The Man Who Sold The World: Review

This album for me is a ‘mood’ album. It’s one I really need to be in the mood for to listen to. It’s a little too 1970’s ‘prog rock’ to take listening to too often (unless of course you LOVE prog rock).

Now this is one album where the title track is the winner. A rare thing for me to say! But really, it is the only song that fairs well for modern listening. I mean it is obviously 40 years old but it still has a freshness about it. It’s aged well.

Other likes are: All The Madmen (can’t help but think of Terry when I’m listening to it), After All (especially as it’s one of those rare songs to include a Stylophone – as does Space Oddity), Running Gun Blues (dark subject, but I find the song upbeat – I know, I’m warped), Saviour Machine and The Supermen – they are both somewhat caught in a time warp, but I like them.

I’m unsure about Width Of A Circle these days. It’s epic, that’s for sure at 8 minutes in length! And I like the second half of the song more for the lyric “he swallowed his pride and puckered his lips / showed me the leather belt round his hips / my knees were shaking, my cheeks aflame / he said ‘you’ll never go down to the Gods again'” – all that part of the song I like.

Black Country Rock is also one I’m unsure about. Again, I hark back to the whole ‘mood’ thing.

I sort of used to like She Shook Me Cold – I still do like the lyric but think the middle solo/instrumental is too long.

My version of the album is the Rykodisc version, so I listen to two of the bonus tracks as well, Lightning Frightening and Holy Holy. I like the former more than the latter of the two. Holy Holy can get on my nerves if I’m not in the mood for it.

Finally I just have to reiterate that it’s definitely a ‘mood’ album for me and that’s why it’s lower down on my list. It’s also of its time and hasn’t aged well for me. It’s fused in the early 1970s prog rock era and it can’t really shake it.

If anyone wants a lesson in song writing though – the album is a wonderful example of the frankly one-of-a-kind lyricist David Bowie is. Made all the more profound when you remember that at this point the man is only 23 years old!

By the way, I chose all four covers because my Rykodisc CD cover was a fold out of all four of the varying covers used for the album.

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