Friday, February 19, 2016

29 Days of Bowie: Tin Machine

Released on May 22, 1989 by EMI Records, the self-titled debut release of the band Tin Machine marks a creative turning point for David Bowie following a period of mediocrity and compromise during the mid-1980s. In a band Bowie formed with guitarist Reeves Gabrels, bassist Tony Sales, and drummer Hunt Sales as the last Bowie had played in the late 70s as part of Iggy Pop’s backing band at the time. The project marks Bowie making a return to rock music but in an uncompromised and brutal fashion. Produced with Tim Palmer and featuring contributions from collaborator Kevin Armstong on additional guitars and keyboards. The album is a confrontational recording that has Bowie, Gabrels, and the Sales brothers go all-out while speaking about the ills of the world and everything they encounter.

The album’s opener and single in Heaven’s in Here and its third single in Tin Machine are these songs that has elements of blues-based guitar licks but all presented in a very hard and rocking as the former is a slow, blues-based track with wailing guitars from Gabrels while the latter is a fast, hard-hitting track that has Bowie singing in a snarling fashion. Even as the Sales brothers provide some heavy rhythms with Gabrels providing swirling guitar solos. The album’s first single in Under the God is another fast, upbeat track that features driving guitars, heavy drums, and Bowie singing some very confrontational lyrics about faith with some growling vocals. The album’s fourth single in the mid-tempo ballad Prisoner of Love has this steady rhythm with some lavish fills by Hunt Sales and low-key bass lines by Hunt Sales as it is a somber but enchanting song that definitely owes a lot to American alternative rock.

Cuts like Crack City, Video Crimes, and a cover of John Lennon’s Working Class Hero are songs that have very socially-conscious lyrics with Crack City displaying some changing tempos as it is slow for the most part with some intense time signatures in the drums and guitars. Working Class Hero is given a more, funk-based rhythm with some driving guitars as it is a remarkable interpretation to Lennon’s song as Bowie definitely brings an added snarl to Lennon’s lyrics. Video Crimes is a track that is filled with these noisy guitar textures from Gabrels and a bopping, mid-tempo rhythm that has Bowie singing some very dark lyrics with some crunchy riffs. The mid-tempo track I Can’t Read is a somber tune that features Bowie singing some melancholic lyrics to textures of guitar noises from Gabrels and a steady rhythm from the Sales brothers. Amazing is a mid-tempo ballad with guitar spurts from Bowie and walloping drum fills by Tony Sales with Bowie singing some lyrics that expresses love and anguish.

The short, fast-paced Bus Stop is a straight-ahead rocker with upbeat rhythms and driving guitars that feature some dark lyrics that play into the decay of the world. Pretty Thing is another fast-paced rocker with some intense guitars and hard-hitting rhythms with Bowie singing some very sloppy but fun lyrics that play into the idea of what rock n’ roll is about which is going after girls. The mid-tempo track Run is a track that has Bowie on an acoustic guitar singing some very abstract lyrics to a slow but hard-rocking song features hard-hitting rhythms and Gabrels’ soaring guitars. Sacrifice Yourself is a full-on, upbeat hard-rocker that has Bowie singing in a snarling fashion to some angry lyrics with loud, raw drums and some driving guitars that include some squealing guitars from Gabrels. The album closer Baby Can Dance is a mid-tempo track with bopping rhythms and loud guitar riffs with Gabrels’ wailing guitar squeals while Bowie sings some weird but uplifting lyrics as it based on pure rock n’ roll.

The 1995 reissue from Virgin Records features a bonus track in a country-based version of Bus Stop that was recorded during the band’s 1989 tour as it was also part of B-side for a maxi-single release for Tin Machine as it presented in a very playful version with Gabrels providing some country licks and Bowie singing in a country style as it‘s really damn good. Another track from that single is a live cover of Bob Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm as it is this mixture of rock and country with Bowie singing in a growling vocal style where it has some country guitar lyrics until it goes into a full-on rock track.

Tin Machine’s self-titled debut is a phenomenal album from the band. It’s an album that is all rock n’ roll as it’s loud, sloppy, uncompromising, and confrontational. It’s exactly the kind of thing in what rock music is about as it’s an album that knows what it is as it’s also a fucking kick in the balls. In the end, Tin Machine’s self-titled debut is an album that doesn’t just fucking rock but it’s also an album with all frills and no filler.

Studio Releases: David Bowie (1967 album) - David Bowie (1969 album) - The Man Who Sold the World - Hunky Dory - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Aladdin Sane - Pin Ups - Diamond Dogs - Young Americans - Station to Station - Low - "Heroes" - Lodger - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Let’s Dance - Tonight - Never Let Me Down - Tin Machine II - Black Tie White Noise - Outside - Earthling - ‘Hours…’ - Heathen - Reality - The Next Day - *

Live Releases: David Live - Stage - Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars - Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby - Bowie at the Beeb - (Live at Fashion Rocks (w/ Arcade Fire)) - (Live Santa Monica ‘72) - (Glass Spider Live) - (VH1 Storytellers) - (A Reality Tour)

Soundtracks: Christiane F. - Labyrinth - The Buddha of Suburbia

Miscellaneous: Peter and the Wolf - Baal - Sound + Vision - (Early On (1964-1966)) - (All Saints) - Toy - (Nothing Has Changed)

© thevoid99 2016

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