David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, 30th Anniversary Edition (1973, 2003)

album cover

This album, which followed Ziggy Stardust and that album’s supporting tour, is in many ways better than its predecessor. For one thing, the band is tighter: listen to the rhythm section on “Panic In Detroit” or the shambolic piano on the title track, and tell me I’m wrong. For another, the songwriting is less self-conscious and less tethered to the constraints of a ‘concept album’, making the whole experience a little freer.

The album’s not perfect, though. Side one is stronger than side two, making the album a bit of a slog towards the end. A lackluster cover of Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend The Night Together” does side two no favors.

The 30th anniversary edition comes with a 36-page booklet with expanded liner notes and period photographs. It also comes with a bonus disc containing single versions of “The Jean Genie” and “Time”, two out-takes (the sax version of “John, I’m Only Dancing”, which became a standalone single, and Bowie’s own unfortunate recording of the song he gave to Mott The Hoople, “All The Young Dudes”, a misstep which is the low point of the entire two-disc set), and a smattering of live tracks from the Ziggy tour, the best of which is a re-invented “Changes”, but “The Supermen” and an acoustic version of “Drive-In Saturday” are not to be missed either.

Author: heath

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