Because I enjoyed ranking all of the Beatles’ songs so much, I decided to give Bowie’s discography a go – I’ll have to split this up into three parts, there’s just so many songs to choose from!
I haven’t selected every song he ever wrote – Some albums, like the Labyrinth soundtrack or Tin Machine, are more side-projects than Bowie albums, and some of the B-sides are too obscure. The rules are a bit washy-washy, so basically I just picked the songs I deemed most appropriate. If you think I’ve missed some key tracks, feel free to do your own ranking!
Before we begin, here are a few of my related blog posts:
280 – Sex and the Church
There are only two Bowie songs I’d consider to be “Terrible”, and my least favourite of all has to be “Sex and the Church”.
It sounds like a Madonna song. I hate most Madonna songs.
279 – Please Mr. Gravedigger
A terrible way to end his debut album, “Please Mr. Gravedigger” sounds like a student art piece that went out of control.
278 – Segue – Nathan Adler – Version #2
A throwaway filler.
277 – The Mysteries
A bad Bowie song, but “The Mysteries” worked really well as a background track in the “Moonage Daydream” documentary. Still, not my favourite on its own.
276 – Join the Gang
You’ll see a lot of songs from his 1967 debut in this tier. “Join the Gang” irks me more than others.
275 – Ian Fish UK Heir
It’s tracks like this that make “Buddha of Suburbia” such a drab listening experience.
274 – Leon Take Us Outside
Sets up the real first song of “1. Outside” nicely, but on its own it can’t rank any higher.
273 – Segue – Baby Grace (A Horrid Cassette)
More like “A Horrid Interlude Track”.
272 – Segue – Algeria Touchshriek
I want to shriek in pain whenever one of these pointless interludes comes on.
271 – Shapes of Things
One of the worst covers I’ve ever heard.
270 – Girls
I think it’s only the Japanese version of “Never Let Me Down” that has this track? Still pants.
269 – Rubber Band
I have no idea what 1967 Bowie was thinking when he recorded tracks like this.
268 – She’s Got Medals
More like “I’ve Got Headaches After Listening To This”.
267 – Segue – Nathan Adler – Version #1
Slightly better than “Version #2”, I guess?
266 – Everything’s Alright
Everything’s bad whenever this track is playing.
265 – Maid Of Bond Street
Can someone go back in time to 1967 to slap some sense into Bowie?
264 – Zeroes
Is this meant to be a parody of “Heroes”? I hate it either way.
263 – Rosalyn
A cover that makes me want to break my headphones.
262 – Uncle Arthur
The Beatles had “I Saw Her Standing There”, Muse had “Sunburn”, and Bowie had this as his first album song. What a shame.
261 – Beat of Your Drum
“I’d like to beat on your drum” is probably the worst Bowie lyric of all.
260 – The Prettiest Star
Far too tacky, “The Prettiest Star” is easily the worst track from the otherwise solid “Aladdin Sane”.
259 – Brilliant Adventure
One of the dullest instrumentals I’ve ever heard.
258 – Dancing in the Street
I’ll be lenient on this Jagger / Bowie team-up because it was for charity, but this was a real low point.
257 – Never Let Me Down
As title tracks go, this is pretty poor.
256 – South Horizon
Another snooze-fest from “Buddha of Suburbia”.
255 – There Is A Happy Land
Apparently there’s a happy land out there somewhere, but you wouldn’t think it listening to this song.
254 – Future Legend
A cool way to start “Diamond Dogs”, but on its own it’s a bit weird.
253 – Dead Against It
I’m dead against this song.
252 – Sell Me A Coat
What a boring premise for a song.
251 – Pallas Athena
The worst clichés of 90’s dance in one neat package.
250 – Neukoln
Does a good job of portraying the anxiety of post-war Berlin, but I’m not a big fan.
249 – Weeping Wall
I’ve heard better instrumentals.
248 – Bang Bang
The simple chorus is kinda catchy I guess, but after a while it becomes brain-numbing.
247 – When I Live My Dream
You’d think he’d sound cheerier with a premise like that.
246 – Wishful Beginnings
I really want to like this song, but “Wishful Beginnings” doesn’t go anywhere.
245 – Sense of Doubt
The intense sounds are cool … and that’s about it.
244 – Eight Line Poem
Less poetry, more songs please.
243 – Friday on My Mind
This song always escapes from my mind whenever I finish listening to it.
242 – Running Gun Blues
I’m sure “Running Gun Blues” has its fans, but I’m not interested.
241 – Come And Buy My Toys
A borderline creepy title for a song.
240 – The Loneliest Guy
Too slow and brooding.
239 – Moss Garden
Depending on my mood, “Moss Garden” is either a slog or enchanting.
238 – Don’t Bring Me Down
This song brings me down to a bad mood.
237 – Survive
I barely survived listening to this snooze-fest.
236 – She’ll Drive The Big Car
Good for her, I guess.
235 – Try Some, Buy Some
I’d rather not, thanks.
234 – ’87 And Cry
I’m sure people in ’87 were crying when they heard this.
233 – Glass Spider
Only noteworthy because Bowie named his “Never Let Me Down” tour after it.
232 – Miracle Goodnight
Kinda funky and unique, but it doesn’t grip me.
231 – New York’s In Love
As bland as it gets.
230 – I Know It’s Gonna Happen Some Day
A bog-standard love ballad.
229 – Never Get Old
This song got old.
228 – Kingdom Come
Some people love this, but it’s way too broad for me to enjoy.
227 – Dancing with the Big Boys
One of Bowie’s worst album closers.
226 – Move On
I moved on from this song quickly.
225 – Andy Warhol
Fun fact – Andy Warhol himself wasn’t really a fan of this. Talk about a seal of approval.
224 – The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
Like with “Wishful Beginnings”, I really want to like “The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)” but it pales in comparison to others from “1. Outside”.
223 – Afraid
I’m afraid I’ll have to pass on this one.
222 – You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
Geez, talk about a downer.
221 – I Can’t Explain
I can’t explain why this cover doesn’t work as well.
220 – African Night Flight
It’s almost decent, but “African Night Flight” is just a little too weird for my tastes.
219 – Bleed Like a Craze, Dad
As a point of reference, songs from now on are ones that I’m unlikely to skip. On a good day, I can really get into some of these.
“Bleed Like a Craze, Dad” is far from the worst thing about “Buddha of Suburbia”, but it’s still lacking that wow factor.
218 – A Small Plot of Land
Kinda charming and entrancing, I guess.
217 – I Feel Free
Not the best cover, but not a travesty either.
216 – The Dreamers
There have been better album closers, but not a travesty either.
215 – Fall Dog Bombs the Moon
Bonus points for the great title.
214 – I Wish You Would
I wish Bowie would have chosen a more interesting cover.
213 – Scream Like a Baby
Some heavy-handed metaphors here, but it works alright.
212 – Telling Lies
One of the less interesting tracks from “Earthling”.
211 – Letter to Hermione
Pretty chill and relaxing.
210 – Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere
A skippable cover.
209 – New Angels of Promise
Had promise, but doesn’t amount to too much.
208 – All the Madmen
“The Man Who Sold the World” isn’t my favourite album, mainly because Bowie’s style doesn’t really fit songs like this.
207 – Janine
A fun early ditty.
206 – Looking for Satellites
205 – Reality
Nothing ground-breaking as far as title tracks go, but decent fun nonetheless.
204 – Pablo Picasso
“Reality” is an album I’m mixed on, mainly because songs like this are close to greatness but don’t quite make it.
203 – Here Comes the Night
Another odd choice for a cover.
202 – Across the Universe
A better choice for a cover, and Lennon was even in the studio to help him! Could have been better, however.
201 – Black Country Rock
200 – Ricochet
A bog-standard number from “Let’s Dance”.
199 – Love Is Lost
Save some cheeriness for the rest of us, David.
198 – See Emily Play
My love for the Pink Floyd original is what carries this track.
197 – Boss Of Me
196 – Battle For Britain (The Letter)
Cool title, standard song.
195 – If You Can See Me
Slightly chaotic at times, but he gets the point across.
194 – Killing a Little Time
I’m not surprised this never made an album.
193 – I Keep Forgettin’
192 – Can You Hear Me
The second half of “Young Americans” loses me a bit, as “Can You Hear Me” is too similar to the songs before it.
191 – Love You Till Tuesday
Fun at points, tacky at others.
Okay, we’ve made it to the end of Part One! Once I’ve finished the other two (more positive) lists I’ll link them below:
And here are a few of my latest blog posts:
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