One of rock's most restless artists, David Bowie isn't usually prone to look back upon his past glories -- but when he does, he invariably manages to focus on the most artistically vivid (if not the most commercial). Heathen, which reunites him with Tony Visconti, the producer who helped shape Bowie's music in the early '70s, is just such a backward glance. Recalling such classic albums as Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane, the disc alternates between exuding a shimmering bleakness, as on the brooding opener "Sunday," and shooting out sonic sparks, exemplified by the wiry "Slow Burn," which features slashing guitar lines from Pete Townshend. Going back as far as Pin-Ups, Bowie has always shown a propensity for radically reinterpreting the songs of others, and Heathen is studded with such ditties. His take on the Pixies' "Cactus" is appropriately on edge, while a version of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy's utterly fried "I Took a Trip on a Gemini Spaceship" allows him to indulge a loopiness that will no doubt surprise diehard fans. For the most part, however, Heathen is fairly introspective, the sparse instrumentation acting as a foil for some of the singer's most fully realized lyric writing in quite a spell. That's true whether the subject is fairly simple, as on the lounge-ish love song "I Would Be Your Slave," or more obtuse, as on the folk-tinged "A Better Future." It's not the easiest of listens, but given some time to sink in, Heathen is likely to transform even skeptical listeners into Bowie believers. (Also available is a limited-edition version, housed in a special Digipak and packaged with a bonus disc comprising an Air remix of "A Better Time," a Moby remix of "Sunday," an alternate take of "Panic in Detroit," and "Conversation Piece" from the unreleased Toy album.)
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Performance CreditsDavid Bowie Primary Artist,Guitar,Drums,Keyboards,Saxophone,Background Vocals,Stylophone
Pete Townshend Guitar
David Torn Guitar,Omnichord,Guitar Loops
Lisa Germano Violin
Solá Akingbolá Percussion
Carlos Alomar Guitar
Sterling Campbell Percussion,Drums
Matt Chamberlain Percussion,Drums
David Clayton Keyboards
Dave Grohl Guitar
Tony Levin Bass
Gary Miller Guitar
Tony Visconti Bass,Guitar,Recorder,Background Vocals
Mary Wooten Cello
Gerry Leonard Guitar
Gregor Kitzis Violin
Mark Plati Bass,Guitar
Martha Mooke Viola
Kristeen Young Piano,Vocals
John Read Bass
Technical CreditsDavid Bowie Producer
Matt Chamberlain Loop Programming
Steve Elson Contributor
Stan Harrison Contributor
Gary Miller Programming,Producer
Lenny Pickett Contributor
Brian Rawling Producer
Tony Visconti Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,Vocal Engineer,Vocal Producer,Guitar Engineer,Guitar Producer
Mark Plati Producer,Engineer
Todd Vos Engineer
Emily Lazar Engineer
Brandon Mason Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heathen based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
This is Bowie's best album since Scary Monsters - and one of his best albums ever. From the very first somber notes of "Sunday" to the hypnotic beats of "Heathen-the Rays," Bowie captures the listener from beginning to end. "Slip Away" ranks right up there with "Life on Mars" off of Hunky Dory, and Bowie's cover of the Pixies' "Cactus" fits in perfectly with his own compositions. "Afraid," with it's reference to John Lennon's "God," (I believe in Beatles) brilliantly illustrates post 9/11 anxiety and a search for normalcy. Other great songs include his cover of Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting for You," as well as Bowie's own "Everyone Says 'Hi'."
The 90's were quite eclectic for David Bowie and his many fans, with the rock changeling making a grunge album, a dance album, a pop soundtrack, a dark electronic concept album, a jungle album, and music for a video game. Heathen represents Bowie's return to just plain good music, and a triumphant return it is!
This is the best Bowie album since Scary Monsters (if we forget the undervalued Hours). Heathen has everything to become a great Bowie album: it has electronic, it has rock, it has a big touch of prog-art rock, and it's absolutely detached, elegant and cold but also warm, funny and heartfelt. Heathen will become a great classic Bowie album in the next 10 years.
heathen is david bowie's best album in a while! i love his remakes of "cactus" and "ive been waiting for u" to "slow burn" and "everyone says hi" this is a all around great cd! i agree with the rolling stone - this is bowie playing bowie!
Easily one of my favorites of the year, this collection, takes some getting use to but from start to finish there isn't one song I would have taken off. Like a breath of fresh air, even with all its 70's retro'isms and choice of producer, this collection is classic, moody & modern, one of Bowies best since the late 70's-early 80's. Even after a year it still draws you in. Excellent CD!!
This CD is so good and improves upon successive listenings. Anyone who has ever loved or liked Bowie's work in the past will definately want to take a listen. And it should earn him new fans as well. There is no filler here. Every single song is either good or great. I was moved by Slip Away. I can't stop listening to it.
As a life long Bowie freak I have to say that this is the best thing I've heard from him since Never Let Me Down. Having Tony Visconti back in the producer's spot is great. Hearing him take a classic like ''I Thought About You'' and turn it into ''I Took a Ride On a Gemeni Spacecraft'' is worth the price of admission. The Moby remix of Sunday on disc two is also sweet