How would you rate "Outside" (1995) by David Bowie?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Haristar, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. California Couple

    California Couple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    mister hoffman should censor the word filler. it is like the f word of music. And always used out of meaning. Bowie had over 4 hours of music to put on 1 album. How can anyone seriously say he used music he thought was junk to fill out the album?
     
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  2. Tsomi

    Tsomi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lille, France
    Here's Bowie answer on the subject, quite funny actually:

    ATN: Is it harder to get people to listen to anything challenging today?

    Bowie: The attention spans (are shorter). Half the reason people listen so intently to Earthling is that it is exactly pretty much half the length of Outside. Outside was 76 minutes. And as soon as I released that I thought, “It’s much too ****ing long. It’s gonna die.” There’s too much on it. I really should have made it two CDs. I think you can overwhelm an audience. I think the attention span is quite short, although I used to like the fact that there was 20 minutes on each side of the album. What did happen was that any rubbish really stood out. (laughs) You had to be very careful about putting sort-of adequate pieces on or mediocre pieces. Because they really would show themselves when there was only 20 minutes a side. So it’s really quite a discipline to work at 40, 45 minutes. Because it all better be good, because it’ll really stand out if it isn’t. With 76 you could feasibly–of course, not in my case–but you could feasibly get away with inferior material (laughs)
     
  3. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    That's interesting - he's putting down his own work in an effort to be self-effacing and to make it look like he doesn't care that it "flopped" (- it got to #8 in the UK album chart). He is certainly bigging up his latest (but inferior) album Earthling by dismissing 1.Outside for being a lot longer in length.

    Also interesting is that at the time Bowie had wanted to put out a lot more of the 27 hours of material on an "archival, limited edition album", and had originally considered a triple cd album release, but was ultimately dissuaded by "The Record Company".
    Personally, I think it's strong all the way through, and hope that more of the Montreux sessions are released in a big box à la Station To Station - only this time they really could justify the size!

    I do think that it is one of Bowie's most (if not the most) personal albums.

    It epitomises him as an artist. His love of art runs through the whole.

    We know he was a talented artist and art collector, and was proud to be on the editorial board of Modern Painters magazine, but this is the only one of his albums which features his own painting - a self portrait - the original of which he kept in his private collection. The storyline concerns the extremes that art can be taken to. One of the characters is an 'art drug dealer' and another uses human body parts to create art.

    He was known for creating a new character/persona for each album, and for this album he created not one but a whole bunch (he even mentioned a total of 25 over the whole sessions) and these are realised in the artwork by distorted images of himself.

    Bowie's love of the internet also runs through these sessions (inc Leon) at it's core.

    Bowie extends his trademark cut-up technique not just to lyric composition but to the whole album - music was improvised, cut up and reassembled laboriously by himself and Eno over months. It was Bowie's preference to make the overall feel loud and attacking rather than Eno's preferences for minimal and ambient.

    From Tiffany Naiman in the book "David Bowie A Critical Perspective":

    "It is made clear in every interview and most biographies of David Bowie that he was in full control of the structuring of Outside that occurred in the studio both during the recording and the mixing of the album; it was his sonic sculpture and no one else's. Bowie and Eno, of course, partnered in the studio and spent months cutting and reshaping the extensive tapes of improvisation into the end product which Virgin Records finally agreed to release in the United States. However, Bowie's Baroque tendencies ultimately won over Eno's desire for a more minimal approach with Eno stating, "The only thing missing was the nerve to be very simple" (Thompson,2006: 135). In the end, the final mixes were loud, clamorous and violent layers of sound and music that pummeled listeners, grabbing them by the throat and never letting go until the album's final track 'Strangers When We Meet', making it an album that was not easy to listen to and seemed to sonically attack from every angle."
     
  4. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I would rate it as pretty great, but I haven't listened to it for a few years. I do remember, as others have said, a few really great tracks and some filler. It was a nice change from the post-Scary Monsters "mainstream pop" era.
     
  5. California Couple

    California Couple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Yes, it was to be a triple album and with over twenty hours of music it would make the most INSANE deluxe box ever. It would be like The Beatles Get Back tapes on crack.

    I signed a free petition to have them officially released. You can give money if you want, but the petition below is free.


    Sony: Publication Of The Entire David Bowie "OUTSIDE" Album Era And Outtakes
     
  6. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    The People have spoken!
     
  7. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

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  8. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH
  9. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Exactly my thoughts. I'm actually really looking forward to the 90s box.
     
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  10. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    You'll like this one. A bit hard to read though. I keep forgetting about BTWN because it's so near to the 80s, but it is a really good album. For me BTWN, Buddha, Outside and Earthling are nearly up to his 70s standards, and in the case of Outside I think it is up there. This writer I don't think likes BTWN but he admires it.

    "He may have been surprised that the world didn’t end. People seemed to like it [Tin Machine], or at least tolerate it with more grace than they had the Glass Spider stuff. That alone seemed to cause a change in Bowie’s public persona. Under pressure from his label, the photoshoots for Tin Machine had still been stagey, glossy – George Michael stubble, not grunge stubble. But now something clicked. With his chapter-closing Sound+Vision 1990 touring retrospective and obligatory back-catalogue reissues out of the way, Bowie-watchers watched as he suddenly went dark...
    But if the lights were off at the mansion on the hill, it was only because strange things were cooking down in the cellar. The decks were cleared. It was time to get back to work. Time to make up for that lost decade."


    “Paddy? What a fantastic death abyss!” Why the 1990s were David Bowie’s REAL creative hot streak | Matt Potter
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
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  11. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    I believe most of it, if not all, will get a proper release down the line, probably closer to its 25 anniversary. "Hours of unreleased Bowie music" is far, far too much of a selling hook these days now that he is no longer with us. Even though it is very challenging music.
     
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  12. moomaloo

    moomaloo Forum Resident

    1. Outside is utterly essential. It just is! My only complaint is that he never completed the work with the promised follow-up album(s)

    I saw the tour (with Morrissey) at the NEC and it was superb - Wonderfully and hilariously confrontational. The audience was largely made up of people expecting the 80s 'pop hits' (and dressed like they were going to dinner on a cruise ship). About 15 minutes into the Bowie set they started leaving in large numbers and Mr B kept walking up to the front of the stage and waving them off with a massive smile on his face. It was a creative and cultural re-birth and no one can tell me that isn't exactly what he intended. An 'art crime' indeed!

    PS - can anyone tell me how much I'm going to have to pay to get the full album on vinyl in the UK? I have the highlights album (and the CD of course - a few copies of that...) but I need the whole thing after immersing myself in this thread...!
     
  13. Curveboy

    Curveboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York City
    Essential Bowie.
     
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  14. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    It's not good news I'm afraid:
    DAVID BOWIE "OUTSIDE" FRIDAY MUSIC TRIFOLD DOUBLE WHITE VINYL LP RARE SEALED | eBay
    David Bowie - 1. Outside

    but there are so many reissues recently it has got to be reissued as a double before the 90s boxed set if we ever get one.
     
  15. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    Quite surprising to see - knowing how you despise Let's Dance - that you actually really like Black Tie White Noi-oy-oy-ze. All the good intentions on that album got choked in that forced, amost fake sounding production with mechanised vocals. Such a shame that tracks like Nite Flights, Jump ended up on this one.
     
  16. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    I am a huge Scott Walker fan - hence I love You've Been Around and Nite Flights. I think the vocals on those are amazing. Jump They Say is a great single and quite innovative for Bowie post Scary Monsters. Pallas Athena is my favourite track though - I love the way it's like nothing else and it was a taster of the future Bowie (Outside/Earthling) and it made possible the Tao Jones Index gigs which I really like. The Wedding is OK too.

    I have nothing against Nile Rodgers - I love Chic and that gig at Glastonbury was fantastic, but I hate Let's Dance for being a capitulation to the pop world devoid of either artiness or danceability. When it came out I was so disappointed - I never imagined Bowie could make an LP that wasn't ahead of the pack. People were saying it was Young Americans 2, but I loved Young Americans and hated Let's Dance - it wasn't in the same league - the art was missing and there were no points at which you would hear his vocal and think "Wow!". Nothing like that on there. His image for that album was awful too - with those stupid pastel school blazers and the silly yellow bubble perm. Everybody I hung around with at school thought Bowie had lost it.
    Later, I really felt deflated by the Serious Moonlight gig I went to and cursed my luck that I hadn't been old enough to see him live in the 70s.

    On BTWN he is trying to do something different and he ditched the "aim for the charts at any cost" mentality (nevertheless, Jump went top 10 and BTWN got to #1) and what he came up with was the beginning of a great rebirth for his music over the 90s.
    Actually my girlfriend at the time got me into this album, I'd given up on Bowie by then and wasn't buying his stuff, but she kept saying it was a good album. I didn't believe her, but I went back to it a few years later after I discovered Outside was so freaking good.

    I never play my vinyl Let's Dance (about 6 times since 1983) and I never bought it on cd. When it comes on the radio (which is all the time) I go out of my way not to hear it.
     
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  17. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH

    To me, Black Tie White Noise sounds nothing like Let's Dance.
    Thank heavens.

    There's a lot of layers to BTWN, much to discover. It's a great record.
    Let's Dance starts with some of Bowie's worst singles and pretty much stays on that path. IMO.
    I especially cringe when I hear "Modern Love". Ick.
     
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  18. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    Same here, don't understand its fans. Somehow I can't get into BTWN again since release, it does have layers that are confusing.
     
  19. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    It's why I've never listened to anything between Let's Dance - BTWN, and haven't listened to those two albums either.
     
  20. thos

    thos Well-Known Member

    Love the whole Black Tie White Noise album, great production, and a fun ride from start to finish. Love it.
     
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  21. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    I never liked that one either. It sounded like something that Phil Collins would have done.
     
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  22. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH
    Good article, thanks! :righton:

    Anyone who ever said Bowie was "copying NIN", or "jumping on the drum and bass train" should read this.
     
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  23. California Couple

    California Couple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    I think a lot of people are too influenced by the video format. You cannot let video rule your identity of the music.

    If you don't like fifties rock and roll or Motown, I could see not liking Modern Love.
    China Girl has an irresistible beat, sounds like it could have been on Scary Monsters.
    Criminal World is cool and Cat People rocks!
    Let's Dance is a song for the masses.

    But none of that really sounds like Black Tie.
     
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  24. California Couple

    California Couple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    NIN would not exist without Low.
     
  25. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    for the "ick" factor i'd look to Black Tie White Noise's Al B Sure cameo (and the worst lyrics on a Bowie track ever), Don't Let Me Down and Down, and Miracle Goodnight which is basically BTWN's Shake It.
    Jump They Say and You've Been Around are the only tracks i'd save from BTWN.
     
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