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

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 18 Oct 2016, 19:31

I'll be back on this this weekend.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Snarfyguy » 18 Oct 2016, 21:25

Moleskin wrote: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

I like this album generally, although you're correct there's too much of it. I'll get back to you with my own edit (can't remember it off the top of my head).
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Snarfyguy » 19 Oct 2016, 15:58

Bowie’s acid jazz album, this suffers from a really dated stylistic approach. At least he plays a fair amount of sax on it.

I’d reduce it to seven tracks and add on the The Wedding Song just for the sake of symmetry.

The Wedding
I Feel Free
Black Tie, White Noise
Jump, They Say

Night Flights
Miracle Goodnight
Don’t Let Me Down and Down
The Wedding Song
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Black Tie' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 30 Oct 2016, 02:05

Tin Machine 2 then!
A lot of this is some of what should fall into some of my favourite Bowie moments - rocking out man - but there is something about this album that I can't really connect with and I'll probably find myself thinking about that as I write this. I've actually listened to it quite a lot in the past few weeks and didn't feel that it was right to do a review where I pretended to be excited as I heard songs for the first time (or at least the first time in a long time.) I should probably do that for the rest of the albums I listen to.

'Baby Universal' ( a Bowie/Gabrels composition) is a little cracker which undoubtedly should lead the album and will get your attention, which is then followed by 'One Shot' which sounds as the credits read - a hotch potch of everyone in the band having a go. It is vaguely rocky MOR buying-jeans-at-Macy's music, and I won't lose anything by never hearing it again.

'You Belong in Rock n Roll' is verging on being a great song. If I had written it, I would be happy as all fucking shit, trust me, but knowing what Bowie is capable of, I'm waiting for him to burst out of this like a glamour model from an oversized birthday cake and yet the lid juuuuuuuuust stays on long enough for you to see the icing cracking but then it never happens. Shame, because it's fucking overflowing with potential.

The completely, completely unnecessary cover of 'If There Is Something' is quite hard to come to terms with. I don't generally think that there are many songs that shouldn't be covered, I mean everything is game. But, you know - it's not as if ITIS is not a sublime piece of ass already, with Ferry's 'I would put roses round your door' lighting up the air like a fucking sunrise. Just no. NO.

'Amlapura' is quite a lovely ditty, with more than a nod to some of the foppish guitar of the Space Oddity era - which regrettably goes a little bit to shit with some slidy waaaaah waaaah rocking out guitar. Yeah yeah we know David you were doing something DIFFERENT.

'Betty Wrong' kind of ambles along, which actually reminds me quite a lot of Duran Duran - an effect I am pretty fucking sure he was not looking for.

'You Can't Talk' - again, written by all four of them - just sounds like a rudderless ship. It bounces in one ear and out the other with no lasting impression.

I'm trying to tell if the bluesy overtones of 'Stateside' are ironic. That might sound like a strange thing to say, but it sounds almost like it might be. It does it no favours if it is.

The depressing subject matter of 'Shopping for Girls' is unavoidably the focal point of the song, but it's carried by an interesting tune with some sweet and understated guitar work.

'A Big Hurt' is a fevered number with nothing memorable about it all other than noise (I like noise - don't get me wrong) and 'Sorry', a slower number with strumming and sax, leaves me profoundly sorry too, but not in a good way.

'Goodbye Mr. Ed' thankfully follows on, with Bowie's voice running up and down and veering headlong into a dystopian rant (YES PLEASE BOWIE DARLING MORE OF THIS LOVE ANNA XXX)

A wee instrumental - Hammerhead - to finish - and why not. An Irish coffee, a little ice cream, not a full pudding, just a cheeky wee one.

Gah, this album. The good things: it's the right length.

I love (in retrospect) that he went on to follow wherever his heart took him. It's what life is all about. I didn't love it at the time - on the contrary. I just wanted him to do things I liked. There are a few tracks on here that are really nice, but most of it I'm unlikely to listen to again. I suppose at some point I'll take off the best things from all these albums so I don't avoid them altogether.

I had better go and buy Tin Machine 1 eh?

Till next time, pop pickers!
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine 2' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 03 Nov 2016, 18:37

I was wrong about 'You Belong in Rock n Roll.'
It's pitch perfect. It's perfectly weighed. It's restrained for a purpose. Not everything has to be all exploding la la la.
Sorry David.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine 2' review, Tin Machine next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 10 Dec 2016, 02:10

Alright, on with the show.
Tin Machine landed the other week. Giving it a spin - and actually, I don't think I have ever heard this. I had listened to Tin Machine 2, but I don't actually think I have ever listened to this album all the way through, so brand new Bowie for me on a Friday! Groovy!

"Heaven's in Here" - I suspect this album is opening with the theme it's going to carry through till the end. You don't need any explanation from me about how this all hangs - no overdubs, no fancy arse pants stuff, a supposed replica of their live sound - and this starts sweetly enough. A little Beatley, even? Stripped and simple, I think this was a single - which I have no recollection of hearing. This is nice enough - as ever, predictably, if this lacked Bowie's vocal, my attention span would be pretty short. Gabrels guitar gets right on my tits. I can hear him stroking his bellend as he hits his heights. I can't be doing.

"Tin Machine" - this starts with what sounds like samples from "WFL" but I am sure that can't be. Hmm, I'm reading here that this album started in LA, moved to Switzerland, then to Montreal then to Nassau. They may have been wanting to strip down to basics, but that clearly didn't involve acting like pop royalty. The song... a fast rock song, completely forgettable and drifting by like a vaguely interesting cloud.

"Prisoner of Love" - vaguely cascading Chinese sounding backing melody adds some interest to this otherwise forgettable tune.I can't think of anything else to say while this plays, so I'll tell you what I learnt on Wiki today - that they recorded both albums at the same time (35 songs.) Hoo boy.

" Crack City" - allegedly written about Nassau. Basic, bog standard rock and roll, and why not. Well - I can tell you why not from my perspective - that if this wasn't Bowie, I would not be listening. I would have fast forwarded the song. So far, all of these songs have one thing in common that I've just realised- absolutely none of them have anything approaching a hook. Nothing. They just start and roar and rub their frets and finish. There is nothing subtle, nothing ear catching, the only thing that catches your ear is the fact that you say "oh my God - is that David Bowie?" Sigh x 10000.

"I Can't Read" Now then - I HAVE heard this before, an acoustic version that was sent to me kindly via mix club a while ago and I LOVED it. And, it's my favourite track so far. Fabulous hook, Bowie singing a faux lament at his best, even Gabrels is winding his neck in to the appropriate degree and being a bit measured. Yeah - this is good. Bonus points, Bowie makes sexy noises at end. Winner winner chicken dinner!

"Under the God" - I'm not sure what to say about this. I got all excited as "I Can't Read'" was so good, and then it's all gone back to how it was. Shouty yelly boys. Hmmm. Wikipedia tells me that some critics said this was his best since "Scary Monsters." I don't know how anyone gets to that thought. Quite aside from being a quite appalling insult to the fantastic "Let's Dance", it suggests somehow that Scary Monsters was paving the way for Bowie waving his rock cock about. I don't doubt, with the power of hindsight, that Bowie needed to do this, but come ON.

"Amazing" - I'm pulled in by the vocal melody on this, which is sweet. But that's the only thing pulling me in. Otherwise it's bog standard slow rock, and if history is anything to go by, Gabrels will end this wanking away on his geeeeetar. Oh yeah. There he goes.

"Working Class Hero" - what's an appropriate response to your hero singing a song that you don't mind by one of his heroes? Erm.. yeah! I'll talk about something else I read on Wikipedia, which is that someone said this album was like Station to Station meets Sonic Youth! I wonder who that was? I hope they got bad gum disease and lost some molars.

"Bus Stop" - A little more spirited, short and sweet, which the whole album could have done with. I like the C&W version of this they did live.

"Pretty Thing" - Very much like the previous song, longer, like someone running down a hill going "YAAAAAAAAAAA I have a guitarrrrrrrrrr"

"Video Crime" Fucking hell. Is this album ever going to end.

"Run" - oh CHRIST - a tune. I'll put my loaded and cocked gun down from my temple. Ok -tum tee tum - nope. Ta-ra

"Sacrifice Yourself" - I may well. I may just well. Iron Maiden without the denim.

'Baby Can Dance" -I was holding out here for one last hurrah, and credit where it's due, it's not as bad as the last couple of tracks, plus it sounds like there is some cowbell on there. Hurrah!

After my not-bad experience with Tin Machine 2 that had a couple of tracks that I really didn't mind, this has been a massive disappointment. I suppose I should look at it this way, as I'm going backwards, they got better! Oh God, though. So very samey, one pitched stuff. I will listen to "I Can't Read" again, but that's it. What guff.

I ordered Never Let me Down and Tonight yesterday. Not sure if I will get to do them before Jan 10th, I would like to. I said I was going to try and do it in a year and it has a kid of symbolism I feel it's somehow important to maintain. Anyway. What a waste of an evening this has been.
*shakes fist at Heaven*
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine' review, 'NLMD' next

Postby Six String » 11 Dec 2016, 01:01

Donnie McCasslin is playing in Town tonight at the University so I'm going to go check him out. $10, so not much of a gamble and I'm sure it will be worthwhile. I might get a chance to speak to him so I'm trying to think of some Bowie questions for him.
He'll love that, eh? :P

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine' review, 'NLMD' next

Postby Hugh » 11 Dec 2016, 01:36

I've been playing the Maria Shneider version of Sue (Or InThe Season Of Crime) a lot. It is an extraordinary thing.

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine' review, 'NLMD' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 11 Dec 2016, 02:17

Hugh wrote:I've been playing the Maria Shneider version of Sue (Or InThe Season Of Crime) a lot. It is an extraordinary thing.


Me too!
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine' review, 'NLMD' next

Postby Six String » 11 Dec 2016, 05:22

It's a shame Maria and David didn't get to work on more things together. I didn't see that coming naturally but they could have done some really cool things.

Btw, Donnie was great tonight and I did talk to him after the sheo but didn't pepper him with too many questions but he said Bowie was great to work with and that he was very open to the band's suggestions and when Donnie heard Black Star he said "it sounds like us doing wha we do." It has had an incredible push on his career as you can imagine. Last week he did a stint at the Village Vanguard, tgen flew to Boston for a gig then here Friday for a rehearsal with the band the show tonight plus he did some clinics today. I picked up an earlier album of his albums (pre-Bowie) at the show and listening now. It has an interesting blend of electronics with traditional jazz instruments but he warned me it wasn't all acoustic. He had his new one tied to the Bowie movie but I only had enough $ for one.

Sorry to interrupt here but it seemed like tge best place to report this. Apologies if I was wrong. ;)

While walking to tge car I suddenly thought, I should have asked him if he knew the meaning behind Black Star. If he even knew.

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine' review, 'NLMD' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 12 Dec 2016, 03:01

Unusually speed brought both Tonight and Never Let Me Down into the post today. There have been a host of mail thefts round here - like most places round Christmas time - how disappointed someone would have been running away with this haul!

Never Let Me Down - everyone I know has told me how bad this album is, and I really only know the singles. I can barely remember any of the tracks. So this really is a complete new hearing of the non -singles.

"Day In Day Out" -Once I'm over the horror of the pictures on the inside sleeve and the words "backing rap - Mickey Rourke" on the credits, then you know, this song isn't the worst thing that I've ever listened to attentively. It's cursed, but it can't help it, with some eighties production and by that I mean, one that GLOWS with it, and I can't easily separate the video (which was awful) from the song. The drums on this sound truly dire, and one of the worst things for me is that Bowie's voice sounds like it's along for the ride, like an afterthought, despite his chest puffing word puzzles.

"Time Will Crawl" - with the slightest change of sound, with the removal of the tinnier, most mousey sounding parts of this song, this could have been a very great song indeed. I'd slice out all the horns, for a start. Oh, never mind - it is what it is. His voice is still too quiet in the mix. Maybe it's just these headphones.

"Beat of Your Drum" - There's no excuse for this whatsoever. Makes Kajagoogoo sound like Pere Ubu.

"Never Let Me Down" - I'm a bit conflicted about this song. Again, it screams eighties sound in a way that has worn very badly, but there is something about the vocal arrangement that I really, really love - and when he says "shaking like that, honey" a big fuck off grin just breaks out. I'd like to hear him do this out of this production, with a guitar and a harmonica somewhere sleazy and quiet.

"Zeroes" - This could have walked straight from Tin Machine, really. I don't know what to say about it. It's not awful, it's just there, and the eighties stick all over it like grease to plates out of a malfunctioning dishwasher. I'm trying to remove the nasty film, and imagine what the song would be if it didn't make your fingers tacky, but I can't.

"Glass Spider" :shock:

"Shining Star" :shock: :shock:

"New York's in Love" :?

I've just heard three tracks so bad that I can't think of a single thing to say about them.

Onwards then:

"87 and Cry" - :? :?

Make that four tracks

"Bang Bang" - ah, dear.

Ok - friends were correct.
You can look at it with the benefit of hindsight all you want, and with that benefit you have so much more context. But you know, this album is dire. It's not just subpar Bowie, it's dire.
In a way - now - you can look at this with some fascination, if you want to trace the journey of someone who could have spikes of creativity to such extremes over the course of a lifetime. What a hideous thing it would have been if he had bowed out on this album, and opened a pottery in Yarmouth. I guess you can say this for certain - you never know when your mojo is coming back.

This CD is getting hurled in the cupboard and the door is getting shut.

"Tonight" to follow...probably not tonight, though.
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Re: A 2016 project - Doing Bowie Backwards

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 12 Dec 2016, 03:02

The Modernist wrote:I was reading some revisionist thing about 'Never Let Me Down' the other day, that it's actually pretty good. Haven't heard it myself.


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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'Tin Machine' review, 'NLMD' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 12 Dec 2016, 14:17

Six String wrote:It's a shame Maria and David didn't get to work on more things together. I didn't see that coming naturally but they could have done some really cool things.

Btw, Donnie was great tonight and I did talk to him after the sheo but didn't pepper him with too many questions but he said Bowie was great to work with and that he was very open to the band's suggestions and when Donnie heard Black Star he said "it sounds like us doing wha we do." It has had an incredible push on his career as you can imagine. Last week he did a stint at the Village Vanguard, tgen flew to Boston for a gig then here Friday for a rehearsal with the band the show tonight plus he did some clinics today. I picked up an earlier album of his albums (pre-Bowie) at the show and listening now. It has an interesting blend of electronics with traditional jazz instruments but he warned me it wasn't all acoustic. He had his new one tied to the Bowie movie but I only had enough $ for one.

Sorry to interrupt here but it seemed like tge best place to report this. Apologies if I was wrong. ;)

While walking to tge car I suddenly thought, I should have asked him if he knew the meaning behind Black Star. If he even knew.


:)
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Moleskin » 12 Dec 2016, 19:56

It is the only Bowie album I don't own a copy of. So dreadful the EMI CD is missing a song from the original issue. "Too Dizzy" (iirc) removed at Bowie's behest.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Ranking Ted » 12 Dec 2016, 23:22

I'm glad you've listened to those so I don't have to. I have everything up to Let's Dance and from Outside onwards notwithstanding Buddha but the stuff in between never appealed, give or take the odd song (e.g. the ace Loving The Alien, a few others). I'm now convinced this was right. Nb there's a version of Time Will Crawl on the very good extended Nothing Has Changed comp that's very decent too...

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 12 Dec 2016, 23:55

Minnie: "listens to bad Bowie so you don't have to"
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Ranking Ted » 13 Dec 2016, 00:18

It's definitely got a ring to it...

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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 13 Dec 2016, 16:32

Ranking Ted wrote:I'm glad you've listened to those so I don't have to. I have everything up to Let's Dance and from Outside onwards notwithstanding Buddha but the stuff in between never appealed, give or take the odd song (e.g. the ace Loving The Alien, a few others). I'm now convinced this was right. Nb there's a version of Time Will Crawl on the very good extended Nothing Has Changed comp that's very decent too...


Time Will Crawl is SO close to being great.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 13 Dec 2016, 16:33

I'm listening to Reality at the minute - it's a cracker.
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Re: Doing Bowie Backwards:'NLMD' review, 'Tonight' next

Postby Minnie Cheddars » 07 Jan 2017, 18:52

A year then, and I managed - finally - to get everything listened to. Doing this review is a little cheeky as I did get this album at the time, but I thought it was worthy of deeper thought and fuck it, I might as well add the top coat.

I don't think many people will argue that 'Loving the Alien' is one of the album's standout tracks and a great opener. I seem to remember at the time I got the 12 inch too, which seemed to go on forever and was actually pretty fantastic, but I can't find that on YouTube. I was surprised to see that it's one of only two songs written entirely by Bowie. It's just a cracking tune - with a lovely distant air, as if you're listening through someone else's ears (I can't explain what I mean.)

'Don't Look Down' stops just short of being an abomination, and God only knows what David was thinking of when he covered 'God Only Knows'. I'm pro-Bowie wailing, but this is agonising stuff.

I've been mulling over his version of 'Tonight' for a while. At the time, it seemed sweet and affectionate, but listening to it today, time has not been kind. I read today that he deeply regretted doing it, and I think that that's a fair assessment. 'Neighbourhood Threat' is similarly hindered by eighties screechy -naw guitars and drums sounds, and I'm sure Bowie had second thoughts about that too.

'Blue Jean' is pretty fucking great, isn't it? I mean, what's wrong with it?

'Tumble and Twirl' sounds like someone took African Night Flight and put it through a time machine, added nasty horns and stripped it off any tone, depth or substance. For a brilliant summary of this song, and in many ways a summary of the whole album, I would urge you to go an read the Pushing Ahead of the Dame entry about this:

https://bowiesongs.wordpress.com/tag/tumble-and-twirl/


which made me laugh like a drain.

'I Keep Forgettin' is enough to make one kick a kitten, and the album finishes with 'Dancing with the Big Boys', Iggy and Bowie having some goodbye fun, in a tune that if you heard as incidental music in Miami Vice, you would not be surprised.

Ach - years later, I remained right about this album. Two great tracks - well, one great one and one good one - and lot of dross.

________________


That's that then, eh? I've now done all studio Bowie albums up and down. There is nowt else. Ahead is a dark hole with a 'closed for business' sign.
I am very, very happy I did this. Stuff I found out along the way:

Bowie did some absolutely glorious stuff after Let's Dance, and anybody who dropped off at that point is missing out on some great material if they haven't looked further. I would implore you to do so, if you haven't already.

However, the material is patchy, there is not much of it, and the chances of being satisfied with an entire album are probably slim. Select tracks from each album are likely to be the way forward for me.

I like to think I understand what he was thinking a little better during all those times in his life after listening to all this music. I certainly understand why he left music behind for so long.

Right. Off to get drunk.
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