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  Columbia -
  CS 86630
  David Bowie: Heathen

David Bowie
Track listing:
  1. Sunday
2. Cactus
3. Slip Away
4. Slow Burn
5. Afraid
6. I've Been Waiting For You
7. I Would Be Your Slave
8. I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship
9. The Angels Have Gone
10. Everyone Says Hi
11. Better Future, A
12. Heathen (The Rays)
13. When The Boys Come Marching Home
14. Wood Jackson
15. Conversation Piece (Written 1969 - Recorded 1970 Re-recorded 2002)
16. Safe
  Single Layer
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 4

Reviews: 7 show all

Review by peteyspambucket September 11, 2003 (5 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I agree with vonwegen regarding the detail on this SACD overshadowing the CD release. When I first heard the CD, I didn't really like the album except for a couple of songs. Then I got the SACD for the hell of it, and boy what a difference. From the first 5 seconds of the first track, I could tell the SACD has space around all the instruments and synthesized effects, and this clarity is consistent with the rest of the album. It was quite revelatory. I think this is quite an enjoyable album, and the songs, like most of Bowie's songs, evoke a mood or atmosphere. If you like Bowie at all, avoid the CD and go straight to the SACD.

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Review by John January 6, 2011 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The best Bowie SACD, and a disc to demo SACD to my friends. Great material, some songs have considerable power but take several listenings to get to know. There is a wide variety of songs on this album, wider than on any of his others.

The acoustics are excellent, both clear and subtle.

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Review by JW May 2, 2003 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
"Everything has changed" and "Nothing has changed". Words that appear on the booklet and in the first song on this Bowie album, the first on his new label ISO. Heathen has has a full, symphonic sound that is classical Bowie. So, nothing has changed really. Like the contemporary efforts by the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, nothing innovative has been produced here. But unlike the Stones and Clapton, Bowie's outing sounds very modern. That's probably because Bowie has always been ahead of his time anyway and even though time has caught up with him he is still able to surf the waves of time rather than be swept away by it.

This is a fantastic album folks! It contains a little of everything Bowie has done in his career, from the acoustic sounds on Hunky Dory to the more electronic soundscapes of Ziggy Stardust. Three of the songs are covers: "I've Been Waiting For You" from Neil Young, "Cactus" from the Pixies and "I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship" from The Legendary Stardust Cowboy. The weakest song in my view is 'A Better Future'. The chorus is weak and does not work with the quitar synth that is painting the background. There is no arguing about taste, so you just have to listen for yourself to see if you agree with me on this one. The strings on this album are gorgeous so look out for those when you listen to it. The SACD has four bonus tracks not mentioned on the booklet: 'When The Boys Come Marching Home', 'Wood Jackson', 'Conversation Piece' and 'Safe'.

The booklet contains pictures that seem to be taken from religious art, contrasting interestingly with the title of the album. Or perhaps not? The first song is called 'Sunday'. It has a distinctly mysterious sound and a soundscape with the expansiveness of a cathedral. I was wondering what Bowie intended so I took a look at an interview with him. This is what he says about the album: "Heathenism is a state of mind. You can take it that I'm referring to one who does not see his world. He has no mental light. He destroys almost unwittingly. He cannot feel any Gods presence in his life. He is the 21st century man. However, there's no theme or concept behind Heathen, just a number of songs but somehow there is a thread that runs through it that is quite as strong as any of my thematic type albums."

The sound of this SACD is very good - so 4 stars for that. The recording level was set high so it plays louder at the same volume setting than some of my other discs.


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