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Let's Dance Enhanced, Original recording reissued
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When Bowie returned to music-making after an unprecedented three year break, looking tanned, healthy and suited for the first time in his career, it was with this relatively clean-cut album to match. Although featuring another definite new direction, with co-producer Nile Rodgers of Chic helping produce a stylish post-disco dance sound, the Let's Dance is a mixed bag. Much of the album's success was due to its three danceable hit singles: "China Girl", a sensuous Bowie/Iggy Pop collaboration already recorded by the latter, the distinctive "Modern Love" and the funky title track. However, most of the rest of the album is bland and vapid, marking the start of a period of serious decline in Bowie's songwriting skills. A cover of Metro's "Criminal World" and "Cat People" are the only two other strong tracks, although the latter--previously released as a single in 1982--is not a patch on the original version. The re-release of Let's Dance includes the Bowie/Queen collaboration "Under Pressure". Although far from a highlight of the work of either of the artists involved, it is nevertheless a welcome addition for completists.--James Swift
It’s hard to imagine now how people felt when, in 1983, Let’s Dance emerged as if from nowhere. The general pop-buying public, at least, loved it – there are very few records shinier than this one, which glints like David Bowie’s new teeth and is full of treble and echoes like a robber’s cave.
Bowie’s choice of Nile Rodgers for producer was canny; Rodgers had moved away from the sophisticated disco of Chic and was becoming the person cool rock acts from Debbie Harry to Duran Duran would hire to give them a sheen of funk, rock and pop. Certainly nobody but Rodgers could have taken a song like China Girl (written by Bowie and Iggy Pop and originally recorded by the latter), with its paranoid references to "visions of swastikas", and turned it into a sweet, romantic hit single. And the combination of Bowie and Rodgers on the title track was perfect – Bowie’s epic lyric about dancing under "serious moonlight" (the name of his subsequent monster tour, which lasted until December and took in 96 shows) and the brilliant filching of the crescendo "ahh!"s from The Beatles’ version of The Isley Brothers’ Twist and Shout were masterstrokes, each welded to a loud, stadium-ised drum and bass sound.
But older Bowie fans were less impressed. The last three years had seen Bowie mooch between soundtracks (his theme for Cat People is reprised here), one-offs and a jumble of often-great records that had little or nothing do with his excellent 1980 album, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). Let’s Dance may have had a ground-breaking sound and a popularity that Bowie clearly ached for, but it’s often a mundane album, as songs like Ricochet and Shake It mark time until a single turns up. (It’s possibly significant that one of the best songs here is Criminal World, a cover of a song by obscure Bowie clones Metro).
But when Bowie growled, on another of the album’s excellent singles Modern Love, "I know when to go out / And when to stay in / And get things done," he wasn’t kidding. Let’s Dance was literally the template for 80s Bowie – blonde, suited and smiling. It would, however, be a long time before he made another single as striking as Let’s Dance.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The following info is designed to help new-comers to point them in the right direction for their own tastes.
The No. * rating is very personal to me and these ratings have never really changed in all the 33 years I've been listening to Bowie. They are how I rate the whole LP/cd compared to other BOWIE output.
During 1990 and 1991 EMI released digitally remastered cds under the title of "SOUND + VISION". Most had bonus tracks... some tracks are poor but some are worth getting.
The following list is not definitive but points out the most accessible cds to newbies of Bowie.
1967 DAVID BOWIE - try getting the DELUXE EDITION, or DERAM ANTHOLOGY (not as complete but a good collection). 60's pop / whimsical / musical hall / very folk. 2*
1969 SPACE ODDITY - Electric folk / folk / soft rock - just like Hunky Dory 5*
1970 - THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD - Rock / hard rock - not unlike early Black Sabbath. 4*
1971 - HUNKY DORY - Folk / folk rock - just like Space Oddity 5*
1972 - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (aka ZIGGY STARDUST) Rock / glam rock 4*
1973 - ALADDIN SANE - Rock / glam rock 3.5*
1973 - PIN-UPS - 60's cover versions in rock / glam style. 2*
1974 - DIAMOND DOGS.Read more ›
If you don't have this or haven't updated from vinyl or cassette - you really should do it now - you won't regret it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very evocative of the time and featuring some absolutely stunning tracks, with crystal clear production from Nile Rodgers. Great stuff.Published 19 days ago by Mark West
David Bowie ! what is not too like - put on this CD and your red shoes and dance the blues !!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I own everything on vinyl before his bad venture into Tin Machine. I went to Milton Keynes to watch him perform the Serious Moonlight tour and It's a must have for any serious fan. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike Hoyes
A good Album to listen to and you could play it again and again and not get bored of it.Published 1 month ago by Michael Lee
A really good album from 1983, quite an upbeat album after the 3 Berlin records, one of Bowies best I thinkPublished 2 months ago by Trevor Young