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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2003
I didnt expect to like this record once I learnt that it was Bowie's "jungle" album - not my favourite musical genre. I expected to hear a collection of songs like Prodigy's "Firestarter" ; lots of fast "industrial" percussion ,jagged rhythms, guitars and raucous vocals. However after grimacing through my first listen to "Earthling" , I found that , not for the first time with Bowie's music , the album is a real grower.It is packed with great tracks - such as the commercial "Dead Man Walking" , the superb wall of sound that is "Seven Years in Tibet" ,the catchy "Looking for Satellites" and the excellent "Little Wonder" and "Im Afraid of Americans" . There are very few weak tracks on this innovative Bowie album and it is definitely worth a listen.
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on 28 October 2009
Ok, let's get the 'gap' reference dealt with upfront....after "I'm Afraid.." ends there is a 30 second silence before the next track on my copy. As I had the original 90s release I checked, and the next track follows immediately, so this spoils the continuity somewhat. Not sure if this was a batch issue or effects all, but a niggling detraction from an otherwise excellent reissue (grab the remote).

The packaging is a little difficult too, as another reviewer has experienced, and the holding indents in the card give up quite quickly (so the cds try to poke out the bottom) but the artwork is otherwise good, and I did feel the sound was a wee bit improved.

Ofcours it's the bonus disc most will track this down for, and it doesn't disappoint. You can program what turns out to be a pretty decent second album from the remixes/extras, and it features the best mixes/edits of "I'm Afraid....".

This album split Bowie fans at the time, but for me it got me interested in him again after his arguably dull pop 80s material. Since then I have enjoyed "Outside", "Reality" and the brilliant "Heathen", all because he tried something different on this d'n'b/industrial dance tinged album.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 February 2012
When this was first released i really didn't get it. Although I am a huge fan of David Bowie, I felt then that the really strong tracks here had ben spoiled by the drum and bass arrangements. As the years have gone by i have grown to appreciate what a strong work this is. There are at least three tracks; Little Wonder, Telling Lies, and Dead Man Walking which are outstanding, and Battle for Britain (The Letter) and I'm Afraid of Americans were great performed on Bowie's most recent live tour in 2003/4. The only track I still don't get is the last one, Law - but that is a small niggle, in what with time I appreciate as a really good album.

Despite the drum and bass this remains a Bowie album, lyrically, vocally, and in the ingenuity of the song writing.

I guess, as so often, Mr Bowie was ahead of his time with this album. If only we could have another one!
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on 21 June 2008
Earthling is one of Bowie's most interesting albums; the feeling is expermintal; the sound loud- screaming guitars and pounding rhythms create the drum and bass atmosphere but this is not a dance album; it tackles questions of spirituality and growing old. It addresses the political issues of Tibet and American corporate-capitalism. Much of this work is brilliant- the chant of Looking for Satellites, the slow development of the melody and the superb guitar solo: the feeling of desperation enveloping Battle for Britain: the patient development of the introduction to Seven Years in Tibet before Bowie's quiet, blood soaked vocal which is overwhelmed by the volume of the chorus. At times the album is self-indulgent. I have never really liked Little Wonder. After grabbing your interest, it goes on and on and the initial cheeky humour of the lyrics is overpowered by the lengthy instrumental at the end.
Yet this album is very worthwhile, particularly in those tracks such as Dead Man Walking and the aggressive Telling Lies, when it feels that Bowie is fully in control and leading his band forward.
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on 30 July 2002
If David Bowie made the same album time and time again, we wouldn't like him, would we? Even if you don't love Earthling (and I do), the appeal lies in Bowie's pioneering spirit that's carried him through so many corridors of culture, sub-culture, and counter-culture.
This is Bowie's swipe at Britpop. Imagine Iggy Pop fronting a techno-Tin Machine - that'll either rattle your bones, or turn you off completely. American pop-culture gets a rollocking, drum 'n' bass beats mix with distorted guitars, and Bowie even produces two classic singles from this chaotic album - 'Little Wonder', and 'Dead Man Walking', the latter being the most over looked anthem of the nineties. If this song was released when 'Trainspotting' was being directed, Underworld would probably be lining up at the dole office right now. Honestly.
True to form, Bowie abandoned this style in favour of a fresh start after this album. His previous forays into krautrock, Philly soul, glam, jazz, pop, and so many other areas of music and art have left a trail of incredible visionary statements, and astonishing music. In 1997, at the age of 50!, he did it again. He never let us down.
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This is an album that has to be listened to closely. As background music, it seems to be just noise. But careful scrutiny shows that there are melodies and at times Bowie succeeds in joining the grunge set with feedback and distortion straight out of the Neil Young repertoire.

Earthling doesn’t succeed on every level and at times gets bogged down in its own seriousness. There are, however, good moments with Little Wonder and the single Dead Ma Man Dancing extremely catchy. I still long for a Bowie album of pop songs in the style of the brilliant Hunky Dory.

Having said that Bowie is still a trend-setter who has continually shifted his musical output to stay with the times. His voice here at times out Blurs Blur. This is well worth a listen or 10.
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on 16 December 2013
It doesn't matter what style or genre he works in, Bowie always manages to come up with something fresh and completely accessible. I hadn't heard this album before a friend played me Battle for Britain - what a track, now my favourite Bowie song. Even surpassing Scary Monsters and that's saying something!
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on 20 March 2015
I have held off buying this for many years because of the mixed reviews and finally took the plunge to fill a gap in my collection. Imagine my surprise when having listened to the first two tracks I realized that I had purchased an absolute gem. Now what I know about jungle could be written on the back of a stamp so I cant really comment on the genre. I can only say that the album sounds as though it strays into Chemical Brothers territory in places which is fine by me. I think the basic comment about this is that the songs are all strong however the treatment is very different to any other Bowie album and I guess that's why some people don't rate it. My advice is play it loud it sounds fantastic.
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on 6 August 2005
It took me a while to like this direction that Bowie had taken for this Album, but like most Bowie things, once I had listened to it a few times and appreciated what he was trying to put across it really grew on me.
When you see him do 'The Letter' and 'Afraid of Americans' live - Now that is when you really appreciate this CD!
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on 28 October 2011
For some reason `Earthling' remains one of my most favourite Bowie albums of all time. Comparing this to his other albums would be a mistake, as 'Earthling' is a truly unique piece of work, and there is nothing in the music world, before or since that has sounded anything like it.

'Earthling' is a much tighter album than Bowie's previous release '1.Outside'. The songs are driven along by some impressive bass lines, and some truly intriguing melodies. The opener `Little Wonder' is an excellent pop song that thunders through your speakers (Hence why this is always the first album I reach for when testing a new set of speakers). Bowie really strives to find new musical ground, and what I find quite remarkable is how much of this album grows on you with each listen.

Standout tracks are; `Little Wonder', `Seven Years in Tibet', `Telling Lies', `I'm Afraid of Americans' and `Looking for Satellites' (Which contains one Reeves Gabrels finest guitar solos). The only time Bowie's experiment fails is with the closing track, `Law (Earthlings on Fire)' it fails to hit the mark, and does now sound somewhat dated.

However, I love the imagery of this album, the bright colours and the torn "Union Jack-et", really sums up the feel of this album. The mix of Drum & Bass, and the Industrial rhythms combined with Mike Garson's Jazz piano creates a sound that is entirely original, and Bowie deserves credit for that.

This album splits a lot of Bowie fans. You will either love it or hate it, but personally, I have always found Bowie's 90's career so much more musically rewarding than his early 70's work.

Something I'd love to see is a DVD of the Earthling tour, as it was a mix of the best tracks from Outside & Earthling.
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