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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Bowie album
Don't like to say best, as that's a matter of opinion, but this is the Bowie album I find I return to the most and rewards repeated listens. I think it captures a certain period in music history when punk/new wave was giving way to New Romantic/electronic better than any other album I can think of. Ashes To Ashes is my favourite ever Bowie song, a true gem, and Teengae...
Published on 23 Jan. 2008 by M Evans

versus
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars scary monsters by david bowie
one of bowies better mid-period cds. robert fripp`s guitar lifts this into the statosphere,where it firmly stays after the curious entry track.hit after hit,amazing how many of these you will know.rated midrange because we bought the multichannel cd,only to find it it only 2 channel.such ashame..but it still rocks.Adrian Belew does play on 1 track. thewizardfromaus
Published on 16 Jan. 2009 by Mrs. S. A. Knibbs


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Bowie album, 23 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
Don't like to say best, as that's a matter of opinion, but this is the Bowie album I find I return to the most and rewards repeated listens. I think it captures a certain period in music history when punk/new wave was giving way to New Romantic/electronic better than any other album I can think of. Ashes To Ashes is my favourite ever Bowie song, a true gem, and Teengae Wildlife is another fave, one of his most underrated tracks. I think it's true that this was the last truly great Bowie album (he did some great stuff later but this is where he peaked), but I just find that this album encapsulates everything about Bowie's style and sound better than any other album. Wonderful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Both artistic and commercial, 8 May 2010
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
Despite its alt-rock/punkish influences, side one of this album is actually very commercial and probably self-consciously so. In fact every album after Low and Heroes seems to be packed with potential singles. On Scary Monsters, 'Fashion' is a clear single (and a very annoying one at that after repeated listenings). 'Ashes to Ashes' is a masterstroke though: both artistically (probably the best single he ever released) and commercially (only his second number one). Bowie's genius is making you think that he is a left-field outsider producing art rock for an intellectual minority whilst at the same time racking up the hit singles and raking in the dosh.

People very rarely mention the fact that Bowie totally reinvented his voice yet again for this whole album - affecting a slack-jawed singing style which fits perfectly with the undercurrents of paranoia and impotence which seem to permeate the tracks. There is a definite effort to unify the album musically and thematically which seems to be a reaction against the less successfull pot pourri of styles on its predecessor ' Lodger'. The Japanese vocals on 'It's no Game are both arresting and powerful and, although lengthy, 'Teenage Wildlife' is filled with fine guitarwork and insightful lyrics by a man who was realising that the world had caught up with him. The only weaknesses for me are the slightly disappointing 'Because You're Young' on a second side which gradually peters out of energy, but then has Bowie ever produced two flawless sides since Hunkydory or Diamond Dogs?
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply, rock's finest moment!, 17 Aug. 2005
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
It must be very hard being David Bowie and all the time being compared to your brilliant past. In the period 1971-1980 no other artist could even come close to his inventiveness and importance. His output during these years is arguably more diverse and influential than even that of the Beatles. I "discovered" Bowie through Scary Monsters when I was 16 and I can say that no other piece of art (whether it is Bachs "Goldberg Variations", Dostoevsky's great novels, David Lynch's movies, or anything else) has made such a profound impression on me.
The album is a perfect blend of the avant-garde of "Low" and "'Heroes'", the funk of "StationToStation", and the rock of "Diamond Dogs". The opening "It's No Game" is a shock; the Japanese lyrics spit out "samurai-style" by a Japanese woman, Bowie's shrieking over-the-top vocals (listen to the way he sings "There's no free steps to heeeeaaaaveeeen" after approximately one minute, it is the most desperate cry I have ever heard), Robert Fripps extreme guitar, and Dennis Davis violent drumming makes for an unforgettable experience. A well-known Norwegian author likened the impression one gets from the one of seeing Edvard Munch's "The Scream", which is a very good analogy; bold, seemingly simple strokes conveying desperation and anxiety. There are several other songs of the same quality: the sublime (and well-known) "Ashes to Ashes" (a continuation of "Space Oddity"), the extremely funky "Fashion", the uncompromising rock'n roll of the song "Scary Monsters", and the anthemic "Teenage Wildlife" (reminiscent of "'Heroes'", but in my view even better). Even the weaker tracks would be outstanding on 99% of other rock albums. Finally, the lyrics are great and for once feel very personal. To make a long story short, this album has no weak spots whatsoever.
Unfortunately, after hitting this peak, the rest of the 80's went artistically (if not commercially) downhill for Bowie. During the whole of the last 15 years he has been struggling to regain is integrity and has produced a lot of high quality material (check out "Black Tie White Noise" (1993), "Outside" (1995), "Earthling" (1997), or "Heathen" (2002)). Unfortunately, a lot of people won't give these albums a listen because they either (old fans) thinks he is "passed it" or (younger people) assumes he is another boring old fart like for example Elton John or Rolling Stones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not so Scary, 8 Jun. 2008
By 
M. Dodd - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
This is my favourite Bowie Classic album. Its good because its on a different level to his other albums it comes at you from different levels first hearing this album, i was not so sure, but Ashes to Ashes lifts the album with by now familiarity, before delving back into the depths just to be lifted for air once more with the brilliant Fashion, but commercial this album definitely is. Up the hill back wards also by now a classic in its own right, this album does not take long to get really into it, and where Ashes to Ashes works as a single piece of art, the album as a whole is pure magic and does take you on a journey but one that you just know you will come out of the other side. Even if you don't like Bowie this album is still a must have album on any format and i have bought over the years all the formats going. BUY IT NOW.

Mart
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ROCK, POP and FEEDBACK. A NOISY STUNNER., 14 Jan. 2013
By 
Mr Paul Savory (Wrexham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
His last LP with RCA and the last work for many years with Tony Visconti. 1980 and this is where I came in as a Bowie fan. I had heard "UP THE HILL BACKWARDS" and asked my mate for a copy of the lp. It wasn't long before I bought my own vinyl copy. This and the next lp, Let's Dance (1983) would prove to be the parents of his biggest singles, 4 off this album and 3 off Let's Dance Let's Dance (later pressings of LET'S DANCE also include UNDER PRESSURE BY QUEEN & BOWIE)). 2 singles off Scary Monsters vanished without making much impact on the UK charts, but Fashion and Ashes To Ashes (what an amazing video) did very well. Lyrically bleak, musically disturbing and loud it gels to make one of the best rock albums in the world...ever !!!

The following info is designed to help new-comers to point them in the right direction for their own tastes.
The No. * rating is very personal to me and these ratings have never really changed in all the 33 years I've been listening to Bowie. They are how I rate the whole LP/cd compared to other BOWIE output.
During 1990 and 1991 EMI released digitally remastered cds under the title of "SOUND + VISION". Most had bonus tracks... some tracks are poor but some are worth getting.
The following list is not definitive but points out the most accessible cds to newbies of Bowie.

1967 DAVID BOWIE - try getting the DELUXE EDITION, or DERAM ANTHOLOGY (not as complete but a good collection). 60's pop / whimsical / musical hall / very folk. 2*
1969 SPACE ODDITY - Electric folk / folk / soft rock - just like Hunky Dory 5*
1970 - THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD - Rock / hard rock - not unlike early Black Sabbath. 4*
1971 - HUNKY DORY - Folk / folk rock - just like Space Oddity 5*
1972 - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (aka ZIGGY STARDUST) Rock / glam rock 4*
1973 - ALADDIN SANE - Rock / glam rock 3.5*
1973 - PIN-UPS - 60's cover versions in rock / glam style. 2*
1974 - DIAMOND DOGS. An Orwellian style, bleak lyrics, up-beat rock and shades of soul hidden within. 5*
1974 - DAVID LIVE - The soul is starting to come thru. Not rock, more funk in style but without the funk... confusing !! 1*
1975 - YOUNG AMERICANS - Soul / funk 3*, but every time I play it I think hang on, this is 5* (confused again !!). Try and get the version with, "Who can I be now?", "it's gonna be me" & "John, I'm only dancing, again".
1976 - STATIONTOSTATION - The start of electronics can be heard here. Soul / soft rock 5* at least.
1977 - LOW - and enter BRIAN ENO. This is my fave LP. Bleak, depressing, alienation and very electronic with quiet rock . 5* at least. Also see "Heroes".
1977 - "HEROES" - and BRIAN ENO. This is one of my fave LPs. Bleak, depressing, alienation and very electronic with quiet rock . 5* at least. Also see LOW.
1978 - STAGE - live and brilliant but with fade-outs and gaps between songs. 4*. Life is tried to be pumped into some tunes which are, for me, left more barren and desolate.
1979 - LODGER - and more BRIAN ENO. A right mishmash of sounds and tunes. Took me years to get into this LP. 3* Pop (in a word).
1980 - SCARY MONSTERS & SUPER CREEPS - and this is where I came in. Rock with hints of funk, depression and it contains "Up The Hill Backwards"... my all-time fave single (strange choice I know, especially when I adore Bohemian Rhapsody)
1983 - LET'S DANCE. Disco-esque / soft rock. 4*. This is Bowie's biggest selling LP.
1983 - ZIGGY STARDUST THE MOTION PICTURE. Rock/glam 3.5*
1984 - TONIGHT. See LET'S DANCE but only 1*.
1987 - NEVER LET ME DOWN - see TONIGHT but 2*
1989 91 - TIN MACHINE 1 & 2. Rock. Both 3*
1993 - BLACK TIE /WHITE NOISE Rock/pop with hints of modern R&B. 2*
1993 - THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA. Pop 3*
1995 - 1.OUTSIDE. God I was wetting myself to hear this when I heard it was the return of BRIAN ENO. God I was disappointed. It's a story (a murder mystery) with only patches of brilliant music. 1*
1997 - EARTHLING. Not knowing what drum & bass is, the making of this cd documentary kept referring to it an D&B. I never got into it. 2*
1999 - HOURS... - pop / soft rock 5*
2002 - HEATHEN - pop / soft rock 4*
2003 - REALITY. Omg, it's 10 years old now. I hadn't realised he had a new cd out upon my return after a holiday. So it went into the shopping trolley my wife was pushing and it has never been very far away from the cd player. For me, I can hear shades of ALADDIN SANE. Pop / rock 5*
2013 - THE NEXT DAY. 4* Hard, Heavy Rock with a few lighter moments.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes me wish i was born 20 years earlier, 23 May 2004
By 
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
Im only 16 an i've recently discovered the music of David Bowie so I bought the Best Of Bowie Compilation. On the Best of Bowie compilation i found 3 songs on it that i played over and over again, Ashes To Ashes, Scary Monsters & Fashion. So I bought the album Scary Monsters, were these three songs come from.
This album is a true classic and i'm really happy that i bought it. Its hardly been off since i bought it. But what can I say about the album that hasnt been sed in 1980. Well nothing. Im gonna judge this album as if it came out now. Actually i can't do that because its so 1980s so ignore what I just sed.
This album still is cutting edge now as it probaly was then. My favourite songs off the album are the title track, Scary Monsters, It's No Game(Both Parts) and Up the Hill Backwards, but I love all the songs of this album. Its also encouraged me to want to buy Diamond Dogs and Hunky Dory. So I will be buying them when i save up. My only complaint about this album is that it is too short. But because he was releasing new CDs nearly every year, I understand why its so short.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Howling At The Moon (or the 80s), 30 April 2011
By 
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
I was lucky enough to be the younger brother. So in 1980 I had a teenage older sister who had Fashion and Scary Monsters on 7", and she had a friend with a Bowie fixation. Everything was going to be alright.

Fashion's 'woop woop woop' opening was mesmerizing. Scary Monster's howling at the moon lyrics - even for an 8 year old - were fascinating. Ashes To Ashes with the David 'doyenne of the 80s pop video' Mallett video that made NO sense, but had weird scenes of a broken Major Tom.

Nothing could have prepared me for the album they came off, but that was another 10 years....

Scary Monsters really is the culmination of everything Bowie had been doing until that time. It seems, to me anyway, a summation. Angular, aggressive, disturbing, paranoid, funky. Its No Game is genre-wise unplaceable, the screeching oriental words, the screeching Bowie singing, the screeching guitar of Robert Fripp.

The last truly groundbreaking album Bowie produced (well with a run like his it had to end sometime) - Scary Monsters was all about the new 80s utopian dawn. Bowie had caught on to the new romantic era, and had Steve Strange in his video for Ashes To Ashes to prove it, but he also looked back, and even tipped his clown hat to Major Tom. Shame the rest of the 80s didn't sound like this. Maybe thats why his 'mother' is scalding him on the beach in the Ashes To Ashes video. Mum's always know what you're about to do even before you've done it.

4 star ONLY because of all 3 singles coming one after the other. Awful mistake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 17 Oct. 2007
By 
This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
I pretty much agree with all Jason P said above, although I think the whole thing from beginning to end is fabulous. Agreed, the old "Side 2" takes a while to appreciate, but gets better and better with each listen. I love the sound of this, it's got that late New York 70s feel, nodding to Television and Talking Heads in particular, and Fripp's exceptional guitar playing on the title track is worth the price alone. Unfortunately this version omits the 4 bonus tracks on the Ryko, which is a great pity because they enhance the album. Try and get the 1991 reissue if you can but failing that, this remains essential listening.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1980's New Wave joy..., 22 Sept. 2007
By 
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
Where did Bowie lose it? - many think that the great run of 70s albums from Bowie ended with "Heroes", or if more adventerous, 'Lodger' - but rediscovering this LP after a few years, 'Scary Monsters' seems to be the conclusion to the journey began with 'The Man Who Sold the World' at the start of the decade.

'Scary Monsters' was recorded at the point Bowie was cleaning himself up, after the drug/diabolism years in LA and the hedonistic period spent with Iggy Pop and Brian Eno in West-Berlin. With co-producer Tony Visconti, Bowie fashions an album that seems to conclude most directions he'd been exploring in the 1970s - the backing vocals to 'Up the Hill Backwards' could be part of the soul thang most explored on 'Young Americans', while 'Because You're Young' could have featured on one of the early 70s glam albums, as the Fripp-heavy tracks nod to 'Low' and "Heroes"...and the whole New Wave thing, most of which was influenced by Bowie ('Teenage Wildlife' also alludes to punk, which like most post-punk, Bowie heavily influenced!). & weirdly Bowie did his version of the New Wave inspired by himself and threw down an album that bested most Bowie-influenced albums of the era. It felt like the end of things, a conclusion to the direction he'd been following, so following the 'Baal' e.p., unsurprising that Bowie went towards the mainstream, a mostly unsatisfying experience...

'Scary Monsters' is no doubt an album of two halves - the second half isn't quite as great, but certainly ain't bad either. 'It's No Game (Part 2)' is fine, but 'Part 1' is much wilder - the difference between the two symbolises the difference in quality of both sides. The cover of Tom Verlaine's 'Kingdom Come' is fine, and in line with many of Bowie's great albums that featured a pertinent cover version - 'Teenage Wildlife' is quite underrated, but does suffer from having to follow the brilliant five opening tracks. 'Scream Like a Baby' and 'Because You're Young' are just OK, the latter might appeal to some as Pete Townshend pops up on guitar - and would return on Bowie's return to form that was 2002's 'Heathen.' The second half is not bad...maybe it would have been improved by the presence of some nice bonus tracks, e.g. 'Crystal Japan', 'Alabama Song' or tracks from the 'Baal' e.p. ?

The first half is fantastic, as great as anything from Bowie's brilliant career in the art decade that was the 70s. The presence of Robert Fripp is particularly welcome, Fripp was all over the place at the time, turning up on records by Blondie, Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads, as well as recording with Brian Eno and Daryl Hall - here the King Crimson-guitarist sounds like he's spraying his trademark sound all over the place. His influence on Blur's Graham Coxon is very much apparent on 'It's No Game (Part 1)' and 'Fashion' - the former has a riff which seems to predict Blur's 'Girls and Boys', while the latter is very 'London Loves.' Michi Hirota adds some great Japanese vocals which contrast brilliantly with Bowie's vocals and Fripp's guitar - the "Documentaries on refugees..." rap is great, Bowie's best rant since that bit on 'We are the Dead.' 'Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps)' sounds like Bowie doing 'Idiot'-Iggy, and set the tone for bands like The Psychedelic Furs and the Sisters of Mercy - I'd forgotten how great it was, and how much it rocks!

The first half concludes with two of Bowie's best known songs, the hit singles 'Ashes to Ashes' and 'Fashion' - two songs that I always feel go together perfectly (not just due to the fact they follow each other on most Bowie best ofs!). 'Ashes to Ashes' was the first Bowie song I was aware of, and I found the famous video memorable too - it's spacefunk and a sequel to 'Space Oddity', as well as a direct reference to all of Bowie's problems the previous decade. Bowie buries Major Tom, offers up some horrific lyrics ('Jap girls in synthesis', the end of the world as you're broke and bald, 'sordid details following'...) - but with the lines "I want an axe to break the ice/want to come down right now" transcends all those problems. The coda "My mama said to get things done/You'd better not mess with Major Tom" sounds like a great farewell...'Fashion' follows with more Fripp and a futuristic funk sound that embraces New York - predicting a lot of music to come, and offering up some catchy pop nonsense with some great call/response lyrics. Bowie was onto his next thing, and recorded with Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers soon after...the next episode was beginning.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'a battle cry for the brave new world', 10 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: Scary Monsters (Audio CD)
1980. I left school, the future ahead of me. A beautiful future, the thin white duke had returned to soundtrack my life with his hugely anticipated opus 'Scary Monsters'. Heralded in the summer by the No.1 single 'Ashes to Ashes', Bowie was back. The moment felt magical.
The rise of the Futurist/New Romantic scene adding to sense that something special was happening. It was a time to celebrate-and Bowie boys & girls sure knew how to party! The club scene was never so glamourous. The Blitz [London],The Rum Rummer [B'ham]...so many stars born in the night. Boy George, Steve Strange, Marilyn, Spandau, Duran, to name but a few.
For about a year, I don't think there was a day this album wasn't on my turn table. The quintessential 'getting ready to go out record', every word of every lyric, emblazomed on my mind. A battle cry for the brave new world: 'We are the goon squad & we're coming to town!'
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