Facts are facts: when Bowie's bad, he's godawful ... not slight and overly cutesy like bad McCartney, or overly loungey and wallpapery like bad Bryan Ferry, to use two random examples.
No - unlike other major artists who possess at least some entertainment / interest value even at their very worst - when Bowie's at his worst he is nigh unlistenable, devoid of virtually any redeeming qualities.
I haven't gotten around to hearing all of his albums so I can't quite be sure, but this certainly qualifies as Bowie's worst-ever. It (barely) earns its rating because of a few listenable moments (not even entire songs) ...
"Loving the Alien" possesses a decent chorus melody; "Tumble and Spin" has another little melodic bit I kind of like; and while I keep skipping over it when I play Changesbowie
, in this context "Blue Jean" actually comes across as a charming pop ditty, which says more for the context than the tune itself.
And that's it folks. Bowie must have been suffering writer's block, because half of these songs are covers, most of them recycled from the late 1970's Iggy Pop albums Bowie collaborated on.
I never cared for Elvis, so I can't say if "I Keep Forgetting" is a respectable cover or not - either way I couldn't care less. I do feel passionately about Brian Wilson, however, and for what Bowie does to "God Only Knows" he deserves a severed larynx.
As for the recycled Bowie/Pop tunes, you're better off purchasing Lust for Life
or The Idiot
. Not that Iggy Pop's solo career is my can of dogfood, but you've gotta admit that the Igster's got a voice and charisma that puts Bowie in the boys choir.
I bought my copy of Tonight
for just a buck and still feel ripped off. At least I got to write a scathing review for my trouble, but those of you who aren't amateur rock critics have to ask yourselves what possible use an album you can't listen to has in your life. Rated:
by Reviewer: Creative Noise
(blogging at Creative Noise