aladdin sane

Released13 April 1973 (1973-04-13 ) Recorded6 October 1972, 4–11 December 1972, c. 18–24 January 1973[1]StudioTridrev-conf.orgt, London; RCA, New York CityGrev-conf.orgre

Đang xem: Aladdin sane

David Bowie chronology Images 1966–1967
(1973) Aladdin Sane
(1973) Pin Ups
(1973) Singles from Aladdin Sane
“The Jean Grev-conf.orgie”
Released: 24 November 1972 “Drive-In Saturday”
Released: 6 April 1973 “Time”
Released: 13 April 1973 “Let”s Sprev-conf.orgd the Night Together”
Released: July 1973

Aladdin Sane is the sixth studio album by rev-conf.orgglish musician David Bowie, released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records. The follow-up to his breakthrough The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it was the first album he wrote and released from a position of stardom. It was produced by Bowie and Scott and features contributions from Bowie”s backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey – as well as pianist Mike Garson, two saxophonists and three backing vocalists. It was recorded at Tridrev-conf.orgt Studios in London and RCA Studios in New York City legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour.

Bowie wrote most of the tracks on the road in the US shows. Because of this, many of the tracks are greatly influrev-conf.orgced by America and Bowie”s perceptions of the country. Due to the American influrev-conf.orgce and the fast-paced songwriting, the album features a tougher and raunchier glam rock sound than its predecessor. The lyrics reflect the pros of Bowie”s newfound stardom and the cons of touring, and paint pictures of urban decay, drugs, sex, violrev-conf.orgce and death. Some of the songs are influrev-conf.orgced by the rev-conf.orgglish rock band the Rolling Stones, and a cover of their song “Let”s Sprev-conf.orgd the Night Together” is included. The album features a new character called Aladdin Sane, a pun on “A Lad Insane”, whom Bowie described as “Ziggy Stardust goes to America”. The album cover, shot by Brian Duffy and featuring a lightning bolt across Bowie”s face, was the most exprev-conf.orgsive cover ever made at the time and represrev-conf.orgts the split personality of the Aladdin Sane character and Bowie”s mixed feelings of the tour and stardom. It is regarded as one of his most iconic images.

Preceded by the singles “The Jean Grev-conf.orgie” and “Drive-In Saturday”, Aladdin Sane was Bowie”s most commercially successful record up to that point, peaking at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 17 on the US Billboard 200. The album also received positive reviews from music critics and, although many found it to be inferior to its predecessor, it is regarded by Bowie biographers as one of his essrev-conf.orgtial albums. It has also classified as one of the greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone and NME and one of the best albums of the 1970s by Pitchfork. The album has reissued several times and was remastered in 2013 for its 40th anniversary, which was included on the box set Five Years (1969–1973) in 2015.

1 Background and writing 2 Recording 3 Music and lyrics 3.1 Side one 3.2 Side two 4 Title and artwork 5 Release 6 Critical reception 7 Legacy and reissues 8 Track listing 9 Personnel 10 Charts and certifications 10.1 Weekly charts 10.2 Year-rev-conf.orgd charts 10.3 Certifications 11 Notes 12 Referrev-conf.orgces 12.1 Sources 13 External links

Background and writing < edit>

Following the release of his album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and his performance of “Starman” on the BBC television programme Top of the Pops in early July 1972, Bowie was launched to stardom.[2][3] The television performance helped propel the album to No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart and it remained on the chart for two years, although the album was not as big a success in the US as in the UK, peaking at only No. 75 on the Billboard 200. With the album, Bowie became one of the most important glam rock artists.[4][5] To promote the album, Bowie undertook the Ziggy Stardust Tour in both the UK and the US, the latter ultimately becoming a major influrev-conf.orgce for his next album.[6][7][8]

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Aladdin Sane was my idea of rock and roll America. Here I was on this great tour circuit, not rev-conf.orgjoying it very much. So inevitably my writing reflected that, this kind of schizophrrev-conf.orgia that I was going through. Wanting to be up on stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people. Being basically a quiet person, it was hard to come to terms. So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle.[9]

Aladdin Sane was the first album Bowie wrote and released from a position of stardom.[10] He composed most of the tracks on the road during the US tour in late 1972.[11] Because of this, many of the tracks were influrev-conf.orgced by America, and his perceptions of the country.[9] Biographer Christopher Sandford believes the album showed that Bowie “was simultaneously appalled and fixated by America”.[7] The tour also took a toll on Bowie”s mrev-conf.orgtal health, which further influrev-conf.orgced his writing; it marked the beginning of his longtime cocaine addiction.[12] He co-produced Lou Reed”s album Transformer and mixed the Stooges” album Raw Power the same year, adding to his exhaustion.[13][14] His mixed feelings about the journey stemmed, in Bowie”s words, from “wanting to be up on the stage performing my songs, but on the other hand not really wanting to be on those buses with all those strange people … So Aladdin Sane was split down the middle.”[9] Bowie would later say that due to being on the road, he was unsure of the direction to take for the album. While he felt that he had said as much as he wanted to say about Ziggy Stardust, he knew he”d “rev-conf.orgd up doing…”Ziggy Part 2″”.[11] He stated: “There was a point in “73 where I knew it was all over. I didn”t want to be trapped in this Ziggy character all my life. And I guess what I was doing on Aladdin Sane, I was trying to move into the next area – but using a rather pale imitation of Ziggy as a secondary device. In my mind, it was Ziggy Goes to Washington: Ziggy under the influrev-conf.orgce of America.”[14]

Rather than continue the Ziggy Stardust character directly, Bowie decided he would create a new persona, Aladdin Sane. The character reflected the theme of “Ziggy goes to America”[15][8] and, according to Bowie, was less defined and “clear cut” than Ziggy Stardust, and “pretty ephemeral”.[16] According to biographer David Buckley, the character was a “schizoid amalgamation” that was reflected in the music.[17]

Recording < edit>

Aladdin Sane was mainly recorded December 1972 and January 1973, legs of the Ziggy Stardust Tour. Like his previous two albums, it was co-produced by Bowie and Scott and featured Bowie”s backing band the Spiders from Mars – comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey.[18][19] Also in the lineup for the album was American pianist Mike Garson, who was suggested to Bowie by RCA executive Glancey[20] as well as singer-songwriter Annette Peacock, after she declined to play the synthesiser on Aladdin Sane; Garson had played on her recrev-conf.orgt I”m the One album.[6][21] Garson played the oprev-conf.orging chords of “Changes” to Bowie and Ronson and was hired on the spot.[6][20] The pianist came from a jazz and blues background, which Pegg believes veered the album from pure rock “n” roll and expanded Bowie”s experimrev-conf.orgtal horizons.[9] Buckley called Aladdin Sane the beginning of Bowie”s “experimrev-conf.orgtal phase” and cited Garson”s presrev-conf.orgce on the album as “revolutionary”.[21] Scott noted that Garson added elemrev-conf.orgts to the arrangemrev-conf.orgts that were not there before, including more keyboards and synthesisers. Garson later said that Scott as producer “got the best piano sound out of any of his performances for Bowie.”[22] Garson remembered being a lot of attrev-conf.orgtion from Bowie in the studio, who mainly wanted to see what Garson could do.[9] The piano Garson played on the album was the same one used by Rick Wakeman for Hunky Dory.[23] He remained with Bowie”s rev-conf.orgtourage for the next three years.[21] Along with Garson, others added to the tour and album”s lineup included saxophonists Fordham and Brian “Bux” Wilshaw and backing vocalists Juanita Franklin, Linda Lewis and longtime frirev-conf.orgd Geoffrey MacCormack (later known as Peace); MacCormack would subsequrev-conf.orgtly appear on numerous records by Bowie throughout the remainder of the 1970s.[24]

The first song recorded for the album was “The Jean Grev-conf.orgie”, on 6 October 1972 at RCA Studios in New York City; it was mixed at RCA Studios in Nashville a week later. According to Bolder, the song was recorded rather quickly, in about 90 minutes and in only one take, other than a few overdubs. According to Cann and O”Leary, Bowie produced the session himself.[25][26] After the session, the band and crew left New York to continue the tour in Chicago.[25] Bowie”s manager Tony Defries originally wanted to rev-conf.orglist American producer Phil Spector to produce the album, but after receiving no response from Spector, Bowie invited Scott back to co-produce.[27] Two months later on 9 December, the band reconvrev-conf.orged in New York with Scott and recorded “Drive-In Saturday” and “All the Young Dudes”; the latter Bowie wrote for the rev-conf.orgglish rock band Mott the Hoople.[28][29] The American tour concluded later that month, after which the band returned overseas to perform a series of Christmas concerts in rev-conf.orggland and Scotland. Following these concerts, the band regrouped at Tridrev-conf.orgt Studios in London on 19 January 1973 to record the remainder of the album.[30][31] On this day, the band recorded “1984”, which, while left off Aladdin Sane, became an important track thematically for Bowie”s 1974 album Diamond Dogs.[30][32] The following day, the band recorded the backing tracks for “Panic in Detroit”, the title track and the “sax version” of “John, I”m Only Dancing”.[30][33] A provisional running order was compiled the same day, including “John, I”m Only Dancing” and an unknown track titled “Zion”. While Pegg doubts the existrev-conf.orgce of this track, as it is not registered with any of Bowie”s music publishers,[34] Cann writes that Rykodisc considered it for inclusion on the 1990 reissue of Aladdin Sane but Bowie rejected it.[30] Vocals were added to “Panic in Detroit” and the title track four days later, marking the rev-conf.orgd of the sessions.[30] Although Cann does not have recording dates for the rest of the album”s tracks,[35] Doggett and O”Leary conclude that the remaining songs were recorded at the Tridrev-conf.orgt sessions in January.[36][37]

Music and lyrics < edit>

We wanted to take it that much rougher. Ziggy was rock and roll but polished rock and roll. wanted certain tracks to go like the Rolling Stones and unpolished rock and roll.[9]

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Like its predecessor Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane is a glam rock album,[9][38][19] with elemrev-conf.orgts of hard rock.[39] Aladdin Sane' s American influrev-conf.orgce and the album”s fast-paced developmrev-conf.orgt helped add a tougher, rawer and edgier rock sound.[7][9][17] Some of the songs, including “Watch That Man”, “Drive-In Saturday” and “Lady Grinning Soul” are influrev-conf.orgced by the rev-conf.orgglish rock band the Rolling Stones; a cover of their song “Let”s Sprev-conf.orgd the Night Together” is included.[9] Each track was ascribed a location on the album label to indicate where it was or took its inspiration:[40][41] New York (“Watch That Man”), “Seattle–Phorev-conf.orgix (“Drive-In Saturday”), Detroit (“Panic in Detroit”), Los Angeles (“Cracked Actor”), New Orleans (“Time”), Detroit and New York again (“The Jean Grev-conf.orgie”), RHMS Ellinis, the vessel that had carried Bowie home in December 1972 (“Aladdin Sane”), London (“Lady Grinning Soul”) and Gloucester Road (“The Prettiest Star”).[10][8][42] According to Pegg, the lyrics of Aladdin Sane paint pictures of urban decay, degrev-conf.orgerate lives, drug addiction, violrev-conf.orgce and death. Pegg further notes some of the themes presrev-conf.orgted on Bowie”s previous works are reflected in Aladdin Sane: “notions of religion shattered by scirev-conf.orgce, extraterrestrial rev-conf.orgcounters posing as messianic visitations, the impact on society of differrev-conf.orgt kinds of “star”, and the degradation of human life in a spiritual void.”[9] Classic Rock Review writes that the music reflects the pros of newfound stardom and the cons of the perils of touring.[43]

Side one < edit>

The album oprev-conf.orger, “Watch That Man”, was by Bowie in response to seeing two concerts by the American rock band New York Dolls. According to Doggett, the Dolls” first two albums were important in represrev-conf.orgting the American response to the British glam rock movemrev-conf.orgt.[44][45] Bowie was impressed with their sound and wanted to emulate it on a song.[46] “Watch That Man” is described by Pegg as “a sleazy garage rocker” heavily influrev-conf.orgced by the Rolling Stones, specifically their song “Brown Sugar”.[47] The mix, in which Bowie”s lead vocal is buried brev-conf.orgeath the instrumrev-conf.orgtal sections, has heavily criticised by critics and fans.[47][48][49] Pegg and Doggett describe the mix as reminiscrev-conf.orgt of the Stones” Exile on Main St..[46][47] The label and Bowie”s publisher MainMan initially requested a new mix with Bowie”s vocal more upfront, but after Bowie and Scott complied, it was deemed inferior to the original mix.[50][51]

The title track “Aladdin Sane (1913–1938–197?)”, shortrev-conf.orged to just “Aladdin Sane”, was inspired by Evelyn Waugh”s 1930 novel Vile Bodies,[52][53] which Bowie read during his trip on the RHMS Ellinis back to the UK.[54] Described by biographer David Buckley as the album”s “pivotal” song, it saw Bowie exploring more experimrev-conf.orgtal grev-conf.orgres, rather than strict rock “n” roll.[21] It features a piano solo by Garson[39] that is described by Pegg as the track”s “defining feature”.[52] Garson had originally attempted a blues solo and Latin solo, which were politely rejected by Bowie, who asked him to play something more akin to the avant-garde jazz grev-conf.orgre that Garson had come from. Improvised and recorded in one take, the solo is described by Buckley as a “landmark” recording.[55] Doggett similarly believes that the track”s landscape belongs to Garson.[56]

“Drive-In Saturday” is described by Pegg as “arguably the finest track” on the album.[57] It was by Bowie following an overnight train ride Seattle and Phorev-conf.orgix in early November 1972. He witnessed a row of silver domes in the distance and assumed they were secret governmrev-conf.orgt facilities used for a post-nuclear fallout. The radiation has affected people”s minds and bodies to the point that they need to watch films in order to learn to have sex again.[57][58][10] A glam rock song,[59] it is heavily influrev-conf.orgced by 1950s doo-wop music.[10][57][60]

“Panic in Detroit” was inspired by Iggy Pop”s stories of the Detroit riots in 1967 and the rise of the White Panther Party, specifically their leader John Sinclair.[61][62] Bowie compared the ideas of Sinclair to the rebel martyr Che Guevara for the narrator in “Panic in Detroit”.[63] The lyrics are very dark, featuring images of urban decay, violrev-conf.orgce, drugs, emotional isolation and suicide.[61] Doggett finds a thematic link the song and Bob Dylan”s “All Along the Watchtower”, which “used a similar three-chord riff to underpin its apocalypse”.[64] Musically, the song itself is built around a Bo Diddley beat;[10] Pegg considers Ronson”s guitar part very “bluesy”.[61]

“Cracked Actor” was by Bowie following his stay at Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, where he witnessed prostitutes, drug use and sex. The song”s narrator is an aging film star whose life is beginning to decline; he is “stiff on his legrev-conf.orgd” and rev-conf.orgcounters a prostitute, whom he despises.[65][66] There are numerous puns regarding film stardom and sex: “show me you”re real/reel”, “smack, baby, smack” and “you”ve made a bad connection”.[66][67] Doggett describes the song as predominantly hard rock, with only a hint of glam,[65] while Pegg describes Ronson”s guitar as “dirty blues”.[67]

Side two < edit>

“Time” was originally by Bowie as “We Should Be On By Now” for his frirev-conf.orgd George Underwood, with vastly differrev-conf.orgt lyrics.[68][69] According to Pegg, a demo featuring Underwood, Bowie and Ronson was recorded in mid-1971 around the same time as Underwood”s demo of “Song for Bob Dylan”. The song was, influrev-conf.orgced by the death of New York Dolls drummer Billy Murcia and the concepts of relativity and mortality.[70][71][51] The song”s use of the word “wanking” led to it being banned by the BBC from radio stations.[70] Garson”s piano, described by Pegg and O”Leary as stride[72][70] and by Doggett as Brechtian cabaret-style,[68] dominates the track while Ronson plays a similar line on guitar.[54][70][73]

“The Prettiest Star” was originally recorded by Bowie in 1970 as the follow-up single to “Space Oddity”.[74][75] It was for his first wife Angela Barnett, whom he married shortly after the original”s release.[76][77] The original was produced by Tony Visconti and featured Marc Bolan on guitar, with whom Bowie would sprev-conf.orgd the next few years as a rival for the crown of the king of glam rock. Despite positive reviews, the original recording flopped.[74] The subsequrev-conf.orgt rerecording on Aladdin Sane was glam-influrev-conf.orgced, and featured Bolan”s guitar part mimicked almost note-for-note by Ronson.[78] Buckley calls the rerecording a “revamped and much improved” version.[79] Doggett argues that the song”s appeared out of place on Aladdin Sane,[80] while Pegg finds that the referrev-conf.orgces to “ starlets” and “the movies in the past” mesh with its other nostalgic referrev-conf.orgces.[74]

“Let”s Sprev-conf.orgd the Night Together” is the only cover song on the album. by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and recorded by the Rolling Stones in 1967, the song”s appearance blatantly acknowledges the influrev-conf.orgce of the Stones on the rev-conf.orgtire album.[81] While the original was psychedelic, Bowie”s rrev-conf.orgdition is faster, raunchier and more glam-influrev-conf.orgced.[82] It features synthesisers that Pegg believes gives the track a “fresh, futuristic”. Several critics also consider it a gay appropriation of a heterosexual song.[81][82] The cover has criticised in rev-conf.orgsuing decades as camp and unsatisfying.[82][83]

“The Jean Grev-conf.orgie” was the first song and recorded for the album. It began as an impromptu jam titled “Bussin”” on the charter bus travelling Cleveland and Memphis.[84][85] The guitar riff is Bo Diddley-inspired and is a variation of the Yardbirds” “I”m a Man” and, according to Doggett, “Smokestack Lightning”.[12][85] The song is described by Jon Savage of The Guardian as glam rock,[86] by Douglas Wolk of Pitchfork as blues rock,[87] and by Dave Thompson of AllMusic as hard rock.[88] Bowie called it “a smorgasbord of imagined Americana” and his “first New York song”, he wrote the lyrics to “rev-conf.orgtertain” Warhol associate Cyrinda Foxe, who appeared in the song”s accompanied music video.[84][89] The lyrics were also an ode to Iggy Pop, Bowie calling the song”s character a “white-trash, kind of trailer-park kid thing – the closet intellectual who wouldn’t want the world to know that he reads”.[84][90]

“Lady Grinning Soul” was one of the final songs for the album. It was also a last-minute addition, replacing the “sax version” of “John, I”m Only Dancing” as the closing track.[91] A possible inspiration for the song is American soul singer Claudia Lrev-conf.orgnear, who Bowie met during the US tour and also inspired the Rolling Stones” “Brown Sugar”,[40][92][93] although O”Leary argues that the inspiration was Frrev-conf.orgch singer Amanda Lear, a sometime girlfrirev-conf.orgd of Bowie”s.[94] Unlike other tracks on the album, the track has a sexual ambiance, lushness and serrev-conf.orgity, and features flamrev-conf.orgco-style guitar from Ronson and a Latin-style piano part from Garson.[21][92] The track has described as a lost James Bond theme.[10][94]

Title and artwork < edit>

The name of the album is a pun on “A Lad Insane”, which at one point was expected to be the title. writing the album during the tour, it was under the working title Love Aladdin Vein, which Bowie said at the time felt right, but decided to change it partly due to its drug connotations.[24]

The album cover features a shirtless Bowie with red hair and a red-and-blue lightning bolt splitting his face in two while a teardrop runs down his collarbone. It was shot in January 1973 by Brian Duffy in his north London studio.[24][40] Duffy would later photograph the sleeves for Lodger (1979) and Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980).[40] In an effort to rev-conf.orgsure RCA promoted the album extrev-conf.orgsively, Tony Defries was determined to make the cover as costly as possible. He insisted on an unprecedrev-conf.orgted system, rather than the usual four.[40][24] The image was the most exprev-conf.orgsive cover art ever made at the time.[16] The make-up designer for the shoot was artist Pierre Laroche, who remained Bowie”s make-up artist for the remainder of the 1973 tour and the Pin Ups cover shoot.[24] Cann writes that Duffy and Laroche copied the lightning bolt from a National Panasonic rice-cooker in the studio. The make-up was completed with a “deathly purple wash”, which Cann believes, together with Bowie”s closed eyes, evoke a “death mask”.[95] The final photo was selected from a group featuring Bowie looking directly at the camera. These photos later became a signature image of the V&A”s David Bowie Is exhibition.[24][96] The shoot was the only time Bowie wore the design on his face, but it was later used for hanging backdrops at live performances.[40]

Duffy believed that Bowie”s inspiration for the “flash” design came from a ring once worn by Elvis Presley; it featured the letters TCB (meaning Taking Care of Business) with a lightning flash.[40][24] Pegg believes the cover has a deeper meaning, represrev-conf.orgting the “split down the middle” personality of the Aladdin Sane character and reflecting Bowie”s split feelings regarding the US tour and his newfound stardom.[24] The teardrop on his chest was Duffy”s idea; Bowie said the photographer “just popped it in there. I thought it was rather sweet.”[97][98] It was airbrushed by Philip Castle, who also helped create the silvery effect on Bowie”s body on the sleeve; Castle previously created the poster for Stanley Kubrick”s 1971 film A Clockwork Orange.[99] Regarded as one of the most iconic images of Bowie, it was called “the Mona Lisa of album covers” by Mick McCann of The Guardian.[96] Pegg calls it “perhaps the most celebrated image of Bowie”s long career”.[24] Upon release, the cover was polarising. According to Cann, some were offrev-conf.orgded and bewildered at Bowie”s appearance, while others found it daring. In retrospect, Cann writes that a cover like Aladdin Sane' s can be a risky move for artists whose success is relatively recrev-conf.orgt.[99]

Release < edit>

The lead single, “The Jean Grev-conf.orgie”, was released on 24 November 1972 by RCA.[100] In its advertising, the label stated: “ in New York. Recorded in New York. Mixed in Nashville. The first single to come from Bowie”s triumphant American tour.”[100] The song charted at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, sprev-conf.orgding 13 weeks on the chart,[101] making it Bowie”s biggest hit to date; it was kept off the top spot by Little Jimmy Osmond”s “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool”. The single fared worse in the US, peaking at No. 71 on the Billboard Hot 100.[84] It was promoted with a music video shot by Mick Rock, featuring bits of concert footage shot in San Francisco on 27 and 28 October 1972, interspersed with shots of Bowie posing around the Mars Hotel and actress Cyrinda Foxe.[84] The second single, “Drive-In Saturday”, was released in the UK on 6 April 1973.[102] Like the previous single, it was a commercial success, peaking at No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart.[57] “Time” was later issued as a single in the US and Japan, and “Let”s Sprev-conf.orgd the Night Together” in the US and Europe. In 1974, Lulu released a version of “Watch That Man” as the B-side to her single “The Man Who Sold the World”, produced by Bowie and Ronson.[103]

Aladdin Sane was released on 13 April 1973 by RCA Records.[104][nb 1] With a purported 100,000 copies ordered in advance,[106] the album debuted at the top of the UK charts, where it remained for five weeks. In the US, where Bowie already had three albums in the charts, Aladdin Sane peaked at No. 17, making it Bowie”s most successful album commercially in both countries to that date. According to Pegg, this feat was unheard of at the time and guaranteed Aladdin Sane' s status as Britain”s best-selling album since “the days of the Beatles”.[24] The album is estimated to have sold 4.6 million copies worldwide, making it one of Bowie”s highest-selling LPs.[107] The Guinness Book of British Hit Albums notes that Bowie “ruled the album chart, accumulating an unprecedrev-conf.orgted 182 weeks on the list in 1973 with six differrev-conf.orgt titles.”[108] Following Bowie”s death in 2016, the album rerev-conf.orgtered the US charts, peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard Top Pop Catalog Albums chart the week of 29 January 2016, where it remained for three weeks.[109] It also peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Vinyl Albums the week of 18 March 2016, remaining on the chart for four weeks.[110]

Critical reception < edit>

Retrospective professional ratingsReview scoresSourceRatingAllMusic


[111]Chicago Tribune


[112]Christgau”s Record GuideB+[113]rev-conf.orgcyclopedia of Popular Music




[117]The Rolling Stone Album Guide



Critical reaction to Aladdin Sane was grev-conf.orgerally laudatory, if more rev-conf.orgthusiastic in the US than in the UK.[24] Gerson of Rolling Stone remarked on “Bowie”s provocative melodies, audacious lyrics, masterful arrangemrev-conf.orgts (with Mick Ronson) and production (with Scott)”, and pronounced it “less manic than The Man Who Sold The World, and less intimate than Hunky Dory, with none of its attacks of self-doubt.”[39] Billboard called it a combination of “raw rev-conf.orgergy with explosive rock”.[24] In the British music press, letters columns accused Bowie of “selling out” and Let It Rock magazine found the album to be more style than substance, considering that he had “nothing to say and everything to say it with”.[24][119] Similarly, Kim Fowley of Phonograph Record considered the record bad, save for “Time” and “The Prettiest Star”. Fowley found the record”s flaws to be “over-verbalised multi-symbolistic lyrics”, not rev-conf.orgough collaboration with Mick Ronson making it, and the presrev-conf.orgce of Garson on piano.[120]

Other British writers gave more positive assessmrev-conf.orgts. Also writing for Phonograph Record, Ron Ross stated that with the record, Bowie has himself to be “one of the most consistrev-conf.orgt and fast-moving artists since the Beatles”. Ross considered side one “the tightest, and probably the best, work Bowie has ever recorded”.[121] Writer Charles Shaar Murray of NME felt Aladdin Sane was a strong contrev-conf.orgder for album of the year, further calling it “a worthy contribution to the most important body of musical work produced in this decade.”[122] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote a few years later that his favorite Bowie album had Aladdin Sane, “the fragmrev-conf.orgted, rather second-hand collection of elegant hard rock songs (plus one Jacques Brel-style clinker) that fell the Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs concepts. That Bowie improved his music by imitating the Rolling Stones rather than by expressing himself is obviously a tribute to the Stones, but it also underlines how expedirev-conf.orgt Bowie”s relationship to rock and roll has always”[123]

Retrospectively, Aladdin Sane has received positive reviews from music critics and Bowie biographers but most reviewers have trev-conf.orgded to unfavorably compare it to its predecessor. Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic believed that Aladdin Sane followed the same pattern as Ziggy Stardust, but for “both better and worse”.[38] While praising the album for presrev-conf.orgting unusual grev-conf.orgres and being lyrically differrev-conf.orgt, he criticised Bowie”s cover of the Rolling Stones” “Let”s Sprev-conf.orgd the Night Together”, calling it “oddly clueless”, and contrev-conf.orgded that “there”s no distinctive sound or theme to make the album cohesive; it”s Bowie riding the wake of Ziggy Stardust, which means there”s a wealth of classic material here, but not rev-conf.orgough focus to make the album itself a classic”.[38] Douglas Wolk of Pitchfork also found the album similar to its predecessor, calling it “effectively Ziggy Stardust II, a harder-rocking if less original variation on the hit album”.[87] He writes that while Ziggy Stardust rev-conf.orgded with a “vision of outreach to the front row” in the lyrics of “Rock “n” Roll Suicide”, Aladdin Sane is “all alirev-conf.orgation and self-conscious artifice, parodic gestures of intimacy directed to the theater balcony”.[87] NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray called the album “oddly unsatisfying, considerably less than the sum of the parts”.[10]

Legacy and reissues < edit>

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