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Scary Monsters Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, September 28, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

14th studio album released in 1980. Incl. "Ashes to Ashes", "Teenage Wildlife"," Its No Game" & "Fashion"

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Some would argue that this is the last great Bowie album, and certainly his only great album of the '80s. While it lacked the bite of its punk brethren at the time, it appealed to some fans of that genre and to middle-of-the-road rockers as well. Muscular playing met with no-frills production, and the product as a whole was infused with a gloriously arty style. "It's No Game (Part I)" opens the album, and is sung in Japanese, and "It's No Game (Part II)" closes, in English. New York punker Tom Verlaine even contributed a track ("Kingdom Come"), and "Scream Like a Baby" tells a dark and violent story with a howl. The drug-oriented "Ashes to Ashes" confesses that Major Tom was a junky while sounding all sleek and alluring, and the dance floor hit "Fashion" took aim at its very subject. The crowning jewel is the title track, with Robert Fripp's guitar ripping the place up at a relentless pace. It's been a long time since Bowie sounded this inspired. --Lorry Fleming
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 28, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1980
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B00001OH7Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,322 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
sometimes music can be a life altering experience. when this album came out, i was a freshman in high school in a small midwestern town. i stumbled across it, probably from a review in rolling stone or cream, and listened to it through headphones in my bedroom for hours on end. as i grew up, the age of the cd came along and this album sat in the 2 crates of albums i refuse to let go of.

my 9 yr. old son got one of those mp3 player things for christmas and we have spent the last few nights downloading the songs he likes onto it. well, once again i stumbled across scary monsters out there in internet land and downloaded it onto my computer.

i am now sitting here again with headphones on singing all these songs and dancing like a wildman. the lyrics of 25 years ago just flow out of me like breathing even though i have not heard them forever. the music is just as fresh now as it was then.

people more knowledgable than i can review the merits of each particular song in objective and analytical ways, but i cannot. they can compare this album to other bowie albums, but i cannot. i cannot because this album is impressed upon my musical soul. it opened my ears to all kinds of music i never knew existed. i could have been a top 40 listener for the rest of my life, but i did not and it was because of the power of this masterpiece.
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Format: Audio CD
This is my very favorite Bowie album and I honestly think his best. It follows the excellent "Berlin Trilogy" of "Low," "`Heroes'," and "Lodger" and is actually a culmination of Bowie's entire career so far. As such it is loud, manic, desperate, paranoid and even political. Its also simply great music with intriguing lyrics sung with the strongest voice Bowie can muster.
Like many of his albums, "Scary Monsters" has a structural continuity. While this one isn't a concept album like "Ziggy Stardust," "Diamond Dogs," or "1. Outside," it has a beginning, middle and end. The album begins and ends with two highly different versions of "It's No Game." The opening version is loud and angry. Bowie virtually screams out the lyrics as a woman concurrently shouts them out in Japanese. All the while is a screeching guitar and a tense build up to Bowie's closing cry of "Shut up! Shut up!" It's a powerful, confusing and even scary start of a wild ride. In contrast, the closing version of "It's No Game" is deliberately spent. Where Bowie was trying to punch his way out of a straightjacket in the opening number, by close he has given up. His power is gone. The lyrics are easier to follow, and although their meaning is somewhat obscure, they come across as resignation. The listener is also spent by this point. It's as absolute an ending as can be, even more so than "Rock N' Roll Suicide" at the end of "Ziggy." This is why any "bonus songs" tacked on to the end of this album detract from it.
As an interesting side note about "It's No Game," the lyrics borrow from a highly obscure song Bowie wrote in the 60's called "Tired of My Life.
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Bowie's albums are like a fine wine. Scary Monsters is a particular vintage which still sounds excellent today. It's the artistic vintage of Bowie which continues to surprise people like myself.
Every new Bowie album in the 70s was a new experience for its listeners - literally. With the exception of the Ziggy / Alladin Sane period - Bowie's albums from the mid-70s onwards were refreshingly different from one another. This is no exception. It's been mentioned in other reviews that Scary Monsters was Bowie's last significant release from a historical perspective. That's pretty true. If he'd died after this was released - his legend would've certainly been sealed on a high note.
The New wave artists who were about to arrive on the UK scene worshipped Bowie. Scary Monsters shows why: Bowie was a law unto himself.
Cryptic yet accessible; raw yet melodic - Bowie's lyrics drive this album, as does the great guitar work of Fripp and a cameo by Pete Townshend. This is a far more sonic work than Bowie's previous albums, and plunges the listener headlong into his inner world. The iconic tracks here that everyone knows are Ashes to Ashes; Fashion and Scary Monsters. The lesser known tracks (ie not heard on his compilations) - form the rest of the snapshot. Scary Monsters is very much like a portrait of Bowie, of which the better known songs are simply parts of his overall psyche.
Scary Monsters capped a tremendous musical decade that blew critics and audiences away, and belongs in any Bowie collection. Many of his ardent fans wish he would or could return to this form -and some believe he has with his 90s releases, but don't believe it...For some reason, Bowie has never sounded as artistically immersed in a one particular work after this one.
So get this vintage for its raw passion. And if you can, do get the rykodisc for the extra tracks which are worth it.
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Format: Audio CD
From the opening verses sung in Japanese, there's a distinct sense that something dark and sinister is going on just beneath the surface of this record. It's a very visual album, and as Bowie takes the listener through this journey, he confronts his psychological shadow head on over and over again, ultimately gaining control over it. This is apparent in the arrangement of the songs, especially with Robert Fripp's barely controlled guitar work. Between Fripp and Carlos Alomar, it's as if Bowie had unleashed two deadly snakes from a wicker basket, only to coax them back at the very last second before allowing them to do any harm. Chronologically, Scary Monsters came after the Berlin trilogy albums of the mid to late '70s, which marked the peak of Bowie's experimental period. As he confesses in 'Ashes to ashes', he apparently wasn't just experimenting musically on those previous albums, but also with heroin (and God only knows what other strange drugs). This may very well be the last of Bowie's truly classic and timeless albums from beginning to end. The SACD version is well worth getting, as it adds another dimension to a spectacular recording.
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