I did Bowie Backwards.'Tonight' review. No more Bowie.

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 17 May 2016, 20:51

I'm on my ninth attempt at trying to post a BOS write up which I keep getting locked out for. I've edited it again and again.

Here's the short version:

Buddha of Suburbia: I really like it, especially those two songs
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Oscar » 21 May 2016, 09:00

I collapsed after my attempts with Outside. It all got a bit too much. The overload was crippling my thought processors but the obsession was dragging me deeper in. I haven't listened to Bowie since the end of Feb but last night in the car on a dull drag to MeadowHell Shopping Centre I asked Jane to put some "good" tunes on and she pulled Earthling from the Glove compartment. It's odd how familiar it sounded being as I've only listened to it maybe 3 times and it also motivated me to pick up where I left off. I couldn't get the best out of Outside because of the Bowie overdose. Too much too quick. But I was getting a feeling about it. I thought it could possibly be his hidden masterpiece. We'll see...

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 22 May 2016, 15:05

I'm not actually new to Buddha of Suburbia, at all - in fact in recent years it's become one of my most played Bowie albums. Out in November 1993 after Black Tie White Noise, and from the small amounts of BTWN that I have heard, I would have been a happy Bowie fan on hearing this after that.

I did a lot of reading around this album, mainly because I know that it meant a lot to him personally and he always considered it a vital and meaty work and his evident happiness spills out to me in almost every track.

Helpfully, he points you in the right direction about where his brain was at the time by listing the influences he lists on the inside - Pink Floyd, Harry Partch, Bromley, Croydon. The title track bleeds London. In it, I hear and see Bowie's own London in his youth, but also mine, wandering round Bromley and Orpington with Modernist et al in those very suburbs that Bowie describes, hedges and roses and vomiting in your neighbour's garden, creakily opening your parent's liquor cabinet. It sounds like some kind of non-suburban longing, a desire to move on and away while being fiercely loyal to what's around you, the excitement of waking other people up to your musical discoveries and late night record spinning with brooms being banged on the downstairs ceiling. It's my (young) London, it's Bowie's forever London, it's Slider's tales of his London,it's Modernist's too cool for school London. And the 3 minute mark where he erupts into joy while riding his lungs like a fucking racehorse, you don't, you can't sing like that if you don't LOVE what you are doing.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 22 May 2016, 15:06

Sex and the Church is really the only phooey on this album. I remember hearing this - and actually it's not a million miles away from some of the stuff I later go on to praise on 'Earthling' - and although I don't hate it, it really isn't a track that means anything to me at all. This goes back to the conversation I have with myself about every one of the 'later' Bowie albums - up to a certain point, there was never ANY filler. This feels like filler, something I'm sure Bowie would be appalled at the idea of. After all, he's singing like it's very important.

South Horizon is a lovely, jazzy (did I just use the words lovely and jazzy together - fuuuuuuck) little number with Mike Garson's piano tumbling over it like a musical fairy falling down a hill and trying to get back up again, without success. Then when you least expect it, 2 minutes and 24 seconds happens. A percussion track which sounds like a malfunctioning electric pencil sharpener. Bowie advises us not to expect a comfy ride.

Like we thought that's what we'd get.

The Mysteries, which sounds like what would happen if the oblique strategy would be to pretend you were This Mortal Coil writing a bonus track for side 2 of Low. Don't be put off by that, this is a spacey, emotive (imagine you're looking out to sea at night from your deathbed) or saying goodbye to someone who is about to fly to Mars and you watch the rocket go. It's manipulative in the extreme, intentionally making you stop and gawp and think of a long dead family pet during a work commute, the sort of thing that would make someone stop on the motorway and not set off driving again and have cars honking behind them.

Bleed Like a Craze Dad! Deep funky bass and David being all whispery Laaaahndan. Once again, the appeal in this is in listening to Bowie spill his own memories into song form, as opposed to a fictional character. This is David's voice, and streets.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 22 May 2016, 15:07

Ooh! NOW then. Strangers When We Meet.

There have been a couple of versions of this flying about - neither of which hold a candle to this. Based on - I presume - the 1960 film of the same name about an adulterous couple who get away with it for a long time, and quite smugly, I believe. The song is rich with all the following - the shared excitement of being cunning and remaining undiscovered, the contempt held for friends to whom in comparison you suddenly seem very thrilling and adventurous ( preening ourselves in snow) the small acts that reveal your inner turmoil (we scavenge up our clothes) the realisation that all is not as it seems (halfway sadness, dazzled by the new), the magnetic pull of the clandestine meet and fuck ( steely resolve is falling from me).

I don't know why this song has managed to get so under my skin. I'll have a bash at it though - his vocals, a solid build in the chorus, a self loathing and vulnerable lyric. When he sings 'steely resolve is falling from me', I go all weird. This is one of Bowie's finest moments.

Dead Against it is a different pace again, and sets the scene for a lot of the great stuff on Earthling. Boyish, cheeky and groovy.

Untitled No 1 - my second favourite track on the album. I haven't been able to find a single piece of writing that is clear about what this song is about, but it would be almost impossible to imagine that it is anything less than a love song to Iman. 'In the morning she's so regal like the valley sighs.' I can imagine Iman being regal like the valley sighs in the morning - can't you? I don't think ' in the morning she's as graceful as a coal lorry backing up' - the only thing he could have written about our non-existent early morning ritual observations - would have had the same power as this optimistic, vaguely other worldly slice of funk.
Ian Fish UK Heir - another stroll into This Mortal Coil do Low, with some lovely string work, and then the album finishes on a different version of Buddha of Suburbia.

Listening to that was great. I rate this album above any of the following albums. I know it was out of print for a while, but there is so much to go at on this piece of work. If you've never done so, give Diamond Dogs the night off and just go for it. Get a gin- fuck, get two gins - and put on the headphones. You won't regret it for a minute.

Black Tie White Noise next. I might make that three gins.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 22 May 2016, 15:59

Oscar52 wrote:I collapsed after my attempts with Outside. It all got a bit too much. The overload was crippling my thought processors but the obsession was dragging me deeper in. I haven't listened to Bowie since the end of Feb but last night in the car on a dull drag to MeadowHell Shopping Centre I asked Jane to put some "good" tunes on and she pulled Earthling from the Glove compartment. It's odd how familiar it sounded being as I've only listened to it maybe 3 times and it also motivated me to pick up where I left off. I couldn't get the best out of Outside because of the Bowie overdose. Too much too quick. But I was getting a feeling about it. I thought it could possibly be his hidden masterpiece. We'll see...


I hope you feel more in the mood for contributing soon. I took a few weeks off due to commitments and I felt better for it.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Buddha of Suburbia' review, "Black Tie' next

Postby trans-chigley express » 25 May 2016, 01:13

Never heard the album but LOVE the title track. Now I want to hear it all.

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Buddha of Suburbia' review, "Black Tie' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 25 May 2016, 02:52

trans-chigley express wrote:Never heard the album but LOVE the title track. Now I want to hear it all.


Off you go then! This thread was created just for people like you!
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Outside' review, 'Buddha of Suburbia' next

Postby Oscar » 27 Jul 2016, 09:15

Minnie the Minx wrote:
Oscar52 wrote:I collapsed after my attempts with Outside. It all got a bit too much. The overload was crippling my thought processors but the obsession was dragging me deeper in. I haven't listened to Bowie since the end of Feb but last night in the car on a dull drag to MeadowHell Shopping Centre I asked Jane to put some "good" tunes on and she pulled Earthling from the Glove compartment. It's odd how familiar it sounded being as I've only listened to it maybe 3 times and it also motivated me to pick up where I left off. I couldn't get the best out of Outside because of the Bowie overdose. Too much too quick. But I was getting a feeling about it. I thought it could possibly be his hidden masterpiece. We'll see...


I hope you feel more in the mood for contributing soon. I took a few weeks off due to commitments and I felt better for it.


I took "Outside" with me on a trip (no, not that kind of trip - a camping trip... a trip... "outside", I suppose) and was kind of constructively stuck with it. Now, I had been harbouring the thought that Outside wasn't "too long" and "overcrowded" but more that I/we hadn't quite adapted to its higher levels of greatness. I now believe I was wrong. When I got home I attempted an edit and by also removing the segues (which I had to because I still haven't got a fucking clue what is going on) you can strip it to a pretty lean and sharp 45 minute album.

Leon Takes Us Outside 1:25
Outside 4:05
The Hearts Filthy Lesson 4:58
A Small Plot Of Land 6:35
Hallo Spaceboy 5:15
I Have Not Been To Oxford Town 3:49
No Control 4:33
We Prick You 4:36
I'm Deranged 4:31
Strangers When We Meet 5:07

Some slight differences I think in choices but I'm sticking with these for now. I love the intro and opening track on this album because they are soooo "Bowie". Hearts Filthy Lesson is a wonderful prancing, percussive romp. I adore the free-style meanderings of A Small Plot Of Land - one of my highlights of the album. Hello Spaceboy grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes you. Oxford Town is classic post-eighties Bowie. No Control has a bit of a slow fuse but once it clicks it gets right under the skin. We Prick you only just made it on the edit for me. By any other artist it would be a decent standout track but for Bowie it's high standard filler. I'm Deranged was also a difficult one to actually embrace because the hooks and peaks are a bit fleeting and it kind of filters into the background and sneaks out of the room without you noticing but again fairly effective filler. Strangers When We Meet - thankfully a decent single to finish on.

Regarding Eno, it's always difficult to know or to understand just how much he has contributed. I love his work and some of the albums he's produced are in my top 10 all-time favourites.

I think I've got 3 albums left to listen to and I'm putting them off for a while because I know in my heart that they are sub standard Bowie. But... if I can listen to Landing On Water by Neil Young then I can listen to Tonight by David Bowie. Just not yet though.

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Buddha of Suburbia' review, "Black Tie' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 27 Jul 2016, 13:29

Hey Len!
I enjoyed that write up. Thanks.
I've tried to listen to Outside a couple of times since my review but I just don't enjoy it very much. I got Black Tie White Noise a month ago and every time I sit down to review it something happens. I must do it this weekend - and my mix disc.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Buddha of Suburbia' review, "Black Tie' next

Postby Snarfyguy » 27 Jul 2016, 15:09

Minnie the Minx wrote:Hey Len!
I enjoyed that write up. Thanks.
I've tried to listen to Outside a couple of times since my review but I just don't enjoy it very much. I got Black Tie White Noise a month ago and every time I sit down to review it something happens. I must do it this weekend - and my mix disc.

Late to the party, I really could not engage with Outside, despite repeated attempts. I don't even know where my copy is anymore; I think it's been exiled from the Bowie section of the CDs; it was just taking up space.

I will have some things to say about Black Tie White Noise, though, so get to it, Min!
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Buddha of Suburbia' review, "Black Tie' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 27 Jul 2016, 20:58

Snarfyguy wrote:
Minnie the Minx wrote:Hey Len!
I enjoyed that write up. Thanks.
I've tried to listen to Outside a couple of times since my review but I just don't enjoy it very much. I got Black Tie White Noise a month ago and every time I sit down to review it something happens. I must do it this weekend - and my mix disc.

Late to the party, I really could not engage with Outside, despite repeated attempts. I don't even know where my copy is anymore; I think it's been exiled from the Bowie section of the CDs; it was just taking up space.

I will have some things to say about Black Tie White Noise, though, so get to it, Min!


:D
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards: 'Black Tie White Noise' review - Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 01 Aug 2016, 02:50

WN then - 1993. I was a first year student and living in a shared house and had just met my first 'proper' boyfriend. My sister and stepmum had been to see Tin Machine a year or so before, and they had a cracking night.

I was pretty surprised to read that this went into the UK album chart at No.1 when it was released. I'm finding it hard to remember what 'public feeling' or indeed 'my feeling' was about Bowie at the time, except that I listened to this and was heartily unimpressed, and like with much Bowie for the next few years, put it on a back burner and kept on hoping that he would return to the form that I loved. I was wondering what I would think listening to it these days, and I suppose my reaction is mixed. I tried to avoid reading anything about the album on Wiki so as to not alter what I thought about the songs themselves as opposed to allowing some emotional guff to get in the way.

'The Wedding' is a gorgeous and sultry opener and is self explanatory. It's very clearly a love song, and works the 'meeting of two cultures' twist pretty well. The two note bassline is sexy. I'm reminded of the gorgeous 'Untitled No 1' from Buddha of Suburbia, it has a similar feel.

'You've Been Around' sounds fresher than it did back in the day. As usual, it's his vocals that carry it for me. The version of 'I Feel Free' left me stone cold and I'm at a loss to come up with something to say about it that isn't despondent.

The title track is pretty repulsive. I don't use that term often for music, but it contains just about every single thing that I loathe with the single exception of Bowie's voice. Even that - his nasal bounce-down-the-hill shrill of 'white noy oy oy oyze' is probably one of the most irritating things ever recorded.

'Jump They Say' is pretty great, save for intrusive horns (which may have been intentional in their bee-in-the-ear-hearing-voices buzziness) and the song didn't suffer from having a great video with Bowie looking terrifyingly hot.

I've played the album through a few times and 'Nite Flights' is a grower for sure, again that two note bassline. Sounds better on headphones than in the car where I gave this album a trial run. I don't think I've ever heard the original, I should probably sniff that out.

'Pallas Athena' goes in one ear and out the other I'm afraid, and 'Miracle Goodnight' is so blatantly over-quirky that I fast forwarded through the second attempt at listening. I don't know what he was thinking when he recorded "Don't Let Me Down and Down" but listening to it again reminded me with some hideous clarity what I hated about the album the first time round - truly ghastly shmoozy shit.

"Looking for Lester" - oh! oh! Jazz over a 4/4 - spare me! No, having Garson at the end will not save you!

"I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" I think probably has a more entertaining back story than performance, and "The Wedding Song" is not enhanced by a lyrical reprise though I am fully aware that the old bastard was cheerfully love struck enough not to care.

I've got the bonus tracks on this copy - I'm not sure that this is a US thing or what - but "Jump They Say" probably didn't need to get any funkier - the firm emphasis on sounding like Alexander O' Neal is what turned me off huge sections of this album to start with.
As I was winding down on this review, I read what Pushing Ahead of the Dame had to say about "Lucy Can't Dance" - the song is meh, but the back story is interesting - Bowie's disinterest in Madonna in song form. Who would have thought?

There is some good stuff on here, but I'm overwhelmed by faux funky shchmaltz.

Fucking hell, what's next? I suppose I'll have to go and get some Tin Machine eh? Well it's either that or straight to "Never Let Me Down" and I don't think I'm quite ready for that yet :(

On we go then! See you here soon!
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 27 Aug 2016, 20:48

I ordered Tin Machine 2 a few weeks ago and it's arrived. I opened it up, and the package sleeve literally, literally smells of shit. It's a second hand copy, but even so, I think I can reasonably expect a CD insert to not smell of shit!
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Moleskin » 28 Aug 2016, 11:25

The 2cd edition includes Real Cool World, which would have brightened the album. I edited the record down, as for Outside. If I can find my track list I'll post it.

I Feel Free is the most pointless thing ever.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Moleskin » 28 Aug 2016, 11:33

These two records (outside and black tie) are too long, and most of the individual tracks are too long.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Moleskin » 28 Aug 2016, 13:17

Here's my edit of BT:WN which dates from before the release of The Next Day. Maybe I should revisit someday.

Side 1
1. You’ve Been Around
2. Jump They Say
3. Black Tie: White Noise
4. Miracle Goodnight

Side 2
1. Don’t Let Me Down and Down
2. Real Cool World
3. Lucy Can’t Dance
4. The Wedding Song
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 28 Aug 2016, 18:32

BTWN is not for me I'm afraid.
However, I am playing Tin Machine 2 and I LIKE IT
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby HarryIrene » 30 Aug 2016, 11:16

Some really good and thoughtful pieces of writing on these albums so far. Good discussion on Outside 1: which is one of my favourite albums from Bowie. All the aforementioned criticisms are valid. It is overlong, vague in concept and at times lacking in memorable melodies. However I love its awkwardness and knottiness. There is so much dark energy going on in places on this album and it saw Bowie really re-engage with his pre-80's persona in a thrilling way. The art murder concept was a bit tenuous to say the least but the performances, arrangements and playing are superb. The title track, Hearts Filthy Lesson, Oxford Town and Spaceboy are classics in my estimation. Strangers When We Meet is a great song but it was not meant to be on the album and added at the last minute at the record companies urging. It doesn't reallt fit but I like it anyway. Buddha is the only Bowie album I do not have so I should get it to hear the other version. The only songs I have heard from BOS are the ones on the All Saints Instrumental Compilation (which is excellent).

In terms of Eno's input, I believe it is sizeable. There is apparently literally hours of unrealased material Eno has from these sessions, as it was meant to be a trilogy. He has talked about the 2nd album 'Contamination' a few times, and that he wants to go through the tapes to put it together. It was something him and Bowie had discussed periodically on their e-mail exchanges and were enthusiastic about; but sadly if it does happen David can no longer work with him on it.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 31 Aug 2016, 21:57

HarryIrene wrote:Some really good and thoughtful pieces of writing on these albums so far. Good discussion on Outside 1: which is one of my favourite albums from Bowie. All the aforementioned criticisms are valid. It is overlong, vague in concept and at times lacking in memorable melodies. However I love its awkwardness and knottiness. There is so much dark energy going on in places on this album and it saw Bowie really re-engage with his pre-80's persona in a thrilling way. The art murder concept was a bit tenuous to say the least but the performances, arrangements and playing are superb. The title track, Hearts Filthy Lesson, Oxford Town and Spaceboy are classics in my estimation. Strangers When We Meet is a great song but it was not meant to be on the album and added at the last minute at the record companies urging. It doesn't reallt fit but I like it anyway. Buddha is the only Bowie album I do not have so I should get it to hear the other version. The only songs I have heard from BOS are the ones on the All Saints Instrumental Compilation (which is excellent).

In terms of Eno's input, I believe it is sizeable. There is apparently literally hours of unrealased material Eno has from these sessions, as it was meant to be a trilogy. He has talked about the 2nd album 'Contamination' a few times, and that he wants to go through the tapes to put it together. It was something him and Bowie had discussed periodically on their e-mail exchanges and were enthusiastic about; but sadly if it does happen David can no longer work with him on it.



Hey! I missed this. Thanks for playing!
I was in a rush, initially, to finish all these albums. The awful realisation has dawned on me, that once I do that there is nothing left. No 'new' Bowie for me, ever. Once I was hit by that, I slowed down. What a ghastly thought.
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