Takes an age to get into, does Heathen
I like it though, after the many characters David Bowie has played in the past, it's nice to have an honest and open David Bowie record that's also interesting. He's an old man now, and has an eloquent way of working into his songs references to writer's block, fading away, and the everyday struggles of a man his age.
For those who don't like 'dance-bowie', Heathen
still contains a couple of dancey/Techno moments, though they're in the minority. For the most part, Bowie and producer Toni Visconti use technology to enhance the sound and essence of songs that are already 90% there, which is better than many artists who dress skeletal ideas in a fancy-dress production.
on the other hand has a beating heart, not the heart of Ziggy nor the Thin White Duke, not even the heart of David Bowie, instead we get to hear the heart of David Jones - a middle-aged man's reflections leading to a man raging against the light.
There are some wonderful tunes on this album, actual tunes that no amount of layered production could ruin (unlike past Bowie albums). For Heathen
, the Visconti production only works to enhance the songs. The Bowie vocals chords don't sound as great as they once did, but that is used to the record's advantage. He doesn't overreach himself.
"I Would Be Your Slave" and "Slow Burn" are two mid-tempo tunes that as far as mid-tempo tunes go, are absolutely captivating, and the dancey and oh-so-happy "A Better Future" closes the record on an very appropriate note. "5.15 The Angels Have Gone" is this album's masterpiece though, where you can hear David Jones.
is an excellent set of songs, not the most exciting album you'll ever hear perhaps, but it does offer addictive long-term listening. It's an album I'd confidently estimate will still be seen as an important work in ten or twenty years time. Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews