1.Outside by David Bowie

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1.Outside by David Bowie
1.Outside by David Bowie

Album Released: 1995

1.Outside ::: Artwork

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1.Leon Takes Us Outside1:25
3.The Heart's Filthy Lesson4:57
4.A Small Plot Of Land6:34
5.Segue - Baby Grace (A Horrid Cassette)1:39
6.Hallo Spaceboy5:14
7.The Motel6:50
8.I Have Not Been To Oxford Town3:49
9.No Control4:33
10.Segue - Algeria Touchshriek2:03
11.The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)4:21
12.Segue - Ramona A. Stone / I Am With Name4:01
13.Wishful Beginnings5:08
14.We Prick You4:35
15.Segue - Nathan Adler, Pt. 11:00
16.I'm Deranged4:31
17.Thru' These Architects' Eyes4:22
18.Segue - Nathan Adler, Pt. 20:28
19.Strangers When We Meet5:07


I don't own any of Bowie's other 90's albums, and if they're like this one I'm certainly not going to bother except for completist purposes. A lame attempt to catch up with his spawn Nine Inch Nails, with Outside Bowie crafts a concept album of mind-numbing pretension.

Supposedly it's a 'non-linear hyper-real art-crime murder CD-ROM capable adventure that's even better than Doom!' or some crap like that - I betcha he doesn't even surf the web (which is to his credit, unlike nerds like me). Sadly, he's so busy sketching out the plot that he forgets to write real songs, and this thing goes on forever (just because you can put an hour's worth of music on a CD doesn't mean you should - please everybody, for the love of god let's go back to the old days of 40-minute albums that didn't have a stack of useless B-sides and out-takes to pad them out).

Thank you, thank you for "Hearts Filthy Lesson", which actually possesses a real melody and nice things like that ... when it comes on at the end, it's an oasis in the middle of a tuneless desert. "Strangers When We Meet" is the other single and not-bad song, which isn't to say it's all that good.

Why do old rock stars try to stay hip? Shouldn't Bowie (and Jagger, and Townsend, and a bunch of other people) have retired to a nice, civilized record-company executive job by now?

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise (blogging at Creative Noise)

As well as Reeves Gabrels from Tin Machine days, Bowie digs into his past here. So, joining him on 'music creating' duties are Eno, Mike Garson, and Carlos Alomar. Garson was responsible for those wonderful piano lines on Aladdin Sane, Alomar for the lauded Young Americans, and Eno of course requires no introduction.

Bowie apparently had hundreds of hours worth of material ready to be worked into a three album concept, similar to 'The Berlin Trilogy', except with an actual narrative weaving its way throughout. The story involved a series of art murders. So we meet Nathan Adler, runaway Baby Grace, various victims and suspects, and a jewellery store owner by the name of Ramona A Stone. Bowie takes on all these roles through short spoken sections here and there, which are best ignored. The music on this album is enough to stand on its own.

Indeed, we get some of the most brilliant and inventive music of Bowie's entire career. He seamlessly combines heavy industrial rhythms (inspired by Nine Inch Nails), Heavy Rock, Dance, and Techno. His vocals are worth a mention too, also covering many different forms - some of the songs are inherently uncommercial and experimental, others sport very hummable melodies.

Listeners are used to Bowie changing his sound over the years, but the majority of this content is vastly different from anything he'd presented before. At the time, some critics were sceptical, and fans were split down the middle. Ten years later, there is a growing respect for this work as heralding a rejuvenated Bowie, further represented by more recent works such as Heathen and Reality.

I don't know where to begin when mentioning highlights, low points, or inbetweens. The low points - if they can be called that - are often the more experimental works that ditch conventional song structures, they're more mood pieces to be admired rather than actively enjoyed. Elsewhere, there are some storming songs proper.

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

David Bowie called on his old friend Brian Eno, and together they tackled the challenge of creating a massively-scoped concept album.

Even though I'm not terribly interested in the details of the album's story, I do know that it's set in a dystopian future, in the year 1999. The number attached to the album title is because it was originally meant to be the first part of a trilogy. We're still waiting for the other two parts. But let's talk about the music, which is far more interesting than the concept ...

Well, for the most part, it's excellent! Without a doubt, this album shows Bowie was peaking again as an artist, after having released a decade's worth of lackluster material. Following a short introductory track, the album's first actual song “Outside” has a catchy melody, and I like the soulful way Bowie sings. The backing instrumentation is thick, and a cool effect is the way the drum rhythm intermittently changes.

And that's not the album's only excellent song. Even though “Heart's Filthy Lesson” uses the same sort of Techno-ish drum machine loops that were rife throughout Black Tie White Noise, it's also a fantastic song. The drums combined with a pounding bass, along with Eno's background synthesizer effects, are absorbing enough to draw me in. Bowie doesn't so much sing as artfully improvise. He does that through most of these songs, a principal complaint by people who don't like 1. Outside too much. But I find his thoughtful warbling interesting enough to drive many of these songs.

Most of the album's best songs appear in its final third. “I'm Deranged” sounds like background music for a high-tech, special-effects-ridden 1990's movie, except with Bowie singing all over it. “Through These Architect's Eyes” has a crunchy drumbeat and includes easily one of the most soulful vocal performances of his career. I also like “We Prick You” which tries to drench me with thick layers of seediness, and succeeds.

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