“Buddha of Suburbia” Songs Ranked

Yes! Finally! I finally get to rank the songs on my least favourite Bowie album!

Granted, after a re-listen this isn’t as bad as I thought … but it’s still pretty bad. This was the soundtrack to a TV show, and whilst there’s an argument to be made that this shouldn’t be included in his discography, everyone else includes it so I’m not gonna go against the fanbase. How would I rank these bland songs?

You can check out some of my other Bowie lists below:

Terrible

9 – Sex and the Church

There aren’t many songs I would consider to be worse than bad, but this song is genuinely terrible.

This track reminds me a bit of a Madonna song, and that’s definitely not a good thing. I hate this song, always have, let’s just move on.

Bad

8 – Ian Fish UK Heir

There are a couple of instrumental / background noise tracks on this album that I’m sure would have fit the TV show nicely, but if I’m ranking it based off of the Bowie discography in general, then this can only ever be “Bad”.

This reminds me a bit of like an “Art Decade” or “Weeping Wall” from Low, and you can tell Bowie is trying (and failing) to recapture the magic of the Berlin Trilogy.

7 – The Mysteries

Very much in the same boat as “Ian Fish UK Heir”, but I think this one is even more reminiscent of the instrumental tracks of Low.

Am I being too harsh? Probably, but it’s just too jarring having such a forgettable instrumental track on a 90’s Bowie album.

Meh

6 – South Horizon

Another instrumental, but this one is more Jazzy and well thought out. Still not great, but it does enough to keep me vaguely interested.

OK

5 – Dead Against It

Other than the previous 4 tracks, I will admit this does sound more like a proper Bowie album than a TV soundtrack – albeit not a very good studio outing from the Thin White Duke.

This song is … fine. It gets the job done, it is a Bowie song after all. I just think it has barely anything memorable about it, and I’m almost definitely going to skip it whenever I hear it.

4 – Bleed Like a Craze, Dad

There’s a nice, deep bass riff to this one that makes it stand out above some of the others, but this still isn’t really that good. Sounds more like “Tin Machine” than Bowie to be honest.

3 – Buddha of Suburbia

Quite a nice little title track, and this song has quite a lot of merit to it. It’s cheery, upbeat (compared to the others on the album), and actually quite catchy at times.

It doesn’t have quite enough oomph to rank it higher than “OK”, but I’m sure if I listen to it more it might creep up into the “Good” tier.

Good

2 – Untitled No. 1

The most pleasant surprise by far, I always wrote off this track as being yet another bland song on a boring soundtrack album. Oh, how wrong I was.

The melodies, synths and vocals on display here are absolutely stunning, and I only wish Bowie would have developed it a bit further (that’s one of the general complaints about this album, most of the songs weren’t given enough time to breathe and it ends up feeling a bit rushed).

1 – Strangers When We Meet

Quite clearly the best track on the album, and other than “Untitled No. 1” this is the only reason to listen to the full record.

It has the best lyrics, melodies, arrangement and overall feel of any track on “Buddha of Suburbia”, but I can only ever put it in “Good” as Bowie did the exact song but better on “1. Outside”. Oh well, at least it stops the album from being a compete drag from start to finish.

Aaand that’s my list – thank goodness, I don’t have to listen to this one again for a while. Next up it’s the start of Bowie’s 90s “Creative Renaissance” , but until then you should check out some of my latest blog posts:

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