Heathen

Heathen Image
Metascore
68

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

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 45 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 graceful marriage of synthesizers, guitars, and post-modern croon, Heathen summons the same air of romantic unease found on albums like Station To Station and Bowie's late-'70s collaborations with Brian Eno.
  3. Whatever you're going to make of 'Heathen', you'll probably agree it's Bowie's most eclectic effort for some time - and a damn enjoyable, rockahula listening pleasure.
  4. Heathen is the best Bowie release in years.
  5. Only lunatics would rank 'Heathen' alongside Bowie's '70s masterpieces. But for a 55-year-old who's spent such a surreally long time floundering, desperately searching for a) the zeitgeist and b) a tune, it's actually rather respectable.
  6. Blender
    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]
  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: 14 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. JesseS
    Oct 26, 2004
    10
    This a masterpiece. Not Bowie's masterpiece, but nevertheless a masterpiece. Best of the year.
  2. NicolasT.
    Jun 17, 2002
    9
    Yep, good old Bowie but with a touch of new influences, great covers, good mix of melancolic songs ans rock stuff...
  3. JoshC.
    Jun 11, 2002
    9
    Bowie has created another complete 'album' which like 'A Man who sold the World' demands a complete listen from start to Bowie has created another complete 'album' which like 'A Man who sold the World' demands a complete listen from start to finish and leaves the listener with a seamless sonic story implanted in their psyche. The covers fit in perfectly and musically it remains true to Bowie's legacy- A musican among musicans. Expand
  4. DougB
    Oct 8, 2004
    9
    From the burbling opening seconds of Sunday, the unlikely lead-off song, to the industrial sobriety of the title track that closes this CD, I From the burbling opening seconds of Sunday, the unlikely lead-off song, to the industrial sobriety of the title track that closes this CD, I found a Bowie very much in tune with his muse - namely producer Tony Visconti. A cursory listening of the first 30 seconds of each track reveals a sense of openness and willingness to experiment which has marked all Bowie's landmark moments. I flat out loved this CD: Sunday is the most honest song he has put out since Through This Architect's Eyes from "outside" and I couldn't stop listening to it; A Better Future puts forth a committed and very jaunty swing; Gemini Spacecraft shimmers with electro-style and fuzz guitar. I keep thinking "When is this guy going to run out of creative energy?" Why compare it to his previous efforts. He is a man who just keeps plowing forward and no longer has contemporaries. Bravo. Expand
  5. TMahoney
    Jun 6, 2006
    9
    This album is simply amazing. After repeated listens, I am left with the understanding that Bowie is indeed GOD and we must kneel before him. This album is simply amazing. After repeated listens, I am left with the understanding that Bowie is indeed GOD and we must kneel before him. Like the rest of his work, the music herein has a timeless quality and depth of complexity absent in most music made nowadays. 'Sunday' and '5.15' both rise over percolating percussion loops and bleeps. Indeed, these songs, along with 'Afraid' and 'Slip Away' show Bowie's imaginative chord progressions and make perfection look easy. This KILLS!!!! Expand
  6. Apr 4, 2016
    9
    ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Greatonealbum Expand
  7. 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 coverBowie 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 15 User Reviews