Heathen - David Bowie
Heathen Image
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 32 Ratings

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  • Summary: Bowie's first studio album in three years (and first for his new label ISO Records, distributed by Columbia) finds the older white duke working with producer Tony Visconti for the first time since 1980's 'Scary Monsters.' Pete Townsend and Dave Grohl guest on guitar on a track apiece.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20
  1. For all its appeal, there's something a little off about the album.
  2. A colorful, satisfying album that feels like a classic.
  3. Even at his most self-referential, 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.
  4. Heathen's swirling production, courtesy of Heroes/Low/Scary Monsters producer Tony Visconti, is so much more of a piece that it hangs together like a Thin White Spider concept album instead of an old dog/new tricks effort.
  5. 60
    A sound that is almost vintage Bowie.... Even so, many of these 12 perfectly harmless songs plod where instead they should spring. [#8, p.115]
  6. 60
    While the soul-searching is utterly sincere, the music is only intermittently successful.
  7. For anyone with a critical reading of his long career, the album is a drowsy downer unconvincingly cloaked in interplanetary piffle.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 14
  3. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Dec 9, 2013
    7
    Bowie hits a couple of bullseyes here but equally is miles off the pace on a couple of other tracks. The inclusion of a number of cover versions help lift the album in some ways (he does a cracking version of Pixies track "Cactus") butfor me the inclusion of these non original tracks dilutes the value of the record as a Bowie album. He's not quite gone all Tom Jones on us but surely the man had enough creativity going at the time to fill an album of his own stuff. If these covers appeared on a dedicated covers album, a soundtrack or as b-sides then fair enough but to have 3 of them on one album just weakens the record for me, regardless of how good a job he does with the songs. This is David Bowie we're talking about.
    The album is at its strongest in the middle section and overall has some of Bowie's best work from the 90's and 00's "I would be your slave" probably the album's highlight for me. Overall its Bowie and helped by the presence of Tony Visconti at the control desk, its very decent stuff but too often across the album he drops his guard and seems to just drifts along instead of really pushing himself.
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See all 14 User Reviews