David Bowie's Albums From Worst To Best

Pin Ups (1973)

The only one of Bowie’s ’70s records you can safely call ‘inessential,’ Pin Ups was the last recording to feature the lineup we all know as the Spiders from Mars — though it doesn’t feature any original songs. Instead we get a dozen covers of mid-’60s Britpop bands, including stuff by the Yardbirds, the Who, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, Them, and the Kinks. For what it is, it’s quite good — the album feels stuck out of time, even coming on the heels of the mind-expanding weirdness of Aladdin Sane. By this stage the Spiders were as tight and destructive as they’d ever be; years together on stage had fused them into a rock and roll wrecking ball. Rather than glamming up the covers, Bowie went lean and mean, grafting pop songs onto a proto-punk stomp. You have to wonder if time spent with Iggy Pop was rubbing off on him (the two of them recorded the seminal Raw Power a year prior), or maybe Bowie was just itching for something new. It wouldn’t be the first time. (Or the last.)

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