Pin Ups

David Bowie

RCA, 1973

REVIEW BY: Roland Fratzl


Almost embarrassingly, David Bowie’s all-covers album Pin Ups plays as a more rocking and consistent effort than his own studio releases. Quite a strange way to end his (arguably) most creative, unique, and respected career period, as this was the last album to feature the wonderful Spiders From Mars backing band he had used since 1970's my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Man Who Sold The World.

Normally I'm not a fan of cover albums at all, but Pin Ups works wonderfully like no other I've heard. Since I'm not familiar with the original versions of most of these songs, I can't compare them with the ones found here, and therefore these all sound like supercharged Bowie originals to me as he seems to have picked songs that would lend themselves particularly well to his stylings. If only he could write a whole album of original stuff this good.

Pin Ups plays like a greatest hits album. All the songs are strongly written, distinctive from each other, have great melodies, and morph confidently into the early ‘70s Bowie glam rock sound. Like most artists who choose to cover the material of others, Bowie selected a batch of songs that were probably very influential to him in his teen years – in this case, rock songs from the early to mid ‘60s, including a pair of songs each from the Who, the Yardbirds, and the Pretty Things, among others. The performances are electrifying all around, but despite the above mentioned Bowie treatment, you won't really find any of his occasional tendencies towards artsy fartsy glam pop here. This album rocks hard – harder than any of his self-penned ones. It even has a raw and filthy punk edge in many spots, reminiscent of the Stooges and other Detroit rock acts of the time. And check out Bowie's bizarre vocal chops on "Here Comes The Night".

Pin Ups is a surprisingly good album that contains great singing, playing, arrangements, production, and song selection, fittingly closing the much ballyhooed Spiders From Mars era.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Why didn't you mention more of the songs on this album. You mentioned some of the groups he covered, but only one song title. As the reader I still don't know if I want this record because I don't know what's on it.

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