David Bowie
Aladdin Sane


4.5
superb

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
July 30th, 2011 | 68 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Lad Insane.

When you have a blueprint as delicious as Ziggy Stardust, what is there to do other than repeat the formula that transformed you into a superstar? And, essentially, that’s what David Bowie did on Aladdin Sane - belted out another tantalising slice of glam rock glory; albeit with a few scant tweaks and adjustments.

Evolving his Ziggy character into the lightening-bolt faced Aladdin Sane, forever immortalised by the shock of flame-red hair atop Bowie’s lavishly decorated face; Aladdin Sane was, by Bowie’s sometimes dubious accounts, “Ziggy goes to America”. Having begun to pick up small traces of success stateside (still far from reaching the levels of fame achieved back home - Aladdin Sane debuted at #1 in the UK, compared to the steady climb to #17 the album managed in the US), Bowie’s firsthand experience of touring and travelling the States left an indelible mark, as evidenced by Aladdin Sane’s wealth of references to it’s iconic cities - New York (‘The Jean Genie’), Detroit (‘Panic in Detroit’), Los Angeles (‘Cracked Actor’), to name a few.

The album is still naturally buoyed by links and references to Britain, most identifiably the exhilarating cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’, as well as a direct reference to the aforementioned band’s front man on ‘Drive-In Saturday’ (“When people stared in Jagger’s eyes and scored”). Speaking of ‘Drive-In Saturday’, one can’t express enough how fantastic it is. An apocalyptic tale of two youngsters who struggle make love due to the irradiation caused by a fictitious nuclear attack; the number somehow manages to remain light, swaying with warm passion throughout its 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Fleshed out by phased synthesisers and sultry sax warbles; the track is undercut by a 1950’s do-wop vibe, and is undoubtedly one of the finest songs in Bowie’s hit-cannon.

Apart from swaggering rockers like the paranoid-as-hell ‘Panic In Detroit’, the dangerously sexy ‘Cracked Actor’ (easily the heaviest tune on the album), and the irrepressible riff and sporadic harmonica of ‘The Jean Genie’; Aladdin Sane finds room to experiment and diversify via the phenomenal jazz piano flourishes of Mike Garson. His talent ensures numbers such as the exquisite ‘Lady Grinning Soul’ and the bizarre title track reach levels of sumptuousness never previously witnessed on a Bowie record.

Conclusively, Aladdin Sane takes the glam foundations and lyrical concepts laid down by last years effort and builds upon them to include slight avant-garde leanings (such as the irregularity of the gorgeously odd ‘Time’), and rougher rock tracks - rougher in comparison with Ziggy’s polished, sparkly glam-rock, anyway. That’s precisely why it works - why fix something that isn’t broke? Sure, the album was cut super-fast and can seem a tad rushed if one digs beneath the surface; sure, it doesn’t expand much on the Ziggy Stardust blueprint; sure, it’s perhaps not as ambitious or deep as last years’ effort; but when all is said and done, Aladdin Sane still remains as one of the most instantly enjoyable albums Bowie ever recorded, and is too much of an uninhibited delight to condemn.



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user ratings (597)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
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Ross Delany (5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Some more to learn about Bowie...Man, you're a machine.!!! Yet another one to read, Jesus Christ it's awesome!
edit - Oops 3.5, hmmm lets give it another spin haha

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Haha, no problem man, i enjoy doing them.

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes it shows. You can't hide your love for the writing.
Man I feel cheap/wrong with my 3.5 ...I have to re-listen to it all.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love this album so much but it's not a 5, although i think it should be higher than a 3.5 - but everyone is different. Well, i guess my review will share the reasons why...

Chrisjon89
July 30th 2011


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review again. The title track and Lady Grinning Soul are some of his finest moments in my opinion.

Nomad
July 30th 2011


247 Comments


Excellent review once again.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers Chrisjon89 and Nomad - thanks to whoever gave the pos. I was never that big on the title track but Lady Grinning Soul is gorgeous.


Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I'm pretty sure I ll soon have to bump it up. We'll see.

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You know what, I give it a 4 right now. I'm confident. Still have to listen to that whole shit again!

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Ha, nice. I'm sure after you listen to it/read the review you'll feel glad you did. Some absolute classics on here - Drive-In Saturday and The Jean Genie to name the biggest two.

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks man I listen to these

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Drive-in Saturday reminds me Roxy Music. Kinda blend of Queen and Roxy Music


Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I get what you mean, man. I think it's the sax and the odd do-wop undercurrent that does it.

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Gen Genie is a cool up beat blues oh wait oh man...

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man you're such an excellent writer, I could easily see you journalist or something, man...

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Wow, thanks man, that's awesome!

Jethro42
July 30th 2011


12638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you welcome, sir ...I edited my last comment, js

fsharptrit0ne
July 30th 2011


4815 Comments


I think this is your best one so far =) awesome review.

Drive-In Saturday is phenomenal.



Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, fsharptrit0ne. I think that may be my favourite on the album - The Jean Genie comes close but i just adore Drive-In Saturday. One of my favourite Bowie tracks.


Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 30th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

sehguh - Haha, thanks dude.



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