This is easily going to be one of my most hated Bowie opinions, but I’ve never been a huge fan of “Aladdin Sane”. There are definitely enough great songs to make it an entertaining album, but some of the tracks that fans of the Thin White Duke would swear are “10/10 masterpieces” just don’t hit those same highs for me. How would I rank the tracks?
Here are some of my other Bowie lists:
10 – The Prettiest Star
I don’t think I’ve come across a single Bowie fan that actually likes this song. I’m sure a few people find it tolerable and a decent track, but I’m definitely not one of those people. He probably should have left this one on the cutting room floor.
9 – Aladdin Sane
On the other hand, most Bowie fans consider this to be one of his best and definitely a highlight of the record. I actually kind of hate the experimental piano solos throughout this one, and that’s the main reason it comes so low.
8 – Drive-In Saturday
This is one of those so-called “masterpieces” that I’ve never really gotten into. It’s definitely a lovely song, and I’m sure if I did this list again in a year’s time it would rank slightly higher.
7 – Time
I’ve always been slightly frustrated by this one, as deep down I know it’s a great song that I haven’t come to fully appreciate yet, but if I’m going purely on current thoughts then this can only be “OK”.
6 – Panic in Detroit
Now we hit the good stuff, and “Panic in Detroit” is a hell of a fun time. The drum groove interlocking with the guitar part is probably why I like this song so much more than tracks like “Time” or “Drive-In Saturday”.
5 – Let’s Spend the Night Together
Usually when Bowie does a cover it ranks among one of the worst tracks on the album, but “Let’s Spend the Night Together” is one of the exceptions. The promiscuous lyrics fit perfectly with the tone of the album, and I’m always all for the heavier rock side of Bowie.
4 – Watch That Man
A great intro track to the album to get you in the mood for some rock fun, my only complaint is that Bowie’s vocals seem to be too low in the mix to hear them properly over the fantastic guitar riffs.
3 – Cracked Actor
Who knows what was going through Bowie’s head when he made this album, but a lot of the songs have pretty explicit sexual imagery in their lyrics. The worst offender is probably “Cracked Actor”, which tells a compelling story of the titular character and his sexual exploits (I’m surprised tracks like this were allowed, but that just goes to show how soft people have become over the past few years).
2 – The Jean Genie
If you think you were surprised seeing this at number 2, imagine how I felt putting one of his most iconic songs in 2nd place. Outrageous!
I absolutely love this track, from the rockin’ guitar riffs to Bowie’s iconic singing. But I think there’s another track that outshines this rock classic…
1 – Lady Grinning Soul
Of all the underrated Bowie gems, this might just take the cake. I genuinely can’t believe this isn’t considered one of Bowie’s best ever, as it’s certainly one of the best album closers I’ve ever heard.
The piano playing style from the title track “Aladdin Sane” makes a return, except this time I actually like how frantic and articulate it is. Bowie’s vocals are also on top form, and I especially love how delicate some of the vocals and lyrics can be. Truly one of Bowie’s best.
Aaaand that’s the list. Unfortunately the next album isn’t so good, but the good news is the rest of his work in the 70’s after that was sublime. Until then, check out some of my latest blog posts:
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