|UserReviews 4Approval 96%Soundoffs 57Album Ratings 2469Objectivity 92%Last Active 12-22-20 7:50 pmJoined 09-24-05Forum Posts 23Review Comments 4,091
|04.13.21 ||tec's 2021 Q1 - Top 15||04.07.21 ||tec’s KING CRIMSON, Ranked ♦|
|03.31.21 ||tec’s GODFLESH, Ranked||03.22.21 ||tec’s THE SMITHS, Ranked|
|03.11.21 ||tec’s RADIOHEAD, Ranked ♦||03.01.21 ||tec’s THE NATIONAL, Ranked ♦|
|02.22.21 ||tec’s BJORK, Ranked ♦||02.18.21 ||Breakfast Cereal Tier List|
|02.03.21 ||tec's DAVID BOWIE, Ranked ♦||01.20.21 ||tec's SONIC YOUTH, Ranked ♦|
|01.05.21 ||MUSIC: tec's Top 50 of 2020 ♦||11.23.20 ||2020 // 25 UNDER 25|
|10.27.20 ||Just got Nintendo SWITCH||10.07.20 ||tectac's Electric Wizard, Ranked|
|08.26.20 ||tec's Top 100 Albums of All Time ♦||08.21.20 ||FILM: tectac's Kelly Reichardt, Ranked|
|07.07.20 ||Top 25 of 2020: So Far! (Sept.)||05.27.20 ||FILM: tectac's Hayao Miyazaki, Ranked ♦|
|tec's DAVID BOWIE, Ranked|
One of my all time favorite artists. He's got his fair share of lemons, but with such a prolific profile, that's entirely forgivable.
Never Let Me Down
Overall Score | 1.75 | 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑
🥇 Time Will Crawl
🥈 Never Let Me Down
The closest Bowie ever came to morphing into generic adult-rock - the type of shit my mom and uncles would get excited about. A few “decent” tracks away from dreadful, this is easily the nadir of Bowie’s career. But, in retrospect, he was at least trying to keep up with the curve and adjust his sound for the audiences of the times. Thing is, he didn’t *need* to do that, and luckily for us, he eventually came to that same realization.
Overall Score | 2.17 | 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑
🥇 See Emily Play
🥈 Here Comes the Night
Truthfully, I like a few of the covers here better than any of the subsequent covers on TONIGHT - namely the Pink Floyd, Them, and McCoys tracks. But the majority of them are lackluster; totally uninteresting and significantly worse than their original counterparts. Thing is, Bowie is too much of a talent to waste his energy covering songs that already exist. A track here or there is fine, but a full album of them? No thanks.
Overall Score | 2.21 | 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑
🥇 Sell Me a Coat
🥈 Love You Till Tuesday
🥉 She’s Got Medals
Every great artist deserves an embarrassing debut, don’t they? Kidding, because this isn’t truly embarrassing, but it’s almost miraculous how exponential Bowie’s growth was from this album to the two that immediately followed it. And thank god for that, because this baroque, one-man psych-pop gig wasn’t gonna last very long. A product of the times, surely, and thankfully we are well past those times.
Black Tie White Noise
Overall Score | 2.42 | 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑
🥇 Nite Flights
🥈 The Wedding
🥉 You’ve Been Around
Bowie’s take on The Blue Nile’s HATS? Joking…kind of…but that jazzy, nocturnal, sophisti-pop vibe is prevalent, only it feels like a bit of a carbon copy. David was a bit late to this train, perhaps, or maybe this is one of the genres he simply didn’t have a knack for. And there are a handful of warm tunes here, but there’s plenty of empty space to drag the entire experience down (e.g. “I Feel Free,” “Pallas Athena,” “Don’t Let Me Down & Down,” “Looking for Lester,” and the title track are all subpar).
The Buddha of Suburbia
Overall Score | 2.50 | 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑
🥇 Dead Against It
🥈 Buddha of Suburbia
🥉 South Horizon
Yawn. Another release that isn’t offensive or terrible or even lacking talent, just monotonous and boring. This is the kind of music you might hear in a hotel lobby and it blends in so well with the surroundings that it essentially registers at white noise. “Dead Against It” and the title-track are worthwhile cherry-picks, but, like, there’s absolutely no reason for most of these songs to be over five minutes long.
Overall Score | 2.67 | 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑
🥇 Loving the Alien
🥈 Blue Jean
Let’s clear this up: “Loving the Alien” is a great single, full stop. But no one needed to hear Bowie’s take on The Beach Boys’ greatest contribution to music, nor his zany, over-produced interpretation of three Iggy Pop tracks. (Though I’ll concede: I think “Tonight” might actually be a minor improvement…or at least an interesting one.) I mean, I love Bowie, but I’m not sure exactly what he was thinking here. A flaccid outing, if only because it lacks the originality for which Bowie is known.
Overall Score | 2.70 | 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑
🥈 If I’m Dreaming My Life
🥉 What’s Really Happening?
I used to think this album was worse. I mean it’s far from great (or even “good”) but I’m pretty sure there was a time I’d have ranked this as Bowie’s absolute worst. Not the case, not quite. It isn’t *bad* at all, honestly; it’s just incredibly forgettable. A few tracks stand out (e.g. the three listed above) but moreover this is a totally innocuous affair with little left lingering in the rear-view mirror. This radio alt-rock phase of Bowie’s career didn’t last long, fortunately, and HEATHEN was good retribution for the sins committed here.
Overall Score | 2.81 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑
🥇 Young Americans
🥈 Somebody Up There Likes Me
Can’t totally get on board with the weird soul/blues fusion happening here, and while he pulls it off gracefully with the title track (let’s be honest - it’s catchy as fuck), the recycled sound permeating through songs like “Win,” “Fascination,” and “Can You Hear Me” becomes enervating, bordering on grating. “Somebody Up There Likes Me” is more in-tune with its poppy undertones and “Fame,” while somewhat cheesy, contains enough energy to win me over despite my favorite attempt to pretend I hate it.
Overall Score | 3.05 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑
🥈 Try Some, Buy Some
🥉 New Killer Star
Effervescent and easily digestible, its biggest transgression is being largely unremarkable, if wholly solid. Aside from “Days”, which is my clear winner here, the rest of the tracks feel a bit too homogenous and contained. Yet that homogeneity is still pleasurable for the most part, and leagues ahead of a handful of Bowie’s contemporaneous 80s projects. This, at least, feels like him being *him*, instead of him trying a little too hard to please the crowds.
Overall Score | 3.17 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑
🥇 Little Wonder
🥈 I’m Afraid of Americans
🥉 Dead Man Walking
I’ve never totaled jelled with the more industrial and borderline-DnB influences Bowie implements here, not because he necessarily does it poorly, but because I don’t personally think it complements his strengths as a songwriter or musician all that much. Though at nearly thirty years in the business by this point, Bowie’s genius finds ways to shine through, even under a less-than-desirable surface texture. Had anyone else written this album, I might hate it.
Overall Score | 3.22 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑
🥇 Space Oddity
🥈 Memory of a Free Festival
🥉 Cygnet Committee
I used to think that the only reason to bother with this album was the title track, but I’ve warmed to it - slowly but surely - over time. “Space Oddity” still stands head and shoulders above everything else here and being the opener it’s sometimes hard to justify spinning the album in its entirety, but there’s a certain charm to the lack of frills. Otherwise, it’s a very inoffensive and occasionally durable folk-rock album.
The Man Who Sold the World
Overall Score | 3.39 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥇 The Man Who Sold the World
🥈 The Width of a Circle
🥉 All the Madmen
Those opening two tracks are something, aren’t they? Bowie can’t quite sustain the epic introduction and occasionally falls into some weird genre identity crises (e.g. “Running Gun Blues” and “She Shook Me Cold” and “Black Country Rock”) but this was the first real indication that Sir David would eventually become a force to be reckoned with. And, of course, the title track is legendary, singlehandedly making Side B worth the price of admission. (“Saviour Machine” and “The Supermen” are great, too, though.) Gets dwarfed in retrospect, but a very important piece of his puzzle.
Overall Score | 3.44 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥇 Modern Love
🥈 China Girl
🥉 Let’s Dance
I am here to tell you that LET’S DANCE is unfairly written off as a “sell out” album, when in fact its Side A is USDA Prime Bowie - “Modern Love,” especially, but “China Girl” and “Let’s Dance” are fantastic dance and pop-rock renditions while “Without You” makes a somewhat strange but interesting closer. Aside from “Cat People,” Side B is a step down, but there’s nothing here I completely abhor or even remotely dislike. At worst, Side B is “fine,” but this album’s detractors have always confused me.
Overall Score | 3.46 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥇 Slow Burn
🥈 Everyone Says ‘Hi’
🥉 Slip Away
A great amalgam of the many various types and genres that Bowie dabbled in over the preceding years. I’d be inclined to call it a “return to form,” but Bowie’s form has always been amorphous and difficult to define in linear terms. So let’s just call this a step in the right direction, whatever that direction might be. He returns to the poeticism of his early days while sonically modernized things in a way that doesn’t become overbearing or distracting.
Overall Score | 3.50 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥇 Sweet Thing
🥈 Rebel Revel
🥉 Big Brother
Dials up the glitzy aspects of ALADDIN SANE a bit, which would normally mean I’d rank this substantially lower. Alas, it wound up with the exact same score - I think that’s because while ALADDIN SANE’s peaks are significantly higher, DIAMOND DOGS is more thoroughly consistent, especially since Bowie had a year to hone his approach to this piano-driven, glamorous permutation of his sound, further able to sand the edges down, jettisoning the failed baggage along with PIN UPS.
Overall Score | 3.50 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥈 Aladdin Sane
🥉 Panic in Detroit
Don’t love this quite as much as many other diehard Bowie fans but do thoroughly love it for what it is. Introduces a glammy shellac that would run rampant in a couple subsequent releases but stays close enough to Bowie’s wheelhouse of rock ‘n’ roll that the integration feels not awkward but seamless. That I don’t personally enjoy it as much is a testament more to my taste than Bowie’s execution, which is near flawless. And of course I’m being overly-critical: Tracks like “Time” and “Aladdin Sane” are impeccable.
The Next Day
Overall Score | 3.54 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥇 I’d Rather Be High
🥈 The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
🥉 (You Will) Set the World on Fire
A very under-appreciated latter-day Bowie release. I think it gets lost in the shadow of BLACKSTAR, being the only other album in close proximity time-wise, and the recycled cover of “HEROES” probably doesn’t help much. But this continues down the path down HEATHEN was headed nearly a decade early, transitioning back into a less poppy but more artistically embellished form of rock - the stuff at which Bowie was and always has been great.
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
Overall Score | 3.55 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
🥇 Ashes to Ashes
🥈 Teenage Wildlife
As some might call it: “Bowie’s last great album.” (Which is total bullshit.) But those people have a point - this was kind of a hypothetical punctuation that ended an era of zonky, artsy, cutting-edge Bowie before he tried integrating the mainstream flavors of the week into his output (a gambit at which he achieved varying levels of success). “Ashes to Ashes” places highly among his all time best tracks.
Overall Score | 3.86 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑
🥇 Hallo Spaceboy
🥈 A Small Plot of Land
Feel like this often gets unfairly pigeonholed into the annals of not-to-be-discussed Bowie albums, not because it’s *bad* (as scores and sources online would prove), but because it’s formal composition makes it stick out like a sore thumb—his only album over an hour long, conceptually built around “segues” in an attempt to tell a made-up story. I could do without the interludes, honestly, but the actual content here is sublime, and contains some of Bowie’s most daring work to date. Just skip the filler - there ain’t much of it.
Overall Score | 3.90 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑
🥇 Fantastic Voyage
🥈 Look Back in Anger
My least favorite of the Berlin Trilogy…but that’s like saying least favorite Skittles flavor is grape. At the end of the day, I still fuck with all of ‘em. Hard. (And, as you can see, it nevertheless ranks highly among Bowie’s overall canon.) “Fantastic Voyage” might be my single pick for ‘most overlooked or underrated Bowie track’ - it’s easily one of the greatest and most touching things he’s ever done (to say nothing of the chops on display!), and I don’t know why no one ever talks about it. Same could be said for the album as a whole, I suppose.
Overall Score | 4.10 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑
🥈 Moss Garden
🥉 Beauty and the Beast
Continues the Side A = “art rock”, Side B = “ambient” structure of LOW, and while not quite as freely expressive or well-articulated, it harbors a softer lull that makes it seem like the friendlier, more sociable cousin. Not to imply that it is Diet LOW; quite the contrary - the “big” moments here are arguably bigger (e.g. the title track itself, of course, but also the length of the ambient side in comparison) and more iconic, but just *maybe* at the cost of artistic intimacy?
Overall Score | 4.21 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑
🥉 I Can’t Give Everything Away
Late-game Bowie still bringing the heat. “Girl Loves Me” is the one weak spot, but even that track is miles from bad - it merely pales in comparison to what surrounds it. (Yes, I much prefer “Sue” and “Dollar Days”.) Bowie’s vocal delivery is noticeably aged, but it makes for a powerful elixir when coupled with the context of the album and what it represents to the man’s career (and thus, life), especially for tracks like “Lazarus” and “I Can’t Give Everything Away.” Rarely do artists end their canons on such high notes, much less artists who have been active for five decades. Rest in power, legend.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Overall Score | 4.27 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗
🥈 Five Years
🥉 Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide
Hard to contest with the amount of sheer rock classics on this thing - the opening four-track run from “Five Years” to “Starman” is the exact stuff of which legends are made. (Never mind the closing three-track run which is nearly as impressive.) Perhaps Bowie’s most approachable and agreeable album - were I forced to introduce someone new, this is precisely where I’d start. I have a hard time trusting people who don’t at the very least think this album is “great”. It’s got my rubber stamp, anyway.
Overall Score | 4.43 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗
🥇 Life on Mars?
🥈 Queen Bitch
Was once my favorite Bowie, and while I’ve recently been less lenient of its obvious flaws (“Eight Line Poem” and “Fill Your Heart,” most notably), this remains the most nostalgically placating album in his canon for me. It has a warm and fuzziness that the rest - even the ones I prefer - don’t. “Life on Mars?” is the ubiquitous favorite, and I can’t argue with that, but “Queen Bitch” deserves the title for most underrated. While his arty and prolific sensibilities would eventually flourish, it’s charming to see a more pared-down Bowie.
Station to Station
Overall Score | 4.83 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕
🥇 Station to Station
Six tracks of top-tier, coked-out Bowie going full-force “art rock” for the first time in his career, pushing that boundary significantly farther than HUNKY DORY and ALADDIN SANE before it. I’m trying to imagine the shell shock of people in 1976, still buzzing off the poppy, soul-tinted jams of YOUNG AMERICANS, who experienced “Station to Station” for the first time. (A retrograde experience of when I first heard e.g. “Everything in Its Right Place,” perhaps.) “TVC15” is mad underrated. Whole album is pristine, though.
Overall Score | 5.00 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕
🥇 Sound and Vision
🥈 What in the World
🥉 Always Crashing in the Same Car
It doesn’t get much better than this, quite literally (my #2 album of all time, at this writing). The unofficial “Berlin Trilogy” is one of music’s greatest modern-day achievements, and this is the absolute pinnacle. Picking my top three tracks was excruciating—could’ve just as easily included “Speed of Life,” “A New Career in a New Town,” “Warszawa,” “Breaking Glass,” etc. Not the most accessible Bowie, but the one with the greatest return on investment viz. it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
|Cheers to a true legend!|
|Dont let this amazing list distract you from the fact that Iggy Pop made the best 2 albums of the Berlin era|
but yeah this is insane, cant wait to read. no bewlay brothers s/o on hunky makes me sad but cant complain
|good placement of Outside is all I care about. nice list|
|Nice list, although Young Americans is criminally low.|
|Agreed - OUTSIDE rules. And yeah I know YOUNG AMERICANS gets a lot more love from other people. That’s more of a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation tbf.|
|Damn, it's been 5 years already |
|Sweet list! I've only heard about half of these so far (slowly delving into the discography), but of the ones I've heard these rankings are pretty reasonable|
|Whoa that Young Americans score is so low, sure it's clearly not his best, but I love Win and Fame a lot|
Scary Monsters is my fave of his so it's sad to see it at a 3.5
Still happy to see Lodger so high though :)
|yeah would put scary monsters higher but this is a very nice ranking with great descriptions|
station to station is my favourite with low as close 2nd. I can't find a single flaw in station to station, it's pure perfection
|Yeah STATION TO STATION and LOW are on another level entirely. Two stone cold masterpieces, back to back no less. |
|9-12, 15 are way too lowly rated. That's my takeaway|
|This is an incredibly sound write-up and I'm impressed by the amount of work and effort you took to meticulously record your thoughts. I started listening to Bowie's discography around the time of his death and eventually stumbled off into other music exploration. I'm glad someone did it though. Also, props for putting emojis and shit into it. |
|Lodger remains the unsung hero of the berlin trilogy yet again. at least it's in the top 10, i guess :T |
|agreed with WalrusTusk, wonderfully crafted list. I haven't dived through the whole catalogue yet but I adore Station to Station and Ziggy. Low and Hunky Dory haven't clicked with me yet but I'm sure I'll get there. |
|Thanks gents! Indeed Bowie was a visionary, often way ahead of his time. Though they aren’t all exactly hits, it seems like everyone can agree that the man has some incredible (and incredibly long-lasting) output.|
|Bowie of david strikes back|
|Delightful list you've put together here, and pleased as punch that you've put "Low" as your number one. Though we may differ on exact rankings, there never is a truly "wrong" way to rank the majority of Bowie's output, is there?|
|"there never is a truly "wrong" way to rank the majority of Bowie's output, is there?"|
I suppose it's always going to be a personal thing considering all the phases of Bowie, like I don't connect with the ambient thing as much as most do. Hell, somebody might like sultry pop Bowie the most and put Let's Dance at number 1.
|Pretty much; it all really depends on the ranker’s personal preference.|
|"Damn, it's been 5 years already" 😭|
Beautiful list my man
|Low seems to be Sput's Bowie album of choice.|
|Thanks Uzu - glad we agree on LOW and I agree, aside from a handful of ubiquitously agreed-upon stinkers, you could completely swap around the rest of Bowie's discography and come up with another entirely justifiable ranking. |
Thanks dedex. I still remember the day he died - the only celebrity death that's truly had a huge impact on me thus far. (Kobe Bryant was pretty hard, too, but Bowie's always been a bigger influence on me.)
@nightbringer - either that, STATION TO STATION, HUNKY DORY, or ZIGGY STARDUST, which all have ratings of 4.4 or higher. ZIGGY is actually one of the top rated albums on the entire site lol.
|'dont let this amazing list distract you from the fact that Iggy Pop made the best 2 albums of the Berlin era'|
can someone pls at least shut me down : (
|ziggy is probably my favourite bowie just for how damn big it feels|
|It is truly massive. That first four-track run is insane: Five Years -> Soul Love -> Moonage Daydream -> Starman.... I mean, holy shit. And then the closing three-track run, too: Ziggy Stardust -> Suffragette City -> Rock 'n' Roll Suicide.|
Shit's truly insane.
|Fantastic list. Well written, well done.|
|great picks - literally no complaints. usually when someone ranks bowie they have bad takes, none to be found here tho|
u are clearly a seasoned bowie fan. i miss him a lot
|the emojis are cute |
|nice tec! The list motivated me to explore Bowie's discography again, it's such an overlooked artist for me, never felt or understood the hype that everybody else have for him. I think I need to invest myself more on him, Heroes is such an amazing song, definitely one of my favorites I heard from him.|
|And notice how much worse his videos are without the music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHkhIjG0DKc|
|Thanks gents. Proto- definitely give him a legitimate shot sometime. Just take it slow, and remember that not all of them will be winners.|
Egarran- get that negativity out of here, m’boy.
|sound and vision is so absurdly good and idk why|
|Outstanding effort tec |
|"Rest in power, legend" is the most cringe thing i've read in a while haha. |
fr tho this is a superb list, great writeups. also fuck yes to station to station being #2. prob my personal #1 but damn that album just doesn't get enough recognition and it's nice to see it rate so highly on a discog list. blackstar, on the other hand, i think is mad overrated but i'm an outlier. personally think the next day is vastly superior. i've never heard lodger so i'm gonna change that! maybe today.
|Strangers When We Meet for me is his best song, I love it. So underrated IMO. |
|Switch 15 and 9 with 7 and 8 |
|@Ryus - agreed. One of my most played tracks of all time according to last.fm lol. It's incredible.|
@Egarran - ty bb
@zak - God bless you, zak. Thanks!
@Gyro - At least my cringe is (mostly) self-aware! Thanks and by all means check out LODGER asap. Since you like STATION TO STATION (and I'm assuming LOW?), I think you'll love it.
@insomniac - Not one of my absolute faves but definitely a great song.
@Reefa - Don't agree, obviously, but can't really combat the opinion, either. The beauty of Bowie, I suppose.
|"personally think the next day is vastly superior"|
Nice, I love the Next Day, I think it's absolutely out of this world good.
|Young Americans is too low as some said already|
But still an awesome and detailed list!
|Thank you sir. 🙏🏼 |
And fogza- yes, THE NEXT DAY does not get enough love. Great album.
|Strangers When We Meet is top 10 Bowie, for sure. (the Outside version that is)|
|buddha is so good|
|Wasn’t bad...just kinda bland for me. Especially compared to most of his other work.|
|Give it a listen at night next time you feel like giving it another go|
|that sax in Subterraneans is so fucking sexy|
|It is sexy indeed. |