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The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

David Bowie

1972

Buy At Rough Trade
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Album Summary

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (often shortened to Ziggy Stardust) is the fifth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 16 June 1972 in the United Kingdom through RCA Records. It was co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott and features Bowie's backing band the Spiders from Mars, comprising Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey. Most of the songs were written around the same time as Bowie's previous album Hunky Dory (1971). After that album was completed, recording for Ziggy Stardust commenced in November 1971 at Trident Studios in London, with further sessions in early February 1972. Described as a loose concept album and rock opera, Ziggy Stardust concerns Bowie's titular alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous and bisexual rock star who is sent to Earth as a saviour before an impending apocalyptic disaster. In its story, Ziggy wins the hearts of fans but suffers a fall from grace after succumbing to his own ego. The character was inspired by numerous musicians, including singers Vince Taylor and Iggy Pop. Most of the album's concept was developed after the songs were recorded. The glam rock and proto-punk musical styles were influenced by Pop, the Velvet Underground, and Marc Bolan of T. Rex, while the lyrics discuss the artificiality of rock music, political issues, drug use, sexual orientation and stardom. The album cover, photographed in monochrome and recoloured, was taken in London, outside the home of furriers "K. West". Preceded by the single "Starman", Ziggy Stardust peaked at number 5 in the UK and number 75 in the United States. It initially received favourable reviews from music critics; some praised the musicality and concept while others were unable to comprehend it. Shortly after its release, Bowie performed "Starman" on Britain's Top of the Pops in early July 1972, which propelled him to stardom. The Ziggy character was retained for the subsequent Ziggy Stardust Tour, leaving Bowie unable to differentiate between Ziggy and himself. Not wanting Ziggy to define him, Bowie created a new character for his next album Aladdin Sane (1973), which Bowie described as "Ziggy goes to America". Performances from the tour were later released on a concert film of the same name with an accompanying live album (1983) and Live Santa Monica '72 (2008). Retrospectively, Ziggy Stardust is considered one of Bowie's best works and has appeared on numerous lists of the greatest albums of all time. Bowie had ideas for a musical based on the album, although this project never came to fruition; ideas were later used for Diamond Dogs (1974). Ziggy Stardust has been reissued several times and was remastered in 2012 for its 40th anniversary. In 2017, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry, being deemed "culturally, historically, or artistically significant" by the Library of Congress.

Wikipedia

Rating

4.27

Votes

12101
Genres
Rock

Reviews

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

Motha fucking classic. Best I've listened to do far, one of my favorites of all time. When this popped up I was celebrating. 5 years may be the best opening to an album ever and probably my favorite song. Moonage daydream and starman will be classics forever. It's just perfect. Everything sounds top, mixing is great, will play this on repeat. Most underrated song is rock-'n'-roll suicide, 8/8.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
5

Always a pleasure to listen to this. The generator will have to get up pretty early in the morning to find a better opener/closer combo than Five Years and Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide. And then there’s Moonage Daydream, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Starman… Let all the children boogie, I say.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Bowie is the four B's of my early childhood musical education along with The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Beethoven. I feel like he's been with me all along during when I have felt a part of humanity or alienated from it. Fortunately, music has always been an amazing way to bridge the gap between those two worlds for me. Favorite line: My brain hurt like a warehouse It had no room to spare I had to cram so many things To store everything in there And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people I never thought I'd need so many people

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Simply the best album that exists, I'll die on this hill. Please kill me.

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Sat Feb 13 2021
5

Probably my all time favourite album. This is the 7 star Dubai Hotel of albums, why can I only give it five? Five Years, great way to start the album, building to a climax. Soul Love, Moonage Daydream and Starman are a great glam rock trio with amazing guitar work from Mick Ronson on Moonage. It Ain't Easy, just ok but a good middle point of the album before an amazing ballad in Lady Stardust, possibly foreshadowing Bowie's later foray into Plastic Soul. Star and Hang On To Yourself are interchangeable but good. Title Track and Suffragette also a couple of bangers before ending on a sombre note with Rock and Roll Suicide. Best album there is, great flow and I think I've shown that long, pointless album reviews are possible here.

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

FINALLY! Holy heck is this a great album, and now I can see what people get out of David Bowie. Always knew it was me. It's like every favorite track I've ever had from Bowie just happens to be on this record. Favorite tracks: "Starman", "Moonage Daydream", "Five Years"

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Sun Jan 24 2021
3

I remember an essay by a music critic in 1974 that set fourth a chronological listing of the great pioneers in rock: (1) Elvis Presley; (2) Bob Dylan; (3) John Lennon; and (4) David Bowie. Well, that may be how it looked to some folks at the time, but even then I thought Bowie didn’t belong on that list. Still don’t. This album is unquestionably innovative and well crafted, but it doesn’t stand the test of time. For a nice “pop vs. pop” comparison, listen to Bowie’s version of Ron Davies’ “It Ain’t Easy” and the version by Three Dog Night. 3/5

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Mon Feb 01 2021
5

10/10 bruh this shit vibey good ass Bowie shit. FIVE YEARS !!!!!

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Sat Feb 13 2021
5

Talk about a nice 2 day stretch of records. Under his eye. Praise be. Blessed be the fruit.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

Bowie is going to get a few 5s along the way. And this is the first one. Is there really anything I can say that hasn't been said already? He's a genius and this is evidence.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
4

It sucks that I can’t do these a day in advance anymore, it means that crazy days like today cause me to rush these things. But I did listen today’s album! I liked it more than I thought I would. It started off a little too avant-garde for me but quickly settled down into just a good early 70’s rock album. This generator apparently has 9 Bowie albums on it, so I’ll definitely get another chance to talk more about him another day My enjoyment: 4/5 Did it belong: 5/5

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

This is a perfect glam-rock opera that highlights David Bowie's incredible talent for lyrical economy, packing as much feeling, soul, and hype into simple verses like no one else can. Five Years swells with heartfelt loss, pity, that if you aren't paying attention, you'll lose a tear. Soul Love transitions to a hope, and continues to Moonage Daydream that's light and innocent like newfound love. The entire saga of Ziggy Stardust transitions masterfully from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, with the hardest lessons being that losing control isn't out of reach for even the most saintly of us. The album is experienced best when it's start-to-finish, but every track stands on its own, especially rock-and-roll anthem Suffragette City and it's pithy aside WHAM BAM THANK YOU, MA'AM. You just couldn't ask for a better album from a better artist.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Two things: 1. Never noticed how this album sounds like if Lou Reed produced the Beatles' White Album. 2. Some of the slang on this record is hilarious, but I love it. It really evokes a particular time and place in pop culture, which reminds me of slang used in hip hop music and how you can place the music based on the language being used. Anyway, this album is a classic and holds up really well.

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

What a rock n roll record sound sounds like. Cool songs, weird sounds, some butt-shaking rhythms, and an engaging character to build it all around. Ziggy is one kick-ass record.

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Mon Feb 21 2022
5

How have I never listened to this?! What's wrong with me? This album is amazing.

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Wed Feb 23 2022
5

Don't need to listen! Lived with it most of my life! Mick Ronson deserved more credit for his contribution to this tremendous album.

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Fri May 07 2021
4

The weirdest artist in popular music. A true one-of-a-kind and someone we'll never see again. Just legendary.

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Mon Mar 15 2021
4

Bowie really knows how to frame an album, making it theatrical without making it too campy. Each song is good, but when compiled together it makes an album greater than the sum of it's parts. And it's all under 40 minutes! One of the greatest albums of all time is actually pretty digestible; who knew? Anyway, I can see why this is considered the GOAT album but I don't love it like a lot of others do. It's great, don't get me wrong, but a 5-star album's gotta feel special!

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

This album is a classic for a reason, and David Bowie deserves every ounce of fame he ever received. He reinvented himself completely for 1 album. He's the man.

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Thu Feb 25 2021
5

Described as a rock opera and a loose concept album, Ziggy Stardust concerns Bowie's titular alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous, bisexual rock star who is sent to Earth as a savior before an impending apocalyptic disaster. Influences for the character were English singer Vince Taylor, the Legendary Stardust Cowboy and Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto. Most of the album's concept was developed after the songs were recorded. The character was retained for the subsequent Ziggy Stardust Tour. A concert film of the same name, directed by D. A. Pennebaker, was filmed in July 1973 and released in 1979, and a live album from the same show followed in 1983. The music on Ziggy Stardust has been characterised as glam rock and proto-punk. Unlike its predecessor Hunky Dory, which was generally piano-led, the songs on Ziggy Stardust are primarily guitar-based, mostly due to the departure of keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The songs were influenced by Iggy Pop of the Stooges, Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground, and Marc Bolan of T. Rex. The album's lyrics discuss the artificiality of rock music, political issues, drug use, sexual orientation and stardom. Bowie also uses American slang and pronunciations throughout. The album cover, photographed by Brian Ward in monochrome and recoloured by Terry Pastor, was taken at 23 Heddon Street in London, outside the home of furriers "K. West". The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars is about a bisexual alien rock superstar named Ziggy Stardust.[38][39] Ziggy Stardust was not conceived as a concept album and much of the story was written after the album was recorded.[40][41] The characters were androgynous. Mick Woodmansey, said the clothes they had worn had "femininity and sheer outrageousness", and that the characters' looks "definitely appealed to our rebellious artistic instincts".[42] Nenad Georgievski of All About Jazz said the record was presented with "high-heeled boots, multicolored dresses, extravagant makeup and outrageous sexuality".[43] Bowie had already developed an androgynous appearance, which was approved by critics, but received mixed reactions from audiences.[44] His love of acting led his total immersion in the characters he created for his music. After acting the same role over an extended period, it became impossible for him to separate Ziggy Stardust from his own offstage character. Bowie said that Ziggy "wouldn't leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour ... My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity."[45] Fearing that Ziggy would define his career, Bowie quickly developed the persona of Aladdin Sane in his subsequent album. Unlike Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane was far less optimistic, instead engaging in aggressive sexual activities and heavy drugs.[46] In the album's story, the Earth is saved by the rock n' roll messiah, Ziggy Stardust, with only five years to survive. He wins the hearts of teens, scares parents, seduces everyone in his path, and eventually dies a victim of his own fame. According to Bowie, he "takes himself up to the incredible spiritual heights and is kept alive by his disciples". During the song "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide", the infinites (extraterrestrials) arrive, and tear Ziggy Stardust to pieces on stage.

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Thu Aug 05 2021
5

I wish every album on this site was as breathtaking as this one.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
5

Well, this is a 5 without having to listen or anything

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Tue Jun 28 2022
5

this is a legendary album for a reason, i’ll never not listen to it if given the chance.

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Tue Oct 10 2023
4

five years- 8 soul love- 7.9 moonage daydream- 8.8 starman- 8.9 it ain't easy-8.1 lady stardust- 7.8 star- 7 hang on to yourself- 7 ziggy stardust- 9.2 suffragette city- 8.2 rock 'n' roll suicide- 8.3 damn so fucking good how did he make this in 1972 4 stars

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

It’s up there with the Berlin years.

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Wed Dec 02 2020
5

It does not overstay its welcome and has a great variety of sounds, ranging from slow and sweet to fast and rocking. I don't think there are any duds on this album.

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Fri Jul 16 2021
5

Quite simply the standard-bearing LP of glam rock. It was my first Bowie, and my perspective is forever tainted, but I doubt it will ever stop contending for a top spot in my all-time albums. Each time I listen to the full record, I'm blown away by the amount of musical material developed: This feels longer than it is in the good way. This time, though, I was struck by the sparse environment in which we start. Granted, it's only a minute and a half and then we're fully in Ziggy's world.

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Mon Nov 16 2020
5

Hey man, my favorite Bowie album

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Thu Feb 04 2021
5

Ahaha Ziggy Stardust is so sexy

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Wed May 12 2021
5

I love every songs on this album

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Wed May 12 2021
5

One of the best album of David actually

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Sun Apr 18 2021
5

One of my favorite albums. Great songs with overarching theme.

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Fri Apr 09 2021
5

Grade-A classic. Five Years, Starman, Teenage Daydream...

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

An album where I knew the singles but never had heard the album all the way through. Now I can see why its a classic; it sounds like the call of the early 70s.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Easy 5 star. Great concept, great songs, very significant historically, has spawned many incredible covers...this is a true all timer. I always love a good rock opera

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Mother fucking Bowie! I’d heard the hits off this album before, but even the songs I hadn’t heard were amazing. Listening to this album I felt like I’d been born in the wrong musical era.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Perfect I'd say! And stuck in my head days later in a good way.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Brilliant album, have been listening since 2001 or so when I bought it on CD

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Mon Jun 14 2021
5

One of the top 5 albums of all time. Easy 5 stars.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Great. Classic Bowie. Great intro into Ziggy

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

made me happy thank you dave

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

Amazing. Glam rock concept madness that gels together perfectly.

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

I mean... it's Ziggy Stardust. C'mon.

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Tue Feb 16 2021
5

Such a great concept album, probably my favorite Bowie album. Got into it after Phish covered it for a Halloween show, but now I often will put it on to give it a full listen. Every song is a highlight.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

Love this album. Was great to return to it!

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Never heard many of these, loved all

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Wed May 12 2021
5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgqiSBxvdws https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auAGPN_keDs

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Sat Feb 13 2021
5

A near flawless record for me.

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Wed May 05 2021
5

Loved it. Probably going into my regular album rotation for the next couple months if not longer. 10

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Sun Jan 17 2021
5

Liet me weer zoeken naar achtergrond en andere nummers van Bowie.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Discazo. I finally understand everything that it's said about David Bowie

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Wed May 05 2021
5

I'm not always that into Bowie, but I think this album was a 10. Had a fun concept that was tied into a good amount, Starmanis a classic, and there were no songs that felt particularly weak.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
5

This is a top tier Bowie album in my opinion

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Favorite tracks: 1. Starman (obvi) 2. Lady Stardust 3. Ziggy Stardust (obvi) 4. Rock'n'Roll Suicide Bowie is a fuckin' legend. Great album.

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Wed May 05 2021
5

Sounded great and incredibly fun. Gotta give the space album a 10

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Wed May 05 2021
5

i've been itching for a concept album and this one hits. tons of fantastic tracks and a cool, ridiculous, loose rock opera story line. 10/10

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Wed Mar 24 2021
5

Not bad for a pop star of the time.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
5

I’m not a massive Bowie-guy and never listened to this album start to finish, but really pleased I now have. Don’t love all the tracks but Starman and Moonage Daydream are brilliant and those alone elevate this album above many others. Still don’t totally get why Bowie is SUCH a national treasure. Clearly has a lot to do with his androgynous, impossible to put-in-a-box, alter-ego which allows many to find escapism and vicariously live out fantasies through him.

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

Uno de mis discos preferidos, un par de veces al año siempre lo escucho.

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

There's a staaaarrmannnn waiting in the sky!

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

By creating an artificial character Bowie discovered his own truth.

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Fri Apr 16 2021
5

El disco que más he escuchado de Bowie y el primero que me enganchó. Son todo temazos, ni un solo pero, prácticamente perfecto.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
5

This is the best album in the history of the world.

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Mon Mar 22 2021
5

A hella good album and one of the most legendary from Bowie, a lotta songs I listened to already and more that I will listen to now.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

Every song was great. I dont know why havent listened to it before

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Sat Apr 03 2021
5

One of my absolutely top favourite albums. Got so many complex memories and people such as Norma and Phil March.

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Thu May 06 2021
5

Un discazo donde los haya. Bowie en estado puro. Destacables yo diría que absolutamente todas. Sólo cuando esto sucede un álbum se merece las 5 estrellas.

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Mon Mar 22 2021
5

1. 5 yrs - kinda the wall Roger Waters vibe 2. idk 3. viibee slightly lz but its really cool 4. ok ive just listened to intro and i love it 5.bangeer 6. gimme soulmate to listen to that drinking wine 7. stimmdancee 8. nóżka chodzi 9. aaaaaaa absolute banger 10. aaaa 11. ill listen to that looking at stars

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

I tend to prefer Bowie’s weirder late 70s stuff, but this album is undeniable

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Wed Mar 31 2021
5

I FORGOT TO DSVE WHAT I HAD SAID IM GNNA DIE. You were really liked opeining tho. Not doing it for this one fuck that Really good album i love it sm Final Thoughts: 5 out of 5

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Mon May 03 2021
5

Really great. Five Years is one of the best songs ever

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Thu Apr 22 2021
5

Sí es un muy buen álbum, con canciones icónicas

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Fri May 07 2021
5

My favorite David Bowie album Not a single skip

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Sun May 09 2021
5

Five Years/Starman/Ziggy Stardust

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Wed May 19 2021
5

Extravagant, theatrical, melodic, amazing. One of the greatest albums I've heard, love it!

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Tue Jul 13 2021
5

Hay algo que no se haya dicho de este álbum? Lo dudo mucho Un sólido 10/10, obra maestra

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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

cool! I think I know most of this album anyway. I might even have it somewhere. five years: I guess i've listened to the Seu Jorge version, but actually this (remastered 2012 version) is much better! - but maybe a little slow in the middle. soul love: moonage daydream: I like this, but the middle horn-y bit is a bit annoying. starman: great it ain't easy: perhaps a bit weaker than some others. Lady Stardust: good Star: good Hang On to Yourself: chugg chug Ziggy Stardust: Obviously pretty amazing. Suffragette City: quite like it Rock 'n' Roll Suicide: very much like it The tracks are all a bit more jazz-y than I remember. I went for 5, but tempted by 4.

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Sat Jul 24 2021
5

Perfect. I love this album so much. A masterpiece.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
5

I mean its one of Bowie's best.

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Tue Aug 10 2021
5

Bowie at his most accessible. This is a great rock record! "Starman" and "Ziggy Stardust" are karaoke staples. Even the B sides were great. Fave track - "Suffragette City" this time around, I think, but "Five Years" and "Moonage Daydream" were contenders too!

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