Teenage Wildlife

Heathen prerelease review

by Arild Eriksen
May 7, 2002

Arild Eriksen wrote this review based on an evening sponsored by Sony Norway where guests were treated to two full playings of the entire Heathen album.



Last night (7. May) Sony Music Norway held a small party in a club downtown Oslo where they played the new Bowie album Heathen. We got to hear it only once, but I took a few notes and wanted to share them with you. First of all. WOW - it is so good to hear new Bowie material again. I had HUGE expectations and could very easily have been dissapointed, I DIDN'T!!!! The whole album is very solid and brilliantly produced. The band sounds very together and it also sounds like they've had a good time in studio. The album is kind of a cross between Scary Monsters and 'hours...'; but it is not so stripped as 'hours...' could sound at times. Here are some words about the different songs.

  1. Sunday: Excellent opener. Sounds very like Nature Boy from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Bowie with a deep and full voice. It starts slow and builds and builds until it kind of explodes into a full band song towards the end. One of the best tracks in my opinion.
  2. Cactus: This is an old Pixies tune. Bowie's version stays very true to the original. It is very rough and the drums are put way up in the front and lifts the song forward. The guitar sounds edgy. Listen to the original (on Surfer Rosa) and you will get a good idea.
  3. Slip away: Guess this is the song formerly known as Uncle Floyd and that was supposed to be on the Toy album. This is a mellow song. Sounds like modern Hunky Dory with nice piano parts and a good melody. Bowie sings "Twinkle twinkle Uncle Floyd". The girl I brought really liked this one hahahahaha (she's not a fan).
  4. Slow Burn: This one I guess you have all heard already. Is gonna be the first single. The first few seconds it really sounds like "Heroes". A very traditional Bowie song. Beautiful chorus where Bowie touches on the falsetto. Townshend plays some exellent guitar that sounds very Robert Fripp. Could have been a Scary Monsters song.
  5. Afraid: A very funky, uptempo song. The rhythm is kinda special, sounds like Campbell's having a good time. Sounds like it is written during the hours sessions. There is a good pace through the whole song. Bowie sings about how he is still afraid. Again my date really liked the song.
  6. I've Been Waiting For You: An old Neil Young song. Bowie used to play this with Tin Machine with Reeves Gabrels on vocals. It is a bit slower than TM used to play it and less guitar. Instead of having a lot of guitar, Bowie pushes the Borneo Horns way into the front,. The song is kind of noisy and sounds like a nod from David to Reeves as a "Thanks for everything".
  7. I Would Be Your Slave: Very slow. A bit difficult. Need some more time on this one. In my opinion the weakest link. The rhythm changes several times, but Bowie sings in the same tempo all the way, could ALMOST sound a bit boring. Just didn't get a good hold on it. It is hard to describe. Very floaty.
  8. Gemini Spacecraft: The promo said; "I took a trip in a Gemini spacecraft". That is also the original title on this cover version of The Legendary Stardust Cowboy song. My favourite!!! A fast song with lots of sounds and noise. Bowie on top sounding almost like an alien using his femi voice hahahaha the same voice as on Dead Against It. This song had me jumping on the seat. Again a genuis "space" song.
  9. 5:15 The Angels Have Gone: A pretty little ditty. Bowie starts every second sentence with "5:15". and goes on to tell what happens. The song sounds sad. The arrangement is good and well put together. Really liked this one. Could also have been on hours... if it hadn't been for all the details in the music.
  10. Everyone Says Hi: A funny up tempo tune. Very POP if you know what I mean, just like Afraid. Very catchy....
  11. A Better Future: A different kind of song. Sounds a bit like the b-sides on the 'hours...' singles, specially We Shall Go to Town. A haunting melody. Can't remember too many details as the beer began to kick in. Think it was very much electronica.
  12. Heathen: A nice and mellow sort. Heathen was not the whole title on this song. Just like the last song on Earthling it had something in parentheses after Heathen, but I just can't remember what it was. It was two words. Something like Heathen (Try Harder) or Heathen (Fly Further) or something. Can't remember too much of the song itself - sorry.
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This document last updated Thursday, 09-May-2002 01:47:57 EDT
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