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26
3.8 out of 5 stars
Black Tie White Noise
Format: Audio CDChange
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2011
I remember when this album was released. Apart from the odd single, I was not a fan of post-Low Bowie, and all I owned was on vinyl. Time has passed (and much musical prejudice with it)so I decided to download this album out of curiosity and a sense of completion... sad to say! However, I was pleasantly surprised. It sounded fresh. Both the melodies and the album structure were unpredictable.
I have played it frequently over the last few weeks and have not tired of it. I keep hearing new things in the arrangements. Had I listened to it on release, I would probably dismissed it - not enough jangly guitar! Now I'm trying to think of other artists and albums I side-stepped, through musical snobbery, and give them a chance with my new ears.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2003
This special re-issue of BTWN with all the additional remixes, rare tracks and great DVD footage is a really good buy. Another of Bowie's albums that wasn't fully appreciated when it was originally released, it sounds really fresh ten years on, and I've really enjoyed rediscovering it. If you missed out on this first time around, this special edition is well worth adding to your collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2012
To say this album is a work of genius, would be stretching things, but like all of Bowie's albums after his dreaded 80's period, experienced listeners will find his later music incredibly rewarding.

I'm a fan of Bowie's early 70's output, but as I have grown older, my tastes have matured, and I tend to find that it is Bowie's more recent output that draws me back, time and time again. `Black Tie White Noise' offers the listener something very different to anything Bowie has done previously, making it not an easy album to describe. The best way to judge it is probably track by track...

`The Wedding', 'You've Been Around', 'Jump They Say', 'Pallas Athena' and 'Miracle Goodnight' are the type of strong melodic songs that you have come to expect by Bowie, all laced together with some stunning synthetic arrangements. 'Jump They Say' literally explodes out the speakers in a hail of synthetic drum beats. Fantastic stuff! Also, if you have never heard Bowie's cover of Scott Walker's 'Nite Flights', then you are really missing out on one of the finest cover songs ever recorded. It remains, to this day, one of my all time favourite tracks.

The thing is, like with all Bowie's 90's output, it is full of hidden depths, and is more rewarding after multiple listens. Definitely something for the more experienced listener.

However, sad to say, that not every song on this album is pure gold, there are three tracks on here that I would happily throwaway, especially the cover of Cream's 'I Feel Free'. But all in all, if you are a big Bowie fan who's looking for a few tracks to put on a compilation, then there are some real gems worth discovering on this album.

P.S. also, check out the video to 'Jump They Say', it has barely dated.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2003
By 1993, David Bowie was considered washed up, a has-been, a complete irrelevance. Since his greatest commercially selling album, "Lets Dance" in 1983, he had produced two criminally dire albums in "Tonight" and "Never Let Me Down" and three albums with rock dirge group "Tin Machine". Who would have guessed that his marriage to Somalian model Iman Abdul-Majid would have helped kickstart a creative process that would produce his best album in over ten years?
Although the album was said by Bowie to have been inspired by his marriage to Iman, only two of the tracks featured appear to have any reference to the event. "The Wedding" features wedding bells as the an album opener, and "The Wedding Song" is a gushing, swooning and deeply romantic paen to his new bride. The rest of the album however is classic Bowie; full of darkness, paranoia and more importantly - killer tunes.
Lead-off single "Jump They Say" is a stunning breakneck hard-edged dance track packed with gorgeous sax work from Bowie and excellent trumpet work from Lester Bowie (no relation). Second single the title track is a laid back funk/soul duet with Detroit singer Al B Sure! (Yes, that is his real name) that surely deserved higher than it's number 39 chart placing. And third and final single "Miracle Goodnight" is possibly the catchiest song Bowie, if indeed, anyone has ever written. But aside from the trio of excellent singles, there is much more listening pleasure to still be had. The whole album is filled with funky and soulful dance percussion, Bowie's voice is on the finest form that it has ever been in, and the lead sax and trumpet playing from the two Bowies is dynamism perfection. Four cover versions also make up the album; Cream's "I Feel Free" is given a radical funk makeover with a poignant guitar solo from Mick Ronson (he died from liver cancer days after its recording), Scott Walker's "Nite Flights" becomes a dark and brooding dance track that was to sweep to nightclubs throughout the nineties, Morrissey's "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" is given a hugely overwrought and thouroughly over dramatic rendition. It would however have made a great single. The only weak link on the album is "Don't Let Me Down And Down", a little known french love song sung quite weakly against an insipid backing track.
The album was given was given a hugely warm reception when it was first released, and that praise is still deserved. This reissue comes with a bonus cd of extra tracks and remixes which vary from the essential ("Lucy Can't Dance", Leftfield's rocking remix of "Jump They Say") to plain filler ("Real Cool World"). This cd does however compile much wanted hard-to-find tracks and some thrilling, if dated, remixes. Also, this set comes with a DVD of interview footage, some concert footage, and three promo videos. The interview is dull, the performances are good but not essential, but the three promos are among the best that Bowie has ever produced.
All in all, this set is an absolute must for any self-respecting Bowie fan, and at this price this is fantastic collection worth taking a look at if you are interested in taking a look at Bowie's recording history, but don't want anything quite as dark and experimental as say "Low", "Outside" or "Station To Station".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This 1993 album is an ambitious project that does not come across as cohesive but contains some great songs. In overall sound, it reminds me of Young Americans but it is even more detached, like his plastic soul style carried to the extreme.
It opens with the semi-instrumental The Wedding, a beautiful lilting melody which is followed by You've Been Around, a song that doesn't go anywhere. The funky texture of I Feel Free makes it a worthy cover and the title track, a duet with Al B Sure, is quite engaging with its complex arrangement.
Jump They Say, Pallas Athena and Nite Flights, the Scott Walker cover, are all interesting but not really emotionally appealing. I like Miracle Goodnight with its rhythmic and vocal variety but the jazzy ballad Don't Let Me Down comes across as unfocused and messy. Looking For Lester is a lively jazz instrumental and the album concludes with The Wedding Song, a vocal reprise of the stylish opening track.
The problem with Black Tie, White Noise, is that although pleasant to listen to, the music does not remain with you for long. With a few exceptions like the two Wedding Songs, the songs are not memorable. I recommend this album only to hardcore fans or Bowie completists.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2003
This album marks a creative revival of David Bowie that would continue throughout the 1990s, extending to "Heathen" and maybe even beyond. Growing with every listen, it seems more jazz-infused than any other Bowie album with its liberal sprinkling of saxophone and trumpet. Added to this are many highlights which diversify an already-diverse Bowie back-catalogue.

"The Wedding" is a good opener, an instrumental with a slow build up. It attempts to unite east and west, reflecting the nature of Bowie's marriage, and does so successfully with its sound that harks to the Middle East but keeps to Western conventions with its infectious piano and bass-line.

"You've Been Around" hints to the more experimental sound that would permeate the "Outside" album with its menacing synths at the start. Such an allusion is continued later via the brooding instrumental "Pallas Athena" with David Bowie's sax echoing the melody of "A Small Plot of Land" at times.

"Black Tie White Noise" seems to be Bowie's answer to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?", not only in its cry for racial unity but also within its melody which closely echoes Gaye's at times.

"Jump They Say" is a fairly unsettling track based upon the suicide of one of Bowie's colleagues and perfectly reflects, in both lyrics and music, the intense pressures of the modern world and the state of manic depression that can result.

"Nite Flights" is an interesting cover of Scott Walker's 1977 track which is fairly faithful to the original yet somewhat darker with its harder rhythm and sinister synths permeating in the background.

"Miracle Goodnight" is fairly infectious, if a little light-headed, and an obvious single, being the most commercial track on the album. Another to rival it, "Lucy Can't Dance" was surprisingly left off the original album but appears on disc 2, proving just as catchy if not repetitive.

"I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" is an over-exuberant, at times comical, Morrisey cover which works fairly well and is one of the main highlights on a pretty solid album which casts Bowie back into some sort of creative credibility after a fairly sobering period in the 1980s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2012
Buy this for 'Jump They Say' about David's half brother Terry's mental problems - and for the fantastic 'Nite Flights'. The title track and 'Miracle Goodnight' are interesting too. A decent album rather than great. You know that if you skip a track every now and then, as I do.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 10 November 2003
If this album was released after "Lets Dance" , it would have been massive. Instead we got "Tonight" and "Never Let Me Down" and it was 10 years after "Lets Dance" before "Black Tie" appeared."Black Tie" is quality commercial dance music - jazz influenced ,with brilliant sax and trumpet playing throughout, complementing the great tunes and superb crooning vocals by Bowie. Favourite tracks would be "Jump They Say" , "Nite Flights","Wedding Song" and the epic " I Know It's Going to Happen Someday". Quality album, probably not appreciated at the time of its release as Bowie was unfashionable after his wilderness period. Stands up well today.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2004
By 1993, David Bowie had not released a solo album since 1987 ('Never Let Me Down').
Coming off a wave of indifference with Tin Machine, Bowie came back with full force in his new solo venture.
After 3 Tin Machine albums ('Tin Machine', the underrated 'Tin Machine II' and 'Oy Vey, Baby'), Bowie had slumped into being a hasbeen rock star, which was exactly what he needed to public to see him as. The high fame from 'Let's Dance' (1983) had taken away his creative flare, he was making pop songs to please a new generation of 80s rockers. Try as he did with new concepts as the 'Glass Spider Tour', and film ventures such as 'Labyrinth', his creative side had dried up.
So what do we see on this 1993 offering? Well, we see a newly wed Mr Bowie trying to use the old tools of survival, which he sued so well in the 60s and early 70s. This album has several songs which a true Bowie masterpieces, namely 'Jump They Say', 'Miracle Goodnight' and 'The Wedding Song'. 'Nite Flights' and 'I Feel Free' also stand out, the latter featuring the very last work by former Spider Mick Ronson.
However, the album does feature too many fillers. 'Looking For Lester', 'You've Been Around' and 'I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday' are tagged on for no apparent reason, and I will never understand 'Pallas Athena'.
The most obscure of covers, 'Don't Let Me Down & Down' is an unsung hero of the album, proving that even the most obscure of songs can be successful, especially w/ David's soaring vocal toward the end, after line after line of monotone alto sounds.
It is tough to rate this album, though. It did go No1 on its release, but perhaps was overrated for a return album at the time.
I give it 3 1/2, as although it is wonderfully creative, the album as a whole feels disjointed in places, mostly due to the fillers.
It certainly beats his 80s attempts (bar 'Scary Monsters' (1980), and proves that as a creative artist, he is far from dried up.
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on 8 April 2012
I can remember buying this album back in 1993. A Bowie album release always seemed like an event. I was not dissapointed at all. In fact "The Wedding Song" is almong my favourite Bowie songs. Ok so there are a few lets say "fillers" but come on we are talking about a genius songwriter and icon. In fact this album has not aged at all. That is always a sign of a fine work.
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