Better than Lodger, not as good as Low. My short assessment of the Berlin trilogy. My cat named Bowie disagrees with this assessment but who gives a fuck what he thinks, he's a cat.
"Heroes" is the 12th studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 14 October 1977 through RCA Records. After releasing Low earlier that year, Bowie toured as the keyboardist of his friend and singer Iggy Pop. At the conclusion of the tour, they recorded Pop's second solo album Lust for Life at Hansa Tonstudio in West Berlin before Bowie regrouped there with collaborator Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti to record "Heroes". It was the second instalment of his "Berlin Trilogy", following Low and preceding Lodger (1979). Of the three albums, it was the only one wholly recorded in Berlin. Much of the same personnel from Low returned for the sessions, augmented by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. The album was recorded sporadically in July and August 1977. The majority of the tracks were composed on the spot in the studio, the lyrics not being written until Bowie stood in front of the microphone. The music builds upon its predecessor's electronic and ambient approaches, albeit with more positive tones, atmospheres and passionate performances. The album also follows the same structure as its predecessor, side one featuring more conventional rock tracks and side two featuring mostly instrumental tracks. The cover photo, like Iggy Pop's The Idiot, is a nod to the painting Roquairol by German artist Erich Heckel. Upon release, "Heroes" was a commercial success, peaking at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 35 on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart. It was the best-received work of the Berlin Trilogy at the time of release, with NME and Melody Maker each naming it their respective album of the year. Bowie promoted the album extensively with television appearances and interviews. He supported Low and "Heroes" on the Isolar II world tour throughout 1978. Live performances from the tour appear on the live albums Stage (1978) and Welcome to the Blackout (2018). "Heroes" has received enduring praise, particularly in terms of critical recognition for Fripp's contributions on guitar and the album's place within Bowie's longterm artistic development. Though critical opinion has tended to view Low as the more groundbreaking record, "Heroes" has nonetheless established a reputation among Bowie's best, most influential works. The title track, initially unsuccessful as a single, has remained one of Bowie's best-known and most-acclaimed songs. Bowie later used an altered, obscured version of the album's cover artwork for the cover of his 2013 album, The Next Day. "Heroes" has been reissued several times and was remastered in 2017 as part of the box set A New Career in a New Town (1977–1982).
Better than Lodger, not as good as Low. My short assessment of the Berlin trilogy. My cat named Bowie disagrees with this assessment but who gives a fuck what he thinks, he's a cat.
It's Bowie. I'm gonna like it. The man was a legend and consistently ahead of his time. That future-thinking is on heavy display with Heroes. It's from '77 (the same year as Low) but features sounds that wouldn't become ubiquitous until the 80s. Sadly for me, those sounds aren't my favorite which knocks a star off of this review. The songwriting is still brilliant and Bowie is still a beast and the album was still great. I just don't really like bloopy synths. Low was a better album.
Eight Bowie records is entirely too many for this list and this is one that could be easily cut. TIile cut is fine of course but the gloomy instrumentals on side 2 are extremely tedious and pointless -- even for Eno fans – and sound dated besides. This is replacement-level at best, with only the rarest bits of intrigue.
As the advertising/marketing slogan from 1977 for the ‘Heroes’ album states: “There's Old Wave, there's New Wave, and there's David Bowie."
The second of the Berlin trilogy, and like Low before it, it has a vocal side and a mostly instrumental side. The instrumentals are Eno collaborations, but they're Bowie through and through. The Kraftwerk influence is overstated, in my opinion. I believe it's more accurate to say that Bowie accomplished what they couldn't, or maybe more politely: they walked so he could run. Best track: Heroes
Ah, another Bowie joint. Never heard this album. As an unreconstructed proletarian in the 1970s, I never really joined in the Bowie mania. I always thought Bowie was much more popular in the U.K. than in the real world. (I mean, I’m grateful for the Brits putting us up for several months before we kicked Hitler’s ass and all, but . . . ) Ok, enough levity. The title of this group is “serious-listen, so here goes: Everything good about this album (“Heroes”, 1977) is in the synth and the lead guitar (in other words, Brian Eno and Robert Fripp), which are very, very good. I almost wish Bowie hadn’t gotten involved. Seriously. I invite anyone to listen to this album while imagining that Bowie’s voice and lyrics were gone. It would be a much better album. In this album he seems tired. Bowie’s vocals are uninspired (and uninspiring), and his lyrics sound like they were simply thrown together—the kind of mishmash we used vomit into our theme books in mid-afternoon 10th grade Civics class. I don’t often use the word ‘vapid’ and ‘insipid’ in the same sentence, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Bowie put out too many (eleven!) albums in the 1970s. That pace exceeds the creative capacity of any one man. In the ‘70s, even Bob Dylan only put out ten, and David Bowie is no Bob Dylan. I’ve held this opinion for a long, long time. Bowie had a lot of cheerleaders rah-rahing for him to become ‘the next big thing’, but history has demonstrated that the last book on the enduring musical legacy of the 1970s will put Bowie in the endnotes. I will agree that as an entertainer, as a concert performer, Bowie is up there with the best. But this project is about ALBUMS. Albums are for listening. His albums don’t cut it. He’s certainly had hits; and he’s certainly prettier than Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Duane Allman, Keith Emerson, Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana, David Crosby, Aretha Franklin, Mick Fleetwood, Roger Waters, etc. etc., but as a musician and a recording artist, he’s second-tier. This album makes the point. Lunkheaded lyrics on “Beauty and the Beast” are too binary, lacking any philosophical sophistication or even subtlety in expressing the relationship between good and evil. Has he never read Nietzsche? No, probably not. “Joe the Lion” demonstrates Bowie’s lazy approach to pitch and diction. This track has a nice driving beat and excellent lead guitar work (but the lead is unfortunately pushed to the background in the mix. Too bad). The ‘poetic’ theme of “Heroes” is that of a man pushing a vain hope of ultimate happiness (why “if only just for one day”?) in order to win his lover, “and the guns shot above our heads (Over our heads); And we kissed, as though nothing could fall.” That’s a sad formula, elevating the forlorn to the heroic. And certainly not persuasive as a love ballad. Not for me. The poetic protagonist and his lover kissing by the Berlin Wall should have reflected on the fact that the “Heroes” were not the ones suffering in the Cold War. The heroes were the ones fighting the Cold War, and dammit, we won. The Wall came down. Bowie’s lyric trivializes the monstrous oppression of Soviet communism. This is the only song on the album which has any popularity on the Apple iTunes track listing. I’m not sure if that says more about Bowie’s listening public or iTunes’ algorithms, but it does reveal something about the album as a whole. Bowie’s voice is so nasal it sounds like he’s swallowed his tongue. With a classic lack of self-awareness, he refers to “one-inch thoughts” in “Sons of the Silent Age”, which is itself a lyrically banal collection of half-inch thoughts. David Bowie is not a thinking man’s lyricist. The second side of the original LP showcased Brian Eno. Very nice soundscapes and aural colorings (at least for 1977). “V-2 Schneider” is one of the best tracks on the album, evocative of the horror of Nazi Germany’s weaponry unleashed on British non-combatants (The threat was minimal, but the fear was real.) The next track, “Sense of Doubt” is even better (notice that there’s virtually no singing from Bowie on these two tracks?). And “Neuköln” (misspelled) works well as a sonic landscape of Cold War angst (again no lyrics or singing), as seen from Bowie’s perspective in West Berlin in 1977. This is a much better track that “Heroes”. Brings back memories—not all of them good, but most of them important. “The Secret Life of Arabia”, has a wonderful funkadelic vibe, well-recorded, but sadly spoiled by Bowie’s superlatively bland lyrics and whining tone-deaf vocals. For David Bowie, it’s past time for someone to say that the emperor has no clothes (or rather, in Bowie’s case, the clothes are all he’s got). This is an almost good album. Glad I got to listen to it before I die. 2/5
A wee angry bad tempered man with strange eyes. The bloody best of British. A blowjob from Mr. Blobby.
I listened to this album twice just to make sure I was hearing right and believable. So far no album apart from Bad Company has disappointed me so sharply after Heroes. It's like there's a sharp drop in quality. Someday with more patience I'll understand this album a lot more. The songs that I really love I will rate a solid 4-5. Heroes is an anthem to me. But maybe because of the generation I grew up in, and that these are ALBUMS to listen to, I expect something as an album. It's so disappointing, with this voice and solid songs, the album is a drop in quality. So disappointing. ((I went back and read the history of the album, maybe someday I will look at this album differently, but I personally did not enjoy it. I'm listening to Ziggy Stardust and with every song the groove helps me forget Heroes)) 2/5
I guess I’m a Bowie fan now! Half existential bops to dance to, half eerie and gorgeous soundscape. Robert Fripp and Brian Eno really bring it together to paint a gorgeous masterpiece for David Bowie to launch himself off of. Beautiful!
Bowie takes you on a journey from upbeat and relatively radio friendly electro-rock tunes, right through to quite experimental instrumentals in the latter portion of the album. I quite enjoyed the ambient relaxing sounds of Moss Garden which transported me to another place. Amazingly, most of the tracks on the album were created in one take both instrumentals and lyrics. Best: Beauty and the Beast; Heroes; Moss Garden Worst: V-2 Schneider
The apex of the Berlin Trilogy. This album is like an old friend to me. In fact I was just listening to it on vinyl yesterday coincidentally. I feel like this album and those surrounding it from this era are a high water mark in his career and for experimental pop/rock music in general.
I first heard some of these songs on the 1978 live album, Stage. When I bought this LP a few years later I remember thinking the production was a bit weird and sludgy. After watching a documentary on Brian Eno this week, I now realize it was Eno’s touch (not to mention his hijacking of side 2). I didn’t realize Bowie played sax on this but he seems to channeling Ornette Coleman with his squawking at the end of Neukoln. Tony Visconti said that once the instrumental tracks got recorded Bowie sent everyone home and would improvise the lyrics over top of the tracks without notes until he got them right. That’s pretty cool and also explains the cryptic nature of his lyrics. Anyway, the songs I thought were "meh" in the 70, I think are great now, even before I heard Odessa.
The song "Heroes" is one of those stop-me-in-my-tracks songs. I stop and I really listen. God I love that fucking song so much. When I heard the German version of the song for the first time I couldn't believe that something so perfectly suited for me existed in the world. So for Heroes alone this album is a must listen.
You want the biggest hit of the past century? Sure, I'll put it in the middle of this weird fuckin' album.
Another good Bowie album. A few songs are underwhelming to me like "Beauty and the Beast", but "Heroes" is one of Bowie's best songs. There is still some funky stuff going on/strange ambient tracks that are staples of the "Berlin Trilogy". Robert Fripp's guitar playing is also a good addition, although from reading apparently Michael Rother of Neu! was originally considered.
This album took a mad turn that I did not expect and I absolutely loved it. I really thought I had my head around what was going on. David flicks a switch and I’m floundering and all the happier for it. After the few songs instrumental interlude, The Secret Life of Arabia (what the hell is that??) sounds so punchy. The bass is luscious. So much prowess and confidence. And THEN, the song just fades out. All too quickly. As if it’s the most normal thing in the world. As if he hasn’t just blown my world apart. Why does it fade out like that??! I didn’t enjoy the first half of the album enough to give it a 5 but it’s great. I’ll state for the record that that Rise and Fall of Ziggy and Young Americans are stone cold 5ers for my money.
2nd of the Berlin Triology and hot off recording Lust for Life by Iggy Pop. Opening track is synth to the face, but that inescapable rock groove makes for a weird space age dance club. Heroes the single nails this sounds, creating a sonic horizon forever wide. The back half is a wild, Eno filled miasma. Secret Life of Arabia is a final french kiss dance hall ender for the album.
Love Heroes, can take or leave the rest.
I really wanted this album to be all killer, no filler. It was in the folks’ record collection, but all I could really remember was heroes and beauty and the beast. This album suffers from the syndrome of having one absolutely blindingly, magical tune, a couple of decent songs and then a whole load of instrumental filler. Heroes holds a lot of good memories for me and it’s frankly iconic in DB’s canon. I think most people, whether they like Bowie or not, have absorbed this tune via osmosis. It’s amazing and will forever remind me of working on a play called Dolphins can swim written by my mate. It also reminds me of my cousin who was such a DB devotee her handle was A Lass Insane and flew from Australia to see him perform at Glastonbury. Great memories but, boy, the rest of the album is duff. I have the vinyl but I doubt I’ll ever listen to side 2 again.
At his best, Bowie's formidable talent for hooks and especially bridges can defibrillate songs back to life following the frequently enjoyable detours his eccentric vocals take them on in the verses. But Heroes ain't his best--that includes the title track, which has an exulted status I've never understood--and I'm not sure even his best hook work could rescues the flat-on-its-ass teutonic ambience attempted in the second half. A lot of time on scenery and not enough on plot.
Trouble is, I wasn't a young man in 1977. The two last tracks are pretty unlistenable. I would rather listen to Talking Heads. Sorry Dave.
Great David Bowie Album
Heard one too many times, one of the best albums ever.
Simply beautiful. Sense of Doubt, Moss Garden and Neuköln are incredible.
Great nostalgic listen, I enjoyed listening to this again
Great album overall, the instrumental pieces were great, the opening and final songs are very groovy, heroes and sons of silent age are all-time bowie greats
The only Bowie album I don't own on vinyl. Part of the Berlin trilogy, lots of classics on this. During this listen, really appreciated V-2 Schneider, and I've always loved Moss Garden.
Moss Garden *chef's kiss*
5 out of 5, every time. David is God.
can i just say how happy i am that there are SO many bowie albums on this list? i will always love the title track - and don't tell anyone, but i may love the cover by oasis even more. i know, i'm not real proud of that, either.
Of course this album is fuckin' fab. You all know it. But I had completely forgotten/never heard the instrumental tracks towards the end, and I wasn't really paying attention as I listened because I knew the tunes, but then these started playing and I was in some kind of trance.
First couple of tracks a bit weak
Previous album from Bowie I listened to sucked. So I was not looking forward to this one. But what d'ya know, this is actually a really great album!
First album I’ve listened to on this challenge that I loved.
Another masterpiece by Bowie
Didn't listen but it's Bowie
I miss you Bowie...
Legendary. One of the 10 albums of All time.
Great album. One of the few albums that gets better as it progresses. Wasn't a big fan of the first track but it gets good when it gets to the title track. I was surprised I liked the instrumental tracks so much. Probably give it a 4.5 due to some so so tracks.
Heroes is one of the greatest songs of all time. The rest of the album is good too
Great on all accounts.
Bowie my old neighbor!
An outstanding album from an amazing artist. Moves like a living, breathing creature and leaves you astounded.
Only the second-best of the Berlin trilogy... but that's sort of academic when it's only the second best of one of the greatest trilogies of albums ever recorded... I want to stand in a lonely desert with Sense of Doubt playing on the soundtrack...
Fucking classic - no question.
What more could you ask for from an album, a hit song about the essence of love and a song that brings deep seated dread.
So nice to have this album come up the day after Iggy Pop's The Idiot. Because where that was the prologue to the "Berlin Trilogy", this is the middle act. So I had already listened to it in the morning before it came up on here. It is one of the many highlights of Bowie's career and agreeably his greatest album. This is another one of those template albums that broke/enhanced new ground which led later musicians to follow. You will find me giving most Bowie albums 5 stars, this I want to give at least 6 to
5 all the way. It gets a little odd at the end, but I'm totally fine with that. Knock out some rock hits first and then have some fun with it. Obviously it's covered a lot but check out Motorhead's cover of Heroes, it's so good
Amazing album by a total genius.
One of my favorite Bowie albums. The title track is among his best songs and the rest of the songs are quite strong as well. 5 🌟
Listened to this high and transported to a different dimension
Epic epic epic. Loved rediscovering this classic. Beautiful vocals, incredible bass and guitar, perfect production
Gloriously experimental yet accessible and even dancey. The soundtrack to a movie you have to imagine and looks amazing.
One of the very few albums that are flawless in my opinion
p385, 1977. 5 stars. Prime Bowie, Brian Eno production. Not a weak track on it. Excellent.
Esse aqui já caminha comigo a um bom tempo, sou muito fã do Bowie e cada pedacinho do que esse homem fez pro mundo. Esse é um bom álbum, longe de ser o melhor dele e de ser meu favorito mas tem sua importância, a parte instrumental do disco é incrivelmente boa, principalmente a música Moss Garden. Músicas favoritas: beauty and the beast; heroes; sons of the silent; sense of doubt & moss garden
I miss when superstars were just weird and bold and put whole ambient halves of records out
No Writings, Family Documentary One Part Mostly Edited. Saw Dad.
The most accessible of the Berlin Trilogy.
This an exceptional album. The first half has a dense orchestrated feel that feels expansive in a way that Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’ feels. The latter half is primarily experimental instrumental driven by Brian Eno. The album communicates a sense of Cold War uncertainty yet stands on its own.
Очень люблю. Дэвид Боуи, зачем же ты умер на моё пятнадцатилетие?( -1 за это. 9/10
Great record. If this album just had Heroes and the rest was junk, this would still be 3 stars. The fact that it's got a bunch of other great tracks on it makes it a classic.
Stellar. Improves if such a thing were possible by listening to the second side first, which contains more of the ambient tracks. The more uptempo krautrock tracks are just unbelievably good.
yes. Prefs: Tout. Moins pref: Rien.
There really isn't anything new to say about this album. I prefer Low personally, but this is damn close, an absolute masterpiece.
Very innovative. Plenty of experimentation with different sounds. There is a timeless quality to it. The song "Moss Garden" is particularly interesting.
Bowie basically always gets a 5 from me. This is my 4th of his albums on this list. Interesting, but not surprised that the list author likes his Berlin trilogy so much. I think this is probably my favorite of the Berlin albums. Moss Garden is just about the most brilliant thing he and Eno ever did. Then Heroes is also awesome. Almost halfway through the list and still happy I'm doing it!
When you google this album the first suggested question is “Why is Heroes so good?” which just about sums it up
Compulsory Bowie listening? All for it. On this occasion I worked out that Adam Buxton's Bowie impression is based entirely on the vocal mannerisms in Sons of the Silent Age.
Loved the ambient synth tracks on the back half of the album.
Whoa. How have I never listened to this before? What a fun spaceflight
worth the 5 stars for the title track alone
Given this 5 even before listening to it again. You know...
We can be heroes just for one day
Some classic Bowie
I give this a five star rating. Mainly out of fear that if I give it any less a time traveling version of myself will punch me in the gut.
An all-time classic, peak Bowie. It still sounds like the future to me. The orientalism of "The Secret Life of Arabia" is really the only miss here.
Before this, Let’s Dance and Black Star were the only David Bowie albums I had ever listened to. They are really different albums from each other. They speak to remarkable breadth of his talent. Between those and my knowledge of his career-defining hits, I figured I knew what David Bowie was all about. Side one of Heroes impressed me with the energy of songs. They are wild and a lot of fun. Great Bowie tracks that easily surpassed my high expectations. And then I got to side 2… What a revelation! Most of side two are instrumentals that I had no idea was a part of David Bowie’s history. Wonderful electronic instruments, horns, and the band feels like Bowie in a way I never imagined. I feel like I’ve stumbled on a secret room in my home filled with hidden wonders. I’m invigorated at how Heroes has delivered an entirely unexpected and wonderful experience yet again expanding my already expansive view of what David Bowie is as an artist.
I had such a good time with this album. I like how it goes from Bowie glam soul to Brian Eno soundscapes. I’m not surprised this album was recorded after Bowie’s work on Lust For Life, as it has a very similar sound (though much more Bowie). This album starts and ends with a bang and even when it “slows down” it never diminishes in intrigue and excitement. Never expected Heroes to be a 5/5 Bowie album for me, but I really enjoyed this listen!
Some of Bowie's best work. Loved it from start to finish, listened to it 3 times all the way through. The title track is a stand out, brilliant piece of music. What more can I say, classic.
Favourite Bowie album for me. His voice never sounded better than on here. Eno, Fripp and Alomar all amazing of course, but mustn’t forget George Murray and Dennis David because the rhythm section is UNBELIEVABLE. Especially on Blackout. Stunning album. 1 star.