Never Let me Down was an unmitigated disaster, as an album to be sold to consumers, and as a piece of art, and it must have knocked Bowie, as he would not release a solo album for 6 years after this point, the longest gap up to this point between albums.
YOU’VE BEEN AROUND: BLACK TIE, WHITE NOISE (1993)
That being said, Bowie was not sitting at home twiddling his thumbs, he formed a band and released two albums with Tin Machine (who will not be covered in the retrospective), and Bowie went on a tour in 1990, ostensibly to retire his back catalogue of hits, and avoid becoming a nostalgia act (I’m looking at you, Paul McCartney). He also got married to Iman around this time, and in the climate of the Rodney King riots, marital bliss, and being in his 40’s, Bowie contacted Nile Rodgers again to make a new album.
I didn’t think I’d like Black Tie, White Noise, but I do really like it. It has a lot of good music on it, and its a lot more natural to listen to. Never Let Me Down was pretentious and it was a forced piece of art. This was not the case for Black tie, White Noise. It experimented with different genres, and is really an enjoyable album to listen to, even if soul and acid jazz isn’t your cup of tea. It is also a very politically charged album, with its title track being about the LA Riots.
My personal favourite track of this album; however, has to be You’ve Been Around. This is a mixture of hard rock, acid jazz, and gospel, which makes for a bloody interesting listen. Musically, it is excellent, all the elements work together really very well, and it is just an amazing thing to listen to. Lyrically, it is even more interesting, with the song discussing emotional confusion and it really is quite a dark song, but it is a really good song. The opening drone noise really does create a mood of intrigue. When I listen to it on my iPod, it makes me feel like I am in some sort of action film.
You’ve Been Around is a solidly good song, and Black Tie, White Noise is a solidly good album, that I would recommend to you. After my rather critical opinions of the 80’s albums, 90’s Bowie is more like it, though I would say that it is also a very mixed period in his career, though a good one.