eMusic Review 0
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am: David Bowie’s artistic and commercial breakthrough was lewd, leering, cocked-and-preening, a spectacularly transgendered masterpiece that was down for whatever. Glam rock may have had British radio in thrall, but Bowie took the tart confections of bands like the Sweet and Slade and gave them heft, treating them not just as glib, bawdy come-ons but as life-or-death manifestos.
And so Ziggy opens wide on a bustling London street market, busy with ineffectual cops, abusive mothers and street-corner prophets balefully warning, “Five years — that’s all we’ve got.” Bowie didn’t know how right he was — Ziggy was released in 1972, which meant its opening song inadvertently foretold the arrival of punk’s anarchism and the resulting pop culture fragmentation. With such a short fuse ’til Armageddon, the rest of the album sets about doing the only thing left to do: partying. Ziggy is fabulously wasted, the grand theatricality of Hunky Dory giving way to a kind of seedy, back-alley burlesque. “Star” finds Bowie turning ’50s doo-wop inside out, the breathless “Hang On to Yourself” bites T. Rex’s zip-gun boogie but revs it up to racing speed, and “Five Years” is such an indelible prologue that neo-glamsters My Chemical… read more »