David Bowie – Black Tie White Noise

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DVD Album Review by Neil Ryan

The special edition re-issue of David Bowie’s 1993 album will only be available until 31 December 2003 and includes a DVD as the third of a three disc package. Featuring footage recorded at the time of the album’s original release the DVD is a mixture of interview material, choreographed (mimed) performances of six album tracks, and the promotional videos for the three singles spawned by the album (the title track, JUMP THEY SAY, and MIRACLE GOODNIGHT). At the time of its initial release BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE was met with the now-familiar critical reaction that has been applied to all of his post-Tin Machine albums: it was a “return to form of sorts”. True, much of the music is punchy and tuneful, but other tracks (e.g. a leaden cover of Cream’s I FEEL FREE) suffer from problems that have crept into Bowie’s oeuvre stretching back to STATION TO STATION: an over-produced and pedestrian rhythm which is further bogged down by swathes of unadventurous synthesizers and melodramatic vocals.

If live recorded versions of the performance tracks had been included on the DVD then the balance may have been redressed: taken out of the studio Bowie often has a harder, more accessible, musical edge. The interview material is interesting, if perfunctory, and there is some sparse but intriguing footage form the recording sessions for the album. All in all it is far from essential, but if you were planning on buying BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE then common sense suggests purchasing the three disc package (for little more than the cost of a regular single disc) whilst it is still on the shelves.

3 stars