Amy Tries Again

Guest Post: Ash Tries Again (Bowiemania, part 2)
May 30, 2010, 10:06 PM
Filed under: Guest Post | Tags: , ,

Concept albums are never a good idea. Rhyming dying with lying is never a good idea. David Bowie, what are you doing?

This is The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

Maybe it’s the apocalyptica and Bowie’s distinctively British accent, but the first track, Five Years, strangely reminds me of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.

Or maybe it’s because Ziggy Stardust is the human incarnation of an alien intelligence that arrives on Earth to spread a message of hope. You know – aliens, England, all that stuff.

Anyway, that’s what the album is about, and shuffly English weather is what the first song is about.


The second, Soul Love, would sound a lot like Lennon if it wasn’t for those god damned saxophones! Unforgivably, Moonage Daydream also features an unhealthy interest in brass (along with a self indulgent guitar solo). It’s terrible.

All of which brings us, of course, to Starman. This is it; this is where Bowie gets real.

It’s definitely catchy, with a nice pop chorus and the warm ambience of hands clapping, but that’s about it. Songs like these are thrown up every year in every decade.

Side two – which is meant to kick in the same time as our LSD – begins with the dirge of Lady Stardust. It’s Elton John in sad mode, like daybreak in The Valley. I’m not a fan.

Ultimately, the album hasn’t aged well. Suffragette City in particular is a rock and roll cringe from beyond the grave.

So when the end comes, it’s sweet. Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide trundles by, all bizarrely reminiscent of The Meaning of Life, and you start to get what Bowie was after.

With the benefit of the doubt, maybe The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust really is a biting parody of high rock, the madness of fame and its ultimate vacuity. And maybe Bowie was a little too interested in the high, and forgot the rock altogether.

At any rate, it’s an unremarkable album with the odd moment of pop success.

I’m sorry David Bowie; I do not like your album.  I do not eat your humble pie.

I was so hopeful after his earlier post, but I think I might have to fight Ash now.  I will grudgingly admit that ‘Rock and Roll Suicide’ is just a little reminiscent of ‘Meaning of Life’, something I’ve never noticed before.  I would also like to take this opportunity to tell the internet the same thing I tell random passers-by on the occasion of having had a wee drop to drink – the opening bars of Powderfinger’s On My Mind are a direct copy of the opening bars of ‘Suffragette City’ (a song which, by the way, only ever makes me cringe because I’m embarrassed for all other songs that aren’t as awesome as it is).  Just sayin’.

I suppose Ash may redeem himself in his next post.  We shall see.


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