Diamond Dogs by David Bowie

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Diamond Dogs by David Bowie
Diamond Dogs by David Bowie

Album Released: 1974

Diamond Dogs ::: Artwork

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1.Future Legend1:07
2.Diamond Dogs5:56
3.Sweet Thing3:38
5.Sweet Thing (Reprise)2:32
6.Rebel Rebel4:30
7.Rock'n'Roll With Me4:02
8.We Are The Dead4:54
10.Big Brother3:20
11.Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family2:04


Bowie's first post-Ronson album, who'd left the previous year for a solo career (which he flubbed, and spent the rest of his career as a sidekick to Ian Hunter, before succumbing to cancer in 1991).

Diamond Dogs was originally intended as a concept album based on the novel 1984, but George Orwell's estate wouldn't hear of it, and so only half the songs follow the plot. Like a lot of musicians with literary pretensions, narrative fiction really isn't Bowie's forte.

Minus Ronson, Bowie relies much less heavily on guitars for a slower, more stately sound, based around keyboards on many of the tracks. Ironically, the best song and one true classic is a guitar rocker ... "Rebel Rebel", and the second best song is the title track, which also relies heavily on guitars.

The third best song, "1984", previews Bowie's Philly soul infatuation, a Superfly-style ditty with a funky base and swirling strings. Too much of the rest of the record is simply boring, as Bowie's proto-Goth tunes crawl along intolerably.

Critics reviled this record, but it's nowhere near as bad as they say it is. However, it is a serious letdown from the previous four releases, as Bowie's glam phase had run its course and a new musical direction was needed.

The bonus tracks are the toy-tuney "Dodo" and an alternate take (much better) of the album's "Candidate".

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise

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!

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Whilst Garson is onboard for piano duties, not all the 'Spiders from Mars' band are retained, and Bowie himself plays all the guitar on this album, with Herbie Flowers and Ansyley Dunbar on rhythm.

Bowie moves further away from simplistic Glam Rock for the bulk of Diamond Dogs, creating a new myth, 'hunger city'. From being David Jones, to David Bowie, to Ziggy Stardust, to Aladdin Sane, to half human half canine. Well you would, wouldn't you?

Diamond Dogs, apart from the singles, further alienated Glam fans who'd latched onto Bowie via Ziggy. But Bowie was growing increasingly bored with Glam and wanted to change and challenge his audience, and this album does that. "1984" for example comes across more as a movie/TV theme, than Glam. The original George Orwell '1984' concept may well have fallen through, but Bowie created his own concept anyway.

Diamond Dogs is a cohesive album, there isn't a weak song here.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning