David Bowie: Black Tie, White Noise (1993)
“Black Tie, White Noise” sees Bowie reuniting with “Let’s Dance” producer Nile Rodgers in an attempt to create “a new kind of melodic form of house [music].” Spiders from Mars veteran Mick Ronson is also brought in, working with Bowie for the first time in decades, as is Tin machine alum Reeves Gabrels.
Normally, I make a point of listening to these albums at least two or three times, but like “Never Let Me Down”, but I just couldn’t do it this time. Maybe it’s something about Bowie working with Rodgers that I just don’t like, or else the fact that I am not a big fan of dance music, particularly house.
For me, this is very uninteresting music: repetitive in structure, uncomplicated in harmony, and with lost of pounding four-on-the-floor rhythms. Bowie is featured on saxophone quite a bit, and I often find the melodies he chooses to play quite grating. Though his line in “Miracle Goodnight” sounds so much like the theme from “Sanford & Son” that I had to resist cringing the whole time. There’s also of plodding use of early-’90s sampling technology, e.g., snippets of spoken-word that repeat endlessly. And the cover of Cream’s “I Feel Free” is very typical ’90s R&B “let’s reimagine a classic” bombast that, for me, sucks all the life out of the song. The bonus track, “Lucy Can’t Dance”, may be one of the worst Bowie songs I’ve ever heard.
Again, it could be that this album isn’t objectively bad, but just in a style that does nothing for me. Mostly, I found myself missing Tin Machine and eager to get to “Earthling” and later albums.