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Ranked: David Bowie Albums

So, folks, should this be the first in a series? Ranking albums by a particular artist? What do you think? Maybe I’ll do it again! First up, it had to be BOWIE. Of course. Who else?

So: I’m ranking what I take to be the THIRTY studio albums by David Bowie. Some people might exclude the Tin Machine albums or the Labyrinth soundtrack, but I think they’re significant enough to count as canon. Okay?

Let’s begin with NUMBER THIRTY…

(IOW, the worst Bowie album!)

Never Let Me Down (1987)

30. Never Let Me Down (1987)

The infamous “Phil Collins” period of Bowie, as some fans call it. “Day-in Day-Out” and “Time Will Crawl” are pretty strong singles, but the overwhelming ’80s production and lack of conviction make this undoubtedly his worst album.


Tin Machine II (1991)

29. Tin Machine II (1991)

I’m one of those bad fans who thinks Bowie’s period of “being in a band” (1989-91) was pretty dull, even if he psychologically benefitted. This, the second TM album, has exposed genitals on its cover—and its contents are, indeed, largely bollocks.


Hours (1999)

28. Hours (1999)

This late ’90s effort almost comes to life in spots, but Bowie seems weary and directionless. I do believe he was struggling to find his muse at this point. Listless and tiresome.


Tonight (1984)

27. Tonight (1984)

“Loving the Alien” and “Blue Jean” are extremely great single cuts, but the lows of this album are truly abominable. Bowie murders the Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows”, and turns Iggy Pop’s “Tonight” into a hideous reggae duet with Tina Turner.


Earthling (1997)

26. Earthling (1997)

You could argue that Bowie dabbling in drum & bass is an interesting experiment. But personally, it isn’t anything I needed to hear. The cover is embarrassing. “I’m Afraid of Americans” (and its video) is excellent, but otherwise a fairly sad exercise.

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American Recordings

Not only is today Fred the Elder’s 30th birthday—on the day he was born, the first of Johnny Cash’s final six-album run with producer Rick Rubin, American Recordings, was unleashed.

I am bit of a Johnny Cash fan (ie. I own about 20 of his albums!), so I didn’t want to pass this without a mention…

American Recordings Cover
The dogs are named Sin and Redemption, BTW.

30 years? Really? Below is the unforgettable video for lead single “Delia’s Gone”…

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Richard Corben

Speaking of the passing of greats, I was not actively blogging last December when Richard Corben died unexpectedly, after heart surgery. Very sad loss—I was certain he had another ten years of great stuff in him. He was one of those artists whose work never really bowed to the passage of time.

Most people would only know his work because he did the iconic cover for Meat Loaf’s 1977 classic album Bat Out of Hell. And, sadly, a lot of those folks doubtless don’t even know his name.

Bat Out of Hell

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