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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And, in the death.....
Those four words lead off the album that scared the tar outta me as a 14 year old. Even more than my well worn Black Sabbath albums. Sabbath was scary, but a lot of that came from the fact that they were so darn heavy and demonic. But on "Diamond Dogs," David Bowie just made everything musically bone rattling, insane and unsettling. Visualizing Hunger City and...
Published on August 2, 2004 by Tim Brough

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brave New World for Bowie
Bowie had waved goodbye to Ziggy Stardust - almost, but on the cover of Diamond Dogs, he still looked like the spiky red haired Bowie that everyone knew but morphing into something else. Diamond Dogs remains Bowie's art album of the period - an ambitious work, and yet somehow it doesn't quite gel or grab you. I wanted it to be grander, but it's more like a dark...
Published on June 16, 2007 by G. YEO


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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And, in the death....., August 2, 2004
Those four words lead off the album that scared the tar outta me as a 14 year old. Even more than my well worn Black Sabbath albums. Sabbath was scary, but a lot of that came from the fact that they were so darn heavy and demonic. But on "Diamond Dogs," David Bowie just made everything musically bone rattling, insane and unsettling. Visualizing Hunger City and the hordes of jeweled and fur clad "peoploids" on the prowl was akin to something out of a George Romero movie. I was too young to understand what a rock and roll musical would sound like, all I knew was "We Are The Dead" and "Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family" captured my attention like no other save for Alice Cooper.

No other album or artist has done that for me since. Marylyn Manson? Megadeth? Slayer? Mindless poseurs all after the theatrics of "Sweet Thing/Candidate." Of course I couldn't know it at the time, but Bowie was beginning to bridge the gap between the Ziggy character (in retrospect, it seems like this was the album where Ziggy is at last buried forever) and the soon to emerge Philly Soul monger of "Young Americans." The croon Bowie lays into "When You Rock and Roll With Me" and the "Shaft/Superfly" licks in "1984" are the most obvious forays in that direction.

But still, is this really 30 years old? Jeepers, it sounds like it was recorded last week. "Diamond Dogs" is now enriched by the excellent packaging, including Bowie's comments about his state of mind during the creation of the "1984" stage musical concept to several of the contributing players' thoughts, and a host of pictures and other graphics from the period. The bonus disc is a treat as well. I'd actually forgotten the single mix of "Rebel Rebel," and my ensuing disappointment when I bought the album and the background vocals were gone! But why quarrel with what has to be one of the ten best guitar riffs ever composed?

Additional kudos must be given to the fact that this is a two CD set. While a single disc with bonus tracks could have easily been released (and has), "Diamond Dogs'" original 40 minutes stands at its best without additional clutter tacked on the end like some hideous footnote from an obsessive Bowie acolyte insisting that a masterpiece has to be amended. MORE artists/albums need to be treated with this kind of respect - Thanks EMI!
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Lord I think you'd overdose if you knew what's going down", November 6, 2002
By 
Clyde D. Hoops "thingols" (Back where I started from in Oceanside California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamond Dogs [ECD] (Audio CD)
You know, I've had this album since it was released back in 1974 and thought, "cool album, man".
But since trying to rebuild an album collection into a cd collection of the same size (currently about 400 cd's vs 900 albums) I am always hesitant about replacing some of the albums I've had with the cd format, whether its due to money or the cd formatting (straight transfer, record company ripoffs vs. digital remastering, the only way to go).
And so it came to be with this version of 'Diamond Dogs' by the master of paranoia induced futuristic tales David Bowie.
Last week I bought the 1999 remastered edition and was taken aback by scope of this particular work. Forget what you may read by Rolling Stone or AMG, this is one Bowie's deepest works. The fact that he was rebuked by Orwell's widow is a moot point. Here Bowie is bridging the gap between the glam era of "Man who sold the World"-"Aladdin Sane" to the 'Plastic Soul' period of "Young Americans" and "Station to Station" without missing a beat. The only missed beat was with the music critics, as it always is.
Listen to the often cited song cycle of 'Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing-reprise' if you don't believe, he was already there. Not the transition album some expert critics would have you believe, the real transition album would have been "Aladdin Sane". Sure you get some bleed through of moments past but this collection isn't built upon the past but pushing forward. I fail to find any music during the 'Thin White Duke' period that has as much soul or energy put into it as the aforementioned songs set of ST/C/ST-R or "We are the Dead", any of which would have been quite at home on either "Young Americans" or "Station to Station".
There are sure fire rockers included within this set as well, with "Rebel Rebel", "Diamond Dogs" and "1984", but personaaly the most overlooked gem on this entire set would have to be the track "Big Brother". The second line of the song even tells the listeners and critics "Don't think of last years capers, give me steel...," but I think the best passage of the song is the acoustic bridge in the middle of the song wherein its almost as if David were talking to his critics and especially his fans, face to face and says:
'I know you think you're awfully square
But you've made everyone and you've been everywhere
Lord I'd think you'd overdose if you knew what's going down'
And then the song slams back into the chorus with the bass and guitar to finish the song and end the collection with the "Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family". An incredible tour through the mind of a truly under appreciated artist in his own time, but isn't that always the s.o.s, Shake it up, move it up, brother!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This ain't rock and roll... this is genocide!, January 31, 2004
This review is from: Diamond Dogs [ECD] (Audio CD)
Bowie's voice distorted electronically sets the apocalyptic scene, of a civilization destroyed in the spoken "Future Legend" of mutants in Hunger City called who are waiting for the diamond dogs
After the heralding "This ain't rock and roll... this is genocide!", the title track comes on, sporting a snappy glam riff like T-Rex with some vocals sung as if done underwater, the story continues of the lavish rich having parties, but under prey of the diamond dogs.
The trio of "Sweet Thing", "Candidate", and the reprise of the former, all which segue into one another for a total 8:50, is the longest track (if taken collectively) Bowie's done since "Width Of A Circle." With an out-of-tune guitar and soft piano, a sense of loneliness and isolation permeates throughout the lyrics. Things go a bit more upbeat in "Candidate", with the and more nihilistic: "We'll buy some drugs and watch a band, then jump in the river holding hands." From "hope is a sweet thing", we get "love is a get-it-here thing." This part of the song deals with how one gets power with sex.
By far, the best song here is "Rebel Rebel", a tune with a hard-edged guitar done by Alan Parker and not by Bowie as has been formerly thought, and a Stones-like crunch. The 70's gender-ambiguity is shown in "not sure if you're a boy or a girl." This criminally flopped in the US, but reached #5 on the UK charts. Joan Jett covered this and it shows up on her Flashback compilation.
A soulful and gospel-like feel, with a piano and guitar melody features in the laid back "Rock N Roll With Me," a change from the previous theatrics.
The last three songs is all that's left of the concept album Bowie was trying to model after 1984, only to have George Orwell's widow deny him permission. There seems to be no justice, as Yes's Rick Wakeman released an album in 1981 titled 1984 with no repercussions. Anyway, "We Are The Dead" are the words Winston Smith utters to his lover Julia before they are captured by the Thought Police in Orwell's novel. Bowie's crooning over a slow melodic keyboard. Bowie half-speaks/sings the lyrics while in the background, he croons the title words.
"1984" has a bit of a funky disco beat like the Shaft song. Elements of brainwashing from the novel can be seen: "they'll split your pretty cranium and fill it full of air/and tell that you're eighty but rather you won't care." The song was later covered by Tina Turner on Private Dancer.
In "Big Brother and the Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family" Bowie seems to be praising some ubermensch-type person: "someone to blame us/someone to follow/someone to shame us/some great Apollo/someone to fool us/someone like you/we want you Big Brother." The chant part begins with a fuzzy guitar and chants of "brother" and "shake it up" before ending with a repeated tape loop.
With the dissolution of Ziggy and the Spiders, an interesting concept and a new sound, while still continuing the nihilistic apocalyptic themes of the Ziggy era.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listened To This In The 70's , It May Explain Things....., August 31, 2006
By 
Rude Boy 1979 "Ralph" (Today I'm in Ybor City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamond Dogs [ECD] (Audio CD)
I listened to this album (my older brothers) during the 70's, ad nausea. For me it is must own Bowie. I like this album so much that I'm even into Chant of the ever circling skeletal family! I actually think that song's very cool but I may be alone on that one. For me this is Bowie's best. I followed him through the 70's (I remember seeing him on Soul Train doing Golden Years), the pop 80's from Ashes to Ashes to China Girl, even followed him a bit in Tin Machine and later hating Americans or something, lol. This is my all time favorite Bowie, I'm ordering it today so we can get reacquainted. Highly recommended, definitely a top 100 rock album of all time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's jump in a river, holding hands..., January 4, 2005
Dear God, I love Bowie. Even with the earlier Virgin, or Ryko, or EMI versions of his discs already in my collection, I am the first to go out and pick up the "30th Anniversary" editions when they hit the shelves. Now, I do agree with reviewer J. B. Fresno's comments about the lack of genuinely NEW extras, and also the complaint that, when packaged in rough cardboard sleeves, compact discs tend to get scratched... but I'm too into Bowie for that to matter. Let him give us new editions of his CDs with whole second discs of Springsteen covers... what do I care?! The original 'Diamond Dogs' can always benefit from a decent remaster, and I enjoy having the extras all in one place! Enough said: all the stars in the world for the album, but one star off because the "30th Anniversary" treatment is getting a bit tiresome.

(Let's hope 'David Live' and 'Stage' bring something better to the table. But even if they don't, I'll be glad not to pay in excess of $50 for used Ryko copies on ebay!!)

That all said, here's a run-down of the first disc: It's the original 'Diamond Dogs' remastered. All the glory of Bowie's attempt at a musical version of '1984,' with its haunting MOOG synth lines, dark, stormy production, and Burroughs-inspired cut-up lyrics is in full swing here, drawing no complaints from me. Crystal clear and free of any unwelcome additions/subtractions.

The second disc pulls extras from various places. First, there's "1984/Dodo," which I first heard on Ryko's 'Sound and Vision' set. This track alone is worth the purchase. Following hot on its heels is the "Rebel Rebel" US single version, which also appeared on the 'Sound and Vision' discs. Digable if you've gotten a bit sick of the original "Rebel Rebel." "Dodo" is on my EMI copy of 'DD' and it's a smashing tune. I think that if it was at all possible, it should have been on the album.

After "Dodo" is a romp through a Springsteen tune - "Growin' Up" - which I've never heard before. I think Ron Wood makes an uncredited appearance on guitar... very nice. "Alternative Candidate" appeared on my EMI edition of 'DD' as "Candidate (demo)," and now that I understand it was intended to be part of Bowie's (unfortunately) unfinished '1984' musical, I get where he was coming from. Brilliant work. The next two tracks are edits of "Diamond Dogs" and "Candidate" which appeared on a rare "best of" compilation and "I don't know what," respectively. Not necessary, in my view, but eh. Finally, there's a 2003 version of "Rebel Rebel" which I have on the 'Reality' bonus disc. Decent. Was very nice in concert the two times I got out to see him for the Reality tour.

Anywhom, that's the deal. If you're an insane collector, get it. If you don't have the album already, and you're NOT an insane collector, get it anyway. Otherwise... buy something else by Bowie!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars-- Bowie at his most theatrical., March 9, 2006
By 
Michael Stack (North Chelmsford, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
After the excesses of his glam era, David Bowie turned his attention to creating a musical based on George Orwell's "1984", but unable to secure the rights to the work, he decided to restructure the material into what ended up being "Diamond Dogs". Still, the pedigree of the material brings it to a significantly different sound then any of Bowie's previous work-- a very much theatrical sound is present throughout the music, and it ends up coaxing some fine performances out of Bowie.

The medley of "Sweet Thing" and "Candidate" is probably the best example of this-- "Sweet Thing" features a romantic piano line that would not be out of place in a stage production and an absolutely stunning lead vocal from Bowie who takes full advantage of his range. His performance is just absolutely staggering, but it has a very theatrical, almost over the top sound to it that reminds you of Freddie Mercury. Likewise, the sing-speak vocal of "We Are the Dead" has the sound of something right out of a stage piece. Mixed in with all this is just some great rock songs-- "Diamond Dogs", "Rebel Rebel" and "Rock & Roll With Me"-- and one piece that traipses at dance music ("1984") to make a pretty well balanced collection.

This edition includes a bonus disc of alternate mixes, unreleased recordings of tracks leftover from the musical, and the superb '03 remake of "Rebel Rebel" as well as a detailed booklet with an extended essay about the recording sessions. It's a worthwhile investment for fans.

I've gone back and forth on how I should rate this one-- it's not quite as powerful as some of his other work, but it has a unique and powerful identity. Call it 4 1/2 stars, highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, dark, desolate - an essential purchase, July 31, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Diamond Dogs (Audio CD)
Not exactly welcomed with open arms by critics when it was released in 1974, 'Diamond Dogs' was Bowie's most coherent attempt at a 'concept album' (boy, is that an ugly term). Perhaps some of this negativity was caused by the over-ambitious live tour that accompanied the album's release. However, judged purely on its musical merits, it's an album that holds up surprisingly well today.
The highlight of the album is the sequence that runs seamlessly from 'Sweet Thing' to 'Rebel Rebel'. One of Bowie finest vocal performances, it conjures up visions of sex, death and longing in the wasted urban landscape of Bowie's Future Legend. The transition from the churning guitars of 'Sweet Thing (Reprise)' to the classic riff of 'Rebel Rebel' is excellent (agreed, 'Rebel' itself doesn't fit very well thematically). 'Chant of the Ever-Circling Skeletal Family' is unearthly - pure genius that foreshadowed Bowie's more experimental work in the late 70's. It sounds like nothing you've heard, or are likely to hear again. 'We Are the Dead' is another favourite, but here Bowie comes dangerously close to overreaching in the lyrics (the same applies to 'Diamond Dogs'.)
It's amazing that the album that followed this was the bland blue-eyed soul/disco album 'Young Americans' - a Bowie volte-face that rivalled 'Let's Dance' following 'Scary Monsters.' But that's Bowie for you - an artist who, for much of career, simply refused to stand still - often for better, sometimes for worse. This time, it was for the better. In my opinion, 'Diamond Dogs' makes the shortlist for the title of best Bowie album of all time. Highly recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Bowie, October 12, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Diamond Dogs [ECD] (Audio CD)
Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane are probably the best, and at least my favorite Bowie albums, Diamond Dogs shining the brightest. Originally intended as a rock opera based on the novel '1984', Diamond Dogs is the leftovers of those sessions after the rights couldn't be purchased. You simply have to listen to this front to back, for at least the first time. Personally, I never listen to just one tune, I just put it on and let it play. 'Diamond Dogs', 'Rebel Rebel', '1984', 'Big Brother' and 'Sweet Thing' are favorites, but I should really just list Diamond Dogs as my favorite album, as every song is enjoyable. Diamond Dogs was released during David's most experimental and outrageously lavish period in his career, and it's a solid effort. This one should be right between Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane in your CD rack.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Brother Extraordinaire--, February 24, 2003
By 
Ludmila (Tallahassee, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Diamond Dogs [ECD] (Audio CD)
This is David Bowie's interpretation/homage to George Orwell's masterpiece, "1984". Regardless of whether or not you have read Orwell's novel, you'll surely love, or at least like, or at the very least, appreciate, Bowie's venture into the realm of the frightening and apocalyptic vision of the reign of the "Diamond Dogs." The only radio-friendly singles to be found on this album are the title track, and "Rebel Rebel," which are both magnificent songs. The best tracks on the album? Hardly. But I guess that all depends on the criteria by which you judge. If you are a die-hard Bowie fan, then you will very likely have more appreciation for the other lesser- known songs on the album, some of which are somewhat difficult to ingest, but even if you are not one of those insatiable Bowie fans (to which group I myself pertain), then you might at least acknowledge the mystery and intensity of Bowie's approach. . . Nobody in the rock business quite expresses themself in the way that Bowie does, and this album provides substantial proof for such a claim. Some of his best lyrics are to be found on this album. "Candidate" for example: "I'll make you a deal, like any other candidate/ we'll pretend we're walking home because your future's at stake/ my set was amazing and even smells like the street/ there's a bar at the end where I can meet you and your friend". . . Revolutionary, yes, this album is ever so much so. . . Bowie would have been hounded by the Mc Carthy era agents were this album to have been produced during that time! Even so, this album might be problematic for some people who do not (or are afraid to acknowledge) that the threat of "Big Brother" is always looming before us, eager to deprive us of our liberties as free-thinking individuals. This is the closest that Bowie has ever come to reflecting upon politics in an album (well, he kind of did so on "Scary Monsters", but not in such a straightforward way). . . "Because hope, boys, is a cheap thing, cheap thing" he sings. This is not a light-hearted album, and certainly not for the faint-of-heart or the close-minded. Bowie as politico: it may seem strange, but on this album, it is true. He has made allusions to figures such as Che Guevara (in "Alladin Sane") in the past, and even poked a certain amount of fun at Richard Nixon (on "Young Americans"), but this is the closest that Bowie comes to approaching the realm of politics. There is an isolated "love song" (although it is one of the cautious and jaded sort), "Rock and Roll with Me," but the rest of the oeuvre on "Diamond Dogs" is of a very different nature. . . "We are the Dead" is perhaps the counterpoint to "Rock and Roll with Me": the imminent threat of "Big Brother" overwhelms the romantic notions between lovers which would otherwise remain free and intact. . . "We're tomorrow's scrambled creatures/locked into tomorrow's double feature/ Heaven's on the pillow/ as silence competes with hell. . . Because of all we've seen/ because of all we've said/ we are the dead". . . Major Tom, Alladin Sane, and Ziggy Stardust seem to have been replaced by a very frightened (and, of course, still wonderfully androgynous; this is Bowie, after all!) and prophetic character who senses a sort of apocalypse in all of our human actions/deeds/misdeeds. This album was made in 1974, and it remains more than pertinent today, in which we are all terrified of the threat of war and destruction. . . In fact, I was listening to this album while driving around one day, and finding both pro-war and anti-war demonstrators on a street corner, and it could not have been any more appropriate. . . "The Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family" was playing as I drove by the manifestors/protestors, and that moment in time seemed almost frozen. . . I do not know how Bowie feels about what is occuring in our country in regard to the Middle East, but I do find that this album manifests many of the conflicting emotions that we are all feeling at the moment. . . The demo version of "Candidate" on this album strikes me as especially poignant, however. . . shall we "pretend that we are walking home", then?
"Diamond Dogs" is a timeless album. An outstanding album. . . an ineffable one, perhaps? Well, if it were ineffable, should I have said so much on its behalf? Why yes, for it is the creation of David Bowie, and we should at least attempt to put its beauty and power into words. . . Yet no words seem to give it true justice. Give a listen, you'll see what I mean. . . Orwell would/should certainly be proud of Bowie for having transformed his words and his ideology into such magnificent music.
And Bowie should be proud of himself for having transposed a tremendous work of literature into a tremendous work of music.
Do get this album. No words can really do it justice, but, as this is a review in language, I can only employ laudatory adjectives:
It is spectacular.
Superb.
Sublime,
Stupendous.
Splendid.
Do give it a listen.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Halloween Jack, George Orwell, Rebel Rebel, it's all here, May 12, 2002
This review is from: Diamond Dogs [ECD] (Audio CD)
Every Bowie album has a certain theme, a certain style that's kind of different from all the others. Space Oddity was his breakthrough, there was the Aiggy Stardust era, the Brian Eno period, Scary Monsters and Hours he uses to reminisce about old times, and so on. But what is Diamond Dogs? Inspired by George Orwells 1984, starring the dark hero Halloween Jack, and including the odd hit "Rebel Rebel", there are so many themes you can draw on for this album.
This album was Bowie's first after retiring Ziggy Stardust, but he still retained the famous red hair for the album, probably to help sales along..? Originally meant to be an opera to "1984" Bowie was denied the rights to the novel, and so reworked it to avoid copyright infringement. Still, this album is very operetic in style, the tracks often times flowing together. And it still retains the incredibly dark feel of the classic novel. This is definately one of Bowie's darker, if not darkest, album.
Opening with a startling Narrative, the album hurls you along a ride and doesn't really let up until "Rebel Rebel". Don't get me wrong, I love the song and it is a major hit, but it just seems so incredibly out of place with the rest of the album. "Rock and Roll with me" starts leaning back towards the feel of the album, and by "We are the Dead" you are back again. Hmm, maybe it was meant to keep you from getting to bogged down in it all. Ah well, whatever the intention, the album is just great. I listen to all my Bowie albums straight through, and this is no exception. A classic from start to finish, and not to be missed. Many claim this is a great introduction to Bowie, but I'm not sure. Here's the thing to do with any Bowie album. No matter how much of a fan I am of Bowie, the first time I hear a new album, I don't like it. Knowing this, I listen to it a second time and love it, in fact, the new album is ususally my new favorite. No matter how much you hate any Bowie album at first, listen to it again. And love it.
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Diamond Dogs [ECD]
Diamond Dogs [ECD] by David Bowie (Audio CD - 1999)
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