Wishful Beginnings

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Wishful Beginnings.

One of the few Outside songs that Bowie never performed live, “Wishful Beginnings” was also dropped from the album on a few occasions: a late Nineties CD reissue and a vinyl edition. Unlike “Too Dizzy,” whose deletion was an act of self-criticism, the 5:09 “Beginnings” seems likely to have been cut for space reasons. Still, as it’s one of Bowie’s creepiest songs, hinting at the ritual murder of a young girl, it’s also possible that he had qualms about it (that said, it’s been restored to the most recent editions of the record).

Its lyric was allegedly the perspective of an “Artist/Minotaur” figure that Bowie made occasional gestures at explaining. It’s Bowie playing with one of his favorite interview subjects of the period: ritual sacrifice and murder as an art project. Tracing a line from Thomas De Quincey’s “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts” and Andre Breton’s Second Surrealist Manifesto (“The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd. Anyone who, at least once in his life, has not dreamed of thus putting an end to the petty system of debasement and cretinization in effect has a well-defined place in that crowd, with his belly at barrel level“) to the scarring and blood-drips of Ron Athey, Marc Quinn (whose Self was a cast of his head filled with eight pints of his blood) and Kiki Smith‘s anatomical art, Bowie said all of it was of a piece, a tradition of modern paganism whose impetus goes “back to the Romans and their drinking the blood and eating the meat of the bull to enable us to go forward into the new era…a kind of appeasement to the gods to allow us to go into the next millennium.”

So the Minotaur figure, which Bowie had depicted in a few paintings for a 1994 theme exhibit in London (“Minotaur Myths and Legends”), was part of this movement, representing a piece of the artist that needed blood and appeasement before it had the strength to create again. A few lines hint that Bowie’s performing the blood ritual on himself (“I’m no longer your golden boy…flames burn my body“), and one reading of “Beginnings” is that it’s Bowie’s fear he was endangering his hard-won, carefully-constructed family man persona by indulging in base, violent fantasies for the sake of making better records.

As a track, “Beginnings” was one of Bowie’s most radical soundscapes, a sprechstimme vocal over a set of loops: a constant 4/4 drum, a two-note “chime,” and a thudding kick drum sample hitting on every other downbeat, bringing with it a satanic cackle and a rattling tambourine loop. At first, the only harmonic material is a synthesizer chord in sync with the kick drum sample, and Bowie’s voice hangs suspended for bars without any sense of grounding: it furthers the feeling that the singer has gone untethered, venturing into madness and estrangement from humanity. (It’s mainly a single-tracked vocal, with occasional echoes mixed right.)

As “Beginnings” goes on, the patterns loosen—the synthesizer plays an occasional melodic fragment, and begins sounding ahead of the downbeat, while the tambourine loop slightly lengthens and shortens. By the midpoint of the track, where Bowie is at his gentlest (“we FLEW on the wings…we will NEVER go DOWN”) and a keyboard offers a trio of tiny melodies, “Beginnings” feels like it could blossom into something human. Instead, the song freezes again. The kick drum sample and synthesizer chords vanish, leaving only a doleful Bowie and his percussion loops. The project has failed. We had such wishful beginnings, but we lived unbearable lives…I’m sorry little girl. And out comes the knife.

Scott Walker is an obvious presence here: “Beginnings” is one of the Outside tracks where Bowie was seemingly attempting to do a pre-cover of Walker’s Tilt, released during the last round of mixing. There are traces of Bowie’s past as well, like Lou Reed’s “Make Up” (cf. Reed’s “you’re a slick little girl” with Bowie’s “you’re a sorry little girl“). Where Reed had warmly detailed the stylish, precise makeup ritual of a transvestite, Bowie dehumanizes the ritual, making the girl simply a body, stripped of humanity, a piece of meat being prepared for the blade. And its key ancestor was Bowie’s own “Please Mr. Gravedigger,” with which “Beginnings” shares a structure (a spoken-sung melody that’s barely connected to any harmonic base) and a lurid, exploitative flavor.

Recorded ca. March-November 1994, Mountain Studios, Montreux, with possible overdubs at Brondesbury Villas Studios, London, and the Hit Factory, NYC, January-February 1995. Deleted from 1. Outside Version 2 (replaced by the Pet Shop Boys’ remix of “Hallo Spaceboy”), but restored to the 2003 and 2004 reissues (Europe and US, respectively).

Top: Andreas Freund, “New York,” 1995.

62 Responses to Wishful Beginnings

  1. s.t. says:

    Lurid and exploitative it certainly is, much more so than the Horrid Cassette segue. It also feels like the most explicitly Lynchian moment of the record to me. I’m sure that the Bob character from Twin Peaks had a significant impact on Bowie’s creation of the Minotaur. Like Cooper’s first dream, Wishful Beginnings is the moment where a supernatural personification of heinous thoughts and deeds proudly announces itself to the world.

    I can live with its lack of good taste, but the song is too long and unfocused. The impenetrably dark mood it first establishes eventually dissipates, and it begins to sound like an outtake from a much longer improvised jam (an accurate assessment, I would later find out). Like much of Outside, there’s a crackpot brilliance here, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been trimmed down.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Wow – I’ve just realised that my copy is one that doesn’t have this track, so i’ve never heard it! This is turning out to be a good year!

    Thanks. I may not comment much but I’m still reading….

  3. Joe The Lion says:

    This is no favourite of mine, although I (mostly) resist the temptation to skip it when listening to the album.

    That said, for me one of the many highlights of the album is his delivery of ‘The pain must feel like snow… there you go.’ Chilling, and even darkly funny.

  4. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    This track has the honour of being the one song on any Bowie album ever that I routinely skip. It’s too long, too dull, minimalist to the point of non-existence, and just goes nowhere. I never realized that it’s a dialogue to Baby Grace Blue just before she gets the knife, as you assert. On the few occasions that I have bothered to listen to it, I always took it to be a regretful reflection on a failed relationship. Either way, I think I’d rather listen to “Too Dizzy” on constant repeat.The “satanic cackle” as you call it sounds to me like a looped sample of Eno’s voice.

  5. heathen72 says:

    Couldn’t stand it. Actually bought the reissue just so I could listen to the album without it!

  6. Maj says:

    For a while I thought my Outside CD didn’t have this song…until I checked the CD and uhm…it does have it.
    Anyway, I like songs. This is not much of one. I do acknowledge its artistic value but the music lover in me is not interested in this, let alone moved by it in any way. I don’t even find it that disturbing TBH.

    —–

    What does everyone think of all those rave reviews of The Next Day?

    • Rollerball Rocco says:

      What does everyone think of all those rave reviews of The Next Day?

      I think it will be disappointing. Not bad, but disappointing. I think Bowie’s imperial phase (1975-80 for me, 1970-80 for others, I brook no other dates) has stood the test of time, seeming neither dated nor overly dependent on context (e.g. the reason one ‘must’ like most punk) and having inspired a fair amount of decent music in its turn.
      I think we can pull enough of Let’s Dance from the fire that was Bowie’s eighties to narrow the true wilderness years down to 84-92 or thereabouts (Absolute Beginners merely proving the rule), and then forgive him the horror of Never Let Me Down, treat it as the aberration Bowie has deemed it. The music qua music didn’t get a great deal better but he started trying to recapture whatever he lost or sold or took for granted and that’s admirable, occasionally awe-inspiring in its desperation. I think the commitment, as much as the old tunes, has allowed him the elder statesman role.
      I think people’s love for Bowie (and it is now love, a far cry from the day’s when he was often viewed as glacial, unloveable, musically cynical) is the source of the rave reviews. Especially so beside his once contemporaries.
      I think the music journos have given The Next Day five stars because of Sound & Vision. Anybody else and I’d cry foul play, but I’m pretty much with them. Christ, I’ve just read an entry on Wishful Beginnings. A dreadful track from an album brimming with them, dated at its inception, worse still today.

      • TWDuke says:

        I have one small worry about The Next Day. Did anyone else look at the track listing when it was announced, and think that the titles of the songs all seemed a bit dull/cliche?

        I like me some quirkiness in my Bowie song titles, but looking at the track listing, a lot of the titles look as if they could be by Richard Marx or Celine Dion.

        (You Will) Set The World on Fire; (The Stars) Are Out Tonight. Will this a Bowie album or the Lion King soundtrack?

        It’s just the titles, I know; the music will be fine, I’m sure. But it’s the first time I’ve ever looked at a Bowie album track listing before hearing the album and not spotted even one evocative zinger of a song title that just made me want to hear the song.

        You see a song called Loving The Alien, Time Will Crawl, or The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell, and you WANT to hear that song (and this is just material on the sub-par albums). Love Is Lost ?, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die? : nothing’s really getting my juices flowing, from a song title point of view.

    • Diamond Duke says:

      Well, I hardly see how anyone can give rave reviews for an album that hasn’t even come out yet! I’m praying that it’s at least up there with Heathen or Reality. By any sane, reasonable standard, those are superior records, “imperial phase” level or not. Let’s be realistic here…😉

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow! I stand corrected. I guess Alex Petridis at The Guardian has already heard it, at any rate. His rave has definitely piqued my interest even further! At any rate, however, I’m keeping an open mind and I’m not going to over-inflate my expectations based on comparisons to past work. I stand by what I said in the above post…

      • Diamond Duke says:

        BTW, Anonymous is me (ha, ha, ha!). Like, big whoops there…😀

      • BenJ says:

        And Heathen had fine songs with bland titles like “Afraid” and “Slip Away”, so that’s not an ironclad measure.

    • s.t. says:

      Already the Scott Walker comparisons are cropping up. It sounds like Bowie has grown tired of the earnest Lennon-inspired style of Heathen and Reality, perhaps invigorated (or threatened) by the Drift’s uncompromising focus the arcane and the morbid. My guess is that it will still be somewhat close musically to his last two releases, though perhaps a bit more adventurous. But lyrically it may be a return to Outside territory, which is welcome indeed!

      • col1234 says:

        probably on the day the album’s released in Germany (they get it earlier, those Germans), I’ll do an open thread, so people can post their reactions when they hear “Last Day” for the first time.

    • Maj says:

      @TWDuke: that’s actually a good point. When I saw the track listing, nothing really jumped at me. Even the previous two albums have more interesting/quirkier song titles. But as they say, it’s important what’s on the inside.😉

    • Maj says:

      To answer my own question:
      The rave reviews naturally make me a bit worried I’ll have big expectations & will be let down.
      But it also reminds me of Amanda Palmer’s recent album she self-released last year. She only got good to rave reviews, positive feedback from fans (myself included), so when someone tweeted her something like “I’m not really feeling it, I’m disappointed”, her reaction was FINALLY!!!
      Unanimous praise is weird and a bit unnatural. And even us fans (or at least our kind) tend to connect better with an artist who is not unanimously praised or who is polarising. I think.
      None of my friends ever “got” Bowie, not even musically. And they do like non-current rock music. I guess that only strengthened my love of Bowie when I was a teenager. (This sort of thing matters to me much less now.)
      So either it’s because it’s the whole “comeback after 10 years” factor, the “national treasure factor”, the album IS actually genius OR the Bowie people sent the single to the reviewers with some clever weapon which will activate unless a five star review is written.😉 Or all of the above.

      Oh, and a note: the song by song review in the Independent revealed I wasn’t completely wrong when I joked, when TND tracklisting was revealed, that Boss of Me is about Iman.😉

      Sorry, Chris, for derailing the conversation here.

    • Patrick says:

      The critics have had it for review early and at least 3 or 4 have given it 4/5 stars.
      I’m quite disappointed in the latest single track “The Stars are out” released. Quite bland and forgettable I’m afraid to say and his vocals aren’t doing anything for me.
      Ten years on, in the video , DB certainly is getting starting to get that aged otherworldly Leonard Nimoy look coming on.

      • Remco says:

        I’ll have to listen to it a few more times but my first, second and third impression is that it is a bit dull, like ‘Reality’ (the song) without the exciting bits. Now I’m starting to worry about the album too…

      • Maj says:

        That is actually spot on. It reminds me of Reality a lot, just not as…exciting as you say, Remco. But I have a hard time judging the song alone because it’s not out as an audio yet (which I assumed it would be, just like with the first single); the video (which I LOVE, and not only because I adore Tilda Swinton) overpowers the song for me – exactly the other way round to the first single, where the song was stronger than the video (for me).
        So I definitely need to give Stars a few more listens, with closed eyes to really make my mind up about it.
        My first impression is very close to yours though, Patrick & Remco.
        I’m not 100% sure if Bowie’s singing voice is ageing in a way that’s pleasing to my ears (compared to Bran Ferry who has a very attractive dying, whispering bohemian thing going on🙂 ).
        That was already the case on Reality, the album. But it’s just a minor niggle.
        I have to say while I miss a proper melody or something in Bowie’s part of The Stars, I quite like what’s happening with the instruments. That’s not something I usually pick on this early, so that’s interesting for me.

        Right. Won’t be derailing this comment section any further (even if Wishful Beginnings kind of deserve it).

    • The Pataphysical Me says:

      OK… you think this is some kind of empty song; i respect your choice but i completely disagree; it belongs to a dark side of Bowie, but humour belongs to even Bowie’s dark side, like in a David Lynch film. The song has got a great taste of Eno stuff (remember “The Drop” or the music sold on a CD with Eno’s diary circa 1995)

  7. Diamond Duke says:

    Well, this one I’ve always regarded as more of a mood piece than an actual song, and on that level I’d have to call it a smash success! It does create an atmosphere of skin-crawling menace, never erupting into any kind of genuinely disturbing horror, but always carrying a latent threat. Definitely one of the oddities of Bowie’s catalogue, while it may not hold up on its own as a separate entity, it definitely has a place within the overall fabric of the Outside album. (Although I must admit, I can’t imagine how its deletion would truly damage the greater whole.)

    BTW, I do not consider this track to be exploitative or offensive in any way whatsoever. This is art, not simply entertainment (or is intended as art, anyway, regardless of one’s opinions of its actual artistic merit), and art deals with the stuff that we’d most often turn a blind eye to for the sake of everyday peace of mind. And that also applies to the very concept of “murder as art” in and of itself. Perhaps all of these school shootings and seemingly random acts of senseless violence we’re confronted with incessantly by our media can be understood as a kind of “art-murder,” at least on the level of unconscious motivation. Mind you, this has nothing to do with condoning, endorsing or approving such goings-on, it’s about simply understanding. And understanding is the one thing which will take us closer to constructive solutions, not this crippling false binary of left-wing “political correctness” versus right-wing “moral propriety.”

    Rant over. Talk amongst yourselves, discuss…😉

    • s.t. says:

      I agree. I think there are more respectful ways to confront humanity’s unpleasant demons than a madcap postmodern send-up of murder mysteries, but I don’t think anything Bowie has made has ever crossed any real sort of moral boundary (except perhaps that dreadful Beach Boys cover). I concur with the opinion in the original post that it’s exploitative, but no more so than Twin Peaks and Natural Born Killers, and I’m a fan of both of those.

    • Joe The Lion says:

      Seconded. (I know that’s a lazy response, but there’s nothing more I can add.)

    • BenJ says:

      True, although maybe the fact that some people were up in arms over the exploitation of Baby Grace Blue – who never existed – is a kind of artistic triumph in itself.

  8. Joe The Lion says:

    I don’t think it’s exploitative, any more than I think Twin Peaks, Seven, or any piece of art that explores darkness is exploitative. It’s not even particularly distasteful, to my mind. It’s about something unpleasant, and it sounds unpleasant as a result, but it’s done in such a way that it’s not gratuitous.

    Hell – it’s probably easier to skip it next time.

    • s.t. says:

      I basically agree with you, though there is a subtle difference to our points of view. I would say that anything that detailed depictions of violence offered up with a giddy glee or ironic detachment is a bit exploitative, it’s kind trying to have the best of both worlds (social commentary and entertainment). That said, I don’t think Twin Peaks and Natural Born Killers are merely exploitative and neither is Outside. Hell, I’m even fine with The Human Centipede, which still functions as an effectively horrific exploration of humanness, exploitative though it might be. The sequel’s a different story, since it offered nothing but glamorized torture. That’s where I drew the line.

  9. Joe The Lion says:

    A pretty sound definition.

    Detachment in this subject matter makes sense. From my (limited) reading on the subject of murder, it’s not an uncommon state for a murderer – and on the whole more palatable than a warm-blooded joy of murder. That is so far out of all our comfort zones, so completely *wrong*, that even an artist of Bowie’s power couldn’t represent it.

    I suppose what I mean is, Wishful Beginnings’ sense of detachment and alienation is what makes it less alienating to the listener. And whilst it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable as a listening experience, it’s less unpleasant, less uncomfortable and less exploitative than it could have been had the narrator not been a remorseful but ultimately cold person.

    “There you go.”

  10. Joe The Lion says:

    I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d a) have this much to say about first-person song representations of a murderer’s thoughts and b) say more about this Bowie song than any other I’ve read about on this blog.

    (I think I’m just so excited for March – new album, the V&A exhibition… and the British Film Institute is showing the Ziggy concert and I’m hoping to get tickets later.)

  11. The Pataphysical Me says:

    Completely Weird; i’ve sold my soul to that kind of Bowie stuff!
    it makes me feel as if i were in a Lynch Film… delicious & scary!

  12. The Pataphysical Me says:

    Hey Colonel Parker, will you “bring” us an entry concerning Reznor’s “Hurt” sung live with NIN during the Outside tour? should be great as well!!!!

  13. Mr Tagomi says:

    Strangely enough, I like the song a lot more now for having been prompted to consider it a bit more.

    It’s certainly skilfully put together.

    I don’t like the subject matter though. I don’t think there’s anything interesting at all about the idea of art murder. For me it’s just distasteful and pointless.

  14. Momus says:

    I love that you think of this as a pre-cover, Chris! There’s something particularly Bowie-ish about saying “What would X do?” and using persona or mask as a creative generator. There’s also a wonderful moment (and we’re in it now with The Next Day) when thumbnail sketches are appearing of as-yet-unreleased tracks, and future listeners are constructing imaginary music and lyrics in their heads — phantasmagoria that turn out to be their own property.

    Bowie has said he leaves the meaning of songs to listeners; the ultimate embrace of this listener-enabling “reception theory” would be to do absolutely nothing, to become pure brand, a repertoire of potential gestures never made. Luckily, it hasn’t come to that yet, although two months ago it felt as if it had.

  15. Jasper says:

    I have listened to The Stars (Are Out Tonight) a couple of times now, and I feel like its a song that could have been on Newer let Me Down, it’s not good enough to have been on Reality, or Heathen, I really hope it is the weakest song on the album, it certainly put a dampener on my expectations, I like Where Are We Now? Well well guess I just have to wait and have my listen when the album comes out. I could not find a link to the Stars video that worked here in Germany, if anyone knows please tell me.

  16. Remco says:

    I’m with the small minority that likes ‘Wishful Beginnings’, it’s utterly creepy but not unattractively so. I think the soundscape works really well with Bowie’s voice, it’s such a gentle delivery which makes the track really quite unsettling.

    I totally understand why he would cut a song from the album, it really is far too long, but this isn’t the one I’d leave out.

    • CosmicJive says:

      I like this track a lot too. I was 14 when I heard this track for the first time and it creeped me out. Love the “You’re a sorry little girl, I’m sorry little girl bits”. Listening to it now after hearring really creepy stuff like Walker’s The Drift or his latest album this doesn’t sound as creepy as it did back then, but I still love the song.
      A shame that it was never performed live.

  17. Steve Mallarmy says:

    The two singles from The Next Day so far represent the two most obvious strategies for a comeback – the one a ruminative, Proustian reflection on one’s formative years; the other simply carrying on where he left off.

    Of the two I prefer the former – Where Are We Now is pretty conventional and certainly not as sonically or melodically complex as, say, Ashes To Ashes (that other backward-looking song) but it is injected with real emotion and actually I quite like its spareness (which reminds me a little of Bowie’s 1980 reworking of Space Oddity).

    The Stars Are Out on the other hand is a Reality retread and its celebrity culture theme is a bit of a soft target. I don’t hate it, but I’m taking comfort from the Quietus review – one of the more intelligent ones out there so far – which says it’s the weakest track on the album.

    • The Pataphysical Me says:

      “The Stars Are Out on the other hand is a Reality retread and its celebrity culture theme is a bit of a soft target. I don’t hate it, but I’m taking comfort from the Quietus review – one of the more intelligent ones out there so far – which says it’s the weakest track on the album.” i agree with that point of view after hearing it 10 times, a litle bit weak & very “Reality-esque”. I must admit that i like the video (filmed by Floria Sigismondi who already did “Little Wonder” & the fantastic Baconesque “Dead man walking”; “Bowie reste ême à 66 ans l’homme le plus classieux du monde”.

      • The Pataphysical Me says:

        “Bowie reste même à 66 ans l’homme le plus classieux du monde”.

      • Patrick says:

        Petridis in the Guardian said TSAOT has a “fantastic chorus” .
        Er no. it hasn’t , remind me to take his reviews with a pinch of salt.
        Most of us used to agree on what a classic album sounded like , even if it wasn’t to our taste, but I’m amazed how easily pleased some reviewers today are eg looking at then hearing “albums of the Year” . It’s like the rave reviews for the last Magazine album. It was mediocre for them and no where near the missing classic album that some described it as.
        /rant over.

        The singles and album will be in the running for awards, Brits, Grammies etc , you can be sure, regardless of quality. even if it’s a “we were worried you were really ill” nomination. I just hope it’s quality.

    • unclearthur says:

      I think it is not about celebrity. The stars are the never dying, hunting demons , Bowie gave birth to. Also the album stream shows a very dark Bowie, a N.Y. Album. I name it post-rockalyptical. Just pieces and bits, deranged and forlorn.
      By the way, in the video Bowie can get quiet angry, can’t he?Look at his face as he is pounding on the door…

  18. MIke F says:

    The video for the ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ is interesting and well done. However, listening to just the audio a couple of times reveals an average Bowie tune with excellent production by Visconti. Tony pulled out all the stops to make this sound a lot more interesting and dynamic than it actually is. The lyrics on celebrities are pretty mundane too. I’m glad Bowie’s back but I’m hoping The Next Day has some tastier tracks than this.

    • Mr Tagomi says:

      I like both singles. Both are quite simple tunes really. Enjoyable but not world-changing. This is not a criticism though.

      TSAOT is a little bit like the “Reality” song, as people say, but I don’t think the comparison is very useful.

      It’s going to take a while before it’s possible to really get a proper feel for how good (or bad) the singles and album really are.

      It took me about 2 years to finally decide how I felt about various tracks on Hours.

      • col1234 says:

        that’s why I’m happy I’ll have about a year before I get to the new songs.

      • Mike F says:

        2 years to decide how you like a song? It seems pretty extreme. I can decide in 10 minutes. Of course, my opinions may evolve and change over time but is it that difficult to form your initial opinion?

      • Mr Tagomi says:

        My initial opinion is that I like them. I like TSAOT a lot, actually,.

        But some songs stand the test of time, and others don’t. Sometimes you get tired of them.

        I mentioned the Hours songs because some of them struck me as songs that seemed to have many of the attributes of greatness but somehow just were not quite doing it for me.

        The only Hours songs I was listening to 2 years later were the final 3 on that album. Ones that I didn’t initially give too much thought.

        In fact they’re the only ones I still listen to even now from that album.

      • s.t. says:

        Mike F, I think Mr. Tagomi was saying that he is likely to reach an evaluation that’s fairly stable (and thus worth communicating) after two years of so of sitting with the material. Of course there’s an initial impression, but an artist like Bowie deserves some serious absorbing and wrestling. Incidentally, my opinion of Hours is largely the same as my initial impression, but Heathen and Reality sound much better to me these days.

      • Mr Tagomi says:

        Sometimes it takes a while to get a song. Slip Away annoyed me for about a year, but when I heard it live I was suddenly taken by how beautiful it was, and I’ve loved it ever since.

      • Mike F says:

        Thanks for the clarification to my question. I guess I am forgetting that I have been making music as a hobyist for a long time and can evaluate a song based on specific criteria: quality of melody, harmonies, rhythms/grooves, lyrics, vocals, mix/production, etc. Without knowledge gained from making music, it would be much more difficult for me to form an opinion.

        Of course, I realize songs that are immediately enjoyable can lose their appeal after multiple listens and difficult material can become more enjoyable over time. I try to factor this in when I’m forming my opinion.

        I regularly post feedback on other people’s music on a musician’s website and normally it takes 2-3 listens for me to come to conclusions. That is why I was slightly shocked at the thought of spending years listening to something in order to make a decision.

  19. The Pataphysical Me says:

    “Deleted from 1. Outside Version 2 (replaced by the Pet Shop Boys’ remix of “Hallo Spaceboy”)”… kind of nonsense or need to make more money, Wishful is such a weird but quite an interesting piece of music that paints Bowie’s own “climate of hunter”; also i’m really into “spaceboy” & very enthusiast about it but the PSB version is weak, made only for dancefloor tribes which i don’t belong to. To me it appears like a regression; a substitution of a “cerebral & ambient scheme-oriented song” to an average “dance-music” archetypal/ middle of the road title.
    I’m deranged…., & U????

  20. A Creme Egg Wrapper says:

    You can stream the entire new album on Itunes HPYE HYPE HYPE

  21. MC says:

    A friend of mine who pretty much hated Outside from start to finish pronounced this track “bad TV theme music.” In this case, I was inclined to agree with him: Wishful Beginnings is one I never got into, bold in concept, tepid in execution as it is. Listening to it again after this incredible writeup, I think I “got” it a little better (especially being able to discern more of the lyrics), though I’m still not totally on board. Give it another 20 years!😉 (interesting as well how the song anticipates the spooky radio-play aesthetics of The Drift, showing again how two-way the Walker-Bowie synergy has been.)

  22. Anonymous says:

    This song is about Satanic type Ritual Abuse. Trust me on this. It is dark but it is not about her murder. Torture, abuse and other nameless horrors yes. But not murder.. As he is remorseful and is speaking to ‘her’ in present tense. It is an apology. And strangely too, it is a very, very dark love song.

  23. marta says:

    I guess one of the downsides of first coming to Outside so late (ie, after January 2016) is that I basically lost the discussion around it at the time of release (and at the time of Chris’ posts) and am now trying to grasp what it is all about…

    So, while I do this – and it will take a looong time, as I’m also going through the blog in DB’s discography’s chronological order – let me just say this: when I first listened to Wishful Beginnings I immediately thought : Mr Gravedigger!

    So I rushed to this post to comment on my insight on the sound effects, the general gloom, the narrator’s voice, and, bam!, Chris already mentions it. Of course🙂

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