End of Chapter Eight (1992-1995)


Wrap-up time for early-to-mid Nineties Bowie, from “Real Cool World” to “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town,” a solid run encompassing Black Tie White Noise, The Buddha of Suburbia and Outside (& Leon). List your favorite songs of the period in the comments (for new readers, this is a semi-regular thing; see the “Chapter Ends” category for past entries). Below is my top 10 1/2: mercy, it was tough to choose a “winner” from the top three.

I Have Not Been to Oxford Town.
Untitled No. 1.
Thru’ These Architects Eyes.
The Hearts Filthy Lesson.
Strangers When We Meet.
Dead Against It.
Miracle Goodnight.
The Mysteries.
No Control./ Lucy Can’t Dance.

Top: Ted Barron, “Hazel and Amy Rigby,” Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 1994.

85 Responses to End of Chapter Eight (1992-1995)

  1. angusdurer says:

    Thank you once again for your sterling work on this blog.
    Thought provoking, absorbing, elegantly written and beautifully considered. Here’s looking forward to the late nineties and early 2000s…

  2. jopasso says:

    Strangers when we meet
    Jump they say
    I’m deranged
    Night flights
    The hearts filthy lesson
    I’ve not been to Oxford town

    And that’s it

  3. Jeff Yih says:

    That is a picture of Amy and her daughter, what’s the connection?

    • col1234 says:

      there’s no connection but a) Ted is a friend and I like to showcase his photos b) it’s from the time period and c) all the “chapter end” posts have been a photograph of people walking on a city street. and d) Amy Rigby is awesome.

  4. timspeaker says:

    A great, very under appreciated period. Here’s my Top Ten in no particular order:

    Untitled No. 1
    Strangers When We Meet (Outside)
    I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
    The Motel
    You’ve Been Around
    We’ll Creep Together
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    A Small Plot of Land
    Hallo Spaceboy
    Thru’ These Architect’s Eyes

  5. Patrick says:

    Well as I’ve mentioned before, and in our internet pick and mix music world, some tracks eg on Outside tend to mostly hold up much better than how I remembered the original release without the tedious narrative segues. BoS was a pleasant therapeutic (for DB) diversion but not the missing masterpiece that some suggested it might be. BTWN a sometimes wet over sentimental collection with the occasional stand out tracks such as Nightflights and Jump they say.
    But Outside was possibly when, a million miles away from the 80s lows, now his audience wasn’t going to be the lowest common denominator, except by proxy with the tedious PSBoys version of Hallo Spaceboy. Otherwise by accident or design, the margins, the peripheral, became his home, once again. The music papers reviewers weren’t going to feature his releases as the great public and popular event they once were , any more, until a fateful day almost 20 years later.
    Just when DB might have got his mojo back , we have the weak and forgettable Earthing (as I remembered it) to come. or will it be better in hindsound?

    • Mr Tagomi says:

      I’ll say in advance that I loved Earthling at the time, and I still do. Am slightly trepidatious at discovering the opinions of Chris and others, in case I am badly out of step on that. But I’ll still love it.

      My favourite songs from the relevant period include:

      Nite Flights
      South Horizon
      Hallo Spaceboy
      A Small Plot of Land

  6. gcreptile says:

    Interesting, I would have expected another chapter end after Earthling… but on the other hand, Outside was a lot to chew on.
    Anyway, my list:

    Strangers When We Meet
    Jump They Say
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    Leon Takes Us Outside/Outside
    Nite Flights
    Hello Spaceboy (album version)
    I’m Deranged
    Buddha Of Surburbia
    I’d Rather Be Chrome
    Lucy Can’t Dance

  7. James says:

    My top 5
    Untitled #1
    I’m Deranged
    A small plot of Land
    Thru these Architect’s eyes

  8. Michael says:

    I’m pretty much in agreement with the list, though I’d put Nite Flights up there.

    • Pierce says:

      I agree Nite Flights, his best song (albeit a cover) for the decade!

      Nite Flights
      You’ve Been Around
      Strangers When We Meet (BoS)
      Untitled No.1
      I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
      The Motel
      Voyeur of Utter Destruction
      We Prick You
      Thru’ These Architects Eyes
      Dead Against It
      A Small Plot of Land
      Lucy Can’t Dance

  9. MC says:

    ok, here it is:

    Thru’ These Architects Eyes
    Untitled No. 1
    The Mysteries
    Strangers When We Meet (BOS version)
    I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
    A Small Plot Of Land
    Hallo Spaceboy
    No Control
    The Motel
    The Buddha Of Suburbia
    and one more: The Wedding

    Best cover (by far): Nite Flights


  10. CosmicJive says:

    Ok let’s see.

    The Motel
    Untitled #1
    Hallo Spaceboy
    Hearts Filthy Lesson
    Thru These Architects Eyes
    Nite Flights (Outside Tour Version)
    Small Plot Of Land
    Voyeur Of Utter Destruction
    I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
    I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday

    That’s quite a lot from Outside I just realize…

  11. mikehoncho1992 says:

    Hello, this is my first time commenting. I thought it seemed appropriate since I’ve only been reading the blog since around the time of ‘Real Cool World.’ Since then I’ve gone back to read possibly every single post you’ve made prior to that. I have to say, Chris this is an absolutely wonderful blog. Thank you for taking on this monumental task. I’ve loved every post I’ve read and you’ve helped me re-examine several tracks I’ve previously thought inferior or not worth my time to go back to after initial listens (such as ‘Thru These Architects’ Eyes’ and really the whole Buddha of Suburbia album which I’ve now fallen in love with).

    Can’t wait for the Earthling tracks and beyond, you’ll probably all hear more from me in the future as I plan to comment on future posts as well. Back to the point of this entry though, My top tracks of this period of Mr. Bowie’s career:

    1. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
    2. Hallo Spaceboy
    3. Untitled No. 1
    4. Dead Against It
    5. Jump They Say
    6. The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    7. Strangers When We Meet (Outside Version)
    8. We Prick You
    9. I’m Deranged
    10. The Buddha of Suburbia

  12. Ian McDuffie says:

    Tough call- this is really one of my absolute favorite eras, buuuut:

    Untitled no. 1
    Oxford Town
    Strangers When We Meet
    a Small Plot Of Land
    Architects Eyes
    jump they say
    Nite flights
    Dead Against It
    Segue: algeria touchshriek

    The best part of this blog was finally hearing the original version of ‘dont let me down and down,’ which was nothing short of revelatory.

  13. Diamond Duke says:

    I recently started listing the songs from each album in order of preference – from most to least favorite – in the last song entry for each album. That’s admittedly a tad easier for me than having to narrow things down to 10 songs per period! But I’ll certainly give this a shot… 😉

    01. Strangers When We Meet
    02. The Motel
    03. I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
    04. The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    05. Buddha Of Suburbia
    06. Thru’ These Architects Eyes
    06. Jump They Say
    07. Dead Against It
    08. Lucy Can’t Dance
    09. Outside
    10. Nite Flights

    And just because I can never ever really and truly narrow these things down to just ten, here’s my runners-up list (y’know, just in case anybody’s interested)! 😀

    11. Hallo Spaceboy
    12. The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
    13. You’ve Been Around
    14. A Small Plot Of Land
    15. Get Real
    16. I’m Deranged
    17. No Control
    18. Real Cool World
    19. Untitled No. 1
    20. The Wedding Song

  14. I agree with gcreptile that a more natural end of chapter would’ve come after Earthling.

    That said, here’s my list:

    1 Segue – Baby Grace (A Horrid Cassette) / Hallo Spaceboy
    2 Dead Against It
    3 The Man Who Sold The World [Live]*
    4 Voyeur Of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
    5 No Control
    6 I’m Deranged
    7 Buddha Of Suburbia [sans Lenny]
    8 Stangers When We Meet [Outside version]
    9 Jump They Say
    10 I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday

    *the drum-n-bass version – hope that’s allowed.

    I have to say… this is my favourite favourite blog. ‘Forensic’ is the word! It’ll be a sad day when you actually catch up with Bowie and run out of songs to write about.


    • CosmicJive says:

      Well I’d say it shouldve ended with Hours. Thats the last of his more contemporary 90s sounding albums. I think after that his sound (and songwriting) became all retro and classic Bowie. Probably has everything to do with the return of Visconti and the departure of Reeves… For me Heathen started in a sense his second Let’s Dance phase with The Next Day actually being his latter day Let’s Dance and Reality the era’s Never Let Me Down.

      • Interesting. I’d only include Earthling as a contemporary sounding LP – it’s still sonically experimental like the 2 or 3 before it. I’ve always thought that Hours itself was very retro with a return to proper old-fashioned songwriting

        But that’s one of the great things about Bowie: you can pick your own route from one album to the next and it can be completely different from someone else’s path.

      • CosmicJive says:

        @regpubesregpubes cant seem to reply to your post. I agree with you that ‘hours…’ is his return to more traditional songwriting, but it’s still one foot in 90s sound. Drum machines, synth guitars. The production is very contemporary. The same beats and synthssounds were probably used by pop acts like TLC or more mainstream rockers like The Cardigans and Alanis Morisette. Therefore I dont find this album retro at all. I think its very late 90’s soundwise.

        Heathen on the other hand to me really is vintage Bowie. There’s nothing 2001 about it. It’s all classic Bowie in sound and production. I’d almost say there isnt a song on it that couldn’t fit on any of his older albums.

  15. Maj says:

    in chronological order of sorts:

    Jump They Say
    Miracle Goodnight
    Dead Against It
    Buddha of Suburbia
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    Hallo Spaceboy (both album & PSB version…cheating?)
    I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
    No Control*
    Strangers When We Meet

    *could just as well be We Prick You

  16. drsteve says:

    Chris, this is my first post. Along with other readers here, I’d just like to say grateful thanks for your work on this blog. I stumbled across it in mid 2012 and have really enjoyed your exploration and insights. It’s added new depth to my Bowie appreciation – I particularly like the way you’ve articulated why his great work is so good (and conversely why the inferior work is so bad!). The Scott walker piece was genuinely moving. Like many long term fans, I find that even Bowie’s missteps prove fascinating. I feel lucky to have been born in the mid 60’s and in spite of the occasional fallow year, Bowie has proved a real musical and cultural touchstone (are you intending to do a separate section dealing with the movies?).

    Outside feels to me to be a great pot pourri of experimentation rather than a coherent piece. It’s a shame that more of the unreleased material didn’t see the light of day at the time- perhaps as a limited triple album. Thankfully the internet has freed some of this up, and your blog does a great job of bringing it all together.

    Keep up the good work, and before I forget – will you have the opportunity to see the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition at London’s V&A?



    • col1234 says:

      steve–unfortunately, no, and won’t unless it comes to the US at some point. I’ll have to rely on the memories of UK friends who did manage to see it.

      • V Delay says:

        If you get a chance to buy the exhibition “catalogue” David Bowie is Inside do so. It contains some of the best essays on Bowie’s cultural significance I’ve come across.

  17. s.t. says:

    Lots of great ones:

    1. The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
    2. The Motel
    3. Strangers When We Meet
    4. You’ve Been Around
    5. Jump They Say
    6. We Prick You
    7. Thru These Architects Eyes
    8. South Horizon
    9. Hallo Spaceboy
    10. I Am With Name (Leon version)

  18. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    In no particular order:
    – I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
    -Hallo Spaceboy
    -The Motel
    -Thru These Architects Eyes
    -I’d Rather Be Chrome (Okay Riot)
    -Buddha Of Suburbia
    -Dead Against It
    -Untitled No.1
    -Miracle Goodnight
    -Jump They Say
    With a special mention to Night Flights and Lucy Can’t Dance.

  19. Thom says:

    Longtime lurker, here!

    I’m glad that this blog forced me to revisit Outside from a fresh perspective. Being able to digitally reprogram it to my own liking has made it a new listening experience for me. My favorites are still ‘Strangers When We Meet’ and ‘I’m Deranged’, but wow, I now have a newfound appreciation for ‘The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)’. So captivating! I originally got into bowie in the late nineties via Trent Reznor, so Outside was a stepping stone for me that is still near and dear to my heart.

    There are a handful of tracks on Buddha that are pleasant, but I find the muddy/tinny renders them rather unlistenable.

    And speaking of unlistenable, the only track that has ever appealed to me from BTWN is ‘Jump They Say’, which doesn’t seem to be a favorite of many? A very strong vocal performance for me, though unnecessarily obscured by vocoder/backing vocals.
    ‘Nite Flights’ is also a strong contender, but you don’t get points for not ruining such a glorious song.

    • s.t. says:

      I think Jump They Say made most people’s lists posted here. I’m surprised that no one else put You’ve Been Around. That to me is the best from BTWN. I actually have come around to that album. Aside from the slightly adult contemporary production touches, the embarrassing title track, and the somewhat lackluster Don’t Let Me Down & Down, there’s a lot going on to appreciate. It’s been around, but it’s changed me.

      I agree about the BoS mix making it less appealing. Even beyond that, the songs rarely go beyond being merely pleasant. South Horizon and Ian Fish, UK Heir are my two faves from that one.

      • Thom says:

        Oops, I actually meant ‘You’ve Been Around’. I actually can’t stand ‘Jump They Say’.

  20. Cansorian says:

    I’ve got a real soft spot for “The Buddha of Suburbia”. After ten years of drek, from the half-baked cheese fest of “Let’s Dance” to the bull in a china shop rawk of Tin Machine, I’d pretty much given up on Bowie. I distinctly remember half heartedly asking the record store clerk if Bowie’s then new import “soundtrack” album was any good and was surprised when he replied that, “yes, it was”. I was even more surprised when I gave it a listen at home and found out that he was right.

    I’d rather listen to something that’s tinny, murky, and what ever other derogatory adjectives I’ve seen attached to BOS, that was finally full of the creative spirit that drew me to Bowie’s music in the first place, than some soulless, directionless, well produced, well recorded, real drummer including, piece of drivel. Put all of Bowie’s albums from ‘83 until ‘93 on a wheel, give it a spin, and throw a dart, that’s the one I mean.

    I’ve always thought of BOS and “Oustide” as a linked pair, and not just because of the song they share. Buddha seems like the necessary woodshedding that led to the masterpiece that is “Outside”.

    Anyhow, a roundabout way of explaining why only selections from those two albums make up my top 10 from this period.

    Thru’ These Architects Eyes
    Strangers When We Meet
    Untitled No. 1
    The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
    Dead Against It
    I Have Not Been to Oxford Town
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    I’m Deranged
    Bleed Like A Craze, Dad

  21. I too fear a (relative) drubbing for Earthling, so I’m going to make a pre-emptive case for it

    On it’s release I was dissapointed – after the textures and variety of Outside, Earthling sounded like a bunch of demos/jams poslished up in contemporary clothes. And in many ways that is still the case

    But listening to it now, it sounds so blinking vibrant! Obviously making it with the touring band contributes to that but the production as well is very front and centre (whereas to me Outside can sometimes sound , like Lodger, as if I’m listening with mufflers on)

    I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a classic, but the Bowie canon would be diminished by it’s absence

    Anyway – 92-95. Just the fact that it covers a mere 4 years and has such a wealth of riches to choose from after the previous 12 years tells us everything. I loved Outside then and I do even more now. The look, the tour, the songs, the silliness – all of it works for me

    I’m sympathetic to fans who have finally heard the lost classic BoS and find it tinny and underwhelming, but it is probably the album I return to the most. Plus, if ever I’m feeling down a quick read of the sleevenotes puts a smile on my face.

    BTWN – the BIG comeback album that didn’t really satisfy anyone at the time. And with good reason.. it’s ok. An improvement on his post Let’s Dance attempts at selling popular albums, but lacking any cohesion as a listen

    Earthling to come then, bring it on (I hope we get a separate entry on the “drum and bass” versions of old and news songs he performed on that tour)

    • Diamond Duke says:

      Quite honestly, I really like Earthling a great deal. One of the things people never really comment on – preferring instead to focus on the jungle/industrial aspect of its sound – is the fact that it’s actually quite a heavy album. At times it rivals the more aggressive moments of The Man Who Sold The World. To go even further, one could suggest that Earthling is – at least from a songwriting standpoint – the kind of record that Bowie and Reeves Gabrels would have made had they not hooked up with the Sales Brothers and not recorded Tin Machine. And just like practically every record Bowie’s made since Black Tie White Noise, at the time of its release it was hailed by reviewers as “his best album since”…well, you-know-what! But in terms of its wired, nervous energy and strangeness, it’s probably the one that most strongly resembles Scary Monsters in terms of sonic attack.

      For all these reasons, I find Earthling a very entertaining, likeable listening experience. On the downside, however, it’s not quite the overall artistic statement that Outside was. It feels like a kind of consolidation of all those stylistic elements which influenced and made their way into the earlier album, but unfortunately it also feels kind of time-stamped, not quite transcending the overall zeitgeist of 1997, whereas Outside feels perhaps a bit more resonant beyond the ’90s industrial/techno trend (at least for me). Even Bowie fan Moby has acknowledged that the songs on Earthling are in fact much better than the treatment.

      And this is why, for me at least, Earthling belongs to a select group of Bowie albums which are undeniably brilliant by any sane standard, but which in one way or another fail to transcend their respective time periods. Other examples would include Pin Ups (fun, but still probably the most dated artefact of Bowie’s glam period, taking ’60s British rock numbers and putting them through a bizarro, time-warped Rocky Horror shredder), Young Americans (a very good blue-eyed soul sound, but one which doesn’t quite transcend its mid-’70s era), and Space Oddity (third-generation English folk-rock psychedelic sound, its Dylan influenced filtered through Donovan, Simon & Garfunkel, Bee Gees, etc.)

    • Diamond Duke says:

      “Tinny and underwhelming” is just as good a way as any to describe how I feel about The Buddha Of Suburbia. I almost feel guilty for not liking it more than I do, because I know that it marked an important point of transition for Bowie, serving as the doorway to the six great records which came afterwards (‘hours…’ perhaps being a tad less great than the others). But for me, it never quite overcomes its incidental music/soundtrack origins, and as a whole it doesn’t quite catch fire for me. The title track, Dead Against It, Untitled No. 1 are certainly solid enough tracks. The Mysteries is very nice when I’m in the mood for something more ambient (also functioning wonderfully as the equivalent of sunshine breaking through stormclouds after the darkness of “Heroes”Sense Of Doubt/Moss Garden/Neukoln triptych on the All Saints compilation from 2001). I also love Strangers When We Meet a great deal, but I much prefer the later Outside rendition, which feels a little less “tech-y” (not to mention that I can’t imagine the song anymore without Garson’s piano).

      As for Black Tie White Noise, I also feel like it’s just…okay. But I actually like it a lot better than most of Bowie’s ’80s albums, especially the fizzle that was Tonight. (Although for me Never Let Me Down will always have a “guilty pleasure” factor going for it! Sorry…) I even prefer it over Let’s Dance. Whereas with that record Bowie simply let NIle Rodgers have carte blanche with the production and arrangements, with BTWN Bowie seems to have taken the reins a bit more, and downplayed anything too obviously commercial (much to Rodgers’ chagrin) in favor of bringing some of the textures of the Low/“Heroes” era into a dance/R&B setting. On tracks such as Jump They Say, You’ve Been Around and the cover of the Walker Brothers’ Nite Flights, the results work like gangbusters. (And while some might regard The Wedding Song as overtly sappy, I am quite moved by it.)

  22. Steve says:

    Had to work really hard to get this down to 10:

    Untitled No.1
    Jump They Say
    The Buddha of Suburbia
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    I’m Deranged
    You’ve Been Around
    Ian Fish, U.K. Heir
    Strangers When We Meet
    We’ll Creep Together
    Hallo Spaceboy

    Thanks especially for this chapter, Chris. This is a period of Bowie’s work I particularly love, and you’ve helped both clarify and open it up for me.

  23. joethelion77 says:

    Sincere thanks for this magnificent blog and to all who contribute with such marvellous insight and understanding.

    Rarely a day has passed in 40+ years without my listening to db; in the car via cassette for many years; mostly in my gym these days from digital sources. That surely shapes/bends my perceptions, so I decided to spend a few hours reviewing the period; mainly seated, via my lounge HiFi. Analogue has always been my most fulfilling experience, though far too often late and under the influence.

    Whatever … It has to be loud, wherever, whenever.

    The audible differences between vinyl and even lossless digital can be quite astonishing, however, my overall ranking wasn’t affected significantly by source, whilst the impact of environment was quite fundamental. Adrenalin and endorphins certainly alter perception, as do drink and other stuff 🙂

    I’d be interested to know how others’ listening environment/mind state influenced their rankings … ?

    Perhaps others aren’t so affected ? … 🙂

    Strangers (unedited).
    Oxford town.
    Architect’s eyes.
    Miracle goodnight.

    A few hours in the lounge wasn’t enough to decide a top ten.

    I rarely play 10 tracks from the period as I have so much other most worthy db stuff on my playlist, and too little time.

    As with others here, I’ve long held Strangers is one of the finest songs in the whole post 70’s catalogue … However, it’s hard to get a Rizla between most db greats, whatever period. I’ve never understood how some failed to get over Ziggy, or beyond Let’s Dance. Outside was an outstanding evolution, yet so vastly under-appreciated, perhaps because of that legacy.

    ATB, JTL77

  24. i got the spirit, but lose the feeling says:

    My favourites are:
    Small Plot
    We’ll creep (+ Outside sessions in general… as a process)
    We prick
    No control


    • Asylums with doors open wide says:

      BTWN and Buddha… i think Outside is far far better & is The DB’s masterpiece of the 90’s. Its follower “Earthling” is also a good piece of music but is less cerebral, more spontaneous (which is great too !!!). Outside is born from a crash between pop music & avant-garde…. this is the reason why i think it’s so good & can be still listened today.

      • Patrick says:

        If I were to use a single word to describe my previous impression of Outside, it would be “dark”, and that hasn’t changed. For the upcoming “Earthling” , from a distant memory of hearing it (with disappointment) it would be “energy” , albeit often rather unfocussed.

    • i got the spirit, but lose the feeling says:

      i see that lots of people love “strangers when we meet”; they even see it as one of the best song Bowie ever recorded. This ain’t my point of view. Too much into pop, too much “ritournelle”. But i’m a french man and i don’t have any english ear… so the text means less to me; to me voice is just another musical instrument & i love the way Liz Frazer used to sing senseless words just like notes, just sounds produced by a lonely body. I agree with Patrick, Outside is “dark” & “Earthling” means “energy” and “speed”… and this is why i do love it… still!
      thank you again Chris!
      just a question… why having joined together 3real cool world” & Outside and not Outside with Earthling? and even these two albums & the last with Reeves… the warm “Hours”??????

      PS: i’m still a Sales Bros. fan !!!!

      “i got the spirit, but lose the feeling” is “Asylums with doors open wide” (Joy Division lyrics) is “The Memorialist” is “Tin Man”; the “Figure” stays the same…..

  25. fluxkit says:

    Thru These Architects Eyes
    Miracle Goodnight
    Hallo Spaceboy (PSB mix)
    Strangers When We Meet (Outside)
    Nite Flights
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    Buddha of Suburbia (either version, I guess)
    Jump They Say
    Black Tie White Noise

    I love both BTWN and Buddha as albums, but find it more difficult to isolate specific tracks. With Outside, it’s easy for me to highlight my favorite individual tracks.

    I’d rate “Oxford Town” if it wasn’t for the verses, which I’ve never much cared for.
    I like things about each version of “Strangers…” but I like the overall sound of the later version a bit better, I think.

    Thanks for the entries, I feel like I’ve learned many things.

  26. JahRel says:

    Oxford Town
    A Small Plot of Land
    The Motel
    I’m Deranged
    Heart’s Filthy Lesson
    Pallas Athena
    Looking for Lester
    You’ve Been Around
    Now (Tin Machine Version of ‘Outside’)
    Strangers When We Meet

  27. TWDuke says:

    this is off topic (but doubtful many of you still scroll thru to The Next Day discussion section so I’ll put it here). it was in the UK tabloids yesterday that DB is making a 3rd video for the song TND, featuring Gary Oldman. there were pics of DB dressed up in a monk’s robes on the set.

  28. Anonymous says:

    These are mine:

    1. The Motel
    2. A Small Plot of Land
    3. Hearts Filthy Lesson
    4. I Have Not Been To Oxford Town
    5. Strangers When We Meet (Outside version)
    6. Dead Against It
    7. Thru’ These Architects Eyes
    8. Untitled No. 1
    9. Outside
    10. Hallo Spaceboy

  29. Jeremy says:

    In no particular order:

    I Have not been to Oxford Town
    The Heart’s Filthy lesson
    Strangers When we Meet (BOS version) – one of Bowie’s greatest songs ever IMO
    I’m Deranged
    We Prick You
    Jump They Say
    Hallo Spaceboy (both versions)
    Black Tie White Noise
    Dead Against It
    Looking for Lester

    I great period of music really. I have no major gripes with the production of BOS and I’m an audiophile – it could be better but it’s not terrible….

  30. audiophd says:

    Bravo, Chris. An excellent series of posts on an underappreciated part of The Man’s illustrious career. Can’t wait for what comes next.

    Here’s my top 10:

    Miracle Goodnight
    Buddha of Suburbia
    The Mysteries
    Strangers When We meet
    The Hearts Filthy Lesson
    A Small Plot of Land
    Hallo Spaceboy
    The Motel
    I Have Not Been to Oxford Town

  31. col1234 says:

    there’ve been a few questions as to why the “chapter” ends here and not with Earthling. first, i fear that readers are taking this whole chapter end business far more seriously than I ever have and as i’ve stated before, these alleged chapter ends have utterly nothing to do with the far more logical divisions in the book.

    But ok, if i’d waited until after “Earthling,” about an entire bloody year would’ve gone by without one of these entries (it’ll take us until June or early July to get through Earthling), which seems too long. Plus, looking back the “chapter end” that encompassed Monsters-Let’s Dance-Tonight-NLMD was just too long of an era.

    the last groupings will likely be: Earthling-Hours-end of century detritus; Heathen-Reality-TND. but who knows.

    • Nijinschizo says:

      “Earthling-Hours-end of century detritus”… such a fantastic rubbish/ garbage dump… feat. Goldie’s “Truth”, Placebo’s “Whithout you, i’m nothing”…. so, what else??? “1917”??? “”We Shall Go to Town”??????

      • gcreptile says:

        If I recall correctly, there will be the soundtrack for Omicron: The Nomad Soul.

      • CosmicJive says:

        Nature Boy, A Foggy Day, Planet Of Dreams, Jewel, the Omikron tracks, 20th Century Boy, Fun, Safe, Mother, We All Go Through, Fun, Trying To Get To Heaven, Oh Superman (?), the NIN songs, Jimmy Shrink That Shirt Again (or are live songs exlcuded? … Thats already an album worth of songs.

      • i got the spirit, but lose the feeling says:

        & what did he sang for new York city just after September 11th???

  32. type40ttc says:

    Been lurking here forever. What a great blog. Thanks Chris and who post regularly for all of this fantastic reading. My top 10 in no particular order:

    Oxford Town
    Heart’s Filthy Lesson
    Hallo Spaceboy (original)
    Architect’s Eyes
    Jump They Say
    Strangers When We Meet (Outside Version)
    You’ve Been Around
    Lucy Can’t Dance
    Night Flites
    We Prick You

    Looking forward to the next chapter. Cheers!

  33. Ramzi says:

    Since I’ve never given too much interest to this period, I don’t have too much of an opinion, other than I’d put Hallo Spaceboy and We Prick You in the top 10. I also perhaps would’ve given BTWN a bit more love with Jump They Say.

    A strange place to put a chapter end in my opinion. I’ve always thought of the “eras” panning out as being BTWN-Earthling and then Hours-Reality, but I suppose not. It will probably give a better opportunity to see Bowie’s incredibly quick switch from Earthling to Hours however, which I’d love to know more about.

    • Ramzi says:

      only saw Colin’s comment explaining this after I posted, apologies! If I’m honest I’m almost glad that it’s signifying the end of Outside – with the whole Leon thing it’s been hard to get through, and while it has some terrific songs it’s nice to be past it, and closer to Heathen.

  34. V Delay says:

    Congratulations on a compelling chapter, Chris. Clearly the third best Bowie half decade ( and other outrageous statements).

    My favourites are basically the same as everyone else’s (in order):

    Dead against it
    Small plot
    Buddha / strangers

    Fwiw I find Lester Bowie’s presence on both records means you can cobble together a pretty neat DB instrumental record out of ’em.

  35. nijinska says:

    Interesting to follow the debate as to when the end of this period should fall. Whether coincidentally or not, I think Chris is right to draw a line here, even if it’s only a dotted one. For me there *is* something of a threshold between Outside and Earthling: turning 50; the advent of Pro Tools, and the crucial textural difference that made to how Bowie’s music sounded and felt; the rise of Napster / Audiogalaxy / general mp3 sharing (which meant Earthling was the first Bowie album I thought I might as well download via fileshare before deciding whether it was worth paying for… unless my memories are a few years out).

    But whatever… My top 10, chronologically rather than qualitatively:

    Real Cool World: even though it’s not that great a song, the pure fact of its being a solo release after the Tin Machine wilderness was enough for me to get excited

    Jump They Say: again, I just wanted ‘Bowie back’ and this delivered to order, especially when accompanied by the video

    Nite Flights: ok, Bowie’s own credit for this is ultimately minimal but it’s still a great listening experience

    Untitled No. 1: thrilled to see that I wasn’t the only one who’s loved this (at times i’ve wondered)

    Bleed Like A Craze, Dad: by the same token, equally unthrilled that this apparently has so few admirers

    Buddha of Suburbia: yes it’s a bit corny, yes in many ways it’s almost a reflexive pisstake, but I’d missed that grandeur so was happy not to care

    Dead Against It: as light as a trifle but none the worse for it

    Hallo Spaceboy: bigger balls than anything Tin Machine ever mustered

    Thru’ These Architects Eyes: this blog has given a far better analysis of why this is terrific than I could attempt

    Outside: hasn’t lasted with me to the same extenth, but I played it to death at the time

    (Just as an aside, I don’t know how everyone else feels, but the release of TND has quite successfully fucked up my assessment of this whole period. I thought I had my preferences nicely arranged and hierarchised before it appeared: as soon as I heard it, all the songs from this period felt worse.)

    • Nijinschizo says:

      Hey Nijinska, “Hallo Spaceboy: bigger balls than anything Tin Machine ever mustered”… that’s a point of view; but you must admit that this is not the same kind of music. Outside which is still one of my favourite deals more with “indus” than the Machine which has got a lot more to do with trad Power trios trip. Outside is more XXIst century oriented & TM deals with end-of-60’s/ beginning-of-the-70’s sound. Remember that Reeves Gabrels didn’t used during the first TM tour (1989) post-74 guitar pedals (aesthetic option). In pieces like the fantastic “I can’t read” played live during their 1st tour, you can also feel something coming from the Branca sphere. And (i know i’m probably one of his only fan here) Hunt Sales was a fantastic under-rated drummer who came from the big band days (Krupa, Rich… ). So, a different kind of energy was in the air produced by the Machine; such a “different kind of tension” (à la Buzzcocks)…….

    • Jeremy says:

      Actually TND made me appreciate this early 90’s period more and I really like TND….

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        As The Rumpus article points out:

        ‘David Bowie is an artist who has to land just right with culture and history. He has to release the right album at the right time, and he has to, alas, vanish from the court of public opinion in order for us rightly to appreciate him.’

        I think the quality of TND and it’s arrival now – at the right time – has prompted many to reassess and/or discover Bowie for the first time, the 90’s included. For many a long year any mention I made of my encounters with db caused only mild interest at best. Now, from young and old, it elicits wide-eyed gasps of shock and disbelief. I find I’m the one telling them to ‘calm down’, lol!

        I think Mr Bowie can truly call it – mission accomplished.

        P.S. I noticed that in the article the white square of TND is referred to as a ‘cocktail napkin’. Well, I’m intrigued by the whole article, but – ‘cocktail napkin’?

  36. Asylums with doors open wide says:

    Chris, what about the NIN “covers” performed live with Reznor & team????? (Reptile/ Hurt)… great performances, aren’t they?????

    • col1234 says:

      coming soon

    • NiggyTardust says:

      I’m sure they will be covered real soon, somewhere in between this chapter and Telling Lies (earliest Earthling song which was played a lot during last half of Outside tour)

  37. Momus says:

    This is my Top 10 of the songs Bowie didn’t quite get round to writing during this period:

    Return of the Scarlet Varlet
    Cascading Signal Failure
    The Japanese Sense of Spring
    Kingdom of Ant and Woodpecker
    Brixton Ayatollah
    Amputee Syndrome
    Gay Karl Marx
    Bowtie Bertie
    Midlife Tinnitus
    I Am A Pierrot

  38. simonkaye says:

    My top 10:

    1. Hallo Spaceboy – massive, propulsive, exhilarating.

    2. The Voyeur of Utter Destruction – on the strength of that ‘turn… and turn again’, the structured crescendo, the density of ideas.

    3. The Hearts Filthy Lesson – because it’s barely aged at all; dark, luxuriantly filthy.

    4. Lucy Can’t Dance – extraordinary earworm of a song

    5. Buddha of Suburbia – works so well as an extended homage to Bowies past

    6. The Mysteries – probably the single most emotionally evocative track from this period

    7. You’ve Been Around – surely the best from Black Tie’s album proper, backwards-constructed in the first half

    8. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town – I love the spoken bridge parts

    9. Thru’ These Architects Eyes – clashing piano with coruscating guitar and synth…

    10. Real Cool World – an opening salvo that seems to outshine most of the album that follows in its footsteps

    Dead Against It gets an honourable mention, having only been dropped from the top 10 by the merest whisker.

  39. i got the spirit, but lose the feeling says:

    “1. Hallo Spaceboy – massive, propulsive, exhilarating.
    2. The Voyeur of Utter Destruction – on the strength of that ‘turn… and turn again’, the structured crescendo, the density of ideas.”
    probably the 2 greatest tracks of this era.

    Hey, Chris, what about this extraordinary track recorded back in 1985 (italian cover), Volare???
    this is Bowie… same year than “This is not America” & 4 years before “I can’t read”…

  40. i got the spirit, but lose the feeling says:

    The Phillip Jeffries speech in Twin Peaks means a lot to me !!!!!

  41. Ididtheziggy says:

    I agree with your list. Only thing I might change is adding in Jump, They Say. That’s a hell of a list of songs for a guy thirty years into his career.

  42. David L says:

    1. Untitled no. 1
    2. You’ve Been Around
    3. Architects Eyes
    4. Sex and The Church
    5. Oxford Town
    6. Hallo Spaceboy
    7. Buddha of Suburbia
    8. South Horizon
    9. Nite Flights
    10. Looking for Lester

  43. Jeremy says:

    Now that the examination of Outside is complete I listened to the whole album right through for the first time in years. It really stands up for me as a latter day Bowie classic, as opposed to a classic album. It’s just so completely Bowie with its darkness, melodrama, conceptualization and experimentation that it can’t help but please the ears of an old Bowie fan.

    On to Earthling, which I quite like too…

  44. twinkle-twinkle says:

    No surprises really, we all seem to be going for the same core selection, but seems silly not to finally post anyway. In no particular order.

    1. “The Motel”- Any and all versions.

    2. “The Hearts Filthy Lesson” -Esp. live, live, live!

    3. “Thru’ These Architects Eyes” – ‘Architect’ is so – arch.

    4. “Strangers When We Meet” – Dooby-dooby-doo…

    5. “Buddha of Suburbia”- Elegiac encapsulation of his and my youth.

    6. “You’ve Been Around” – Groove, vocals, trumpet!

    7. “I Have Not Been to Oxford Town”- Because it’s true.

    8. “I’m Deranged” – Mmm…Quite.

    9. “Nite Flights” – He makes it his own.

    10. “Untitled No1” – As light as a trifle? A soufflé? Until finding this site, certainly a guilty pleasure; as dreamy as panna cotta.


    11. “The Man Who Sold the World (live version)” – It’s like a new song.

    The why-nots:

    “A Small Plot of Land” – I love all versions of this too, but decided to go for ’repeatable play-ability’ in any mood and a list which would also have the power to entice new ears to the range of later Bowie.

    ‘Outside’ – It sets the scene lyrically, but for me not very interesting musically. And it used to kill the fun and momentum of the ‘Earthling’ gigs.

    ‘Hallo Spaceboy’ – Like ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’, I saw ‘Spaceboy’ as a mid-life, down-with-the-kids song for the NIN generation. The ‘Reality Tour’ version is clearly a killer tour de force, and I also liked the PSBs remix, although I was never convinced by the ‘SO’ lyric cut-up.

    Later, when I heard the Neil Young cover on ‘Heathen’ – a track I was not keen on initially – I just knew db would be playing it live (in 2002). Well, I thought, at least he might finally drop ‘Spaceboy’ and/or ‘Americans’ – I’d heard them too much in late 90’s gigs. He played all three – the skinny bastard, heh-heh!

    • Anonymous says:

      The only Bowie songof this period to totally succeed for me is “You’ve Been Around”. A stone-cold masterpiece.

  45. Kikouyou says:

    Pallas Athena
    Small plot of land
    No control
    South Horizon
    You’ve been around
    Nite flights
    Hallo Spaceboy
    I’m deranged

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