Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
on 19 November 2007
There is a line of thought which exists that says all bands and artists have a purple patch when they produce their best work, then after that it's all rubbish - not even downhill, just not worth bothering about. The Rolling Stones, Lennon, McCartney, even the likes of Blur have suffered this fate, just as Bowie has. Well, while in the case of ex-Beatles it may be true, when it comes to Bowie it ain't.
The received wisdom is that Let's Dance was the Thin White Dukes first fully-fledged turkey. Certainly, the 1980s were a low period for him but that was almost a decade away.
Let's Dance chimes perfectly with the period. The songs are fantastically catchy - only Ricochet is ropey, relying on a turgid nursery rhyme structure, hence the docked star - with a soft soul sheen that harks back to Young Americans' attempt at the target, but much successful.
Of course, the first three tracks are worth the price of entry alone, but to discard the rest is to miss how finely balanced the whole record is. Certainly it is redolent with the shiny production that would become ubiquitious to the point that it removed any emotion or feeling from music during that period. However, to these ears, it has more in common with The Pixies 'Planet of Sound' than the likes of Sade or any other funk soul hybrids that followed it.
Either way, I can appreciate why some dislike this record, because it is, relatively speaking, very straightforward compared with the likes of Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory or Low, but that's to miss the point: this was yet another chameleon-like change in what had already morphed more times than any artist before. The the fact it was a move into a commercially-minded soul star with a hard edge doesn't mean it was a capitulation of artistic intent. Even the title 'Let's Dance' is playful, an invite to boogie or to fight, which is exactly what Bowie was doing at this point. Whether the records that followed are proof that somebody had tied his shoe laces together is, however, open to debate...