I don’t know why, but ever since I first heard “Diamond Dogs” it has ranked amongst my favourite Bowie albums. The individual songs aren’t as good as some of Bowie’s other work, but it’s a sort of “greater than the sum of its parts” record. How would I rank the songs?
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11 – Future Legend
The opening track definitely earns a last place finish just for how weird it is, but even then I actually don’t mind it that much. It undoubtedly works better when paired with the rest of the songs, setting the dystopian tone for the rest of the record.
10 – Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal People
From the first track on the album to the closer, and same as “Future Legend” I actually quite like “Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal People” (great name) for how bonkers it is. It works well after “Big Brother” and closes the album in an appropriately chaotic way, but its only really an OK song in its own merits.
9 – Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me
I think I remember Bowie saying this was one of his personal favourites? I’m not too sure about that, so don’t quote me. If it is true, I can’t really see why – this is a really tame rock song, one that could put an amnesiac to sleep.
8 – 1984
There’s a pretty big jump up from 9 to 8, and “1984” is an underrated banger. Bowie had just read George Orwell’s book of the same name, and it inspired him so much he went straight to a recording studio to make this album. I love how dramatic it is, but it’s not the most memorable on the record.
7 – Candidate
The ugly middle-child of the Sweet Thing Medley, in more ways than one. Along with it being the least musically interesting of the trio (and by extension my least favourite part), the lyrics go into some really dark places. You cannot fault Bowie’s lyrical brilliance on this album – this is truly some of his best work ever.
6 – Big Brother
I’ve always found this song to be immensely underrated – sure, it’s never going to live up to the other lofty highs of Diamond Dogs, but “Big Brother” is one of those tracks I just want to belt out at the top of my lungs. The chorus might be the catchiest on the entire album, apart from a couple of all-time greats so it’s a tough comparison to make.
5 – We Are the Dead
A song that was once underrated but now Bowie fans appreciate it a lot more across the board. The verses are subtle and sexy, and the choruses devolve into almost a nightmarish trance.
4 – Sweet Thing – Reprise
To close off the trilogy we get an excellent recap of the first song with a bit of extra flair at the end. Considering I love the original so much, this was always going to be “Amazing” (but I wish it was longer, and that ending riff needs its own song ASAP).
3 – Diamond Dogs
Have people forgotten about “Diamond Dogs”? I’m not saying it’s underrated, but it gets overshadowed quite a bit by “Rebel Rebel”. This is an incredible piece of music, and a fantastic first (proper) track to get things up and running.
2 – Rebel Rebel
The song that needs no introduction. Everyone knows this track, from its iconic riff to Bowie’s stand-out vocal performance. For most people, this would be the only track on the album they’re familiar with; however, I don’t think it’s my personal favourite from Diamond Dogs …
1 – Sweet Thing
Everyone raves about “Rebel Rebel” for good reason, but to me “Sweet Thing” is the stand-out of the record. The musical arrangement is gorgeous, and as usual Bowie’s lyrics and vocal performance are out of this world. There’s something about this song that just makes me happy listening to it, so for that alone it deserves it’s place at number 1.
Aaaaand that’s my list. I really like Diamond Dogs, and rate it highly among Bowie’s already stellar catalogue, so this was a fun list to make. Check out some of my other latest blog posts below:
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