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Music / Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

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"I'm happy, hope you're happy too.".

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) is the fourteenth studio album by David Bowie, released in 1980. Released after three ''avant garde’’ leaning albums in collaboration with Brian Eno, this is a more mainstream-oriented combination of Hard Rock and Post-Punk, with some Gothic New Wave flare thrown into the mix. The lyrics include both political protest and dark psychological observations. The album is best remembered for the international hit "Ashes to Ashes".

This is Bowie's final studio album with RCA Records. He left the label several years later after a period of deteriorating relations between the two partiesnote .


The album was a critical and commercial success; for a time it was even a Reviewer Stock Phrase to refer to Bowie's latest album as "his best since Scary Monsters".


Side One

  1. “It’s No Game (Part 1)" (4:20)
  2. “Up the Hill Backwards” (3:15)
  3. “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)" (5:12)
  4. “Ashes to Ashes” (4:25)
  5. “Fashion” (4:49)

Side Two

  1. “Teenage Wildlife” (6:56)
  2. “Scream Like a Baby” (3:35)
  3. “Kingdom Come” (3:45)
  4. “Because You’re Young” (4:54)
  5. “It’s No Game (Part 2)” (4:22)


Bonus Tracks (1992 Reissue):

  1. "Space Odyssey (acoustic version)"
  2. "Panic in Detroit (rerecorded version)"
  3. "Crystal Japan"
  4. "Alabama Song"

It's got nothing to do with you, if one can trope it:

  • Addled Addict: Major Tom, as of "Ashes to Ashes".
  • Alliterative Title: "Ashes to Ashes".
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Cuts off Robert Fripp’s guitar solo on "It’s No Game (Part 1)".
  • Book-Ends: The two versions of "It’s No Game". Aside from being versions of the same song, "Part 1" starts with the sound of a film projector starting up, and "Part 2" ends with the sound of a projector reaching the end of the film and noisily looping around.
  • Commedia dell'Arte: Bowie’s clown costume on the cover and in the "Ashes to Ashes" video is inspired by the Pierrot figure.
  • Cover Version: "Kingdom Come" was originally written and recorded by Television front man Tom Verlaine.
  • Dance Sensation: "Fashion"
    There's a brand new dance but I don't know its name...
  • Darker and Edgier: More musically aggressive than Lodger and covering more consistently dark subject matters, with themes of oppression, social decay, and political protest.
  • Dark Reprise: Part 2 of "It's No Game" is considerably more low-key and downbeat than the first part.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Ashes to Ashes"
    Time and time I tell myself
    I'll stay clean tonight
    But the little green wheels are following me
    Oh, no, not again
    I'm stuck with a valuable friend
    "I'm happy, hope you're happy too."
    One flash of light, but no smoking pistol
  • Epic Rocking: "Teenage Wildlife" is just under seven minutes.
  • Face on the Cover: Bowie's face in close-up.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Michi Hirota's shouted word parts on "It's No Game (Part 1)".
  • Heteronormative Crusader: "Scream Like a Baby" has the narrator and his lover imprisoned by a fascist government for being gay; lines such as "they came down hard on the faggots" imply that this government is particularly hateful towards homosexual people.
  • I Have Many Names: Depending on who you ask, the album's either called Scary Monsters (as indicated on the LP sleeve spine and disc label) or Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (as indicated on the album art itself).
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: "Fashion" has a humorous one. The line is “They shout it while they’re dancing on the dance floor”, which is one syllable too short for the rhythm; Bowie just draws out the word "the" to compensate.
  • One-Word Title: "Fashion".
  • Precision F-Strike: On "It’s No Game (Part 2)" Bowie sings about children who “spread camel shit on the wall”.
  • Sequel Song: "Ashes to Ashes" is a sequel to Bowie's first major hit, "Space Oddity" from David Bowie (1969).
    Do you remember a guy that's been in such an early song?
    I've heard a rumour from Ground Control
    Oh no, don't say it's true
    (...) We know Major Tom's a junkie
    Strung out in heaven's high, hitting an all-time low
    (...) My mother said to get things done
    You'd better not mess with Major Tom
  • Shout-Out:
    • The way Bowie breaks down into stuttering while saying the word “society” in "Scream Like a Baby" recalls Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
    • "Ashes to Ashes" takes its refrain from the prayer "ashes to ashes/ dust to dust" during funerals.
    • The Young Ones: In the episode "Nasty" the young ones conduct a funeral ceremony. As the vicar says "ashes to ashes" Rick sings "Funk to funky, we know Major Tom's a junkie", in reference to "Ashes to Ashes".
    • The TV series Ashes to Ashes (2008) was named after the song "Ashes to Ashes".
  • Singer Name Drop: "Teenage Wildlife":
    You'll take me aside, and say
    "Well, David, what shall I do? They wait for me in the hallway"
    I'll say "don't ask me, I don't know any hallways".
  • Title Track: "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)".
    Scary monsters, super creeps
    Keep me running, running scared


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