If there’s one thing I’ve been trying to express, it’s that I really like David Bowie. Over the course of this year, I’ve been looking into his music, and I obviously liked what I heard.
What I like about him is that he has the remarkable ability to dabble in various different musical styles so seamlessly that it still sounds like something he would write, and it would still sound really good (depending on the style of course).
So, to celebrate the release of The Next Day Extra, I want to write a post about the albums I like the most. Now, I understand that any of Bowie’s albums could be radically different to each other, and that whatever his “best album” is, its mainly a matter of opinion. If you disagree with anything on this list, feel free to voice your opinion.
Also, before I start, I’d like to point out that for each entry, I’ve included a video featuring one track for each album. You’ll see pretty soon.
With all the formalities out of the way, I’d like to get this started.
#5 – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
- My personal picks: Moonage Daydream, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragete City
A highly acclaimed album like this has got to fit in here somewhere. Because it was so highly regarded, I bought the album on CD and listened to it as it was intended to be.
Originally intended to be the soundtrack for a TV show, this album tells the story of Ziggy Stardust, a rock star who acts as a messenger for mysterious extraterrestrial beings.
I actually quite like the idea of using an album to tell a story, especially if it can be done like this. These are the kind of songs that you have to look into in order to find the meaning to, and the album has a nice and crunchy glam rock guitar sound that’s ultimately catchy as hell.
#4 – Hunky Dory (1971)
- My personal picks: Oh! You Pretty Things, Eight Line Poem, Life on Mars, Kooks
Say what you will, but I actually think it’s better than Ziggy Stardust, because through this album, David Bowie has created and demonstrated a unique musical style that’s truly his.
This album’s style seems to incorporate elements of elegant piano rock and vividly atmospheric folk rock (with Bowie’s own distinct flavour), while occasionally mixing in thrashy glam rock elements.
All in all, it’s a very artistic and flavourful album, and it stands out as one of the most unique, and perhaps the most unlikely rock albums of the 20th century.
#3 – Lodger (1979)
- My personal picks: Move On, Red Sails, Look Back in Anger, Boys Keep Swinging, Repetition, Red Money
The last of three albums produced alongside Brian Eno, this is one of the most unique albums I’ve ever explored. It might be a rather surprising choice, but it’s truly Bowie’s most underrated album.
In this album, Bowie’s pretty much gone past the krautrock direction from the two albums before it (more on them later), and adopted something totally new. The sound kind of wavers between atmospherically light, and rough with screechy guitar riffs.
The songs on the albums tend to be incredibly catchy, to the point that they stick in my mind for awfully long periods of time, especially since I listen to them regularly.
#2 – Low (1977)
- My personal picks: Speed of Life, Breaking Glass, Sound and Vision, Always Crashing in the Same Car, A New Career in a New Town, Art Decade
Low is one of those albums that isn’t like the others, where half of the album consists of instrumentals. The album carries a distinctly catchy electronic sound that mingles very well the rockin’ guitar sounds.
This is one of those albums that taught me that instrumentals don’t have to be long and drawn out, or incredibly short. The instrumentals here are atmospheric, and they fit various moods, with Art Decade easily being the most beautiful of these instrumentals.
With it’s experimental electronic rock elements, it’s a very interesting album, with the kind of music that we’ll never see in the mainstream for a very long time.
#1 – “Heroes” (1977)
- My personal picks: Beauty and the Beast, Joe the Lion, Heroes, Sons of the Silent Age, V-2 Schneider, Moss Garden, Neukoln, The Secret Life of Arabia (damn, that’s almost the whole album)
Yes, I’m going to come out and say that this is the best of Bowie’s albums. Let’s Dance is the song that got me interested in David Bowie, “Heroes” is the song that taught me that there more to it than that, and the Heroes album is what sucked me in completely.
Honestly, this is incredibly unique. It’s a technical accomplishment that’s right up there with Hunky Dory. Produced within months after Low, it carries on the spirit of Low, while at the same time carrying a sound that seems drastically different.
For instance, “Heroes” has heavier guitar riffs (as seen on Joe the Lion and V-2 Schneider), and the electronic sound effects sound even more otherworldly (as seen in Sons of the Silent Age and The Secret Life of Arabia).
Honestly, it’s a big improvement over an already great album, and any album that accomplish that has got to be something.
David Bowie is brilliant and talented musician, which is why it’s sad that he didn’t win the Mercury Prize on Wednesday night. There’s more artistry and talent in his music than anything you could hope to find in the mainstream today. I haven’t listened to his newest album, but I ought to be kicking myself for not doing that.
I hope you liked this post, and more importantly, I hope you enjoyed the songs.