David Bowie has never been as menacing or menaced as he sounds on Diamond Dogs. This is (and predates) punk rock, but it isn’t snide. It is (and predates) goth, but it isn’t flaccid or mopey. Yeah, it’s a concept album, and yeah, it’s pretentious. But it merits those pretensions: The rough edges (Bowie’s grinding-bell guitar work) are not smoothed over; the opening track promises genocide, and by “Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family,” we hear it. The lyrics and the music and the singing are all desperate. Nowhere is Bowie’s genre transcendence better evidenced, showing him not, (at least not at this point), to be a trend-chaser but rather an inventor of new forms to fit his music. Listen to the suite that makes up the center of the album, “Sweet Thing” to “Candidate” to “Sweet Thing.” It goes from bisexual torch song to all-out rocker and then back again and back again; and from there into one of the best driving rock songs of his career and one of the great anthems of the 70s, “Rebel Rebel.” A strange, paranoid world remarkable for its consistency and pounding power, this is my favorite Bowie album.