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

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

  1. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH
    Not his lyrics.
    I'm not bothered by the Al B Sure cameo, though I agree it's not great.
    "Shake It"? Nah. That song is just annoying. "Miracle Goodnight" sounds a lot better to me, even if it's not one of the better songs on BTWN. It's still better than nearly everything on Let's Dance. To these ears.
    BTWN is at it's best when the songs are layered to the hilt, which is much of the record.

    But, whatever. We all have opinions and that's cool. Curious, do you like "Modern Love"?
     
  2. California Couple

    California Couple Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
    Miracle Goodnight is such a bizarre song and not representative of the album, not to me.
     
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  3. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH
    Yeah, it's a lesser song from BTWN.
     
  4. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    i was referring to Black Tie White Noise lyrics. Don't Let Me Down and Down was a favour to his wife, a dreadful song written by her friend. the original is unlistenable and there was no musical reason to indulge her.
    but that's production and IMO it's overcooked in that department which usually implies there are weaknesses beneath. both of my favourite tracks would benefit from some layers being stripped away. BTWN has been my least favourite album for some time, and i've only slowly come around to liking some of it. it was a big album for me in a very negative way, as it was the album that made me "give up" on Bowie and i actually returned it to the store and didn't buy a new Bowie album again for a decade. that's how much i disliked it.
    i do, although i know it's a divisive track. i was eighteen in '83, music was the biggest thing in my life and while i knew it was a commercial album unlike anything he'd done before, Bowie was still relatively new to me (four years into my "fanhood"). i was also a fledgling guitar player and SRV's work on Let's Dance was a major plus and i'd do my best to play along. and it being the '80s, the production was of the time and hadn't yet become painful. so, as is often the case, nostalgia and time/place play a big part in our perception of the music. in simple terms Let's Dance did not alter my view on Bowie, whereas BTWN signalled "the end". the preceding few albums and the S+V tour had certainly weakened my admiration, so it was inevitable i suppose.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
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  5. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH
    I first heard Bowie on the radio when I was about 11. "Ch ch ch changes".
    Next, at 12, I heard the strains of Ziggy coming thorough my brother's bedroom door. The rest is history.
    I thought, in real time during the 70s, that he just kept releasing (mostly) excellent records. In 1983 I had just graduated from college and was majorly disappointed in Let's Dance. And then the next two records were horrendous.
    It wasn't until Tin Machine and BTWN that I cared again. And then further into in the 90s Bowie blew me away. Again.

    Different lives, different perspectives.
    But we're music lovers, so it's all good.:cheers:
     
  6. Mother

    Mother Forum Resident

    Location:
    Melbourne
    Some great moments, not sure about the the concept theme running through the album.
    Would've made a good single album (albeit a very long one - hey, this was the mid-90s after all!).
    And I would leave off the very good "Strangers When We Meet" due to the superior version being on Buddha:
    1. Outside
    2. The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    3. A Small Plot of Land
    4. Hallo Spaceboy
    5. The Motel
    6. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
    7. No Control
    8. The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (as Beauty)
    9. Wishful Beginnings
    10. We Prick You
    11. I'm Deranged
    12. Thru' These Architects Eyes
     
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  7. strummer101

    strummer101 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lakewood OH
    So basically, you don't like the segues, the short prelude, and one full song.
    I think you might like it more than you think you might like it. :agree:;)
     
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  8. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    like most UK households we had the 1975 reissue of Space Oddity, and my elder brother had bought Rebel Rebel the year before and that was a big one for me, especially with Queen Bitch on the b-side (i was keen to flip singles to see what treasures they held even then). i distinctly recall hearing Starman on a weekend at an aunt's, which may be my earliest Bowie memory, so i was definitely "ready" for Bowie when music started to become my main passion. for context i only had two albums prior to Lodger, Kate Bush's The Kick Inside and Lionheart, and at the time i bought my first Bowie album i also bought Roxy Music's Manifesto and, less proudly with hindsight, Tubeway Army's Are "Friends" Electric? in this context Lodger is less weird that it seems to others, i clearly had a taste for quirky british pop/rock at the time.

    i do remember thinking Let's Dance (the single) was a departure and very commercial, but not to the point that i was going to abandon Bowie (in 1983 i was on a big Stones' trip and was finding things to like in Under Cover!), and it would be wrong to claim now that i didn't enjoy the album and continue to do so, with the nostalgia/SRV aspects playing a big role.

    however, i knew immediately that Tonight was a big step down, despite liking the Blue Jean single (still do). NLMD was better at the time as i wasn't averse to the sound then and i liked its energy and pop hooks. Tin Machine i was 50/50 on then as i am now. some great stuff but plenty of filler. and then came BTWN and it did nothing for me, other than make me think it was the end. in the '90s my taste had become more "lo-fi" and "indie" based, and later i became partial to the Chicago "post rock" scene. i'd hear the Bowie singles and didn't take to them (hated the Pet Shop Boys so that remix suggested i was right to write off Bowie at the time), and i bought into the view that he was trying to keep up with the current sounds. as i had no interest in The Prodigy, Goldie et al, i passed on Earthling too. "hours..." passed me by entirely and it was Heathen that had friends tell me it was time to listen again. i was in Borders in Charing Cross Road one day when it was playing, so i stuck around and listened to it all... it was "ok" to me then, but very slick compared to my then current tastes.

    to conclude this indulgence, it was the decision to pick up Nicholas Pegg's book in 2003 that made me reassess all that i'd missed. the key tracks that sparked this were the re-recordings of Shadow Man and Conversation Piece which provided a bridge between the old and the new. i slowly filled in the gaps in the collection and his ten year hiatus made it possible for me to take the time i'd "lost" in the previous decade. 1.Outside is the best of the albums i'd ignored, and BTWN remains rooted to the bottom of the pile...for now.
     
  9. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    I went back to BTWNonly last week for something like a fourth. I didn't think much of it, so it came off the shelf to be relegated to a storage box.
     
  10. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    Always interesting to read where it started. How about live shows ? Did the obsession make you join the crowds at all ?
     
  11. Alexlotl

    Alexlotl Forum Resident

    Location:
    York, UK
    Perhaps we need a thread: "Fantastic Voyage - where did your Bowie journey begin?"
     
  12. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    this is where i fall short... just one live show, S+V tour at London Docklands. it didn't leave much of an impression besides the knowledge that i was in the same room as the great man. as much as i like Belew on record, the band was too small to do justice to the set-list (the obvious example his lead guitar/sax on Young Americans) and the image of both Bowie and Belew left something to be desired in that period. previous tours came a little too early for me due to age/location. by the time i was back into him, he had retired from the stage. but...and this will sound like sour grapes...i think of Bowie as a studio artist and i rarely listen to his live recordings, official or otherwise, and i don't watch the numerous live recordings i have either. i haven't managed to watch the whole of A Reality Tour after all this time.
     
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  13. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Forum Resident

    Location:
    Haren, DM
    That's pretty much the impression that I got by watching which topics you commented on and not at all. Although I was born too late to see him live in the glorious 70's the shows I did see I'm glad I did, even the 80's ones. Since the Outside tour he began digging a bit deeper in his back catalog and revived tracks in new arrangements. Only very few made it on official releases. Since maybe even the 80's I think Bowie did his most interesting work on stage, more so starting with the Outside tour. His on stage performance and presence got him re-established as a major artist from say Glastonbury. I don't mind watching YouTube footage with less brilliant audio at all. On the contrary, without it I think my understanding of Bowie would really be incomplete. It's a fantastic voyage indeed.
     
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  14. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Some songs work best live, imo. Take Rebel Rebel, the version on the Reality tour is my go-to version. Mind you, I like David Live, Stage, and the rest - so take that for what it's worth. I often enjoy live recordings better without visuals. Mind you, nothing can get me to endure the horrific Glass Spider tour again. :D
     
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  15. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    i don't care for the Glastonbury performance or much of his later live "persona"... i also don't enjoy watching his band post-'78. guess i'm weird. i've numerous live recordings documenting every tour but i've never heard a live version that betters the studio recording.
    fair to say we view Bowie very differently. i really dislike this crowd-pleasing singalong rendition, ditto the later versions of "Heroes" which turned it into a pub rock knees up meets festival anthem. ugh.
     
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  16. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    It would seem so. Heroes is such a strange song, because it's often sung these days completely out of context with the lyrics - people seem to hook into the "We can be Heroes" line, ignoring the rest of the verses.

    The newer version of Rebel Rebel though is just explosive - the main riff doesn't initially appear, the song builds to it, and opens up with the chorus. It's an arrangement I think finally does the entire thing justice.
     
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  17. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    i'm really not into arrangements that require crowd participation. and the riff is a classic, to not start with it seems to miss the point.
     
  18. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    Hm, it doesn't require audience participation. There's a version recorded, I think, in the studio as a bonus track on Reality (been a while, maybe it's another live version, I guess). We agree with riff is classic, which is with the pent up anticipation to get to it works so well with the new arrangement.

    But generally, I'm not one who believes anything is set in stone once recorded. Rebel Rebel, like other tracks, almost immediately went to a new arrangement when played live. Even the version on David Live is different. I'd imagine changing arrangements is the only way to keep the thing fresh for the artist. On some occasions , as in this one, an arrangement was found the trumps the original (imo, of course). I think it speaks to how great an idea this was.

    Another track is What in the World. The best version of that, for me, is on Stage. Played back-to-back, with the second half thundering alone, it's pure magic.
     
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  19. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    recorded 2003 at the outset of the Reality sesssions but included on the Diamond Dogs 30th after originally appearing on the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack. i honestly think it's very poor with terrible guitar sounds that pale in comparison to the '74 rendition, particularly the UK single mix. i do agree that songs should be reworked in concert, but can't share your enthusiasm for this one. What In The World works well on the Stage version, agreed.
     
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  20. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    I had to go dig up Reality, and sure enough it was a bonus track on a second CD - which is the only time I'd heard it. The new version is "new", in that it wouldn't have suited the entire Diamond Dogs album. New arrangements can be so good, like some of the versions of Dylan songs on Budokan. Crowd participation can also add something, if the recording is truly able to capture the atmosphere, as well as the music. An example of that is Dylan's version of It Ain't Me Babe from Real Live - gives me goose bumps every time.
     
  21. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    yes, you're right, so it was on two editions of Reality (the initial bonus disc and the 2007 expanded 2CD edition) and the DD 30th as well as the soundtrack album.
     
  22. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hampshire, UK
    :tsk:
     
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  23. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    I don't really like any of the updated versions of his songs - except the 1980 version of Space Oddity which is the only way I can listen to that song. I really dislike the Reality version of Rebel Rebel and the Outside Tour reworked versions of TMWSTW and Andy Warhol really annoy me too.
    I think live versions of Under Pressure from 1996 were better than the studio version with Queen.
    Being someone who enjoys demos, rehearsals, punk and garage rock I sometimes find a good live recording to be refreshing and occasionally more powerful than the studio version, though not usually in Bowie's case. I really like the Outside Tour bootlegs though - that tour was so full of great songs IMO and I can never hear enough live versions of Teenage Wildlife.

    My Bowie journey began with John I'm Only Dancing, Life On Mars and Drive-In Saturday singles - and the Laughing Gnome Deram reissue in 73. I remember seeing a whole shop display full of Diamond Dogs sleeves (probably Boots) in 74when I was 10, but I thought Bowie was American until I heard him being interviewed on the car radio for Low. My sister bought me Lodger for my birthday in 79 and I started buying LPs after that (Ziggy, Young Americans, Hunky Dory, Scary Monsters) and making good use of the public library's collection of RCA tape cassettes.
     
  24. California Couple

    California Couple Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Newport Beach
  25. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    I never felt the original version of MWSTW was really right. It sits uncomfortably on the album, imo. I like the song, but for me it benefits from a rethinking of its performance. I really like the 1980 version of Space Oddity too, although the original is fantastic. I like some, and not others. For example, I've not heard a live version of Little Wonder I thought really captured the punch of the studio version. It's a case-by-case thing.
     

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