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Hmm, should I get into Bowie?

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Hmm, should I get into Bowie?

Old 07-05-07, 06:08 AM
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Hmm, should I get into Bowie?

Bowie is obviously a rock icon and a legend of astronomical proportions. But for some reason I've never felt compelled to give him a chance. The only songs I've ever liked were Ashes to Ashes, Modern Love, Let's Dance and Love is a Drug. But what kind of music are we talking here?

What style or genre would you put his music into? Is he more rock and roll, rock-a-billy, blues-ish rock or heavy grungy Nirvana-esque rock? If I like a lot of 80's rock bands like say, The Cure, New Order, or U2 would I like Bowie?

What album would you recommend to get started on? Which is the most accessible and newbie friendly album?
Old 07-05-07, 06:53 AM
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Bowie has been tagged a chameleon over the years. His 70's work is indespensible and you'd probably find much to like there. I enjoy the same bands you mentioned. Early rock albums like Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory are A+ albums, but you might find his mid/late 70's work more interesting since he dabbled in more electronic material (Low, Heroes, Station to Station). I don't know how much you really want to check out, but his collection ChangesOneBowie is about the best compilation of an artist you'll ever find. Might be a good place to start.
Old 07-05-07, 06:53 AM
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Definitely get into him. His stuff is hit or miss so just go to a good music review site and read up on his albums. My favorites are Station To Station, Young Americans, Scary Monsters, Reality, and Heathen. Also the Ziggy Stardust movie soundtrack.

The general consensus is that Low, Heroes, Lodger, Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory, and the Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust are the best.
Old 07-05-07, 08:29 AM
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Lodger? Really? I like the album, but it's always struck me as a bit of a letdown amidst the masterpieces that are Station To Station, Low, Heroes, and Scary Monsters.
Old 07-05-07, 08:52 AM
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I'd buy them in this order (this is in no way reflective of the relative quality of the albums, just their accessibility):

1. Ziggy Stardust
2. Hunky Dory
3. Aladdin Sane
4. The Man Who Sold the World
5. Heroes
6. Scary Monsters (probably my current favorite Bowie album)
7. Low
8. Station to Station
9. Lodger

After those nine albums, everything else in Bowie's catalog offers rapidly diminishing returns. But basically everyone interested in Bowie should own those nine, IMO.

One thing, IMO, the last seventies/early eighties stuff can sound a little dated at this point, but put in context it was light years ahead of other stuff that was being released at the time.

Also, get Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes" and Iggy Pop's "The Idiot" both of which were so heavily influenced by Bowie that they may as well be Bowie albums... Don't mean to denigrate either of those terrific artists, but listen to either and then listen to what Bowie was doing at the time and they meld together.

Last edited by Hiro11; 07-05-07 at 08:55 AM.
Old 07-05-07, 09:49 AM
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I donb't care much for "early" (pre-Station To Station) Bowie, but I would say that Ziggy Stardust is essential.
Old 07-05-07, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
I'd buy them in this order (this is in no way reflective of the relative quality of the albums, just their accessibility):

1. Ziggy Stardust
2. Hunky Dory
3. Aladdin Sane
4. The Man Who Sold the World
5. Heroes
6. Scary Monsters (probably my current favorite Bowie album)
7. Low
8. Station to Station
9. Lodger

After those nine albums, everything else in Bowie's catalog offers rapidly diminishing returns. But basically everyone interested in Bowie should own those nine, IMO.

One thing, IMO, the last seventies/early eighties stuff can sound a little dated at this point, but put in context it was light years ahead of other stuff that was being released at the time.

Also, get Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes" and Iggy Pop's "The Idiot" both of which were so heavily influenced by Bowie that they may as well be Bowie albums... Don't mean to denigrate either of those terrific artists, but listen to either and then listen to what Bowie was doing at the time and they meld together.

I might have put Low a little higher only because "Be My Wife" is one of my fav. songs. Otherwise, I think your list and whatnot is spot on.
Old 07-05-07, 09:58 AM
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What album would you recommend to get started on? Which is the most accessible and newbie friendly album?
Old 07-05-07, 05:56 PM
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^ Just make sure to get the 2-disc version. Lots more good songs to be had.
Old 07-05-07, 07:10 PM
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Mick Jagger asked himself that very question once. He apparently decided yes.
Old 07-05-07, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by TheMadMonk
Mick Jagger asked himself that very question once. He apparently decided yes.
woof woof


the answer: yes

i basically started at the beginning and worked forward. ziggy stardust, aladdin sane, and diamond dogs have all been remastered with bonus cds that have essential/OOP songs on them. they're a great place to start.

BUT, diamond dogs is a pretty bad album. other than that, i think Hiro's order is pretty spot-on.
Old 07-06-07, 12:27 AM
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Years ago I tried very hard to get into Bowie, myself. After failing a number of times, a friend gave me the simple but very effective advice "whatever you do, don't touch the 80s albums, except for perhaps Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)".

That helped in my case.

I also agree that a Bowie collection might be a good place to start with. By listening to the individual tracks, you can then pick which sound you are the most interested in (more or less chronologically, maybe: folky Bowie, glam Bowie, soul Bowie, electronic Bowie, pop Bowie, drum & bass Bowie, return-to-roots Bowie), and then explore the individual albums themselves. For, while a collection is an excellent place to start with, most of Bowie's albums are conceptual units that in my opinion work much better when listened to as a whole.
Old 07-06-07, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hollowgen
BUT, diamond dogs is a pretty bad album. other than that, i think Hiro's order is pretty spot-on.
It's actually one of my favourites, and I would warmly recommend it even for a beginning Bowie fan.

Setting the scene in the introduction, Bowie describes how "Fleas the size of rats sucked on rats the size of cats / And ten thousand peoploids split into small tribes / Coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers". What is there not to like?
Old 07-06-07, 12:51 AM
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I just stopped by to drop trou and crap all over the place and say don't get into Bowie, he sucks!

In actuality, I stopped by because this same question has nagged me before, but he's not something most of my friends are into so I am unable to ask them about him.

I've dug the few tunes I've heard (admittedly mostly the more commercial 80's stuff), a wee bit of the newer stuff (Americans is it called?) and a hint of the past (I never seem to recall the "Major Tom" song...but Space Oddity seems to come to mind).

I suppose I'll take the advice given by some of picking up a compilation/best of type of album and then go from there. One of the few things I know about Bowie is that what he put out in the 70's and what he put out in the 80's etc. are night and day different.
Old 07-06-07, 01:59 AM
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Thanks for replies. I'll take the advice perhaps get the best of.

Which albums are the following songs contained on:

1)Fame
2)Fashion
3)Let's Dance
4)Modern Love
5)Deranged

....?
Old 07-06-07, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by OutRun2
Thanks for replies. I'll take the advice perhaps get the best of.

Which albums are the following songs contained on:

1)Fame
2)Fashion
3)Let's Dance
4)Modern Love
5)Deranged

....?
"Fame" is on Young Americans. "Fashion" is on Scary Monsters (And Super Freaks). "Let's Dance" and "Modern Love" are on Let's Dance. I don't know "Deranged."
Old 07-06-07, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by OutRun2
Thanks for replies. I'll take the advice perhaps get the best of.
If you like the compilations, the advice to dig in more with the proper albums is a great idea. One cool thing about Bowie is that his singles stand freakin' awesome in one collection, yet you also can't go wrong buying the full albums.
Old 07-06-07, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by OutRun2
5)Deranged
That's on Outside. He did a series of three industrial/drum-and-bass albums in the 90s (Outside, Earthling, and hours...) which are much-maligned by many fans but IMO don't get the respect they deserve.
Old 07-06-07, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by KillerCannabis
^ Just make sure to get the 2-disc version. Lots more good songs to be had.
I don't listen to the second disc that often. Not a huge fan of his post 70's stuff.
Old 07-06-07, 08:58 AM
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Hours IS NOT a drum/bass album. Not even close.
Old 07-06-07, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by GHackmann
That's on Outside. He did a series of three industrial/drum-and-bass albums in the 90s (Outside, Earthling, and hours...) which are much-maligned by many fans but IMO don't get the respect they deserve.
I like ...hours, but Outside and Earthling smell slightly of a desperate, aging artist trying to do what he thinks sounds modern but doesn't quite understand. Compare Earthling to real drum and bass like LTJ Bukem or Roni Size... Bowie didn't quite get it.
Old 07-06-07, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by OutRun2
Which albums are the following songs contained on:

1)Fame
2)Fashion
3)Let's Dance
4)Modern Love
5)Deranged
1-4 are also on the compilation suggested by Guess Who...and it seems my song of Space Oddity is on there. I do believe I shall pick this one up myself. Good deal...
Old 07-06-07, 09:51 AM
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The greatest hits albums have the same issue for me that Beatles' comps have. Most of the best songs are not the hits or the most popular ones. For example, I don't think Moonage Daydream or Soul Love are on any comps but are two great songs off Ziggy Stardust. You'd be missing out with greatest hits. The singles collection, however, is great stuff, and totally worth it.
Old 07-06-07, 03:29 PM
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Pick up a singles collection and if you don't like that, there's no hope for you my son. Then if you like start with the albums -- perhaps Ziggy Stardust, Scary Monsters and Station to Station. (Says the owner of 60+ Bowie CDs including b**legs) Have fun, Bowie is my all-time favorite artist. He constantly surprises me.
Old 07-06-07, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GHackmann
That's on Outside. He did a series of three industrial/drum-and-bass albums in the 90s (Outside, Earthling, and hours...) which are much-maligned by many fans but IMO don't get the respect they deserve.
I actually got back "into" Bowie after drifting away when I heard 1997's "Earthling," which I think is a hugely underrated disc. That trilogy of albums is worlds better than most 1970s rock stars have managed that late in their career (well, "Hours" is merely OK to me, but "Outside" and "Earthling" are daringly risk-taking, ambitious and hard-rocking stuff, I think).

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