Review Summary: A huge step down from his earlier---and later work, Pin Ups is a collection of boring radio tunes that even radio DJs should be smart enough to stay away from.
RCA Records, 1973
In 1973, David Bowie had reached his creative peak, releasing his two best recieved albums; Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. He became a household name and his records peaked the charts. His charismatic aura and elaborate stage shows placed him at the head of the glam wave that had swept Britain. His backing band, the Spiders From Mars, were critically acclaimed musicians, all very talented...
As I typed out the previous paragraph, a thought occurred to me... why would such a talented musician waste his time creating the bland, unexciting bunch of covers that is 'Pin Ups'" The answer, obviously is money. In complete contrast to his previous albums, David Bowie manages to create a sell out album that is completely devoid of anything noteworthy or interesting.
Almost every single song on this album follows the same formula; find a decent song, then cover it using the same bland, repetitive instrument work. No offense to The Spiders From Mars, who are all talented musicians, but the actual musical backing to every single song on the album is boring and uninspired. Almost every song has a boring, repetitive guitar riff along with some uninteresting bass or drums. Guitar solos are few and far between, with the very short guitar solo sections simply adding on to the monotony of the guitar section. 'Don't Bring Me Down' is the only song to feature some actually excitable drumming, with some pleasant fills helping break the monotony. Variety is also lacking here instrument-wise, with the occasional jazzy piano section not adding much to the listen.
'See Emily Play', originally a Pink Floyd song, is the only track here worth downloading. Surprisingly, it is a noteworthy cover, featuring some of the more interesting instrumental sections, as well as a catchy chorus. Unfortunately, this stand out track is still bogged down by the songs that surround it.
David Bowie's vocal performance here is nothing special, as far as his normal vocals are concerned. He never uses his deep voice that is showcased on later albums, and instead sticks with his high pitched vocal stance found on prior albums. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, when compared to the real power he can produce with his pipes, this is nothing particularly special.
Perhaps the thing that bogs down the album the most is the overall averageness of every single song here. 'See Emily Play' aside, every tune sounds like it could have been made just for the radio. The straight forward rock feel of 'Rosalyn' and the funky opening guitar of 'I Wish You Would' just scream of radio friendly conformity. Somehow David Bowie has managed to take some rather average radio hits (with the exception of 'See Emily Play' and 'Where Have All The Good Times Gone') and make them even more average. Indeed, a whole listen to this album can yield no real response from the listener, as every song is so boring and average (yes, I use that word too much) that the whole album could just flick by unnoticeably.
David Bowie has made many great, classic albums, yet somehow he managed to also create the disaster that is 'Pin Ups' from the creepy cover to the terrible songs themselves, this whole album simply reeks of conformity and unexciting radio garbage. One decent song and David's powerful voice still don't save this album from being sent to a new home; my trash bin.
-See Emily Play
-Generic radio tunes
-Unexciting, uninteresting music
-Takes some bad songs and makes them even worse.
-Cover is just f*cking retarded
"Here Comes the Night" 1.5/5
"I Wish You Would" 2/5
"See Emily Play" 4/5
"Everything's Alright" 1.5/5
"I Can't Explain" 1/5
"Friday on My Mind" 2/5
"Don't Bring Me Down" 1/5
"Shapes of Things" 2/5
"Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" 1.5/5
"Where Have All the Good Times Gone" 1/5