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Après Hours en demi-teinte, Heathen est un nouveau départ pour David Bowie qui pendant l’année 2001 va soigner le nouvel ouvrage. Au terme de vingt-deux ans de brouilles, Bowie retourne à son producteur fétiche des années 70 Tony Visconti et fonde une structure indépendante ISO en attendant un nouveau contrat. Heathen est un de ses albums les plus accomplis. On est frappé par la grande cohérence tant au niveau sonore qu’en termes d’écriture. David Bowie, qui a prouvé sa pertinence à intégrer les mouvements techno et drum’n’bass, montre ici qu’il est encore un grand compositeur de pop. Le 1er morceau « Sunday » est époustouflant de maîtrise : une délicate boucle de guitare accompagne un chant profond et habité pour se terminer en superbe explosion rythmique.
Sur « Slip Away », les arrangements célestes de « Man Of Words, Man Of Music » viennent à l’esprit. N’hésitant pas à se servir de son passé, il ressort le «stylophone » synthé antédiluvien qu’il utilisa sur … « Space oditty ». La progression languissante du titre et la souplesse du chanteur font de « Slip Away » une de ses plus belles balades. «Slow Burn », où apparaît le guitariste des Who, Pete Townshend, ramène aux grandes heures de Scary Monsters et de son rock déchiqueté et conquérant.
Sur « Afraid », rock lyrique ébouriffant, et la ballade maquillée d’électronique «I Will Be Your Slave », les cordes de Tony Visconti brillent d’un éclat souverain et portent les titres à des sommets imprévus. Saluons aussi « 5-15 » et « Heathen (The Rays) » deux pièces maîtresses alliant une grande finesse rythmique à un climat aérien digne de Outside .
David Bowie rend hommage à ses artistes favoris avec trois reprises. Il reprend le nerveux « Cactus » des Pixies dans une version plus sage mais fidèle à l’esprit dérangé du leader Black Francis. Le rocker canadien Neil Young, est remercié sur une reprise vigoureuse du très folk « I’ve Been Waiting For You » perle de son premier album éponyme. David Bowie salue ainsi l’un des rares de sa génération qui continue à influencer (tout comme lui) des artistes récents comme Nirvana, Pearl Jam et autres Smashing Pumpkins. Plus étonnante est la relecture de « I took a space.. » morceau du Legendary Stardust Cowboy chanteur country déjanté qui contribua à inspirer le personnage de Ziggy Stardust. La reprise distillant un rock « electro » assez rude détonne par rapport aux autres titres. Heathen confronte un song writing irréprochable à une production ample et recherchée. Une recherche de spiritualité emplit tout le disque à l’image des trois livres présentés dans le livret : Le gai savoir de Nietzsche, L’interprétation des rêves de Freud et La théorie de la relativité d’Einstein. - Copyright 2015 Music Story
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P.S: la version Deluxe offre un deuxième CD fort bon avec, surtout, une reprise de Conversation piece (Face B de 70) qui restera dans le marbre.
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Most actual Bowie fans will adore this album, since it's a mixture of many of his older sounds (for example, "Slip Away" sounds almost like a sequel to"Life on Mars"), so it feels very familiar, while having a completely new sound as well. The cover songs are fantastic (one little note about the covers: I think people might appreciate the rather goofy song "Gemini Spacecraft" better if they heard the even goofier original version by Legendary Stardust Cowboy... this song is NOT meant to be taken seriously!!). However, I think Bowie's own songs are the best on the album. "I Would Be Your Slave" and "5:15 the Angels Have Gone" are stunningly beautiful-- they are two of my favorite Bowie songs ever, which is saying a lot. My other favorite songs on the album are "Afraid", "Everyone Says Hi" and "Heathen (the Rays)". "Sunday" has been the the most challenging song for me; it's slow and meanders in an almost classical-music kind of way, and bored me a little at first, but I love it now. There is no bad song on the album, and every song is completely different, so there is something for everyone (everyone who is a Bowie fan anyway), or for any mood you find yourself in.
The edition with the bonus CD is definitely worth getting. Moby's mix of "Sunday" is even better than the original, Air does a great remix of "Better Future", there is a rocking version of "Panic in Detroit", and I've always loved "Conversation Piece" (a B-side from Space Oddity) so I was happy to hear him do the new rendition of it, which I think is really lovely.
I can't think of another artist that has been around as long as Bowie that keeps writing and recording new material that sounds fresh, energetic, and urgent. _Heathen_ contains some chilling songs - songs that are so emotional and hit you in such a place inside that you have to listen to them over and over again. When he sings: "There's fear overhead, there's fear overground..." and "But who are we/So small in times such as these," one cannot help but think that these lyrics relate to 9/11. However, Bowie has stated that the material for _Heathen_ was written before 9/11 - which actually makes the lyrics throughout the album even more bonechilling. On "Better Future" he sings: "Please don't tear this world asunder/Please take back this fear we're under/I demand a better future." There are beautiful lyrics like these throughout _Heathen_, as well as very good covers of "Cactus" and Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting For You." My favorite song on the album is "Everyone Says 'Hi'" - just about as perfect as a little pop song can get. With a simple arrangement, the song is a beautiful sentiment with the line that we should all make it a point to remember: "Don't stay in a sad place where they don't care how you are."
Listening to this album made me really wonder if any other artist in their 40s and 50s has remained as artistically satisfying as Bowie continues to prove he is. Bowie has not softened with age and each song has the feeling that he is out to prove something. Many artists lose this feeling as they get older and begin to coast on proven formulas (Sting immediately comes to mind). Pick this album up!
13. Sunday MOBY REMIX
14. A Better Future REMIX BY AIR
15. Conversation Piece
16. Panic In Detroit
17. Wood Jackson
18. When The Boys Come Marching Home
19. Baby Loves That Way
20. You've Got A Habit Of Leaving
22. Shadow Man
The audio on the main disc is the same '04 remaster. However, the mastering on the bonus disc is notably improved over many of the original singles' audio. Presumably, this is the same edition as the 2004 2CD jewel box re-release.
WHAT IS A JAPAN "MINI-LP-SLEEVE" CD?
Have you ever lamented the loss of one of the 20th Century's great art forms, the 12" vinyl LP jacket? Then "mini-LP-sleeve" CD's may be for you.
Mini-sleeve CDs are manufactured in Japan under license. The disc is packaged inside a 135MM X 135MM cardboard precision-miniature replica of the original classic vinyl-LP album. Also, anything contained in the original LP, such as gatefolds, booklets, lyric sheets, posters, printed LP sleeves, stickers, embosses, special LP cover paper/inks/textures and/or die cuts, are precisely replicated and included. An English-language lyric sheet is always included, even if the original LP did not have printed lyrics.
Then, there's the sonic quality: Often (but not always), mini-sleeves have dedicated remastering (20-Bit, 24-Bit, DSD, K2/K2HD, and/or HDCD), and can often (but not always) be superior to the audio on the same title anywhere else in the world. There also may be bonus tracks unavailable elsewhere.
Each Japan mini-sleeve has an "obi" ("oh-bee"), a removable Japan-language promotional strip. The obi lists the Japan street date of that particular release, the catalog number, the mastering info, and often the original album's release date. Bonus tracks are only listed on the obi, maintaining the integrity of the original LP artwork. The obi's are collectable, and should not be discarded.
All mini-sleeve releases are limited edition, but re-pressings/re-issues are becoming more common (again, not always). The enthusiasm of mini-sleeve collecting must be tempered, however, with avoiding fake mini-sleeves manufactured in Russia and distributed throughout the world, primarily on eBay. They are inferior in quality, worthless in collectable value, a total waste of money, and should be avoided at all costs.
"Sunday" starts things off with Bowie doing his very best Scott Walker on a gloomy day. "Slip Away" keeps the mood going, with our man in Pink Floyd mode, a fact he seems to acknowlege with the line, "Twinkle, twinkle Uncle Floyd".
Pete Townshend out does himself on "Slow Burn" which for my money is the best cut on the album. Die hard fans will recall his last outing with Bowie off of 1980's SCARY MONSTERS. But "Slow Burn" is far more deserving of classic status than "Because You're Young". Lyrically, musically, vocally everything is on fire.
As for the 3 covers on here, originals would be more welcome but I think he does a great job with each of them. Pixies purists might roll their eyes at Bowie tackling "Cactus" but even after the first listen, I was won over. Where Black Francis sounded possessed, Bowie sounds obssessed.
I have to confess I cringed at the idea of a Neil Young cover, but "I've Been Waiting For You" is as sweepingly melodramatic as anything off of STATION TO STATION. It's all search lights and helicopters, with Dave Grohl's guitar driving it all home.
The most obscure cover is "Gemini Spaceship" and though I've never heard The Legendary Stardust Cowboy's original, it's as much Bowie's own as the moniker he swiped. The lyrics sound like an outtake from ZIGGY STARDUST but musically, it's a compendium of everything he's dabbled in since OUTSIDE.
As for the rest of the album, "Afraid" features some pretty hypnotic guitars and it's nice to know that unlike the late John Lennon, Bowie still "Believes in Beatles". "I Would Be Your Slave" , "5:15..." and "Better Future" are less likely to grab you at first, but at the risk of making a pun, I'd say they're "slow burners", revealing themselves after repeated listens.
Along with "Slow Burn", the other major standout here is "Everybody Says 'Hi'", easily one of the catchiest numbers Bowie's written since, "Modern Love". A nice break from what is essentially a fairly brooding album.
Bowie has since released REALITY, which with the exception of "Lonliest Guy" & "Disco King" doesn't equal or top the likes of this. For new fans, peeking round the corner beyond SCARY MONSTERS, this is the one to get.