earlier as a single. This is a song Bowie wrote to perform to his girlfriend as a wedding preposal. It has a music hall kinda feel and a great guitar riff, which in the original was played by Marc Bolan, Ronson recreates it almost note for note. It kinda sounds like something from a Queen song, and I mean that in a positive way. I really love Bowie's soft vocals on this song, and the saxes that come in. That's the great thing about Bowie, the little details he thinks of adding to a song that no one else would.

The next track has Bowie going back to Stones territory, this time doing an actual cover. This version of Let's Spend the Night Together is IMO better than the original. Bowie throws in some synths, it's faster and rauncier, Bowie once again beats The Stones at their own game.

Jean Genie is one of Bowie's most popular songs, however I think this is probably the worst song on the album, but that's not too much of a criticism considering the company it's in, it's a very bluesy song, Bowie really sings through his nose with this one, kinda reminds me of Lou Reed, this song represents New York, so that's what he was going for I guess. This one just dosen't jump out for me like the rest. But still a pretty good song, with some great licks from Ronson.

Lady Grinning Soul is a bit similar to the title track, Garson really puts his classical roots to work here with some gorgeous interplay with Bowie's smooth vocals, as well as some flamenco guitar and Sax, and a Gilmour-ish guitar outro from Ronson. A really beautiful song and you couldn't have asked for a better closer.

If you've heard "Hunky Dorey" and "Ziggy Stardust" but not this album then you're really missing out, this is a great companion for those albums and makes for one of the greatest trilogies in rock n roll history. Though it shows Bowie going into an even artier, dare I say pompier direction, of course that's why it's one of my favorites.

Bowie always knows when to quit before things get stale, and when it's time to do something different. This is pretty much his swan song for the Ziggy Stardust character, and you couldn't ask for a better one.

He would continue to reinvent himself, everything from the blue eyed soul of "Young Americans" to the proto new wave of his "Berlin" trilogy. He has so many styles, you're bound to like one of them, but this album is essential no matter who you are.

10\10
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:19 AM   #19 (permalink)
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These reviews are fantastic and accurate, I keep coming back to re-read them. You guys have pretty much hit the nail on the head every time.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:49 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This album proves, if nothing else, that in 1973 Bowie had one hell of a taste in music, and that Mick Ronson is a pretty damn versatile guitarist. There are however quite a few drawbacks to having a full cover album. You’re always going to disappoint some fans and slaughter some already very good songs. The album starts with Rosalyn by the Pretty Things. While Bowie might not be able to pull of the vocals of the original, the whole fuzzy guitar sound is maintained brilliantly by Ronson.

I’d like to take a moment to comment on the actual flow on the album, this has been done surprisingly well. There has been some form of effort here with the track listing and transitions to keep the album coherent. Here Comes the Night by Them always feels like it could have been done a lot better. You’ll quickly forget this though, as the brilliantly done I Wish You Would Yardbirds cover redeems the start of the album.

An interesting point here is of course that I Wish You Would was actually a Billy Boy Arnold Song, so it’s a cover of a cover. Again Ronson seems to outshine Bowie on the recording. This transitions into a very good yet very bad cover of Pink Floyd’s See Emily Play. The chorus has been murdered, but Bowie’s performance on the verse is very good. In the end the song not only runs to long, but simply becomes annoying, a disappointment as you’d think Bowie covering Floyd would be quite awesome.

Everything’s Alright by The Mojos features one of Bowie’s best vocal performances on the album. And always makes for a refreshing change in the album. The Cover of I Can’t Explain by the Who is an awesome slab of glam helped along massively once along by Ronson. The whole song is done in such a cheesy fashion you can’t help but smile. Also done well is Friday On My Mind, which is far more in Bowie’s style, which I feel is the type of cover he does much better.

Sorrow surprisingly got Bowie a charting single from the album, reaching number 3 on the UK singles chart. Having been a relatively popular song by the Merseys, it’s not a bad song, it just doesn’t seem to make much of an impression. Don’t Bring Me Down marks the second Pretty Things song that is done very well by Bowie on the album. The riff is infections and Bowie manages to do the song justice.

The second Yardbirds cover, Shapes of things (Incidentally my favourite Yardbirds song) is done incredibly well, with some nice innovations. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere is a great Who cover which really does translate a lot of the same energy of the original. The original album ends with a rather lacklustre version of the Kinks’ Where Have All The Good Times Gone.

However the re-issue includes two brilliant covers far more suited to Bowie’s style in Growin’ Up and Amsterdam. Both of which increase the whole appeal of the album, and as such I will consider them in the rating. The whiole album is good, but dissapointing, some of the choices aren't that appropriate for Bowie. But a very large part of the album is saved by Mick Ronson's guitar

6/10
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