George Orwell's classic tale of totalitarianism, 1984, was the inspiration for a project that David Bowie hoped would further solidify his standing as a rock visionary. Bowie was a natural artist to helm a musical companion to Orwell's allegory, since his own music exhibits an innate alienation. The concept ultimately broke down, but the music didn't. "Rebel Rebel" has become a rock staple, while "Sweet Thing," "Candidate," and the forthright yet experimental title track (Bowie as puppet master) offer additional highlights. Still, despite such benchmarks and its conceptual flaws, Diamond Dogs is best listened to as a thematic collection. --Rob O'Connor
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End of the First Golden Era
Morten Vindberg | Denmark | 08/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Diamond Dogs was the last great album of Bowie's first golden era of what is often referred to as glamrock. This term may give rise to negative associations, which would be deeply unfair in Bowie's case. He stood in the early 1970s for some of the best and most progressive music in this genre.
After the "Diamond Dogs" he radically changed his style with the album "Young Americans" and even though the subsequent, more techno-like albums are highly praised, he never rocked more convincing than on his great early 1970's albums.
Title track is a fine rocker in the style of "Suffragette City" from "Ziggy Stardust" and "Rebel Rebel" has one of the best guitar riffs in rock and roll history. Both numbers were chosen as singles.
The suite "Sweet Thing / Candidate" is another highlight on the album.
More mainstream is the rock ballad "Rock'n Roll With Me", although certainly also one of my personal favorites. The number "1984" was originally conceived as a title number and appears almost as a movie-themed track with its energetic funky riffs.
The record probably works best when heard in its entirety; several tracks don't work very well outside the album context and the album therefore probably cannot be included among Bowie's very best."