The good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes the ugly is good, sometimes the bad is made good by wild distorted guitar layered over the top. And the good is just good, rarely excellent.
So, after the daring experiments of Buddha of Surburbia
, Bowie continues in much the same vein, although he arguably attempts to produce a more concise and focused record. For concise and focused, read 'commercial'.
had been Bowie's best-selling album in America for years and years, so it made sense he'd want to build on that. Hence, although this album has been referred to as Bowie's Techno or drum'n'bass record, it isn't really. Some songs lean more towards Techno than others, but this is still a rock album at heart - industrial rock, the same as much of 1.Outside
Whilst the production and general sound of Earthling
is certainly glossier than the dark-hearted 1.Outside
, Bowie still has interesting things to say lyrically.
Released during the last great year of Britpop, "Little Wonder" saw Bowie back in the UK singles charts with the most obviously drum'n'bass-influenced song on the entire album. A strong chorus and a few neat guitar parts gave comfort to more conservative middle-aged Bowie fans, such that Earthling
peaked at an impressive No.6 in the UK album charts. No other hits were forthcoming though, as Bowie's days as a consistent hit maker were long behind him.
"Looking for Satellites" is the most awkward sounding song on the album, certainly the least commercial and the most experimental. Sandwiched between "Little Wonder" and the similarly poppy drum'n'bass workout "Battle for Britain", it sounds somewhat out of place.
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews