Black Tie White Noise by David Bowie

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Black Tie White Noise by David Bowie
Black Tie White Noise by David Bowie

Album Released: 1993

Black Tie White Noise ::: Artwork

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1.The Wedding5:04
2.You've Been Around4:43
3.I Feel Free4:49
4.Black Tie White Noise4:54
5.Jump They Say4:23
6.Nite Flights4:36
7.Pallas Athena4:39
8.Miracle Goodnight4:12
9.Don't Let Me Down & Down4:54
10.Looking For Lester5:37
11.I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday4:05
12.The Wedding Song4:32


On the one hand, there's Nile Rodgers back as producer - trying to make another Let's Dance. On the other hand, there's Bowie covering Morrissey and Scott Walker, and doing a couple of instrumentals ... generally trying to sabotage the commercial nature of every single suggestion Nile Rodgers made.

The result is a slightly confused product that pretended Tin Machine and the two previous solo Bowie efforts hadn't existed. People wanted Let's Dance #2, and whilst Black Tie White Noise left people happy that Bowie was 'back', they were unhappy with what he came back with.

Still, there's the comeback single "Jump They Say", pretty much perfect, with energy, trumpets, and a top dog melody. Shamefully though, no other even slightly catchy or memorable single came from this album.

As I said at the start, Bowie sabotage! This record has almost nothing beyond what are obviously all-out commercial sounds, scribbled upon by Bowie, who should have left best alone. The stresses and strains between artist and producer resulted in a compromised product. I mean, a 5-minute plodding instrumental isn't perhaps the best way to open your 'comeback' album!

The general sound of this album is dance plus dance plus occasional trumpet. And it has dated, very badly. At the time, Bowie needed to sell records - but with albums like Low (as he'd objected to Nile Rodgers, who perhaps didn't understand the Bowie legacy).

Bowie needed to cover both corners - artistic credibility, and commerciality. He failed, but at least set himself up for a few records where he could do more with his artistic freedom. But this album comes across as a 1980's leftover, and although it's slightly better than the previous few Bowie solo releases, it has all the same faults.

Rated: album ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum rating
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

The good news is that this album isn't as bad as people say it is. The bad news is that I've said the same thing about every other David Bowie album everyone seems to dislike (my Bowie fanboy-itis is incurable). Nevertheless, as a Bowie fanboy, I am enormously disappointed in Black Tie White Noise.

I thought Tin Machine was supposed to be some kind of career-revitalizing exercise after Bowie released that string of horrible solo albums in the 1980's. The Tin Machine albums were fine, but when he returned to pop music, he resumed making those same old mistakes. Perhaps his mistakes were even a little bit worse, since those horrible albums at least had a bit of quirkiness about them, whereas Black Tie White Noise is ultra-slick and ultra-serious. It's also a true-blue 1990's pop album - like Madonna's Erotica except not as soul-sucking.

You'd like this album as much as you like any 90's pop album with canned drum machines strewn all over it, though it does have a fair share of cool songs. My favorite is called “Jump They Say”, characterized by a detached synthesizer riff and a catchy melody. Bowie sings with his deepest voice, which is great because I love that sound. And thankfully, he sings like that for most of the songs on this album.

Another track I like is “You've Been Around”, with its wandering hooky melody, complemented well with a dramatic vocal performance that uses a strange vocal embellishment, making it sound like Bowie's being backed by a chorus of robots. The bass at times reminds me of Michael Jackson's “Bad”, but that's fine by me. Come to think of it, that song would have fared quite well on Dangerous. That's a compliment of course.

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

Bowie's first solo album in six years is such an unholy pile of shit that I find it clearly worse than Tonight, and quite possibly the second worst record I’ve reviewed on this site (The Clash’s Cut the Crap remains the worst).

Black Tie White Noise is horrid. On it Bowie dives headfirst into that icky early-90's suave danceclub horseshit that everyone recalls as being the hotness for a while back in the day, and which everyone I’m sure has blocked from their mind, to the extent that one listen to this rotting bag of pig urine would only bring back memories too unpleasant to mention.

The album doesn’t even have songs. Christ, at least Tonight had songs. This is just one extremely long (66 minutes! ... thanks, CD age!), extremely unpleasant club jam, that wouldn't be enjoyable even after taking a hit of ecstasy, because it’s not even cool acid/dance music or something.

This is club music from a clearly-defined six month period around 1992 or 1993, for guys in sharp dress suits who work in investment banks and spend their evenings cutting lines of cocaine with their American Express platinum card. I imagine there’s supposed to be some 'soul' in there, but that's mostly expressed by Bowie's insistence on playing a really bad saxophone solo on every fucking track on the album (which is great, because that means he only actually sings in like half of them).

When Bowie attempts something other than a really bad club song, as with the title track, or “Miracle Goodnight”, it just plods along with one poorly thought-out either pseudo-funk guitar or pseudo-interesting (you know, not actually interesting) noise bit, while he chants something with no melody whatsoever over the top. And I haven't even mentioned the one or two s-l-o-w club jams for swaying back and forth with your own personal coked-out hooker to.

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by Reviewer: BRAD