This is Ziggy’s tour of America and some of the shady folks he saw (himself included). From the party out of bounds on “Watch That Man”—to the cracked British Invader of “Aladdin Sane”—to the subway bopper of “Jean Genie”—to the black widow of “Lady Grinning Soul”—to the “Cracked Actor”: Bowie spies the alien in the human and the human in the alien. He was heavily into William S. Burroughs and the Stones then, and it shows: His wordplay is more oblique, his singing less twee. Mike Garson’s piano is an avant-garde take on boogie-woogie. Plus, the band made the album between gigs, so they didn’t have as much time to fuss with it. As a result, this is a dirtier, looser, and weirder album than The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. By focusing mainly on cracked character pieces, Aladdin Sane evokes a shattered world that is funnier, and more diverting, than anything Bowie did on the half-cocked concept albums that surround it.