It’s back. And by ‘It’s’ I mean both me, and my astronomically successful series – Nightman Listens! This time we tackle Bowie’s 1973 opinion splitter Aladdin Sane (or is that A Lad Insane… or Allah Dins Ian?) whose cover features what appears to be a skeletal, mournful Bowie grieving over the loss of his torso during some sort of neon lightning strike attack. Presumably the music will tackle such themes as human-electric conductivity, Cronenberg-esque body-horror, and transcending to a higher level of being after being exposed to alien colours which our minds have not yet evolved to comprehend. Although many of the song titles sound familiar, the only one I can claim to truly know before I start listening is Jean Genie – one I taught myself to play on guitar back when I cared about such things. Lets rock.
Watch That Man: Crunch. Oh Lord, not more glam. Barely heard vocals, but groovy nonethelessormore. Big backing vocals, sounds like The Rolling Stones. I still get the feeling that even with all these clothing and persona changes, the songs are very samey. I’d be hard-pushed to say I hadn’t heard this song on a previous Bowie album – only the chorus is identifying this as a new one. Chorus repeating.
Aladdin Sane: Thump. Mysterious. Thankfully this sounds unique. Nice pianos, whispery vocals and guitars. Oh no, the chorus drags it down a little with that same quirky same melody sameness. Someone keeps basking the piano inappropriately, making it all good again. He’s insane so he’s playing whatever he likes, I get it. Stuck. Back. More. Yoko Ono’s pants in a sleigh. Derek Acora. Derreck Akorah. Eric Acorn. Chorus returns. Romper suit. Fading.
Drive-In Saturday: Strumming inside an oil barrel. Space noyses. I wish they had Drive-Ins here. Some sort of love song. More. Ballad on the moon.
Panic In Detroit: Heavier. Wailing. Autograph. Sounds like Symphony For The Devil. In fact, everything so far sounds heavily influenced by Stones. Repeat. Flicks. Backing howls. Repeat. Flicks. Shriek. Rinse.
Cracked Actor: Distortion. Lots of noyses. This seems better, but don’t go all crappy on me. All of these Bowie reviews would be better if I had the lyrics in front of me. All I hear is a multitude of words and hipster stories in each song, but they are mostly drowned out by the music or my ears boke them back out because Bowie’s voice is starting to grate.
Time: Another cowboy song. ‘Falls wanking to the floor’? Good. The more I listen, the more I feel that Bowie has really only written three songs so far – the jaunty ballad (like this), the stomping rocker (like the previous), and the genuinely good standalone song (like Jean Genie). Am I doing it wrong? This is all quite upsetting because I thought Bowie was going to be a revelation to me, a huge musical gap in my history, but really I don’t think there is anything in what I have heard so far that I couldn’t easily live without. Lie lie lie la la la. I wonder if this ending will segue into next song.
The Prettiest Star: No. It’s a jaunty ballad then, with a bit of stomp. Once upon a time, there was a suspicious fox, I say suspicious, but really I mean mean, I mean man he had no friends, no mrs fox, no foxy hole to burrow into to bury his mean foxy thoughts. Foxy socks, she wears foxy socks, and she sucks in Sunset Boulevard because she has no friends, no Mr Fox to nuzzle into and bury her sorrowful thoughts. La la, li lie ba ba dap da dooh, jaunty piano. You see? Lyrics are easy. Especially when they’re balls.
Let’s Spend The Night Together: Hmm, i know this one too, a stomping rocker. Prancing. Inflections. Fast at least. Almost furious, but not quite. Decent enough. Pretty good little comedy breakdown part.
The Jean Genie: Yay. These Bowie reviews is making me feel, and probably sounds like one of those terrible music fans who only likes singles or buys greates hits and never veers outside, but come on Dave, put some effort in outside of the songs you’ve released as singles and I might change my tune. You should change your tune. This chameleon has only one pair of pants. I hate those guys. I’m not those guys. Anyway, this is a good tune, never a favourite of mine, and is really just another stomping rocker with too many words, but there is plenty of energy, good melodies, and a strong chorus.
Lady Grinning Soul: Ok, interesting intro, you have my attention, come on, do something special. Vocals come in…not annoying… obviously an attempt at a Bond song, or at least some sort of sequel to his most famous work. I like the twinkles, I like the guitar, all good.
Lordy, how many more of these albums is there to get through? 1973, and he’s still releasing in 2013? MUUUMMMMMMYYY!