Over at faroutmagazine.com.uk they did a ranking of all the David Bowie albums. You can check it out here:
As I’ve noted many times before, I’m a big fan of David Bowie’s work. In fact, I consider him the all time best “solo” musical artist there ever was, though obviously he worked with many very talented musicians in his career.
I also have noted I like lists, though part of the fun reading them is finding where you disagree with them.
In the case of this list, there are albums ranked low I feel should be much higher. There are some ranked higher than I would have ranked them. Again, that’s part of the fun.
To begin, though, I have little argument with what they consider the “worst” of Bowie’s albums, 1999’s Hours, which is placed at #27. Many people, including David Bowie himself, felt his 1987 album Never Let Me Down (on this list at #24) is his worst and, frankly, I can’t argue with that either.
Hours’ problem is that the album is mellow -not a crime in and of itself- to the point of being dull, though it does have -like pretty much all Bowie albums- some damn good compositions.
I’m scratching my head a little at the second worst album, 2003’s Reality. While I agree with much of what they say about it -it feels like a middle of the road Bowie album- I feel like its better than second worst. In fact, I’d put the already mentioned Never Let Me Down, Black Tie White Noise (1993 and #22 on this list) or David Bowie ( His “first” full album released in 1967 and found one spot up at #25) lower than Reality. Frankly, I might also place Space Oddity (1969 and #16 on the list) below that album as well, though it does include the absolutely smashing first big hit Bowie created. Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn’t as good, though there are a couple of songs worth checking out nonetheless.
For me, too, having the 1997 album Earthling come in at the very low #23 also feels a little rough. While not my all time favorite Bowie album, it nonetheless had some really good songs on it like Dead Man Walking and, of course, I’m Afraid of Americans. The fifth least of Bowie’s albums? Nah, I don’t think so.
Similarly, one of my favorite later Bowie works, 1. Outside, is placed in #18, below #17th Heathen (2002). 1. Outside, IMHO, should be further up. Heathen had some really good songs, including the remake of Conversation Piece (though it wasn’t included on the album but was a part of the bonus CD issued upon its release) but for whatever reason that album didn’t do all that much for me.
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980) is given the number 10 spot, behind some damn good albums but also some headscratchers. I love Lodger (1979 and #9 on the list) and Let’s Dance (1983 and #8 on the list), which was my entry album to the genius that is David Bowie, but I consider Scary Monsters nonetheless a better overall album than those two, if not by all that much.
I’m fascinated they included both Tin Machine (1989 and #13 on the list) and Tin Machine II (1991 and #20 on the list) but have to scratch my head by the exclusion of The Buddha Of Suburbia (1993). While that album was a “soundtrack” album not unlike some other albums excluded which featured David Bowie songs, including Labyrinth, Cat People, The Falcon and the Snowman, and Absolute Beginners, the difference between that album and the others is that while they had one or two songs by David Bowie, The Buddha of Suburbia is a full/complete David Bowie album and included original compositions not on the BBC show the soundtrack was made for. It also has the original version of Strangers When We Meet, which was re-done and included on the terrific 1. Outside.
If you really love Bowie, though, the bottom line is that you’re going to have issues with this placement or that placement of the albums but, ultimately, its all about one’s taste.
I think just about the only thing most David Bowie fans can agree upon is which of his albums belong at the prestigious #1 spot on this or any such list: 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars.
This was unquestionably Bowie’s masterpiece and the album which brought him his first major commercial and cultural -as in bringing “glitter rock” to the forefront- success.
Anyway, check out the list. If you’re a more casual David Bowie fan, you may find some albums there worth checking out!