To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the people who listened to this album hated it. It’s effectively just a drum and bass album, and I could see it getting on a lot of people’s nerves.
Luckily for me, I actually quite like the electronic / drum and bass style that Bowie is going for here. He experimented with industrial sounds on “1.Outside”, so it made sense artistically to delve into the genre further – albeit, to varying degrees of success. How would I rank the songs on this fairly underrated album?
You can check out some of my other Bowie lists below:
9 – Looking for Satellites
The second song on the album, and it kills the pace straight away.
This was one of the lead singles from “Earthling” and I can’t see why – it’s a boring mess of sounds, and it never comes together to form any sort of coherent track.
8 – Telling Lies
I think this and “Looking for Satellites” were the main singles (along with a couple of others), and I find this baffling.
This isn’t a bad song by any means, but I can barely remember it every time I listen to it. Probably the least interesting / catchy chorus of the lot.
7 – Battle for Britain (The Letter)
I quite like some of the vocal effects that Bowie uses here, but I think the rest of the production went a bit overboard. I get that the whole point of “Earthling” was to explore these new sounds, but it ends up being an overwhelming sonic bombshell.
6 – Dead Man Walking
A hard hitting banger that holds nothing back, if it wasn’t for the 7 minute length this would probably rank higher.
5 – The Last Thing You Should Do
I’ve seen a lot of people rank this as their least favourite from “Earthling”, and while I agree it isn’t sensational I just find it to be harmless fun.
It doesn’t sound quite as heavy as the others, while still retaining that signature electronic sound. It also doesn’t hurt that I find the chorus quite catchy.
4 – Law (Earthlings on Fire)
The title track and the closing track rolled into one, and I have to say I wasn’t a fan on first listen.
After subsequent revisits, I can comfortably say I was dead wrong, and this is one of Bowie’s most underrated 90s songs. The drum and bass is particularly hard-hitting on this one, and the anthemic vocals knock this one up into the “Great” tier.
3 – Seven Years in Tibet
The most underrated on the album, and one of the most vicious yet scintillating pieces of electronic music I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.
It starts off on a chilling and foreboding tone, before devolving into pure, fascinating chaos. The brash choruses with screeching synths and searing vocals makes for one of the highlights of the record.
2 – I’m Afraid of Americans
A great track through and through, with an insanely catchy chorus and slick verses to boot.
Some of you may be wondering – how the hell is this not in “Amazing”?!? Well, I’ll have you know, there exists an even better version of this track – the Trent Reznor V2 Mix (which is in the music video above). The existence of the better version means I can only put the inferior track in “Great”, but know that it’s an amazing song in merit.
1 – Little Wonder
For what it’s worth, I reckon this is the best Bowie song from the 90s.
It has everything I want from a Bowie track – great vocals with captivating lyrics, it fits its respective album perfectly, and the chorus is the catchiest of any from “Earthling”. Easily my favourite from the album, and proof that the 90s was still a fruitful period for the Thin White Duke.
Aaaaand that’s my list. There’s one more 90s album left, and until we get to that snooze-fest you should check out some of my latest blog posts:
Also also – this is my 100th blog post! I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s ever clicked on one of my posts. I’ve tried to do a fair variety of things (Okay, maybe quite a few Bowie lists by this point!) and I’m so grateful to anyone who’s following along, whether it’s just a one time thing or checking each post religiously. Here’s to another 100!
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