This is the soundtrack for a BBC miniseries - I've never seen it, so I can't attest to how well the songs actually work in the film, but I'll be darned, they're all great!
It helps that most of these are 'proper' songs where we get to hear Bowie's voice, but even the ambient scene-setting stuff is quite captivating. Legend has it that it only took Bowie six days to conceive and record this album, something I find difficult to believe, but maybe there is something to it - Bowie's previous album, Black Tie, White Noise
, seemed forced and labored, whereas this album seems inspired.
For the first time since Scary Monsters
, it feels as though Bowie is back in the zone. And when you're in the zone, you can do magic.
The popsongs on this album are magnificent. The title track that opens the album is one of the finest power-ballads Bowie's ever done, with a memorable melody that's thickly orchestrated, along with heavy guitars and synthesizers. The other popsong to check out is “Strangers When We Meet”, actually a different version of the track on 1. Outside
. For my money, this is the definitive version, because it's drenched in so many layered sounds, such as a really cool rhythm guitar.
The other songs are more texture-oriented, and probably relate to particular scenes in the film, but even those are excellent. “Bleed Like a Craze, Dad” sounds like one of Bowie's Techno songs from Black Tie, White Noise
except it's more atmospheric, with a totally infectious bassline. Really, it's awesome how many sounds are layered into that, and I lap it up. “Dead Against It” is similar, except it has a driving drum-machine rhythm, and if your toe doesn't tap to it then your foot might need amputating!
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews