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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


320 KBPS

Side One of Scary Monsters is, in my view, the single best side of music to be found on any Bowie album - not least because of the astonishing musicianship of King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp ('I've been spraying burning guitar all over David Bowie's new album', as he said at the time) and the supple bass playing of Bernard Edwards. And the songs themselves - from the throat-tearing opener 'It's No Game' (with a frantic Japanese commentary in the background), to the searing title track (check out the guitars on this one!) to the Space Oddity follow-up 'Ashes to Ashes' and the metallic dance track 'Fashion' - rank among his best. It would be surprising if the high standard could be maintained on Side Two - and it isn't. 'Teenage Wildlife' is a highlight - a mini rock-opera that has wonderfully expressive singing and inspired playing - but the tracks that follow it - 'Scream Like a Baby', 'Because You're Young' - are weak in comparison. Still, if I had to choose one album by Bowie to take to a desert island, it would be this one - the perfect antidote to sunshine and blue skies. (It's remarkable to think that the album that followed this, three years later, was 'Let's Dance'.) If you want to sample the music of David Bowie when he was at or near his creative peak, then order this CD. Highly recommended.

1. It's No Game, Pt. 1
2. Up the Hill Backwards
3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
4. Ashes to Ashes
5. Fashion
6. Teenage Wildlife
7. Scream Like a Baby
8. Kingdom Come
9. Because You're Young
10. It's No Game, Pt. 2
Bonus Tracks
11. Space Oddity (Re-recorded single b'side, 1979)
12. Panic in Detroit (Re-recorded, previously unreleased, 1979)
13. Crystal Japan (Japanese single a'side, 1979)
14. Alabama Song (UK single a'side, 1979)

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