Aladdin Sane is a step down after the twin peaks of Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust; although it’s still very good, it fails to break much new ground, something of an anomaly for a 1970s’ David Bowie album. If there’s anything new, it’s the subtle touches of jazz and R&B coming courtesy of new pianist Mike Garson. Guitarist Mick Ronson is still on board, which means plenty of riff laden rockers like the opener ‘Watch That Man’ and the single ‘The Jean Genie’.
Aladdin Sane starts strongly with the opening one two punch of the sharp, glammy ‘Watch That Man’ and the cabaret flavoured title track, coloured by Garson’s jazz piano. Some might object to the pair of decadent throwaways – the sexually explicit ‘Cracked Actor’ and the trashy cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ – but they’re both energetic and fun. If any songs are weak, it’s the campy ballads like ‘The Prettiest Star’ but they’re merely unremarkable.
Aladdin Sane is mid-level classic Bowie; it’s a very good album, but as a whole isn’t quite consistent or groundbreaking enough to be a landmark in its own right.