Review Summary: A cohesive and enjoyable concept album to close Bowie's glam rock phase.
Concept albums can be dangerous territory for musicians. It can be fairly difficult to communicate the story and themes within the confines of song and lyrical structure and alot of the time the 'concept' ends up seeming watered down. However, this doesn't always impact on the quality of the music at all and sometimes a half-assed or miscommunicated concept still makes for great listening. That's true of Ziggy Stardust
, and it's also true of Diamond Dogs
Bowie's original plan was to make a theatrical production of George Orwell's 1984
, but after being denied the rights by the writer's estate, the songs ended up of the second side of this record. It featured the hit single 'Rebel Rebel', which is similiar to Station to Station's
Golden Years in the sense that it isn't overly indicative of the album's sound.
After a spoken word intro, the title track demonstrates the raw and dirty sounding guitar. It's not a stretch to say it has a distinct Rolling Stones
feel throughout the album, and the rhythm guitar is provided by Bowie himself which helps give it a signature sound and differentiates it from his other glam rock material where the guitar is played by Mick Ronson. This record has a more abrasive feel than Ziggy Stardust
As is often the case, there are hints as to where he would venture on his next recording - found in Rock n Roll With Me, and more noticeably, 1984. One of the highlights is Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise) - three songs best experienced in the order they appear on the album. Bowie displays an impressive vocal range and performance and the lyrics are also stellar.
For the most part, the album flows well and is an enjoyable listen. Though not Bowie's best record, it's on par with the pre-decessor Aladdin Sane
, and does its best to live up to the enormous shadow cast by Ziggy Stardust
. All in all it's a worthwhile addition to Bowie's amazingly consistent releases throughout the 70's and is worth a place in any rock music collection.