How would you rate "Tonight" (1984) by David Bowie?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Haristar, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Haristar

    Haristar Apollo C. Vermouth Thread Starter

    Southampton, UK
    Will this album live up to its reputation as David Bowie's career low or will it have some surprise fans?

    Track listing:
    -Loving the Alien
    -Don't Look Down
    -God Only Knows

    -Neighborhood Threat
    -Blue Jean
    -Tumble and Twirl
    -I Keep Forgettin'
    -Dancing with the Big Boys
    I will provide a ranking of the albums so far:

    1. "Hunky Dory" [1971] Rating: 4.79/5
    2. "Station to Station" [1976] Rating: 4.73/5
    3. "Heroes" [1977] Rating: 4.28/5
    4. "Diamond Dogs" [1974] Rating: 4.27/5
    5. "Space Oddity" [1969] Rating: 4.03/5 (NEW)
    6. "Outside" [1995] Rating: 3.81/5
    7. "Let's Dance" [1983] Rating: 3.58/5
    8. "Reality" [2003] Rating: 3.47/5
    9. "Tin Machine" [1989] Rating: 3.21/5
  2. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    Love the alien in blue jeans. But that's it.
    monotone, pseudopod, Markyp and 3 others like this.
  3. Solace

    Solace Forum Resident

    Brussels, Belgium
    There's worse than this, I think you know which one I'm referring to (clue: it came next). But the excellent Loving The Alien and Blue Jean aside, there's very little that can be said in defence of Tonight. I have quite fond memories of listening to it in 1984. These were ruined when put it on again recently and realised what a steaming pile of poo it really is. What a shame he didn't take some time off after the Serious Moonlight Tour and gather his thoughts.
    NunoBento, Dino, Markyp and 2 others like this.
  4. BwanaBob

    BwanaBob Forum Resident

    Maryland, USA
    I voted "not one of his best"; of course, it was the first Bowie album I ever bought. Doh!
    fallbreaks likes this.
  5. Haristar

    Haristar Apollo C. Vermouth Thread Starter

    Southampton, UK
    I'm the other way round personally. I can at least willingly listen to all the NLMD songs, but other than Loving the Alien and Blue Jean I unfortunately can't find much to enjoy in this album. :shake:
    Markyp, Spazaru, BlueSpeedway and 2 others like this.
  6. Pennywise

    Pennywise Forum Resident

    It should have been a 12" single with Loving The Alien on one side, and Blue Jean on the other. But, Loving The Alien is so good, I can forgive him the rest of the album.
    Markyp, Klassik, warewolf95 and 2 others like this.
  7. yarbles

    yarbles Too sick to pray

    Worse than Never Let Me Down, better than Black Tie White Noise. His second-worst, in other words.
    Mikewest and karmaman like this.
  8. Aghast of Ithaca

    Aghast of Ithaca Forum Resident

    2 out of 10. He was like Paul Young's older brother or something, just an awful '80s fake-soul cliche. And worse was to follow.
  9. That's about all I can take too. I've never owned a copy, but have streamed it a few times over the years. Not recalling any other tunes I was especially taken with, though perhaps if I revisited it, one or two might surface.

    His revamped, stripped down version of "Loving the Alien" from the 2004 Reality Tour is nothing short of fantastic, though.

    That said, whenever I hear it, there's (always) a lot less to "Blue Jean" than I remembered. Good tune, sure, but not 'great'.
    NightGoatToCairo likes this.
  10. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    I voted option three.

    I'm actually quite fond of Tonight. I know it's not Hunky Dory or anything, but I always thought it was a fun album. Even if Bowie didn't necessarily agree with me.:D Loving The Alien is the obvious standout, but Blue Jean was one of his best 80s pop singles and remains an earworm to this day. There's nothing I hate on the LP. His version of God Only Knows divides people, but I have no problem with it. For me, the album is a less tiring listen than the succeeding Never Let Me Down. 35 minutes is just enough.

    I'm suppose my memories of it are happy because 1984 was a good time for me personally. It certainly wasn't the worst album I bought that summer...Yes, I bought the Jacksons' Victory too.:D

    So, no, I shan't badmouth Tonight. I reckon this supposedly rotten Bowie LP had some good tracks. I even like the sleeve and the 2 hour Blue Jean video.:D

    I'd recommend the original CD over the 1999 remaster. The former is really nice and you can crank it. Should you feel the need.:)
  11. Alexlotl

    Alexlotl Forum Resident

    York, UK
    This is the thread where we discuss 1. Outside, right? ;)

    Didn't vote, as I've actually yet to hear Tonight in its entirety, barring perhaps a Spotify steam that made no great impression. Due to its inessential reputation, I'm happy to wait to stumble across an original 80s copy at a car boot sale, rather than chase one down on eBay. Maybe it'll surprise me.

    I like the cover art - the best of his 80s albums (barring SM, which feels like a 70s hangover) in that respect, IMO.
    Man at C&A likes this.
  12. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Best track Loving The Alien.
    Rooster_Ties likes this.
  13. Vaughan

    Vaughan Forum Resident

    I love me some Bowie, but there are limits. I like Blue Jean, but damn - this really is one to avoid at all costs. :(
  14. DBMethos

    DBMethos Forum Resident

    My thoughts exactly. Bowie said his nadir was NLMD, I think it was this one. This album was paint-by-numbers pop, and he even managed to screw that up. Loving the Alien and Blue Jean are indeed standouts, but you could erase the rest of the album from his catalogue and be no worse for wear. There are at least some interesting ideas throughout NLMD, it's just the execution that was lacking.
    karmaman and Haristar like this.
  15. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Preferred the Peter Frampton one.
  16. California Couple

    California Couple dislike us on facebook

    Newport Beach
    :laughup:It is amazing to think that the singer who made Tonight could rise back up to the heights of Outside. It must have felt like a resurrection for him.
    Rooster_Ties likes this.
  17. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    this is exactly my position on Tonight.
    yarbles likes this.
  18. Rick1229

    Rick1229 Forum Resident

    While I don't rate it avoid at all cost - I do give it a not one of his best... after all it is Bowie and there are a few decent songs such as "Blue Jean" - that is a killer song but the rest of the album is fair to poor. I especially do not like the title track "Tonight."
  19. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo Forum Resident

    Hampshire, UK
    oldturkey likes this.
  20. karmaman

    karmaman Forum Resident

    stop defending mediocrity! the lesser of two evils is hardly an endorsement. BTWN is a 5/10, Tonight is a 5.2/10.
    Turntable and Dino like this.
  21. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Little Britain
    Those two tracks prevented me hitting "avoid at all costs" and thus voting "Not one of his best, quite forgettable".
    A shame because the cover is terrific.
    BlueSpeedway likes this.
  22. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo Forum Resident

    Hampshire, UK
    Ah! but I am endorsing Black Tie. I can't do out of ten, let alone decimal points. So, 'Tonight, is a strong 1/5 [2.1/10] whilst 'Black Tie' is a weak 4/5 [7.998/10].

    I listened to Tonight for the fist time in ages today. It's horrid. Worse than Never Let Me Down. Blue Jean and Don't Look Down are OK. There's a good song lurking in Loving The Alien but the length and horrible production simply ruin it. It's Bowie's worst studio album; avoid at all costs.
    BlueSpeedway likes this.
  23. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Little Britain
    Apart from Blue Jean and Loving The Alien, at the time I really liked the 12" version of Dancing With The The Big Boys:

    mikaal likes this.
  24. oldturkey

    oldturkey Forum Resident

    Gone away.
    Not as good as BTWN or NLMD, but was a bit of a relief after Let's Dance. He got freaked out by the pressure of trying to live up to his progeny imo.
    Loving the Alien is classic and even more relevant today. The title track is his nadir.

    Iggy must have spent a lot of money.
    It was a number 1 record!

    Haristar - I think you should do a thread on the Deram Lp since its 50th birthday has been totally ignored except for Uncut.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    Whirl-Fred and Purple Jim like this.
  25. BTWN is a solid 6.8/10 in my book -- and occasionally 6.9, or even 7.0 some days.

    Tonight, on the other hand, is maybe a 4.5 -- though admittedly, I haven't spun it enough to really say definitively.

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