Diamond Dogs

1974, 7.5/10
The last gasp of Bowie’s glam phase, Diamond Dogs is one of Bowie’s most ambitious works conceptually. It was originally intended to be a musical retelling of George Orwell’s 1984; Bowie failed to receive permission from the author’s estate for the project, but there are still plenty of traces of Orwell’s themes in songs like ‘Big Brother’ and ‘1984’. Even though it’s still glam rock, Diamond Dogs is different from what came before – Ronson has left the band, and Bowie’s the sole guitarist on most tracks. Ronson isn’t missed on the glam ‘Rebel Rebel’, where Bowie pumps out a crisp riff, but as a whole Diamond Dogs is less guitar based, weirder, and more drawn out than his previous glam efforts. Apart from the glam of ‘Rebel Rebel’, the best tracks are when Bowie’s trying something new; ‘1984’ points the way forward into Bowie’s impending soul phase, while ‘Sweet Thing’ is a weird crooner. Diamond Dogs is one of Bowie’s most polarising efforts – although I take the middle ground, I can see where others could perceive it as a pompous overblown mess or as one of his most interesting and satisfying albums. Diamond Dogs is interesting, but I don’t think it has enough great tunes to be among his top tier of albums, and it’s not surprising that Bowie explored new sonic territory with his next albums.

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