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Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mid-period gem, 19 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Let's Dance (Audio CD)
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...
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jul 2012 20:07:49 BDT
G. Donaldson says:
Good review, although I'd argue that the perceived wisdom that Let's Dance is Bowie's first turkey is simply revisionist BS. At the time Let's Dance was a smash, even if some of the die-hards were uncomfortable with the new mainstream Bowie, there was no doubt he had released a great album. As the 80s progressed it became fashionable to knock Bowie and Let's Dance - once highly regared - started being unfairly and inaccurately cited as the start of Bowie's artistic decline.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2012 06:22:45 GMT
It's not my favourite DB album by any stretch, but I've never totally understood why this characteristically abrupt change of direction garnered more hate than, say, Young Americans. Maybe because it was an album associated with the 80s hedonistic 'greed' generation and attracted a new kind of audience who just wanted to do what the title suggested rather than attempt to peel away the layers from the oblique artiness of the three studio albums that came before it - that said, I wonder how many of them stuck around for the likes of Tin Machine and Outside?

Posted on 1 Mar 2015 23:53:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Mar 2015 00:12:07 GMT
Mr. Mc Perry says:
A low period in his career he did some good films in the 80's example:The Hunger etc

he is also had hit singles and albums so confused here

Posted on 21 Jun 2015 21:35:45 BDT
B. Scarr says:
Good review but 'Ricochet' is a brilliant song, I would say the weak songs on the 'Let's Dance' are 'With Out You', 'Cat People (Putting Out The Fire)' (Bowie's original 1982 recorded on 'Cat People' is brilliant and much better than the re-make of the song) and 'Criminal World'.

For what 'Let's Dance' was, which was an commercial album made to make Bowie lot's of money, it was very successful at doing that, but even in comparison with of the innovative artistry of Bowie's albums from 1969-80 I still rate 'Let's Dance' as a great album (It's certainly a great 80's album, and the singles from 'Let's Dance' are some of the songs that defined the 80's as arguable the greatest decade of the pop single). I think it's a brilliant commercial album with very strong songs that made excellent hit singles. The album I agree certainly isn't Bowie's first bad album (his first bad album I would say is 'Tonight'), as this is still a great album. I think apart from 'Tonight' (I think 'Blue Jean' and 'Loving The Alien' are great songs) and 'Never Let Me Down' Bowie made some brilliant songs in the 1980's (I also think the 'Tin Machine' album is brilliant, a very underrated album in my opinion), they may not have been as cutting edge and innovative as his songs from 1969-80 but he did write and compose some classic songs in the 1980's.
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