26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
At long last: a return to form and a GREAT Bowie album,
By A Customer
This review is from: Heathen (Audio CD)
'Heathen' is by far the most interesting Bowie album since 'Scary Monsters' (1980), and, in my view, it surpasses the latter, which is often used as a benchmark to judge Bowie's subsequent output. The sound is excellent with lots of interesting musical effects and textures. Best of all is Bowie's voice which is strong and emotional, evident on the best songs on the album, such as 'Sunday' (the Moby remix is even more powerful than Bowie's own), 'Slip Away', 'Slow Burn', 'I would be Your Slave', '5.15: The Angels Have Gone', and the title track. It is fantastic to have a Bowie album that is simply so damn interesting. 'Slip Away' finds Bowie in Proustian mode in search of lost time and creating memory; 'Slow Burn' is truly awesome with electrifying guitar from Pete Townshend which serves to musically capture the beautiful desperation of the song; 'Afraid' intriguingly captures the songwriting spirit of mid 1960s' Bowie and yet sounds authentically 'now'; 'I Would be Your Slave' is Bowie at his sublime best and is quite remarkable, only Bowie could write and perform such a song; the title track 'Heathen' is both beautiful and sublime in turn and could have run on musically for a further five or ten minutes; these are just some of the highlights from a glorious and magnificent album. If the album has a downside it is, for me, the inclusion of the three covers, which seem without real point and distract from the quality of Bowie's own songwriting. Bowie does them well but they are not 'Bowie'. I would have preferred the inclusion of tracks like 'Jackson Wood' which, for reasons known only to himself, he left off the album in favour of the covers. Bowie is best when he is being Bowie - the difference can be heard in the difference between the cover of the Neil Young love song 'I've Been Waiting for You'(which I find a mess) and the great authentic Bowie love song 'I Would Be Your Slave'. For anyone who likes Bowie this is a real treat of an album and has a real majesty and integrity to it. It reveals all the principal altercating and paradoxical sides of Bowie: at once naive and innocent, dark and desirous, brooding and alienated, hopeful and expectant. An album for our complex and troubled times, an album for believers and unbelievers in the past and the future. As his 25th studio album, this record also finally reveals an important truth: that in spite of all the so-called and celebrated 'ch ch ch ch changes' that have characterised his musical odyssey, there is an 'essential' David Bowie, one that is singular, unique, and incomparable, and that is marked by an often overlooked emotional sublimity and intensity as well as musical experimentation. Bowie has been searching his soul and seeking to connect with the world for a long time and this is an overriding constancy of his work to date. It could be his leitmotif. Nothing's gonna change his world.