Thursday, February 10, 2022

Overheard at Table 3: Rediscovering Bowie (Day 3)


17. Never Let Me Down - 1987

    Style: Synth Pop

    At first, sounds like most of the synth pop of the time, stylized, polished.  However, after only just three songs in, I noticed that I didn't really like how each song started, but that they seemed better toward the middle sections.  For synth pop, these tunes are very well done.

This album, even though panned as badly as Tonight, actually out-performs Tonight.  Seems stronger, more cohesive.

    Best cuts: Day-in Day-Out, Shining Star (Making my Love), '87 and Cry

18. Black Tie, White Noise - 1993

    Style: Adult Contemporary

    Seems like he's in fine form, vocal-wise, and the production is slick and solid, but there's really nothing here to cause any great sense of passion.  The two instrumentals are interesting though, and I find by this time that I wish he'd done a lot more instrumentals with saxophone, because those seem to be the songs where he really seems to let his hair down.  

    Final track "The Wedding Song" reminds me a bit of George Michael's album "Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1" - yet the Michael album was so much better.  Can't really express it, but I'd have to say it's probably passion and honesty.  Bowie could have really done well by getting the same straight-up passion that is so evident on the albums from 1969 through 1974.

    Best Cuts: The Wedding (Instrumental track 1), I Feel Free (Cream cover), Looking for Lester, The Wedding (Vocal final track) ... and also, tracks that were cut from the original release are some of the best: "Lucy Can't Dance" has that same sort of energy and passion that is lacking in the rest of the album.  Same goes for "Real Cool World"

19. Buddha of Suburbia - 1993

    Style: Synth heavy

    While I gotta appreciate Bowie's ability to go into the studio for a month and churn out an album (most people fret over theirs for years!), still, when his product is lackluster, it shows.  Title track is unlistenable. blech!  - 

t2 is good, but should be edited, t3 is a nice little instrumental - supporting my theory about his sax playing.  T5 also good ...

    boy was I wrong to start that first paragraph!  By the end of this album, I was amazed.  What a dreamscape.  I don't know what other reviewers heard to hate on this album so much, but the one I heard was great ... solid, interesting, entertaining, ethereal. 

    Most likely, the other reviewers never got through track 1.  If I had only heard that and not the full album, I would have said it was shite as well...

    Best Cuts: Sex and the Church, South Horizon, and pretty much everything after, especially Dead Against It and Untitled No. 1

20. 1. Outside (1995) 

    Style: Ambient/Experimental

    Anything that has Brian Eno associated with it certainly piques my interest.  Also, I was thinking that what Bowie needed by this time was to get back to a character that he could roam around in.  Like Ziggy, etc, a persona that he could inhabit, wear like a comfortable suit, and express himself in new ways.

    Gotta admit, the first view tracks are not really impressive (tks 2,3,4)

    The segue into "Hallo Spaceboy" and subsequent songs are quite nice.  Getting into the groove.  

    Best Cuts: No Control, Hallo Spaceboy, the segues.

21. Earthling (1997)

    First track is promising, second track even better,

    Reviews smacked this album for being just more of the same sound so prevalent in the 90s (i.e. Industrial/Grunge/with heavy drums), but seriously, Bowie frikkin' mastered the sound on this album.  Sure, he may not have been ahead of the game (this was '97), but he certainly cracked it.

    Best Cuts: Battle for Britain (The Letter), The Last Thing You Should Do, I'm Afraid of Americans, Law (Earthlings on Fire)


22. Hours (1999)

    Different sound from Earthling.  First two songs forgettable.  t3 shows promise, but doesn't really venture into any new territory.  t4 meh

    "Seven" does sound like it could come from Hunky Dory or the 1969 eponymous

    and... yet again, songs like "We All Go Through" ... why not released?  Also "1917" and "We Shall Go to Town"

    Best Cuts: Seven, What's Really Happening, The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell, Brilliant Adventure



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