For this album, David Bowie allies nothing more and nothing less than with Nile Rodgers, a founding member of Chic, to build one of his most commercial and direct works, one of the most beloved and most discussed as well.
David Bowie wanted to make another hit album, one for the general public. He did that perfectly with this album from which several hits were extracted: “Let’s Dance,” “China Girl,” and “Modern Love.”
For whatever reason, the title track “Let’s Dance” came in third place on the album, even though it was released as the first single. Stoic radio bass, Vaughn’s insane lead guitar, Bowie’s slightly reverberated vocals – everything was just right here to get people on the dance floors between Helsinki and Caracas, between Hamburg and New York, between London and Rio de Janeiro.
It meant that a new audience would discover their music. The many years of fans themselves were deeply disappointed by this very commercial adventure. After his classics he recorded in Berlin and his more difficult album Scary Monsters, this was indeed a radical break from the past, and actually, they were right.
Except for the hit singles, this is a mainstream album that should be quickly forgotten. Those three singles that can be found at the beginning of the album are perfect post-disco songs that could hardly have been better.
China Girl is even a cover of Iggy Pop (co-written by Bowie) that originally sounded rather dark and heavy, but here comes a version that is very fresh and light where you barely realize that the text is actually quite depressed. A solid pop album, but a less moment in David Bowie’s rich career.
Criminal World was Bowie’s congenial bow to an important title from the fantastic, elegantly decadent debut album of the band Metro from 1977, which in turn included had been influenced by Bowie. His version came faster, more powerful, rockier, and funkier than the original. As a single, this number would surely have gone through the roof.
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
Cat People (Putting Out Fire) by Giorgio Moroder was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as the theme song of the film “Cat People” (“Cat People” with Nastassia Kinski). Bowie’s longer, very own version lived again from Vaughn’s lead guitar and the funky mood.