My Next Read: “Silhouettes and Shadows: The Secret History of David Bowie’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” by Adam Steiner

An avant-garde pop album rich with tension and fear, 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) marked a pivotal point in David Bowie’s career. Standing at the bleeding edge of the new decade between the experimental Berlin Trilogy (Low, Heroes, and Lodger) and 1983’s wildly successful Let’s Dance, it was here Bowie sought to bury the ghosts of his past and the golden decade of the 1970s to become a global superstar reaching millions of new fans.

Featuring fresh insights and exclusive interviews with close collaborators, Adam Steiner’s Silhouettes and Shadows uncovers the studio stories, meanings behind, and secret history of Scary Monsters. Adam Steiner gives a nuanced, memorable portrait of Bowie at a personal and professional crossroads, drawing on his own struggle with addiction, growing paranoia, and political turmoil. Despite the album’s confrontational themes, it included the hit singles “Fashion” and “Ashes to Ashes,” with Bowie riding a new wave of inspiration, from the post-punk of Joy Division, The Specials’ two-tone revolution, and the stadium synth-pop of Gary Numan.

Most importantly, it marked a final goodbye to Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust, and The Thin White Duke, characters and personas that had defined his career: in this rare moment, David Bowie, the costumed clown of romance, suffering, and song, let his mask slip to reveal David Jones, the man within.