Customer Reviews


84 Reviews
5 star:
 (44)
4 star:
 (29)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last: a return to form and a GREAT Bowie album
'Heathen' is by far the most interesting Bowie album since 'Scary Monsters' (1980), and, in my view, it surpasses the latter, which is often used as a benchmark to judge Bowie's subsequent output. The sound is excellent with lots of interesting musical effects and textures. Best of all is Bowie's voice which is strong and emotional, evident on the best songs on the...
Published on 14 Jun. 2002

versus
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only half great really
Heathen is one of Bowie's better recent albums (and a vast improvement over the dreadful drum & bass fiasco that was Earthling) but I think it's been a little overrated by fans who have heralded it as his `best since Scary Monsters'. I actually prefer the previous `hours...' album, which is more understated and low key but rewards repeated listens. Nevertheless, Heathen...
Published on 11 Dec. 2008 by M Evans


‹ Previous | 1 2 39 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven - not Heathen, 18 Jun. 2002
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
If this review section were limited to just three words about each item, I would use the following to describe this new Bowie effort: Just simply breathtaking.
I was hesitant. Like the other reviewers, the cliche of "the best thing since Scary Monsters" and a "real return to form" initially made me run for the hills screaming out for Bowie to become the cult hero that he was in the 90s, though the chart hits deserted him.
I honestly believed it would be something of a stylistic progression of 'hours...' and having heard the first single release, Slow Burn, I expected a wholly different listening experience. That track oozes remnants of Scary Monsters tracks Teenage Wildlife and Because You're Young, most notable with respect to the latter in Pete Townshend's guest appearance on guitar.
However, each and every track is, in itself, a masterpiece. Believe me, you may need to listen to it twice to appreciate it all, but Heathen really does deliver the best album since Scary Monsters. No, seriously!
Sunday, the first track, is a Bowie re-write of much of the style, content and vocal tones of his recent version of Nature Boy from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Yet, it's A Better Future, Everyone Says 'Hi' and all three cover versions that really engage.
As ever, the debut single from this album is the weaker track from it, but on repeated listening, it does grow on you, even if the first verse's lack of rhyming does affect its listenability.
The Ltd Ed Digipak with bonus Remix CD is only really worth it for the re-recording of Conversation Piece which is far superior to the original recording made back in 1970. The inclusion of the hard-to-find remake Panic In Detroit will enthuse those who missed out on the Rykodisc/EMI reissues of Scary Monsters in the early 90s which included this track. Is it me, or is there an even more palpable parallel between Heathen and THAT album of 1980? Hmmmm.
It's a shame it's taken Dame David so long to return to tuneful, sharp, simplistic, moving, witty and ultimately rewarding music. It was hard living down the shame of the 80s sell-out. It was tough seeing the genuine excellence of much of the tracks on Black Tie White Noise and 1.Outside go virtually unnoticed by the public. The sacrilege of record buyers missing out on The Buddha of Suburbia will eat my core til the day I die. Even Earthling and 'hours...' did little to restore faith, no matter how many 50th birthdays and comparisons to Hunky Dory they received. This album will be looked back on in a few years as THE definitive post-Let's Dance release.
Last week, Bowie revealed that he was happy with his musical direction and was startled at how good his writing is at the moment. This is the key. Bowie's found his way through the wilderness. I hope the enthusiasm and sheer brilliance of this album leads him on to do some of the greatest music he has yet to give.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars impressed, 29 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
As an avid Bowie fan since the seventies,I have heard many a song from this artist.I rate this album as good as that era (which I think was his best).My favourite tracks are track 3,`Slip Away`,which so reminds me of another of his tracks from past but can`t at this moment think which one and track 4, `Slow Burn`,but that is just my opinion.My wife likes track 11, `A Better Future` the best.There are some slow deep songs on here and also some upbeat catchy tunes.It is the type of album that you put on,sit back,and close your eyes to.It is well worth buying if you are a Bowie fan.I don`t know about the rest of the general public as it is more of a `Bowie fan` album than an album that you would expect to hear coming from some young kids bedroom.All the same,good to hear he still capable of making good music (not like his Tin Machine days)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pray and the heathen lie will disappear, 1 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
"The Best Since Scary Monsters" has become a worn out cliché to describe the Dame's upcoming albums for the entire last decade. The havoc started with (in my humble opinion) highly underappreciated Black Tie White Noise in 1993, co-incidentally sinking its indie label Savage Records, through a magnificent (possibly Bowie's best ever) work but a commercial disaster The Buddha Of Suburbia later the same year, the controversial "young" sound of 1.Outside and Earthling (1995 and 1997 respectively), right to the boredom of hours... in 1999. All these albums had one common feature - they all were hailed as "return to the form" and "rediscovered vintage Bowie". The same, unsurprisingly, is said to Heathen, Bowie's newest offering. Is Heathen different?
Despite the scepticism of certain fans, and the reluctance of musical press to rate any new material from Bowie above average, I would say, yes, it is.
One obvious answer is Bowie's reunion with his long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, last seen on Scary Monsters, and, as die-hard fans will know, on the Placebo single Without You I'm Nothing and The Rustic Overtones' Viva Nueva. Visconti's string arrangements in Heathen are truly superb - ranging from the dark, intense and enigmatic I Would Be Your Slave to deceptively jolly Everyone Says 'Hi'. Yet, I believe, Mr. Visconti is not the only reason making Heathen exceptional.
Those who have followed Bowie's work during last three years will know that there was one more album between hours... and Heathen. The album was tentatively called Toy, and contained polished rerecordings of Bowie's early songs, an attempt, according to him, to finish what was started over thirty years ago. Then-Bowie's label Virgin, possibly scared by the imagery of Laughing Gnomes and Rubber Bands did not consider this idea that brilliant, and the album suddenly disappeared even before finalizing plans for the release. However, two tracks from Toy were reworked for Heathen. Afraid, a live favourite, is on par with such rockers as Suffragette City and Fame. Slip Away, Bowie's homage to the bizarre TV show, witnesses some of Bowie' best composing and some of his mot cryptic lyrics (even distorted further by the reviewers, thank you very much The Guardian). More tracks from Toy are being released as B-sides and other additional material, and should definitely be given due attention.
Next, come three covers that mostly provoke a love-or-hate relationship to the listener. In Cactus, a cover of The Pixies, David not only sounds naughtier than his multiple character in the Outside murder saga, but he also does almost all of the instruments on the track. I've Been Waiting For You, originally Neil Young's, is a look back to the Tin Machine era. The best of the three (or the worst, depending how you see it) is Legendary Stardust Cowboy's Gemini Spacecraft, a surreal cosmic love story, invoking the imagery of Bowie's alien personae without directly referencing to them. In addition, Bowie's vocals are so mellow and sexy, the track could easily be on Young Americans.
Heathen has everything a good album needs: an interesting, yet not intrusive or too in-your-face concept, very rich and deep melodic textures and wonderfully diverse vocals. Every new listen of Heathen brings a new discovery - whether it's a chord you did not hear before, subtle synthesizer effects or a pun in the lyrics. But in order to truly appreciate Heathen, one has to stop comparing it to Bowie's "classic" works. If you have Ziggy and Low engraved deep in your skin, Heathen will feel like a cup of two-day-old coffee.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brief return of the Thin White Duke, 1 May 2013
By 
Anon (London, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
As with Reality, I came late to this album, influenced by the fuss over The Next Day. There's a lot to enjoy here from a fairly straightforward pop/rock album. The production is rich and Bowie's voice and delivery are marvellous, encompassing styles from silky-smooth soul to wailing hard rock. One highlight for me after a few listens is the hypnotic opener Sunday, that builds to a crashing climax, only to fade out all too soon. Heathen (The Rays) is in a similar style and likewise leaves me wanting more than its four minutes deliver. But the track I really can't get enough of is the swooning, undulating soul of I Would Be Your Slave. It's like the Thin White Duke never went away, he just cleaned up some of his bad habits. The song is Station To Station (the album) redux, even down to the steamy chug of the percussion - though it's swapped the Trans-Europe Express for what sounds like someone frothing milk for a cappuccino. Two tracks, Everyone Says Hi and A Better Future, sound a bit throwaway, as does the cover of Gemini Spaceship, though this soul-funk outing is impossible to dislike. The rest rocks and flows along nicely. It's too varied overall to be more than a collection of songs, whatever the pretensions of the packaging (and the most inscrutable lyric sheet ever), but it's good even ten years late to hear Bowie so relaxed and on top of his art.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A sincere apology for "...hours" , a great CD, 25 Oct. 2004
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
In 1999 David Bowie released "...hours" , which recieved polite reviews and sold moderately. The whole package was a bit run of the mill; the cover art was overworked and confused, as were the songs. The fact that these songs are re-worked creations originally in a Buddist inspired computer game (The Nomad Soul) adds to the rather embarrasing facts.
So what a delight, and genuine suprise that David's follow up, "Heathen", is a really great package. The songs, like the cover art, are simple, striking and bold.
Tony Visconti, in case you didn't know, co-produces here - adding enough to the mix wihout overseasoning. Highlights, of which there are many, inlcude the "heroes" styled "Slow Burn", "Everyone Says Hi", "Slip Away", "5:15 The Angels Have Gone" and "Gemini Spacecraft".
Three covers hint at slight dissapointment, but what covers they are - Cactus (Pixies), I've Been Waiting For You (Neil Young) and the aforementioned Gemini Space Craft (Legendary Stardust Cowboy). The latter being a suitable follow up to the sparkly Hallo Space Boy.
Visconti's production can, in places, be slightly cloying (the annoying harpsicord on A Better Future, a bit overdone on Slip Away)but on the whole he has done a good job.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Back, 27 Aug. 2002
By 
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
A definite return to form with his best album in 20 years. As someone who got into Bowie aged 11 in 1980 I bought backwards happily but was always embarrassed at anything he did after 1983 (other reviewers mention Tin Machine, but let's not forget the Glass Spider or Hello Spaceboy).
This is the stripped down album I'd always fancied forcing him (at gunpoint) to make. Less pretentious than before with better songwriting, and Bowie at last uses his 'individual' voice to great effect. Reminds me slightly of PJ Harvey's 'Songs from...' album: you can almost hear the tape hiss.
Slow burn is at last a commercial, confident single, and the song 'Everyone Says Hi' is unique: simple, cheesy and engagingly funny.
Only gripe is that there's still a little too much of the squiggly lead guitar work that blighted his later career.
And how many other 55 year olds are still cutting the mustard?
Welcome back.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Major Tom is back, 31 July 2002
By 
Mr John S Hutchinson (Cheltenham, gloucestershire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
Heathen is Bowie's best album since he launched Major Tom on planet earth. I'm an avid Leonard Cohen admirer. I'd also walk through fire and brimstone to get the latest Tom Waits and I grew up listening to the awesome Bob Dylon, but Heathen is something else, it has just blown me away. It's full of driving melodic anthem music that takes me back years and years yet is bang up to date!. If you like good music and lyrics buy it, it's awesome. Well done David - when's the next one coming?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true shining dark masterpiece, 17 May 2008
By 
Jan Friedman "Marty" (Brno, Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
From the start of the album to its end, there is NO downside here. You can decompose the album, the songs, to its single elements, single notes and sounds, you can analyze performances of the musicians, take a single song or do the best you can - listen to the whole album - and there is no mistake anywhere. For me the 70's Bowie has never worked very well, maybe too much theatrical/mannered, too much just an "image" case, and the 80's albums always lacked that "something". The 90's on the other hand brought the best from him with mixes of influences from 70's and 80's and modern approaches, including the overlooked Black tie white noise. Whilst this does not have anything to do with the actual level at the Bowie popularity barometer in those times. What has been a nice promise on Hours is fully shining on Heathen. Variety of sound colours, beautiful melodies, mix of vintage and modern instruments, superb arrangements, fantastic trademark singing, but still staying more or less civil, accessible, allowing different types of listeners to find "their piece" on the album. And on the top of that a rarely heard, little bit deranged-like feel of the album, the atmosphere of it. Whereas on Outside or some Earthling pieces the darkness comes out to the surface and you can almost touch it, here it is hidden Inside, echoes from the underworld or some other dimension. I feel a hard to name tension practically in each song, even the lifting ones have it somewhere behind the corner. But you do not fear that darkness here, it just swallows you like a sea in the night, calmly, peacefully, silently. It would be a waste of time to try to jab out individual songs from this collection, why to do this? Any tune you take deserves your interest and is a five-star piece itself. And when it all ends you just sit in a silence for a longer while. Utmost Bowie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once you have it, you never lose it, 13 Aug. 2002
By 
UK Customer (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
There was only so long Bowie could go before returning to producing the goods, and he does it with this album for sure. It's not a classic all the way through like Hunky Dory which stops it getting 5 stars from me, but it's a damn good album and he shows he's still got it 30 years later at age 52 with flashes of brilliance.
Collaborating once again with Tony Visconti was a smart move and it has paid dividends. You get that lovely fragile nasally vocal like you had on some of the Diamond Dogs album and Hunky Dory, and it sounds like classic Bowie that's 20 years old.
'Slip away' is just great, really powerful emotional chorus, lovely melancholy chords and vocal in the verse.
Sunday is also of high quality, moody, atmospheric, with Jean Michel Jarre like choir chords in the background overlaid with a deep drawn out onimous vocal from Bowie. The high-hat work that comes in later is particularly effective.
'Everyone says Hi' is just a great breath of fresh air, he doesn't have to be doom and gloom always, this is a sort of 'Kooks' for the year 2002. The way he sings it and nails every phrase reminds me why he's such a great vocalist. The production is also spot on.
'Better Future' is kind of a bit of a musical joke in a way, a little ditty, but it's so bobby and catchy you forgive it. Women tend to like the lyrics, 'I deserve a better future, or I just might stop loving you, loving you, give my children sunny smiles'.
Great cover of the Pixies 'Cactus Tree'.
'Afraid' is also a very catchy tune.
They are the highlights from me. Go buy it, it's certainly his best work for the last 20 years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise And Fall And Rise Again Of David Bowie, 7 July 2009
By 
J. Smart "Joe Smart" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
I've followed Bowie since 1971 and although I like most of his records, for me, he hadn't released a truly great album since 'Aladdin Sane'. Before Bowie fanatics jump down my throat, I know he has released ground-breaking albums such as Low, Heroes etc, and yes I do like them, but I don't play them anywhere near as much as his pre-Pin Ups albums.
Then nearly 30 years down road, along comes Heathen.
I remember when I bought Heathen I didn't dislike it but I didn't think it was anything special. I probably owned it for a couple of years before I really started playing it and discovered, for me, not only is it a good album it ranks as one of his best. It is certainly the most played Bowie album in my collection. The key song, Conversation Piece, is on the bonus disk. If you own the original version of this song from 1970 give it a listen, play the 2002 version on the bonus disc and then listen to Heathen. It is hard to envisage Heathen as anything other than a missing 'classic' album from 1970 updated to the 'Noughties'
Visconti always records Bowie's voice to perfection and excels himself on this record. If this album had been released during the late 70's / early 80's it would, rightly, be considered as a classic. Regrettably it is now a brilliant album that is generally over-looked.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 39 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Heathen
Heathen by David Bowie (Audio CD - 2002)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews