Monday, June 27th, 2011

David Bowie, In Order

23. Earthling

22. Tonight

21. Never Let Me Down

20. Hours…

19. Black Tie White Noise

18. Reality

17. David Bowie

16. Pin Ups

15. Heathen

14. Outside

13. David Bowie/Space Oddity

12. Let's Dance

11. Young Americans

10. Aladdin Sane

9. Diamond Dogs

8. The Man Who Sold The World

7. Hunky Dory

6. Station to Station

5. Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)

4. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

3. "Heroes"

2. Lodger

1. Low

71 Comments / Post A Comment

jbsquare (#793)

I'm fine with this except I would slot
station to station at 2,
hunky dory at 3
and ziggy at 4.

Matt (#26)

I'm just going to post all the songs off Earthling in YouTube embed format to PROVE YOU WRONG.

Matt (#26)

@Matt I think I may actually rebut this listicle.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@Matt: Agree – "Earthling" has its moments, even if the jungle-ish style was a bit of a stretch even for the Thin White Duke.

Matt (#26)

@Matt I mean, seriously, the Eno records one, two, three like that? Are you in high school?

Matt (#26)

@Matt And I see what you did with the tags there but those live albums deserve special scorn. (YOU KNOW THE ONES.)

Brad Nelson (#2,115)

@Matt Cool list.

Matt (#26)

Cool reply.

sharilyn (#4,599)

Everyone know that "Hours…" and not "Earthling" is the worst Bowie. At least "Earthling" has "I'm Afraid of Americans" which has held up well. "Hours…" is almost unlistenable, and I'm a HUGE Bowie fan.

Matt (#26)

@sharilyn YEP. DING DING DING.

LondonLee (#922)

I did like 'Thursday's Child' off that though.

riggssm (#760)

@sharilyn THANK YOU.

davidwatts (#72)

It's not hard to argue that Low is the "best" Bowie album, but in our secret hearts, where our secret ears listen to things they actually want to listen to (in secret), it's far from the #1 Bowie.

Matt (#26)

'Breaking Glass' is pretty much always in my head, so I don't know, dude.

davidwatts (#72)

@Matt And "Sound and Vision" is in mine, but I stand by my statement.

unionjackflash (#8,506)

@davidwatts This. Blue, blue electric blue…

Miles Klee (#3,657)

You forgot Best of Bowie.

Matt (#26)


Miles Klee (#3,657)

Also conspicuously absent: Here Come The Warm Jets.

Matt (#26)

The Idiot

Rollo (#3,202)

Source Code

areaderwrites (#592)

@Miles Klee David Live!

Brad Nelson (#2,115)

i think we all feel the absence of the man who fell to earth like a fathomless cleft in the jaw

Brad Nelson (#2,115)

where is all the young dudes in a room

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

You're such a wonderful person
But you got problems
I'll never touch you

LondonLee (#922)

'Earthling' isn't all that bad, it's certainly better than 'Tonight' or 'Never Let Me Down' and picking the three Eno albums (which he didn't actually produce you know) smacks a little of current-vogue trendiness.

To tell a family secret I never listen to side two of 'Low' but the first side is so incredible that it is his best (followed by Hunky Dory) and am I weird for preferring 'Young Americans' over 'Station To Station'?

Matt (#26)

@LondonLee This list is like, Cool Pitchfork Official History, bro.

And, love Station to Station as I do, you are not. Because the Philly Soul of Young Americans is UNDENIABLE and certainly head and shoulders above "Heroes" which is the laziest choice in the universe.


laurel (#4,035)

I love Young Americans though I think it might be terrible?

LondonLee (#922)

Take off the dreadful, dreadful cover of 'Across The Universe' and it's perfect.

laurel (#4,035)

Excellent point, though at times, if the mood isn't right, the album-wide David Sanborn problem becomes overwhelming instead of just charmingly ill-advised. Still, I love it–best Saturday morning puttering music ever.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@LondonLee: SO TRUE

GailPink (#9,712)

I come close to mostly agreeing with this.

tankboy (#302)

Totally wrong, but predictably so.

Rollo (#3,202)

I guess it's not cool anymore to persist in liking early-seventies Bowie the best. FINE, I'M NOT COOL, THEN.

BadUncle (#153)

Let's Dance well ahead of Pinups?? WTF? Do you keep bees in your pants?

Bittersweet (#765)

@BadUncle: How often does anything from Pinups come up randomly on the radio? And when that happens, how often do you hike the volume and sing along loudly (provided the windows are up)?

heroofthebeach (#2,280)

@Bittersweet If I actually have bees in my pants, there's no way the windows are going to be up.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@BadUncle: Come on, Pinups? NO.

BadUncle (#153)

@Bittersweet Car radio? Where do you think I live? Not in a place where people keep bees in their pants.

BadUncle (#153)


Let's compare shall we?

Pinups: Songs by the Kinks, the Who, the first incarnation of Pink Floyd, Them, The Yardbirds, The Mojos and the Pretty Things. Timeless instrumentation and a cover with Twiggy.

Let's Dance: Songs by David Bowie, all but two of which have been forgotten. Ephemeral instrumentation relying on synth drums (the autotune of the 80s). Cover featuring the Thin Red Duke with boxing gloves (which continues to make me giggle).

The clear and timeless winner: Pinups. Filled with awesome.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@BadUncle: 'Putting Out Fires with Gasoline' plus 'China Girl' with a side-order of 'Modern Love' = WIN. The only track I even like on 'Pinups' is 'Sorrow'. THEY ARE COVERS and not even super interesting covers in most cases.

I will add that I realize 'Let's Dance' is one of the cheesier Bowie records. But that kind of makes it work for me, whereas I have always felt 'Pinups' is both a little lazy and also trying too hard. The songs on 'Let's Dance' mostly reek of Iggy Pop and New Wave and I love both of those things. But I also love Duran Duran and Steely Dan so maybe it's just me.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@BadUncle Stevie. Ray. Vaughan.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

Tin Machine. Discuss.

Art Yucko (#1,321)


Matt (#26)


Art Yucko (#1,321)

"You Belong in Rock-n-Roll"

sharilyn (#4,599)

@Art Yucko: Tin Machine = Sh*t Machine

Matt (#26)

The Balk Angle's Debt Dong

barnhouse (#1,326)

This is the first time that I am howling with disagreement.

5. Station to Station
4. Space Oddity
3. Diamond Dogs
2. Hunky Dory
1. Ziggy Stardust

Keith Kisser (#9,714)

@barnhouse With Heathen an #6.

Dave Bry (#422)

I'm sure this will mark me as some sort of square-ball conservative OPPOSED! to experimentation and, really, art, but I have never been able to understand the more-recent revisionist thinking that ranks the Berlin trilogy above the early 70s years. I've tried with those records. But I find them, for the most part, more interesting than powerful. (The song "Heroes" being an exception—one of the best he ever wrote, I think.) I prefer Bowie's big ambitious pop, his rock songs with big guitar riffs and operatic sing-a-long choruses. His classic rock, I guess (bringing me back to my tail-gate-party philistinism.) To me, Low, Heroes and Lodger don't hold a candle to Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladin Sane. To me, the question is whether Hunky Dory or Ziggy get the top spot. And then where they'd each fall on the list of the greatest rock albums of all time? Top ten? Top 20? They are so glorious. He is so amazing.

barnhouse (#1,326)

@Dave Bry EXACTLY. Though I don't love Aladdin Sane nearly as much (except 'Panic in Detroit' and 'Lady Grinning Soul'.)

LondonLee (#922)

@Dave Bry They certainly divided opinion at the time and didn't sell all that well either which is why RCA let him go thinking he'd shot his commercial bolt.

As for the recent revisionist thinking about them, well where do the hip kids go once they've picked cleaned the bones of late 70s Post-Punk? You have to find something "undiscovered" and a little bit arty to champion. Now I detect a movement to elevate even 'Lodger' to classic status.

Matt (#26)

Electric Warrior

laurel (#4,035)

@Dave Bry: Mick Ronson needs a monument somewhere. Other than my heart, I mean.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@Dave Bry Hunky Dory at number 7 is not hunky dory with me either. Gotta be in the top 3.

Dave Bry (#422)

@Matt: Yes!
@spiralbetty: Also yes!
@whizzard: "Take a look at the Awl man/Beating up the wrong guy…"

Also: I really, really love the Young Americans album. Like, top 5 for me.

zidaane (#373)

@barnhouse Panic in Detroit is a favorite.

Br. Seamus (#217)

Labyrinth soundtrack?

Brunhilde (#1,225)

@Br. Seamus Clearly should be #1

sharilyn (#4,599)

I'm sure it marks me as the greasiest hipster in the room, but I pretty much agree with the first 12 placements on this list. 'Hunky Dory' is a solid chunk of weird genius! I've possibly listened to 'Diamond Dogs' more than any other record, ever! I'm deeply in love with 'Let's Dance'!

BUT the Eno records are above and beyond, more than rock, something transcendent and subconscious, painfully beautiful. The first time I listened to 'Low' (on vinyl, in San Francisco, NATCH) it actually made me sad that I was unlikely to ever create something so amazing. I was seething with love/jealousy for Bowie/Eno and angry at myparents for letting me be born too late.

sharilyn (#4,599)

I also find 'Outside' WAY more problematic/angular/pretentious than 'Blacktiewhitenoise' or 'Earthling' – but 'The Heart's Filthy Lesson' is very nearly worth it.

carpetblogger (#306)

It saddens me that the posts that get the most comments on the Awl these days are these dumb lists.

AND THIS ONE IS THE DUMBEST OF THEM ALL! (Clean out your desk, Alex!)

Although I will point out that the current #2 most commented post is about Terrence Malick and the #3 most commented post is about Michele Bachmann. (The #5 most commented post right now is about men's clothing, but that's just cuz the gays are chatty.)

LondonLee (#922)

@Choire Sicha Music nerds are even chattier, if you can call hurling opinions at each other "chatty"

Brad Nelson (#2,115)

ayo balk rating lodger and scary monsters over station to station is the product of a burned mind

emberglance (#7,305)

Almost completely in agreement with this list EXCEPT… I would recommend picking up a good remastered CD of Aladdin Sane and blasting it. It's pretty damn great.

LeMel (#14,499)

The Buddha of Suburbia.

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