6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great Bowie album,
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
I was 22 when this came out and I've had 11 years to digest it, as well as learning more about the themes of this album as you go through life.
I know at the time it was referred to as some kind of come back or return to form, but it didn't feel like that. Hours was only 3 years previous and he was headlining Glastonbury in 2000, so it was not really like he's been away for that long, and it's a long time since Tin Machine and Never let me down. The 90's produced a lot of great work from Bowie, if not resulting in a 'perfect' album. But then he never really did albums that were flawless and there's a very good and important reason for that.
Bowie isn't about just delivering run of the mill songs that keep mums' happy while they drive to ASDA (that's why god invented Coldplay), so you have to expect to be challenged and often taken to different places, musically, that you didn't always want to go. Earthling is a good example, but a lot of the times it's rewarding, and it's never dull.
Therefore Heathen is also an album that is perhaps not flawless too, but it's damn close. You have to go back to Outside for an album that competes with heathen, and before Outside you're talking 70's albums before you find one that competes. Personally I think it's bloated with 3 covers and I could lose A better future without shedding many tears, but the remaining songs and (admittedly the cover of Gemini Spaceship) are very very good indeed.
It's not always a 'fun' greatest hits party album, as the album title suggests it deals with some serious issues, but when the time and mood is right this album can be as rewarding as any other. Given the scoring system of 5 stars, it's difficult to rate this accurately. Is this the best Bowie album? No. Is it close? Yes. I can only give it 4 stars for that reason, but as an album it's in the top 5 Bowie albums.
With the imminent release of The Next Day, this may change as I think The Next Day could better Heathen. It's too early to tell yet though.