CD Cover David Bowie
Virgin Records

Review by Suzanne Goodwin

45-second excerpt from "Dead Man Walking" (351 Kb .au file)

David Bowie's current release, Earthling, is infinitely more accessible than 1995's concept release Outside. Technically superb, Earthling presents individual layers of sound with crystal clarity and instrumentation with precision timing -- although, upon the initial listen, it feels slightly cold and unemotional.

That is, until "Seven Years in Tibet," which draws your senses back to 1980's Scary Monsters all over again, except with a few Nine Inch Nails thrown in for good measure. The horns, spacey synthesizers and knife-like guitar sounds combine for a trip to the surreal.

All that was ever good and weird about David Bowie is pushed past the brink on Earthling through the melding of tense industrial rhythms with strong techno-pop keyboards.

"Looking for Satellites" and "I'm Afraid of Americans" suck you in with their strong vocal treatments and layers upon layers of sounds, while tracks such as "Dead Man Walking" and "Law," though strongly industrial-dance in orientation, are hardly superficial and have a rich texture that might persuade even the most hardened dance-music hater to take another listen.

Modern, intense and urban, David Bowie culminates and spreads his trademarks of old throughout this release. If you're an old fan, you'll be glad to hear it.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 4, 1997

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