The second most important moment in Bowie's glam period, Aladdin Sane is full of smart, cutting-edge songs that hold up decades later as classic moments in rock. Standout tracks include "Panic in Detroit", with Mick Ronson's screaming guitars and Mick Woodmansey's urgent drumming; "Watch that Man", a piano-driven, rollicking number perfect for the Bowie strut; the lascivious and sweaty "Cracked Actor"; the punky "Jean Genie"; and a perfectly raucous cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together". "Time" hearkens back to the theatrics of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, while "Drive in Saturday", "The Prettiest Star", and "Lady Grinning Soul" serve as precursors to Bowie's "plastic soul" sounds that came later in the 1970s. Aladdin Sane is even more impressive when considering that the same year this album was made, Bowie was also working with artists like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, producing some of their most heralded works (the Stooges' Raw Power and Reed's Transformer). --Lorry Fleming
It's no surprise that ALADDIN SANE and PIN UPS came out in the same year. Each drip with the seedy sexuality of London's late '60s sexual revolution. Yet, while PIN UPS was a mid-'60s sampling of influences--a glorified cover album--ALADDIN SANE was all Bowie.
Stepping out of the Ziggy Stardust shadow (Bowie would announce his temporary retirement from the stage later that year), ALADDIN SANE was the aftermath ofZiggy's visit, a brutal memoir of the drugs, sex and glamour that a young starlet could find at the time. "Forget that I'm 50/'Cause you just got paid", Bowie croons, adopting thepersona of a "Cracked Actor", and one wonders how far stardom had pushed Bowie. Was he indeed a lad insane?
The macho guitar rave-ups are a brilliant spewing of the PIN UPS influences. Mick Ronson's searing guitar is beautiful trash, made of Stonesy grind and dangerous Kinks-like riffing. Bowie is at an evocative peak, his vocals at once voyeuristic and enticing. His cover of "Let's Spend The Night Together" sends an unwashed shiver up the back, and his youthful exuberance on "Panic In Detroit" is charmingly believable.
ALADDINSANE showed that Bowie was an artist with staying power that reached beyond his previous Martian Cult status.