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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

29 in 2009 - David Bowie: "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars"

David Bowie:  The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Originally Released:  June 6, 1972
Genre:  Glam Rock
Rating: 8 out of 10

David Bowie has always been an artist that I've known I needed to listen to, but never took the time to do so.  I got into Queen in high school (one of the few classic rock bands that I feel completely familiar with), and one of their best songs - one of my favorite songs - is "Under Pressure" with Bowie.  In fact, up until the release of the video game Rock Band, that was all I had heard of the guy.  Rock Band got be acquainted with "Suffragette City,"  which I instantly fell in love with.

On Ziggy Stardust, "Suffragette City" remains the highlight, but is surrounded by a tracklist that is almost as impressive.  Simply put, there ain't a bad song on this album.  Not one.  My personal favorites include "Five Years," "Ziggy Stardust" and "Soul Love."  I had my iPod on shuffle yesterday and "Soul Love" came on.  I had never really, really listened to it, but damn, that song and those lyrics are in a class above most everything else I've listened to for this series!

I spent all of about 5 minutes trying to figure out the vague storyline or meaning behind the album, as it is a concept album.  However, it fails in the way that most concept albums do:  it tries to fit the story within the framework of the songs and it ends up watering down the lyrical punch in the process.  Would the songs on Ziggy Stardust be better if they were about fact rather than fiction?  Almost assuredly.  But Bowie is compotent enough to make it work, and "Starman" and "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" are great songs with or without the story of Ziggy.

I definitely enjoyed the time I spent listening to this album, the problem for me was finding time that I actually wanted to do so all the way through.  Sure, if  "Suffragette City" or "Soul Love" started playing, I'd listen to it, but I never really wanted to listen to the album as a whole during the 4 weeks or so that I've had this album.  Nevertheless, Ziggy Stardust is a great album, and one that I would say everyone should probably listen to at least once in their lives.  I'm officially a Bowie fan.  What should I listen to next?

Verdict: Classic


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