David Bowie: ‘Diamond Dogs’ Album Review

wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org

So, a lot of you were upset that I didn’t include Diamond Dogs on my best David Bowie Albums of All Time. It was purposely omitted for a reason. First, let me clarify, I’m a huge Bowie fan and have been since I was a teen. I have all his records (and when I say records, I mean records) and have followed him since Space Oddity to his latest The Next Day. Bowie has rarely disappointed me except for the “industrial” Outside and this one.

When David Bowie issued The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, he created a world of an alien, bisexual rock star with such precision that he actually became the persona he created. Its brilliance was unsurpassable and he shouldn’t have tried. Bowie was still sporting the Ziggy persona at the time of this recording.

Originally based on the George Orwell book 1984, Diamond Dogs was a poorly conceived concept album which only housed a couple of viable tracks, the title track and “Rebel Rebel.” The remaining tracks were forgettable to say the least. I hadn’t listened to the record in years and now I know why. The absence of Mick Ronson was felt as he was replaced by Alan Parker who had done session work with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sonny and Cher.

Bowie tried to rock out a couple of songs unsuccessfully with the exception of the two I already mentioned. To be fair, Bowie should get kudos for trying, as Orwell’s book was a fascinating peek at the future. Unfortunately, we didn’t see “Big Brother” until years after 1984, but the concept was a good one.

David Bowie should have stayed on track with Orwell’s concept instead of going at it half-assed. Or he could have scrapped the concept all together and just recorded records like Aladdin Sane. I mean he was already far removed from Ziggy, except the haircut, and nobody would have faulted him for that. Instead, he tried to create another world of paranoia and futuristic hallucinations. So back in the sleeve it goes – I’ll listen to it in another 10 years.

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