The more time I spend with Bowie's discography, the more Scary Monsters stands out as one of my absolute favorites of his. Though certainly revered, it's rarely considered amongst Bowie's most essential albums, but the songs here just do it for me in a way that happens on almost no other album.
I think in part it's because Scary Monsters, to me, is the album where Bowie combines every style he'd been working with up to this point. We've got more traditional pop rock tunes like Up the Hill Backwards, epic slow burning rockers like Teenage Wildlife, hard rock on the title track, a hint of glam in the intro, pure funk on Fashion, and even burgeoning new wave sounds on the single Ashes to Ashes. The only thing that's missing is the extreme experimentalism of the Berlin trilogy, but I always prefer Bowie when he's working (even vaguely) within the confines of rock music.
Scary Monsters also contains a significant chunk of my favorite lyrical moments from Bowie. This is one of his first albums to my ears in which he drops all the personas and really expresses what makes him--David Robert Jones--tick as an artist and person in the world. His dark reflection on his legacy in Ashes to Ashes and (espescially) his sneering takedown of new wavers like Gary Numan in Teenage Wildlife rank amongst my favorite moments in Bowie's entire catalog as a result.
Plus, it's just a ridiculously well sequenced and put together album. Every song works for me. Even ones in which I don't adore the songwriting quite as much (like Scream Like a Baby) make up for it through interesting lyrics or production choices.
It may be a controversial opinion, but I'd rank Scary Monsters over "Heroes" or Hunky Dory any day.
Favorite tracks: Teenage Wildlife, Ashes to Ashes, It's No Game (No. 1), Fashion, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)