Lodger by David Bowie

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Lodger by David Bowie
Lodger by David Bowie

Album Released: 1979

Lodger ::: Artwork

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1.Fantastic Voyage2:54
2.African Night Flight2:55
3.Move On3:18
5.Red Sails3:44
7.Look Back In Anger3:06
8.Boys Keep Swinging3:18
10.Red Money6:59


Lodger is Bowie's most consistent set from the Berlin Trilogy for one simple reason: all the songs are songs - no ambient experiments! Yeah!

So although this doesn't peak as high as individual songs from his previous three albums, it has more good songs than any album since Ziggy Stardust. Not that Bowie doesn't explore a range of odd sounds - "African Night Flight" delves into worldbeat rythms with bizarre proto-rapping and stacatto shots of metal guitar, for a really weird trip.

The more convential anti-nuclear "Fantastic Voyage" and "Moving On" are perhaps my two favorite cuts - notice how the theme of travel keeps showing up in the songtitles? One could see this as a concept album, a mature one - in contrast to Ziggy's silliness, this is where Bowie seems to grow up, with thoughtful, evocative lyrics that aren't at all embarassing.

"Repetition" deftly captures the violence, resentment, and claustrophobia of a little man with a little job who's grown tired of his little wife. The anthemic "Boys Keep Swinging" is the catchiest tune on the album, with its driving 4/4 beat and snazzy chorus, and lyrics that cleverly subvert gender roles (a Bowie specialty).

Several of the others are quite good, too, though I've never cared for either "Red Money" or "Yassassin". The reissue adds a couple of useless tracks, an unreleased demo and a bad 1988 remake of "Look Back In Anger", the title of a play people who've never even heard of John Osborne (like those illiterates in Oasis) like to quote 'cause it sounds cool.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise (blogging at Creative Noise)

The common perception of what happened when this album was recorded was that the initial creative rush between Eno and Bowie had run its course. What actually happened was their search for other ways of working, a brave attempt at experimentation that didn't always work. So whilst it's assumed the inspiration wasn't there as much as it was on the first two LPs of the 'Berlin' trilogy, Lodger is actually a fine work.

Nothing quite adds together, and the album certainly lacks the fine moods of the two previous albums, yet there is superb guitar work, a tight rhythm section, and Bowie floating in and out of the songs. Also, whilst each of the previous albums had a stand-out single, Lodger lacks anything like "Sound and Vision" or "Heroes", perhaps explaining the reason why it didn't receive many critical / commercial kudos. The guitar sounds are quite harsh, the majority of the songs lack any pleasing mellow feel - it's a difficult record. Yet it's a record that deserves more attention than simply being the fag-end of the Berlin trilogy.

"Fantastic Voyage" kicks the album off in fine style, with a superb vocal from Bowie, and lyrics that capture the imagination in an evocative and intelligent way. In contrast, "African Night Flight" is a step into experimentation that may have dismayed more commercially-minded Bowie fans, even more than the ambient instrumentals of the previous two albums. Why? Well, the track has words and a sort of weird structure that those attuned solely to popsongs simply wouldn't grasp. To me, the barely audible Bowie vocals and sci-fi funk guitar is wonderful listened to loud - absolutely great, even if it isn't a toe-tapping chart favourite!

In some eyes, Lodger lacks the startling 'out-there' spacey nature of the previous two albums. But every track is indeed out-there, so much so, that though it does indeed make a difficult listen, it's somehow timeless and wonderfully brave.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

The third album in The Berlin Trilogy is perhaps the most controversial. Bowie and Eno no longer seemed interested in creating texturally-rich synthscapes as before - rather, all ten of these tracks are more or less Art-house dance songs.

The duo apparently still wanted to experiment, hence every single one of these songs sounds like they're on drugs ... the melodies are weird, the instrumentation is weirder, and Bowie's singing sounds crazed and paranoid (he even freaked out the entire USA by performing this material on an episode of Saturday Night Live! Although I think people watching it were probably more freaked out over the dress and earrings he was wearing).

The first time I heard Lodger, I was not a big fan of it. The one quality that Bowie was almost always good for on his previous albums, including most of his later ones, was writing accessible music. Whilst this album is more accessible than Captain Beefhheart's Trout Mask Replica, I found it pretty difficult to wrap my head around. Much of the music on Lodger is off-the-wall, obscure, and even occasionally ugly. But after I listened to it more, these dang messed-up songs eventually grew on me (and I think my mind got warped in the process).

The first half of the album contains what's easily the weirdest and least accessible songs. It also seems to be a loose mini-concept album about sailing to Africa and Turkey (on drugs). It opens with “Fantastic Voyage”, a catchy if somewhat off-puttingly lethargic song that places you right into that drug-induced haze. If you're listening to Lodger for the first time, and you find that song a little too freaky, then press 'Stop' on your music player, because your brain might explode if you dare listen to anything else on here.

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

One of the more overlooked entries in Bowie's 70's canon, the final instalment of the Berlin trilogy is the first Bowie album since 1970's The Man Who Sold the World to be nothing but Bowie songs, with no covers or instrumentals.

If that statement makes it sound accessible, Lodger is in fact debatably the weirdest set that Bowie's ever committed to vinyl, with more emphasis on rhythm and exotic sounds than ever before, often at the expense of conventional vocal melodies.

Some of the songs are little more than chants, while there are drones aplenty, whether it's the Middle Eastern strings of "Yassassin", or guitarist Adrian Belew's avant-garde stylings. So some of these songs can be tough going, and it's far from Bowie's set of best-written numbers. Nonetheless, it's a fascinating collection with plenty of personality, and - as it's relentlessly creative - it's a fair bet to be a favourite of his more devoted fans.

There's only one major change in the band, with Belew replacing his future King Crimson partner Robert Fripp, though it makes little difference, even if their styles are different - Belew is almost the only guitarist capable of matching Fripp in the weirdness stakes - while Utopia's Roger Powell guests on synthesiser. Bowie and Visconti have since stated in interviews that the mixing of the album was rushed, and they're correct, but the rough mixing gives Lodger a welcome sense of urgency and immediacy.

Of the material that doesn't quite work, "Move On" is almost a straight-out failure. with little musical merit and awkward travelogue lyrics, while there's little interest in the closing "Red Money" beyond the stacked vocals in the title phrase.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])