David Bowie : The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

MI0000734448ALBUM OF THE WEEK

Borrowing heavily from Marc Bolan’s glam rock and the future shock of A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie reached back to the heavy rock of The Man Who Sold the World for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Constructed as a loose concept album about an androgynous alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust, the story falls apart quickly, yet Bowie’s fractured, paranoid lyrics are evocative of a decadent, decaying future, and the music echoes an apocalyptic, nuclear dread. Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam.

Mick Ronson plays with a maverick flair that invigorates rockers like “Suffragette City,” “Moonage Daydream,” and “Hang Onto Yourself,” while “Lady Stardust,” “Five Years,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” have a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll. And that self-conscious sense of theater is part of the reason why Ziggy Stardust sounds so foreign. Bowie succeeds not in spite of his pretensions but because of them, and Ziggy Stardust — familiar in structure, but alien in performance — is the first time his vision and execution met in such a grand, sweeping fashion.

[ review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine ]

Track List (favorites in bold)

  1. Five Years
  2. Soul Love
  3. Moonage Daydream
  4. Starman
  5. It Ain’t Easy
  6. Lady Stardust
  7. Star
  8. Hang on to Yourself
  9. Ziggy Stardust
  10. Suffragette City
  11. Rock ‘N’ Rolls Suicide

Album Moods
Bittersweet Brash Campy Detached Humorous Poignant Raucous Rebellious Sensual Sexy Stylish Swaggering Theatrical Witty Cerebral Quirky Reckless Volatile Ethereal Aggressive Atmospheric Bright Celebratory Cheerful Dramatic Druggy Eccentric Eerie Elegant Energetic Enigmatic Exciting Freewheeling Fun Gloomy Ironic Light Lively Lush Menacing Nocturnal Ominous Playful Rollicking Rousing Smooth Sophisticated Spooky Trippy Unsettling Warm Wry

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