Tonight by David Bowie

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Tonight by David Bowie
Tonight by David Bowie

Album Released: 1984

Tonight ::: Artwork

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1.Loving The Alien7:10
2.Don't Look Down4:11
3.God Only Knows3:08
4.Tonight3:45
5.Neighbourhood Threat3:12
6.Blue Jean3:11
7.Tumble And Twirl4:58
8.I Keep Forgetting2:35
9.Dancing With The Big Boys3:34

Reviews

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.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise (blogging at Creative Noise)


Bowie ditched the producer of Let's Dance - Nile Rodgers, who'd produced the biggest-selling album of his career by far. Then - after a troubled pregnancy - out popped Tonight, an album that saw Bowie struggle on the songwriting front. There's a decent single in "Blue Jean", a hit to follow up the blockbusting hits from Let's Dance.

Bowie himself claimed that the demo to "Loving the Alien" was 'fantastic'. It makes for a decent album track - seven minutes long, mellow, nice melodies - nothing earth-shattering though, and shortened to a 4-minute dubious single. It joins "Blue Jean" in being the only decent track on this album.

Whilst Tonight still sold respectably, Bowie lost almost all his credibility overnight. One of the worst offenders here is the his version of the Brian Wilson classic "God Only Knows". Bowie sings it like a Las Vegas crooner, all smarmy and horribly plastic and fake.

"I Keep Forgetting" is uptempo and not exactly horrible to listen to, though it's a million miles away in terms of quality compared to the Bowie of the past. And the title track is a slow polished ballad that makes me question whether Bowie was ever Ziggy at all, that he was ever Low, or 'out-there'. It's so insipid, it beggars belief. And whilst "Tumble And Twirl" has a slick 1984 production, it lacks any innovative value arrangement wise, strong melody or lyric.

Bowie was seemingly content to allow his advisors and producers lead him. It didn't work out artistically and - having made lots of money - he seemed to lose the desire to prove himself. I'm not sure he cared at all at this juncture. Perhaps he had more important things in his life, who knows?

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)


David Bowie scored big with his 1983 pop classic Let's Dance, and he released this follow-up just one year later, presumably in hopes of continuing to ride that wave of success. He didn't work much on this album however, and it shows. It contains no more than two good songs, and the rest are pretty much forgettable.

But I did say there were two good songs, and boy are they good! “Loving the Alien” opens the album, and it's a glorious seven-minute synthesizer symphony! It might've been good to shave the running time by a minute or so to tighten it up, but never mind, I can be completely transfixed by it. It has all the makings of a good Bowie tune - catchy melody, an overblown vocal that's fun to sing along with, and I can sense quite a bit of friendly weirdness lurking behind it. It's a clever song, and it's very 80's (some of us like that sort of thing). All in all, it's a good reason to own Tonight.

Another good reason is an industrial dance ditty titled “Blue Jean” - I like its mesmerizing rhythm and crunchy saxophones - most importantly though, the melody is catchy, and that's what I want in my pop songs. I'd also give Bowie credit for another good vocal performance, one that turns into scream-singing at the end, and appropriately so, as the lyrics pertain to unrequited love.

But everything else sounds pretty much like Bowie was trying to emulate a cheap Vegas act. “Don't Look Down” is a cover of a pretty decent Iggy Pop song, but instead of turning it into an awesome pop song like he'd done with “China Girl”, he turns it into a cheapo adult-contemporary/reggae hybrid fully equipped with bedroom-soul saxophones, plastic synthscapes, and a boring lounge-jazz vocal performance. Blech! And his cover of the Beach Boys' classic “God Only Knows” is completely butchered and overblown, though as that's such a great song even Bowie's cheap Vegasified rendition couldn't destroy it, and I admit that I enjoy listening to it, whether for good reason or not. But surely it's more evidence that this guy was just lazy, and I can't condone laziness.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)


Tonight is an insipid piece of garbage that takes all the good vibes established by the surprisingly energetic and tasteful half of Let’s Dance and flushes them down the toilet. But the funny thing about the album is that it doesn’t even work as a pop sell-out.

The hit “Blue Jean” is a half-decent pop song with a marginally catchy melody and horn lines a-plenty (like “Modern Love” but 'passably decent' rather than 'a fantastic pop song'), but I’m just not sure how the rest of this album is supposed to appeal to the general public ... do they enjoy meandering 7-minute New Agey ballads that do nothing, and sound like dentist office muzak?

If not, then what the hell is “Loving the Alien” doing as the opening track? Who’s the demographic there? I mean, there are other late Bowie albums I dislike as much or nearly as much as this one, but with most of them I can at least understand why people with certain musical tastes might enjoy them. But with this album, I’m at a loss. Am I missing something? How could people actually listen to this bullshit?

Two of these tracks sound like an unholy alliance between truckloads of valium, instantly dateable 80's production, and reggae. Reggae! “Don’t Look Down” may be the most insipidly boring and ridiculous song Bowie’s ever recorded, and the title track isn’t much better. I don’t know, maybe it's supposed to be jazz or something - I can’t tell - it’s slow, sluggish, useless, and horrible in any case. If you’re gonna make a fake plastic 80's album, at least make it fast and stupid, you know?

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by Reviewer: BRAD