Heathen....10 years on!

Heathen....10 years on!

Joined: September 10th, 2006, 11:50 am

May 21st, 2012, 9:14 pm #1

Nothing remains......

Ominus warning you might suggest from a man who had a major part in shaping and directing culture over the previous 4 decades. David Bowie had returned and before the end of the first track you already knew this was going to be a cracking album that would finally put an end to the "Best album since Scary Monsters" quotes that the media had been rolling out over the past ten years or so.

It was May 22, 2002 that I received my advance copy of the new Bowie album. The morning was a sharp clear day with the sun keeping me warm as I walked the streets of my local area, discman in hand and Heathen playing for the first time.

The coming months provided some magical live shows to back up what many critics were calling one of the albums of the year. It seemed Bowie was back once more for a final push at showing the kids how to be cool.

Somehow ten long years have now passed since this album was released. Back then we enjoyed a solid 18 months of unforgettable live shows and even a follow up album just over a year later. Sadly it was to be Bowie's last great push in music circles. In the following months that soon gathered into years all we had to enjoy were a handful of film and stage appearences in a career that began to, shall we say, slip away......

Thank you David Bowie. Thank you for a wonderful 18 month period of life where I visited many beautiful cities to see your concerts, enjoyed countless bootlegs from the Heathen and A Reality tours, met many wonderful fans the world over and most of all, thank you for providing us with your last truly great album.

In the coming days may I suggest you find a quiet space, settle in and give Heathen a spin. A truly great record on every front from an artist who came from a differant time and proceeded to shape our destiny.

Ohh, for those of you yet to enjoy the beauty of Heathen may I suggest you pick yourself up a copy on the way home from work today, take it home with you and explore something you should have done in 2002.

Heathen. Ten years on and like a fine wine it gets better with age.

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2HB
Joined: August 24th, 2006, 12:48 pm

May 21st, 2012, 9:33 pm #2

It's such a great album. I too was lucky to see him a lot on the Heathen tour a personal highlight being the Hammersmith Oden. What a night. It was also the first time i met so many Bowie fans. I was a member of Bnet then which was a fantstic time for many of us as well. I did very well out of it and won some luvly ickets to see him at the R2 gig amonst other things. Then there was Meltdown seeing him play Low and Heathen back to back. And Reality tour I have great meories of. I totally agree with you BSI those 18 months where magical. At least he went out on such a musical high despite the health issues
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Joined: March 5th, 2008, 7:43 pm

May 21st, 2012, 9:36 pm #3

Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, his last truly great album....1.Outside is pretty close but not quite close enough
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Joined: October 19th, 2004, 4:32 pm

May 21st, 2012, 10:01 pm #4

10 years already
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Joined: December 1st, 2011, 12:49 pm

May 21st, 2012, 10:03 pm #5

Nothing remains......

Ominus warning you might suggest from a man who had a major part in shaping and directing culture over the previous 4 decades. David Bowie had returned and before the end of the first track you already knew this was going to be a cracking album that would finally put an end to the "Best album since Scary Monsters" quotes that the media had been rolling out over the past ten years or so.

It was May 22, 2002 that I received my advance copy of the new Bowie album. The morning was a sharp clear day with the sun keeping me warm as I walked the streets of my local area, discman in hand and Heathen playing for the first time.

The coming months provided some magical live shows to back up what many critics were calling one of the albums of the year. It seemed Bowie was back once more for a final push at showing the kids how to be cool.

Somehow ten long years have now passed since this album was released. Back then we enjoyed a solid 18 months of unforgettable live shows and even a follow up album just over a year later. Sadly it was to be Bowie's last great push in music circles. In the following months that soon gathered into years all we had to enjoy were a handful of film and stage appearences in a career that began to, shall we say, slip away......

Thank you David Bowie. Thank you for a wonderful 18 month period of life where I visited many beautiful cities to see your concerts, enjoyed countless bootlegs from the Heathen and A Reality tours, met many wonderful fans the world over and most of all, thank you for providing us with your last truly great album.

In the coming days may I suggest you find a quiet space, settle in and give Heathen a spin. A truly great record on every front from an artist who came from a differant time and proceeded to shape our destiny.

Ohh, for those of you yet to enjoy the beauty of Heathen may I suggest you pick yourself up a copy on the way home from work today, take it home with you and explore something you should have done in 2002.

Heathen. Ten years on and like a fine wine it gets better with age.
Heathen - Released June 10th 2002!

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Claude
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Joined: December 1st, 2011, 12:49 pm

May 21st, 2012, 10:07 pm #6

Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, his last truly great album....1.Outside is pretty close but not quite close enough
is a great album for me!

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Claude
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Joined: March 25th, 2007, 5:20 pm

May 21st, 2012, 10:10 pm #7

Nothing remains......

Ominus warning you might suggest from a man who had a major part in shaping and directing culture over the previous 4 decades. David Bowie had returned and before the end of the first track you already knew this was going to be a cracking album that would finally put an end to the "Best album since Scary Monsters" quotes that the media had been rolling out over the past ten years or so.

It was May 22, 2002 that I received my advance copy of the new Bowie album. The morning was a sharp clear day with the sun keeping me warm as I walked the streets of my local area, discman in hand and Heathen playing for the first time.

The coming months provided some magical live shows to back up what many critics were calling one of the albums of the year. It seemed Bowie was back once more for a final push at showing the kids how to be cool.

Somehow ten long years have now passed since this album was released. Back then we enjoyed a solid 18 months of unforgettable live shows and even a follow up album just over a year later. Sadly it was to be Bowie's last great push in music circles. In the following months that soon gathered into years all we had to enjoy were a handful of film and stage appearences in a career that began to, shall we say, slip away......

Thank you David Bowie. Thank you for a wonderful 18 month period of life where I visited many beautiful cities to see your concerts, enjoyed countless bootlegs from the Heathen and A Reality tours, met many wonderful fans the world over and most of all, thank you for providing us with your last truly great album.

In the coming days may I suggest you find a quiet space, settle in and give Heathen a spin. A truly great record on every front from an artist who came from a differant time and proceeded to shape our destiny.

Ohh, for those of you yet to enjoy the beauty of Heathen may I suggest you pick yourself up a copy on the way home from work today, take it home with you and explore something you should have done in 2002.

Heathen. Ten years on and like a fine wine it gets better with age.
Been listening to our man since 1972. Gotta agree the timing of Heathen made it so special, masterpiece as far as i am concerned.
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Joined: December 1st, 2011, 12:49 pm

May 21st, 2012, 10:16 pm #8

I really like the SACD version.

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Claude
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Last edited by Claude2011 on May 21st, 2012, 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: March 4th, 2009, 1:08 am

May 22nd, 2012, 5:20 am #9

It's a shame the SACD hasn't been released in any other formats. I'd love stereo mixes of those longer versions. The toy piano up front on Slow Burn really adds to the weird vibe that song has.
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Joined: March 6th, 2010, 9:13 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 10:15 am #10

I'd rank it as the 5th best DB album.

Hunky Dory
Ziggy
Diamond Dogs
Low
Heathen

2002 was a fantastic year to be a Bowie fan. A critically acclaimed album, so much media exposure, fantastic b-sides. Awesome live shows, Mercury music prize nomination, TV appearances, in-store signings...

Our man was back in business and for the first time in years, universally acknowledged as being cool and relevant again. Will always remember how he commanded the stage at Manchester (clouds parted for him after drenching us during Suede's set) and how the 3hour hammy gig was like a return to home where the legend began. New songs such as Afraid and Everyone Says Hi standing head and shoulders with old classics like Bewlay Brothers and Starman. The feather boa, the levitation, the reprisal of the farewell speech (but mentioning the train strike). He looked and sounded a million dollars.

If Bowie were a football team, 2002 was the year he won the treble.
Last edited by BenderRodriguez on May 22nd, 2012, 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 29th, 2009, 12:53 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 11:56 am #11

c'mon man...where is outside in your top 5? heathen is great but it ain't outside...


jerry! jerry! jerry!

----------------------------

green eggs and ham
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Joined: March 6th, 2010, 9:13 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 1:05 pm #12

1.outside is outside my top 10, maybe about #15.

Architect's, Motel & Voyeur are great.
Deranged, Spaceboy, HFL & Plot of Land are all good.
No control & WPY are okay.
SWWM I preferred on Buddha.
Outside, Wishful Beginnings, I am With Name & the segues I could live without.

The whole thing is bogged down with contrived pretentiousness & I preferred hearing the songs live. I do think 95-97 was a creative period, Bowie had energy and enthusiasm for his live shows and was reinterpreting his old material, but the actual album was disappointing. Earthling had the spontaneity that Outside lacked. I blame Eno &, to an extent, Damien Hirst who got Bowie's head up his own arse and taught him that context and long art titles can be more important than content.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living -----> The Voyeur of Utter Destruction as Beauty





If Outside was edited down to just 10 tracks, it would probably rank a lot higher in my list of preferred Bowie albums. But then, what does my opinion count(?) Each to their own.
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Joined: May 25th, 2005, 12:22 am

May 22nd, 2012, 1:39 pm #13

Nothing remains......

Ominus warning you might suggest from a man who had a major part in shaping and directing culture over the previous 4 decades. David Bowie had returned and before the end of the first track you already knew this was going to be a cracking album that would finally put an end to the "Best album since Scary Monsters" quotes that the media had been rolling out over the past ten years or so.

It was May 22, 2002 that I received my advance copy of the new Bowie album. The morning was a sharp clear day with the sun keeping me warm as I walked the streets of my local area, discman in hand and Heathen playing for the first time.

The coming months provided some magical live shows to back up what many critics were calling one of the albums of the year. It seemed Bowie was back once more for a final push at showing the kids how to be cool.

Somehow ten long years have now passed since this album was released. Back then we enjoyed a solid 18 months of unforgettable live shows and even a follow up album just over a year later. Sadly it was to be Bowie's last great push in music circles. In the following months that soon gathered into years all we had to enjoy were a handful of film and stage appearences in a career that began to, shall we say, slip away......

Thank you David Bowie. Thank you for a wonderful 18 month period of life where I visited many beautiful cities to see your concerts, enjoyed countless bootlegs from the Heathen and A Reality tours, met many wonderful fans the world over and most of all, thank you for providing us with your last truly great album.

In the coming days may I suggest you find a quiet space, settle in and give Heathen a spin. A truly great record on every front from an artist who came from a differant time and proceeded to shape our destiny.

Ohh, for those of you yet to enjoy the beauty of Heathen may I suggest you pick yourself up a copy on the way home from work today, take it home with you and explore something you should have done in 2002.

Heathen. Ten years on and like a fine wine it gets better with age.
Heathen was a welcome addition to my Bowie collection...but, it doesn't even make my top 5. I always thought there was too much hype about it. There are a few songs on it that are majestic and beautiful...but, i just don't believe it is the amazing, classic that so many regard it as.

'You start out wrinkled and you cry...you end up wrinkled and you die.'
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Joined: August 26th, 2007, 11:29 am

May 22nd, 2012, 2:55 pm #14

i agree Nick

and when Alan speaks of pretentiousness i always felt that with Heathen, Sunday en H the Rays, though good songs it always felt it little humwhaa, i liked heathen the rays live alot but out of the context of the album, so to me the last higlight is Toy, certainly not Heathen, though it's coverart is sublime

----------------------------------------
what a beautiful thread, tell the others.
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Joined: October 19th, 2004, 4:32 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 3:53 pm #15

Heathen is a great album, I'm still amazed how bad Reality turned out compared to Heathen which was record only one year before.
Last edited by gabe_ on May 22nd, 2012, 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: May 25th, 2005, 12:22 am

May 22nd, 2012, 6:13 pm #16

I know i'm gonna hear shit for this...but, i actually enjoyed Reality more than Heathen. I don't understand why Reality gets so much negative feedback on here.

'You start out wrinkled and you cry...you end up wrinkled and you die.'
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Joined: November 3rd, 2011, 10:37 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 6:31 pm #17

I'd like to rank Bowie's post Tin Machine work...

1. Outside
2. Earthling
3. Buddha Of Suburbia
4. Black Tie White Noise
5. Heathen
6. Reality
7. Hours

Ta! x
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Joined: September 10th, 2006, 11:50 am

May 22nd, 2012, 8:23 pm #18

I would like to have seen a re-issue this year with the original album and b-sides on disc one, Toy in full as a bonus disc with some extras and a DVD of the Berlin show that was slated for release but never came out.

Heathen is one Bowie album that could have heen a brilliant re-issue.
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Joined: January 17th, 2009, 6:29 pm

May 22nd, 2012, 9:48 pm #19

I hear it somewhat outside (sorry) its original context, since it's only a couple years old for me. It's got an autumnal quality; a sense of the ending of things (it is hard to take it completely out of its context of the worst fucking thing to hit America since the asassination of JFK). The end of the world has never sounded so good.

"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil, that takes religion." Steven Weinberg
"Schtum!"
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Joined: August 19th, 2002, 9:08 am

May 24th, 2012, 8:17 am #20

Nothing remains......

Ominus warning you might suggest from a man who had a major part in shaping and directing culture over the previous 4 decades. David Bowie had returned and before the end of the first track you already knew this was going to be a cracking album that would finally put an end to the "Best album since Scary Monsters" quotes that the media had been rolling out over the past ten years or so.

It was May 22, 2002 that I received my advance copy of the new Bowie album. The morning was a sharp clear day with the sun keeping me warm as I walked the streets of my local area, discman in hand and Heathen playing for the first time.

The coming months provided some magical live shows to back up what many critics were calling one of the albums of the year. It seemed Bowie was back once more for a final push at showing the kids how to be cool.

Somehow ten long years have now passed since this album was released. Back then we enjoyed a solid 18 months of unforgettable live shows and even a follow up album just over a year later. Sadly it was to be Bowie's last great push in music circles. In the following months that soon gathered into years all we had to enjoy were a handful of film and stage appearences in a career that began to, shall we say, slip away......

Thank you David Bowie. Thank you for a wonderful 18 month period of life where I visited many beautiful cities to see your concerts, enjoyed countless bootlegs from the Heathen and A Reality tours, met many wonderful fans the world over and most of all, thank you for providing us with your last truly great album.

In the coming days may I suggest you find a quiet space, settle in and give Heathen a spin. A truly great record on every front from an artist who came from a differant time and proceeded to shape our destiny.

Ohh, for those of you yet to enjoy the beauty of Heathen may I suggest you pick yourself up a copy on the way home from work today, take it home with you and explore something you should have done in 2002.

Heathen. Ten years on and like a fine wine it gets better with age.
I was listening to Heathan a few days ago aware that it was 10 years since release and I just can't believe it. Yes the sun was shining and it was a wonderful day when I put this into my pkayer for the first time.
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Joined: October 1st, 2010, 10:23 pm

May 24th, 2012, 11:53 pm #21

there's already been a reissue of heathen a pretty crap one tho.
sure we'l probably get another better one in due course.
nice idea bsi.

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Joined: February 28th, 2008, 2:56 pm

May 25th, 2012, 12:56 am #22

My top nine

Lodger
Diamond Dogs
Ziggy Stardust
Outside
Space Oddity
Heathen
Let's Dance
Scary Monsters
1 S2S

..all I had to give was the guilt for dreaming
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Joined: November 20th, 2005, 6:00 pm

May 25th, 2012, 4:12 pm #23

................and its still over produced and full of pretentious fillers.

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REALITY bites
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Joined: July 28th, 2004, 2:22 pm

May 25th, 2012, 10:51 pm #24


Never understand some peoples love of Outside so much. Its ok but its no Low or Heroes.

I judge an album by how often I play it and I must say, I play Heathen probably more than any other album.

I only listen to music in my car these days as I spend a lot of time commuting and Heathen gets regular plays. Outside, well, I'm struggling to remember when the last time I played it.

Reality doesn't get much airing.

Heathen isn't perfect, couple of tracks, the covers actually, could have been binned. The version I bought had another disc with Conversation Piece which should really have made the main album. I love it.
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Joined: September 10th, 2006, 11:50 am

May 25th, 2012, 10:59 pm #25

I think 1. Outside is an acquired taste. I play it a good deal but I totally understand how it isn't a cup of tea for everyone.

The albu always feels like Bowie meeting the record label halfway too. It would have been very interesting to hear the version that was ready to release before the label stepped in.
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Joined: March 6th, 2010, 9:13 pm

May 26th, 2012, 5:16 am #26

Edits for typos.

I love the raw crunch of Grohl's guitar on the fabulous I've Been Waiting For You, and then how the bass and synths simmer down to the fluid oscillating bassline of the serene I Would Be Your Slave, which uses the eerie octave distorting chord change of Am to Ab (as used in a different key for the outro of Bewlay Brothers). Totally unsettling and puts the fear of God in you, which is ironic as the song questions God's existence, pleading for a sign of his existence. Very clever lyric where Bowie mentions no footprints in the sand. Which is Bowie rejecting the bible parable of there being only set of footprints when God was supposedly carrying the person who was looking back on his life.

I Love the nostalgic dreamy melodrama of Slip Away and the delicate piano licks cascading down against Bowie's whimsical yet desperate vocals. Twinkle Twinkle being reminiscent of a lullaby.

I love the paranoia of Slow Burn, the chugging rhythm, the classic-era Bowie evoking sax work, Townshend's sprawling guitar and Bowie's doom-mongering lyrics.

I love the dejected resignation of Afraid, how Bowie recalls the powers he once had, with the urgency of the violins and the electronic shrill
keyboard riffs.

I love the honesty of Everyone Says Hi, how Bowie wears his heart on his sleeve, the retro 'wop wop bawoo' vocals, the simplistic, busker-friendly chords, and the lyrics which at first glance seem light hearted until you realise the song is about grieving.

I love how the ethereal Sunday gently lowers you into the dark world of Heathen, by slowly building and building. The opening lyric, "Nothing remains", setting out the album's agenda. This album might be dramatic, but that's not the same as pretentious. This album delivers.

I love how Bowie pays tribute to 3 great artists , Frank Black, Stardust Cowboy & Neil Young with the 3 covers. They temporarily lift the mood of the album, contrasting against the other material. These songs totally rock and are such great cover versions. You'd have to hear the original Gemini Spacecraft to appreciate how much DB had reinvented it.

5.15 is technically interesting with its fusion of styles, the reggae bassline, the shuffling percussion, the lyrics that describe the ungodly early morning time, yet tell us of Bowie's desire to move on. Love the chiming chorus and trademark soaring vocals.

Better Future is another song which sounds lighthearted but actually describes Bowie's loss of faith in God and frustration with mankind's continuing self destruction. A bit like Fantastic Voyage, but more of the blame aimed at God this time.

Heathen The Rays is such a great closing song. Like so many of Bowie's classic songs it opens with 2 chords a tone apart, (like Rebel Rebel, Sweet Thing, Golden Years, Dead Man Walking, etc) the shimmering guitar intro, the stonking horns, the restrained use of percussion, the handclaps. It has no chorus, but when you allow to come to you on it own terms it is very rewarding. Beautifully closing the album with " I can feel it die"


One of the best things about the album is how coherently it all ties together, many of the songs seems to suggest a loss of faith, and Slow Burn even describes an armageddon-like Hellfire, being controlled by a greater force, rendering us powerless and so small in times such as these. The message behind the album seems to be that of Bowie questioning God's existence, thus making him the Heathen.


Also, like many of Bowie's greatest moments, Heathen seems to be Bowie soaking up his environment (Aladdin Sane, Young Americans, Low, etc), allowing it to pass through him like a conduit, regurgitating it straight out though his mind. Heathen was written on a mountain, and I think that served as the inspiration for making Bowie feel humble and almost irrelevant in the great scheme of things, and it physically lifted Bowie closer to the heavens, perhaps making him ponder his mortality, and question if there is a higher being.

Like Hunky Dory, Heathen was written just after becoming a father (again), and I also think this drew Bowie's mind towards contemplating his mortality, questioning if the world was good enough for his baby and generally feeling afraid of the future.

Finally, perhaps I'm letting my imagination run away a little, but Heathen seems to show Bowie as a prophet, picking up on the underlying tension in the air. It so perfectly describes so many aspects of 9/11 that it's almost unfathomable to consider that it was written before the event, but it was.

Sunday = the immediate aftermath of the impact, post apocalyptic, running through the shafts of light piercing the dust clouds, looking for the greenery of bracken. Nothing has changed - everything has changed. Rise together, through these clouds, as on wings. Superficially, nothing had changed, the world, kept on turning, but the tension and distrust beneath the surface meant everything had changed.

Slow Burn = inside the twin towers. The wall have ears, the prize for our eyes squeezing 'them' tight like a fist. He slayed them all, turning us round and round, and upside down. People in those buildings were being burnt to death from the incredible heat that caused the steel to melt, that's why there were jumpers. Better to die quickly than a slow burn.

Everyone Says Hi - the unbeliever dealing with death, and there was a lot of death.

Heathen = written from the terrorist's wife's perspective? Steel on the skyline , sky made of glass, made for a real world, all things must pass. Waiting for something. Is there no reason? Have I stared too long? You say you'll leave me. And when the sun is low, and the rays high, I can see it now I can feel it die.
Last edited by BenderRodriguez on May 26th, 2012, 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: July 28th, 2004, 2:22 pm

May 26th, 2012, 7:54 pm #27

What he said!
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Joined: August 13th, 2006, 4:16 pm

May 31st, 2012, 7:15 am #28

Heathen is a majestic and truly great Bowie album and along with Outside good enough to stand with and sometimes above the classic pre Scary Monsters records. A lot of the b sides and extra tracks are wonderful too showing that he really was on an artistic roll at the time.


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