This week I have been listening to The King Of Limbs by Radiohead. Almost repeatedly. Again and again and again. And then just the last four songs on loop because I liked them more. I inteded to listen to a lot of Mogwai, who I saw in concert last night, but when your favourite band release their first album for four years, it takes over. As a result, there has been less air time for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars than I usually give and I begin this review with no strong opinions of an album I haven’t yet absorbed.
An early impression I do have is that this is an album full of grandeur. From the building opener, Five Years, through the stage-musical style of Lady Stardust, the flamboyancy of the title track and the ever increasing drama of Rock and Roll Suicide, Bowie really captures the theatre of Glam Rock. The lyrics are equally spectacular, telling the story of the ultimate rock star, an alien called Ziggy Stardust, who rises to fame with the end of the world nigh, only to collapse under his own success. As well as being dramatic, the lyrics paint a wonderful, futuristic picture with moonage daydreams of electric eyes, ray guns and space faces.
An exciting and ambitious album, there is a nice variation of styles, from piano ballads such as Lady Stardust, to straight forward rockers like Suffragette City and Star. There are some fantastic songs on this album: the crunching guitar of Moonage Daydream and the singalong choruses of Starman and Ziggy Stardust are out of this world, to use a bad pun.