Before the release of this album, Progressive Rock had no real competitors in the early 1970s with any other outside genres of Rock music culture. This album changed that, and also changed the way people listened to music. David Bowie already had some successes to his name, but this was his peak musically and commercially. It’s also a concept album, so let’s jump in and see what we have here.
We kick off with Five Years with its drum led intro, and sort of apocalyptic story that is also a great Pop/Rock piece that is a great listen, even today. This is a refreshing listen, and is very definitive of what could be defined as classicist Pop music that is top notch. The lyrics here are really great, and indicative of an excellent tale. It’s five years until the apocalypse, and a great start to this album, with an excellent array of gorgeous instrumentation. Nice tune to start the album with.
Next is Soul Love which is a catchy and decent piece that has some cool background saxophone in it. It’s another classic Rock/Pop tune that sounds very original and excellent. It’s a great listening experience and David Bowie’s traditionally limited voice soars very well here in terms of ability and appeal. Nice tune, good effort to listen to here.
Moonage Daydream comes next, and has some excellent lyrics, although it is basically Rock and Roll set to an early 1970s set of instruments. Still, it is a wonderful listen and sounds like a good quality piece of music. There is a wind instrument solo in the middle, which is different, before a dazzling string section kicks in which sounds really great. The vocals that are delayed towards the end are really good to hear, as is the guitar solo towards the end. Great job.
Starman comes next, and begins with some nicely strummed acoustic guitars, following shortly with David Bowie’s plain voice. It become a very catchy piece in the chorus in particular, with a great set of lyrics that has David Bowie singing about the great metaphorical character that is Ziggy Stardust. “Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie,” is sung here, amongst a gorgeous string section and a Gibson Les Paul with riffs galore. Nice stuff.
Next is It Ain’t Easy which begins with lovely harpsichord and has a great opening vocal from David Bowie. The chorus is magnificent with gospel vocals and Les Paul riffs. This is a brilliant effort, and showcase’s Bowie’s excellent ability to make Pop/Rock pieces that were, and are, wonderful. Great song once again, and good to hear. The outro is very good here.
Following is Lady Stardust which starts with a catchy electric piano, before the song kicks in about said Lady Stardust. It’s a great piece of music that is simple, catchy and melodic. Although this is merely fitting in the with concept of the album, it is enjoyable and listenable throughout. The song quality here is awesomely and consistently good to hear, nice effort.
Star begins with chugging piano and some background sounds, before David Bowie sings about making it as a Rock and Roll star. Interesting concept and musical idea, even if naff musically. The singing is about all the good (or bad) things that Rock stars take for granted. It is pretty dated, but very good regardless.
Hang On To Yourself comes next and is a more upbeat piece that is rather catchy. In general, this music is pretty meh, but this is an interesting track nonetheless. Good to hear from start to finish, and these songs are relatively short and direct. The outro is very good, short and sweet.
Next is Ziggy Stardust which begins with a great mixture of acoustic and electric guitars along with the rest of the band. There are some interesting lyrics here about Ziggy Stardust our man and his band, so listen carefully for those. They are very humourous in a cynical nature. The riff in the bridge is great, but apart from that, it is very much the same as all the other music here.
Following is Suffragette City which is one of the better tracks from the album. It’s about the direct nature of sexual escapades, and all that has to do with it. It’s not that great out of context, although is musically good. Fortunately, this is quite a short listen and is an improvement over the other songs.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide is the last song on this album. It’s a good piece to hear, and has some nicely driving acoustic guitar work here. Aside from that, this is a rather unflattering finish to a pretty ordinary album. The ending is a bit overly dramatic, and this is tiresome at this point.
All in all, this is an okay effort. But only okay, it does not seem spectacular and is a bit of a niche sound to it. Otherwise, it could have been better and it is really dated today. Good musical ideals here, though, it is just that the songs and the concept of this album are not really well done. Nice try David Bowie.