David Bowie’s Heathen

Critical Soundbites

2002

“A loose theme runs through these songs, covers included: the search for guiding light in godless night. But the real story is Heathen’s perfect casting: Bowie playing Bowie, with class.”

– David Fricke, ROLLING STONE, June 20, 2002

“Here, for the first time in decades, he collaborates with producer Tony Visconti, he of ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes’ fame, and the effect is suitably thrilling.”

– Jim Nelson, GQ, June 2002

“It’s relaxed, straightforward, quietly intense. Even the electronic adornments sound warm and organic in this melancholy world. Rich, direct, emotional and sometimes playful, it includes versions of songs by the Pixies, Neil Young and the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, along with BOWIE originals that recharge his basic themes of obsession, alienation and mortality.”

– Richard Cromelin, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 6/16/02

“The album starts with ‘Sunday’ and ends with its title song, both hushed and haunted by mortality. In ‘Heathen,’ BOWIE sings, ‘Steel on the skyline, sky made of glass/Made for a real world, all things must pass.’ The album was written well before Sept. 11, however, and the songs join a long line of BOWIE’s apocalyptic scenarios…Between his own ruminations, he borrows ‘Gemini Spacecraft,’ the Pixies ‘Cactus’ and Neil Young’s ‘I Have Been Waiting For You’; in songs like ‘Afraid’ and ‘I Would Be Your Slave,’ he sings about love, insecurity and transience.”

– Jon Pareles, NEW YORK TIMES, 6/9/02

“A masterpiece from a rock’n’roll master.”

– Jim Collins, Associated Press/CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, 6/16/02

“…a winner all the way through, worthy of comparisons to Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft extravaganza last year.”

– Mark Brown, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (Denver, CO).

“A welcome return to form. Grade: A”

– George Paul, MEAN STREET, 6/1/02

“BOWIE’s new album, Heathen (out June 11), is surprisingly strong, and he’s certainly got no shortage of heart-stopping songs.”

– TIME OUT NEW YORK, 6/13/02

“On Heathen, DAVID BOWIE has made a real DAVID BOWIE album – his first collaboration in 20 years with producer Tony Visconti, and by far his best work in ages.”

– Lisa Robinson, VANITY FAIR, June 2002

“…rank(s) among BOWIE’s best… Heathen sports some of his finest songwriting since his seminal ’70s work… A-”

– Ben Wener, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/7/02

“…his new songs… feature some of BOWIE’s most dramatic vocals, exploiting the theatrical range of his patented bellow.”

– Jim Farber, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 6/9/02

“Those who dig slow-tempo BOWIE ballads will find this disc graceful, maybe even a masterpiece…”

– Dan Aquilante, NEW YORK POST, 6/14/02

“…a grand and haunted album…” – Jeff Gordinier, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, 5/31/02

“…BOWIE is back with Heathen, 12 surprisingly great songs that manage to bridge terrestrial rock’n’roll with sonic hijinks from some other galaxy.”

– Chris Berend, ESQUIRE, July 2002

“…Bowie is still a zillion times more inventive, brave and rocket-to-Mars brilliant than anyone who’s been prodded by the ubiquitous genius stick, like, ever. 55 and not out, Bowie remains rock’s most worship-worthy oddity.”

– Sarah Dempster, NME, June 2002

“Heathen proves that BOWIE’s still got it. All of it. And in abundance.”

– Kevin Maidment, AMAZON.COM, 6/17/02

“…come(s) up with his most haunting, honest record since Scary Monsters.”

– Chris Nashwaty, FORTUNE, 6/10/02

“…Heathen boasts some of BOWIE’s best work since 1993’s neglected Black Tie White Noise… What results is challenging and inviting, off-center but potent, and more inventive than most current indie-rockers could hope to be in their wildest dreams.”

– George Varga, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 6/9/02

“The unsettling, and unsettled, arrangements turn out to be a fine match for songs that suggest a shaky, alien post-Sept. 11 universe. BOWIE, a downtown Manhattan resident, has said – including in this magazine – that he wrote material for Heathen before that catastrophic morning, which suggests he’s either clairvoyant or just a generally nervous person… the album allows BOWIE to return to his eeriest character – let’s call it Grim Shady – and it’s still the best role of his life.”

– David Browne, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, 6/14/02

“BOWIE ventures into all sorts of pop and rock areas with this terrific new record…the art is still up front in BOWIE’s rock. A.”

– Ed Symkus, BOSTON TAB, 6/17/02

“With Heathen, BOWIE has struck a neat balance between his wildly experimental inclinations and his ability to meld inviting melodies and thoughtful lyrics… assured and enjoyable… He’s eager to forge ahead, but also happy to build on his rich musical past with songs that are well-crafted yet still full of unexpected twists and turns.”

– George Varga, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/13/02

“…BOWIE’s lyrics are clever, full of dread of the future and longing for escape… On the covers, Neil Young’s ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ and ‘Cactus,’ a song by ’80s post-punk band the Pixies, the futuristic soundscapes compliment good, straightforward rock songs.”

– Benjamin Nugent, TIME, 6/17/02

“…sonically adventurous tunes…”

– Elysa Gardner, USA TODAY, 6/11/02

“BOWIE, at 55, is plugged into the zeitgeist once again – and conveying it in his classic tuneful, inventive style. This time, however, he’s not just expressing the dread, he’s confronting its abstract source and demanding change.”

– Robert Cherry, CLEVELAND FREE TIMES, 6/12/02

“BOWIE continues to look for new challenges, which sets him apart from many of his ’60s peers.”

– Greg Kot, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/11/02

“…this respectable entry in the BOWIE canon scores with songs about love, fear, alienation, space travel and the minutiae of daily life, all examined by the Voice of a Thousand Faces that fans have come to love so well.”

– Sarah Rodman, BOSTON HERALD, 6/17/02

” ‘Slow Burn,’ with its dollops of hot-oil guitar blasts from Pete Townshend, and ‘Afraid,’ with its orchestrated melodrama of fear and loathing, are modern elaborations rather than rehashes.”

– Bill Dean, THE LEDGER (Lakeland, FL), 6/17/02

“…BOWIE has delivered one of his most consistent recordings in years. Heathen is a free flowing blend of crisp originals like the harmony-filled pop flairs of ‘Everyone Says Hi,’ the heart tugging ‘5:15 The Angels Have Gone’ and the sweet New York saga ‘Slip Away.'”

– Kevin O’Hare, UNION NEWS (Springfield, MA), 6/9/02

“If anything, the music of DAVID BOWIE can be summed up in one word: dynamic. For years BOWIE has dazzled his fans with his larger-than-life sound, which is present on his latest effort. Heathen represents DAVID BOWIE at his most quintessential.”

– Jay Whiteside, DAILY CALIFORNIAN (Berkeley, CA), 6/14/02

“The wonder of the CD, and of the man’s career, is that it all sounds precisely like BOWIE – cynical, searching, sonically imaginative and, in the end, hopelessly romantic.” – Tom Long, DETROIT NEWS, 6/16/02

“…Heathen is the best work he’s created in at least a decade, if not longer, and could herald a new creative era for the living legend.”

– Derek Simmonsen, WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/15/02

“…moody and melancholy… Warnings of blood, fear and fire appear against a disquieting backdrop of electronic effects and spacey keyboards, frequently with thrashing, grunge rhythm sections. Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl even crashes in with a heavy-metal guitar on one track.”

– Kyle Smith, PEOPLE, 6/17/02

“…a lushly evocative CD…features some inspired writing about his fears and anxieties… The album also marks a vital reunion with Visconti… The new album is a welcome return to art-rock form for BOWIE…The new songs range from the mellow, impressionistic ‘5:15 The Angels Have Gone,’ to the briskly rocking ‘A Better Future.’ And there are two stellar cover songs in Neil Young’s edgy ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’… and an acoustic-rock treatment of the Pixies’ ‘Cactus’… But the more subtle brilliance of the album is illustrated by original songs such as the thoughtful ‘Slip Away’ and techno-spiced ‘I Would Be Your Slave’…”

– Steve Morse, BOSTON GLOBE, 6/9/02

“…the disc alternates between exuding a shimmering bleakness, as on the brooding opener ‘Sunday,’ and shooting out sonic sparks, exemplified by the wiry ‘Slow Burn,’ which features slashing guitar lines from Pete Townshend.”

– David Sprague, BARNES AND NOBLE.COM, 6/17/02

“…BOWIE’s finest hour since Scary Monsters…”

– Robert Wilonsky, DALLAS OBSERVER, 6/6/02

“…BOWIE returns with his first studio recording in three years and his best new record since 1980’s Scary Monsters…”

– Joel Selvin, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 6/9/02

“While the angular guitars, sweeping arrangements, electronic experimentation and dramatic vocal delivery on Heathen echo various moments in BOWIE’s career, the overall sound of the record is as fresh as it is familiar.”

– Jon Wiederhorn, MTV.COM, 6/14/02

“It all appears to have reinvigorated BOWIE and given him a new sense of aesthetic purpose…BOWIE bounds through weird, exuberant covers… along with gorgeously quirky new originals.

– Tom Lanham, REQUEST, July/August issue 2002

“…BOWIE hasn’t lost his touch as a songwriter – the CD is packed with acid tales of love, death and extraterrestrials – or as a singer.”

– Thor Christensen, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/16/02

“On Heathen the legendary artist walks a tightrope between asserting his continued rock relevance and revisiting the more introspective ground of his salad days… Heathen adds up to more than simply BOWIE’s most commercially satisfying collection of songs in recent memory.”

– Larry Flick, THE ADVOCATE, 7/9/02

“Covering the Pixies’ ‘Cactus’ in imperious fashion was a smart move; Pete Townshend is coruscating on ‘Slow Burn’; and the excellent ‘Afraid’ would warrant inclusion on any future best-of.”

– John Aizlewood, BLENDER, August 2002

“…a brooding, genreless, post-millennium tension set that mixes the existential questioning and sonic experimentation of classics like Low and ‘Heroes’ with Monsters’ pop structures.”

– Tom Mallon, CMJ, July 2002

“None have taken the chances that he takes and we’re all better off for it. That said, there is a hunger in his approach again, that leads me to believe that he’s back in jugular mode and that is always welcome. Look for him to secure yet another spot in the musical encyclopedia with this release of top-shelf epic rocksoulpoptronica. Grade: A.”

– Adrian Glover, Aquarian Weekly, 5/29

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