David Bowie still had one foot firmly planted in the Glam scene when he recorded Diamond Dogs
, but he was looking to go in a slightly different direction.
Sensing that Glam would soon become un-hip, he knew he'd have to reinvent himself, or risk becoming a dinosaur. And as Soul and funk music happened to be having something of a renaissance at the time, it looked like Bowie was going to jump on that train. But he wasn't quite ready to go head-first into the genre, which explains why this album has a great Glam anthem in “Rebel Rebel”, as well as the groovy proto-disco of “1984”. Both awesome in their own separate ways!
1984 was like, a long time ago, but it was of course still in the future in 1974. Bowie's original plan was to put on a stage musical based on George Orwell's novel 1984
. But Orwell's widow didn't want him to do it, or whatever, so Bowie took the songs he'd already written and made them part of his own twisted view of what the future might be like instead. And geez, that guy had a creepy imagination!
Luckily, the album cover gives us a warning of that, but rest assured nothing on this album is as remotely disturbing as the image of Bowie morphed into a dog! (and guess what? With this album, David Bowie successfully predicted the mullet. His vision of 1984 kicked Orwell's ass!).
A lot of listeners cite Diamond Dogs
as one of the best things Bowie has done, but I'm gonna have to disagree with that sentiment slightly. Of course, this being classic Bowie, it's still pretty great and has a ton of excellent material, but other parts of this album seem to just draaag
. On one hand, there's the rollicking “Rebel Rebel”, with one of the finest riffs ever written in rock'n'roll. On the other hand though, there's the slow-moving and uneventful ballad “We Are the Dead”, which is quite boring. Not that “We Are the Dead” is a terrible song - it scores points for a decent melody alone. But compared to Bowie's previous classic albums, it rarely doing anything to slap my face. C'mon, man! Aladdin Sane
was slapping my face left and right!
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews