From the Vault...


David Bowie
"Black Tie White Noise"

© Savage/BMG Records

Year of Release: 1993

track listing
  • The Wedding
  • You've Been Around
  • I Feel Free
  • Black Tie White Noise
  • Jump They Say
  • Nite Flights
  • Pallas Athena
  • Miracle Goodnight
  • Don't Let Down
    And Down
  • Looking For Lester
  • I Know It's Gonna
    Happen Someday
  • The Wedding Song
  • Jump They Say
    (Alternative Mix)
  • Lucy Can't Dance

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    David Bowie
    "Black Tie White Noise"

    David Bowie returns this week, with his 1993 release, Black Tie White Noise. A different approach in his music at this time, where he and co-producer Niles Rodgers decided to make an album consisting of House music. Rodgers and Bowie had worked previously, on the album (1983). The Let's Dance album was a hit success, achieving the title track as a #1 hit, and the introduction of a guitarist, by the name of Stevie Ray Vaughan. In taking a different direction musically, Bowie's take on the "new" house music takes Bowie into another dimension.

    The entrance of "The Wedding" starts out as introduction theme music, yet it's an instrumental house music song, quite different in what we have heard in Bowie's music. Bowie had just married, as "The Wedding" reflected on this. "You've Been Around" is upbeat, with a different vocal approach in what we normally hear from Bowie. his(This song was meant to be included with the band Tin Machine, which Bowie had recorded with previously.) Despite the difference in vocals for Bowie, on the next track, Bowie's unmistakable voice is heard, on "I Feel Fine." A song with the new house sound, his vocals are compared to another previous hit he had, the song from the movie Cat People, "(Putting Out Fire). The title track "Black Tie White Noise" was based on when Bowie was married, and it was during the week of the verdict of Rodney King, which was followed by riots in Los Angeles. Bowie and his wife had arrived in LA. Singer Al B. Sure helps out on this tune. Bowie recorded this song with a tough, edgy tone, not to be compared to Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson's "Ebony And Ivory," for the 1990s decade. Yes, it is not compared to the Paul & Michael tune, as the riots in LA were hard to reckon with.

    "Jump They Say" is easily recognized as a Bowie tune, (his voice stands out), This song is autobiographical; as it is about his stepbrother Terry, who had committed suicide after being hospitalized for schizophenia in the 1980s. "Nite Flights" sets a good pace musically for the present music at the time. It fits Bowie's vocals too, as Bowie is adjusting to the new sound. "Pallas Athena" however, sounds theatrical, more techno. Way, way different. It's more of an insrumental, a movie soundtrack sounding song. "Miracle Goodnight" adjusts again to the new music, yet I can hear a vocal resemblance to that, of Warren Zevon, more than Bowie's recognizable voice. The background vocalists are also a standout, as it sounds like background vocals for an R&B tune. And speaking of R&B, the next song, definitely sounds like it - "Don't Let Me Down And Down." It works magically for Bowie. And somehow, I can't help but hear a reflection of Billy Idol's "Eyes Without A Face" during this song.

    "Looking For Lester" also has the feel of R&B, and, like "Don't Let Me Down And Down," it also has touches of Jazz, with the horns (which was also heard on the previous track). "Looking For Lester" is an instrumental jam. (From reading about this album, it is learned that Bowie played the saxophone on this album.) "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" also works magic for Bowie, an emotional sounding song, not house music at all. It's emotional, and soulful. "The Wedding Song" continues from the first track, with its house music style. (Think of this track as the closing theme for the album; and as in the closing for a movie.) This track is better than the opening, and shines for Bowie, with the new music in sound.

    Two Bonus Tracks are next: An alternate mix of "Jump They Say," which is a rocking and upbeat mix. "Lucy Can't Dance" is another rocking and upbeat track, making it work again for Bowie. Being a bonus track, it may or may not have mixed well with the original tracks from the album. Other than that, it is a song that works for the new music that Bowie and Rodgers wanted to incorporate.

    With the new house music involved, David Bowie's Black Tie White Noise starts out slow, but gets quite impressive towards its end. Adjusting to the new sound in music was quite the challenge for Bowie. The highlights are: "I Feel Fine," "Don't Let Me Down And Down," and "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday." Knowing that it would happen someday, David Bowie left us, in 2016. He left behind a great legacy of music. Black Tie White Noise is a very good album. It gets quite noticable towards its end. Bowie adjusted to the times on this album, with good results. Some songs better than others, the album proved that Bowie could incorporate to the new music of the time, with the help of Niles Rodgers. As I listen to this album, the beginning of it does compare to that of the band Duran Duran. This is quite noticeable, as Niles Rodgers had worked with Duran Duran. And for Rodgers' involvement with R&B, he had worked with the group Chic, in the 1970s (R&B, Disco). As noted, Bowie adjusted to the new music, and it worked. Bowie's music has always been magic. He left behind the magic of his albums, his music. His legacy will always live on.

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    Previous Review: #1770
    Anita O'Day--A Song Stylist In Swingland
    Next Review: #1772
    Soundtrack--Hair-The Original Broadway Cast Recording