Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


David Bowie

Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

David Bowie Black Tie White Noise album cover
3.06 | 136 ratings | 6 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Wedding (5:04)
2. You've Been Around (4:45)
3. I Feel Free (4:52)
4. Black Tie White Noise (4:52)
5. Jump They Say (4:22)
6. Nite Flights (4:30)
7. Pallas Athena (4:40)
8. Miracle Goodnight (4:14)
9. Don't Let Me Down (4:14)
10. Looking For Lester (4:36)
11. I Know It's Going To Happen Someday (4:14)
12. The Wedding Song (4:29)

Total time 54:52

Bonus tracks on 1993 CD release:
13. Jump They Say (remix) (3:58)
14. Lucy Can't Dance (5:45)

Line-up / Musicians

- David Bowie / vocals, guitar, sax, co-producer

- Nile Rodgers / guitar, co-producer
- Reeves Gabrels / lead guitar (2)
- Mick Ronson / lead guitar (3)
- Wild T. Springer / lead guitar (11)
- Richard Hilton / keyboards, programming (11)
- Dave Richards / keyboards, programming (11)
- Phillipe Saisse / keyboards
- Richard Tee / keyboards
- Mike Garson / piano (10)
- Lester Bowie / trumpet (2,5,7,9,10)
- Michael Riesman / harp, tubular bells, string arrangements
- John Regan / bass
- Barry Campbell / bass
- Sterling Campbell / drums
- Pugi Bell / drums
- Gerardo Velez / percussion
- Al B. Sure! / vocal duet (4)
- Fonzi Thornton / backing vocals
- Tawatha Agee / backing vocals
- Curtis King, Jr. / backing vocals
- Dennis Collins / backing vocals
- Brenda White-King / backing vocals
- Maryl Epps / backing vocals
- Chico O'Farrill / horns arranger & conductor (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Reiner Design Consultants with Nick Knight (photo)

CD Arista ‎- 74321 13697 2 (1993, Europe) With 2 bonus tracks
CD EMI ‎- 7243 5 83340 2 9 (2003, Europe) Remastered by Steve Rooke

Thanks to Easy Money for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy DAVID BOWIE Black Tie White Noise Music

DAVID BOWIE Black Tie White Noise ratings distribution

(136 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (43%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

DAVID BOWIE Black Tie White Noise reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars It may be hard to believe that an overexposed artist such as Bowie could have a severely overlooked and underrated album, but Black Tie White Noise is that album. David has put out so many great albums, The Man Who Sold the World, Low, Scary Monsters and so many others, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be this great mid-90s comeback. Describing what is so unique about this is difficult, like so many Bowie albums what is great on here can be very subtle. Black Tie is typical of a lot of David's work in that it is not only strongly connected with the cutting edge music of it's time, but it also expands on those styles by introducing timeless elements that lift his music above the current trends and points toward possible futures in music. Black Tie is smart and hip in it's use of mid-90s contemporary hip-hop and acid jazz rhythms, but it also has a deep emotional content and flavor that can best be described as vaguely optimistic melancholy. There is no filler on this album (except for the two dance re-mixes on the CD re-issue version), each song contributes to the strange world-weary, yet upbeat sadness that permeates this album.

If I had to pick one stand out track it would be the song that bears the name of the album. Inspired by the horrific riots in LA that happened after a racially charged trial verdict that many saw as unjust, and inspired as well by his own mixed marriage, David takes on the emotionally charged issue of race relations. In this brilliant pop masterpiece, David and RnB crooner Al B. Sure sing heavy lines such as 'There will be blood no doubt about it' and 'I look into your eyes . and I know you won't kill me . but I wonder sometimes' to pretty uplifting melodies with tacky vocoder voices in the background. It's that juxtaposition of serious and light that makes David so great.

There are a lot of excellent guests on this album, but one of my favorites is jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie. Lester's quirky and individualistic approach to the trumpet help humanize some of the more mechanical dance rhythms on this record, and he makes a great compliment to David's strange almost out of tune saxophone playing. When this record came out it had been a long time since David had been recorded playing sax, but his return to that instrument further showed how this album was trying to tie together a lot of Bowie's past work and put it in a present context. All through this album there are lyrical in-jokes and musical references to the different phases of Bowie's career.

David was in his mid-40s when he recorded this album, an age when a lot of us know there may be at least one last shot at some kind of youth, a fact that can bring a sentimental longing because we also know this opportunity will pass soon. Although David still put out some more good music after this, I think in a lot of ways this was his last really strong emotional album, his swan song to a passing youth.

Once, while walking through a difficult part of San Francisco, I walked past a particularly seedy x-rated movie theatre that was blasting an acid jazz track (Looking for Lester) from this album out of it's sidewalk speakers. I guess the proprietors of this tacky establishment liked the hip upbeat dance rhythm, but probably didn't notice the weird horn playing or the atonal piano solo. I think David would have been very pleased with this ironic setting for his music.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Six years without a Bowie album. This is the gap between "Never Let Me Down" and "Black Tie, White Noise". But there are some explanations to this.

David put his solo career into bracket for a while and concentrated on a rock band called "Tin Machine". The band, in which full democracy is respected (we are far from the Spiders of course) has released two albums, of which their first one was a good hard-rocking one, peaking at the third spot of the charts in the UK.

They will tour together and this will be the occasion to see Bowie from a closer angle since they will play relatively small concert halls. But after their second album, released in 1991 they just called it quit.

Between these two albums, David will do the Sound+Vision tour which will visit no less than twenty- seven countries. In the UK only, ten dates attracted approximately an audience of a quarter million people. Things are going well for him, thank you very much.

The hungry fans rushed out and bought the album like crazy. It will reach the highest position of the UK chart.

A year prior to this release, David married with the Somali top model Iman Abdulmajid. Several tracks (like ."Wedding" for instance) are inspired by this event.

The mood is on the funky side, which is not my cup of tea. Especially "I Feel Free". It is interesting to mention, not because it is a good song, but because a very old mate is coming back: Mick Ronson, one of The Spiders From Mars holds the guitar on this track. He will sadly die of cancer later in 1993. RIP Mick, we miss you.

The soul-ish title track is again inspired by a personal experience while being in L.A. This characteristics was already noticed during the recordings of "A Lad Insane" while touring the US for the Ziggy tour.

It concerns the incident of a cab driver (Rodney King) which was beaten by the L.A. police after having refused to stop his car. Unfortunately for them, someone taped the scene and it was shown on the television and the policemen were tried. They will be acquitted which resulted in serious rioting in the L.A. streets during four days.

This album is also a step back in time. The song "Jump They Say" is related to his half-brother Terry who committed suicide in 85 and highlights his schizophrenia. They were really close to each other and David was very affected by this drama.

Nile Rodgers in again in charge of the production, so these funky and soul beats almost all the way through are closely linked to his work of course. At times it is combined with electro/techno sounds which is not necessarily a good thing for my delicate ears. The worse being achieved with "Pallas Athena".

I really wonder why it was decided to release "Miracle Goodnight" as a single. It is a below average track and it will fail to chart completely. It is a gift to his new bride as the whole album is a present that David wanted to give to her. It is another of his very few love songs.

The next song is a cover from an acquaintance of Iman. Originally written in Arabic, the song will be translated into English. David will even record an .Indonesian version of Don't Let Me Down. Apart of these details, there is nothing to report about this syrupy and weak song.

The second instrumental piece of music is no better than the first one (which is the opening number by the way). You can easily press nextT to avoid five useless minutes.

I don't really like this album. Of course, funky music has never been a fave of mine. The best song from this album is probably "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday". A cover from Morrissey. An emotional crescendo piece of music including an excellent guitar break. The song is maybe a bit mellowish but I far much prefer this mood than the global one that can be felt on this album.

And to loop the loop of this album, the closing number is a vocal version of the instrumental opener. Again, I am not really convinced with the beat and overall texture of this song.

I can't be laudatory about this release. Two stars. Very average.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One more Bowie's album with post-80-th music. Is it good or bad?

First of all I believe, that because of Bowie's talent and professional level it's difficult to find really bad Bowie's album. OK, it's different ( as almost all Bowie's albums, is it strange for you?)

Yes, it's music is placed somewhere between soul vocal-rock and acid-jazz/house/pop arrangements. Is it a crime? Is this great album bad only because it explores territories which rock purists often hate?

But listen to music, complex arrangements, jazzy elements! For me that kind of music ( may be far from ortodoxal rock) is much more attractive than neo-prog cliches or second division sympho-rock repetetive wall of sound.

But - it's question of taste. Anyway, I can recommend this album for any open minded Bowie fan, I believe you will find many interesting things there!

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars It is possible to catch by converting the part of some revolutions into the work for his music character. Part of Rock Star of fiction of him after "Ziggy Stardust" announced in 1972. And, the music character that always caught the age and revolutionized it enchanted the listener. However, the conflict as the part of the music character that he expressed appeared in the work on the boundary of the 80's. It is a so-called trilogy that he announced in Berlin if it thinks as a time series to say nothing of it. It is possible to chase it from "Low", "Heroes", and "Lodger".

The success in "Let's Dance" might have been an age of the pursuit of new own music in the contrary as the music character of man who repeated restructuring as a style of music in the work in the especially 80's. You should have become an element to which the existence of "Tin Machine" pulled him in the 90's though the style had been established in this age. There might recently have been work that he tried to watch oneself again in the 80's. When interviewing it, it made remarks on David Bowie when "Tin Machine" was formed. It is a flow that shifts from Pop Star to Berlin from the 70's if it thinks by "The performed character was lost in me" ,in a word, the diagram. And, the 80 year tried for the pursuit of the self repeating dismantlement and restructuring. They might have been the challenges of the music character to the 90's at the same time as pursuit's as new Bowie starting with Tin Machine. The listener might certainly have had the opinion of the approval or disapproval in his music character in the 80's. However, the idea and the expression of the music character that he did are completely followed and expressed by this album. Music advances surely. Neither the rhythm nor the sound of the fashion taken in this work will be completely problems. The point to have appointed Nile Rodgers again as a producer has succeeded completely, too.

The part where the impression of Bowie in "The Wedding" was reflected in the tune might be splendid. An Oriental a few melodies touch the tune with beauty. He completely catches the age.

The music character that he has done before is followed and the dash feeling and the melody of "You've Been Around" are being offered to the listener as music of completely new David Bowie. The trumpet of Lester Bowie also contributes.

The color of David Bowie ..tune of good feeling that went out.. has finished as the flow of the tune of "I Feel Free" is also complete. The melody of the wind instrument twines round the rhythm of Funk and Rock. The work of Nile Rodgers is reminiscent of the impression of the sound of "Let's Dance". And, the music character of new David Bowie that rushed into in the 90's is splendidly drawn out.

"Black Tie White Noise" is a tune with the wonderful flow transposed from the part of the song to a steady rhythm. It might be proof that is followed the idea to which David Bowie exactly did this tune and creates new music.

"Jump They Say" advances with the dash feeling. This..tune..album..shingle.Rhythm and melody. And, solo of the trumpet will call the excitement.

As for "Nite Flights", the rhythm of Hip-Hop twines round strings with the anacatesthesia. The melody in the middle, the progress of chord, and the line of Bass will have the calculated perfect composition. The title of the tune might be exactly reflected in the melody.

The rhythm of "Pallas Athena" is impressive with the desire chorus. The song of Bowie has not gone out ahead so much. However, it might be important as the flow that composes the whole of the album. It has the role by way of as another theme of the album.

"Miracle Goodnight" might have the theme with a little unique melody. And, the part of the song that David Bowie is good is reflected in the tune. The way of the chorus twining is also splendid. The transposition of the middle of the tune also expands width. The obbligati of the last guitar and the sound of the keyboard are features.

"Don't Let Me Down&Down" is a tune of mellow with beautiful lyrics. The part of the ballade touches it with the progress of not a simple composition but complete Chord. The melody was calculated completely and completed. Solo of the trumpet will call impression. The height of the technology is shown.

In "Looking For Lester", ensemble of a glossy wind instrument is a feature. It twines round the rhythm that reflects the times and an advanced melody raises the album-quality. The song of Bowie doesn't come out ahead. However, the high quality is consistent. The contribution of Nile Rodgers might be a large tune.

"I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday" is a beautiful tune to which the Soul music and gospel have been taken. It might be an element that such a tune has naturally adhered to the body in Bowie, too. This album might be exactly an album with high quality completed overall.

"The Wedding Song" passes "The Wedding" and "Pallas Athena". The album is finished off by this trilogy that has it with the marriage as the theme.

David Bowie in the 90's has completely established own directionality by this album.

Review by tarkus1980
2 stars Well phooey. After all the talk about not wanting to make the Let's Dance clone that his record company wanted (and getting thrown off the EMI label because of it) and after all the effort to pursue an effective and intriguing brand of heavy guitar pop rock, it almost makes sense, in a perverted way, that his first solo album out of Tin Machine (after he had said he wouldn't make solo albums anymore!) would be something ridiculous like this. I'm probably not the best person to try and review this kind of music; I have pretty much no interest in the type of dance-club pop (crossed with significant amounts of smooth jazz stylings) that dominates this album, and I don't have much of a sense of what's supposed to differentiate the good from the bad in that area. What I do know is that, if this weren't made by David Bowie, I would never have come close to giving this any kind of significant listen, and it's definitely not an album I enjoy on the whole. Niles Rodgers is back (again, why would Bowie go from defiantly claiming he didn't want to make a Let's Dance sequel to making a second album with the producer of Let's Dance? What a strange mind), and that may give this album credibility in some circles, but if I never hear the dancefloor-oriented "Pallas Athena," the dip pop of "Miracle Goodnight," the elevator muzak (who ever decided generic techno rhythms and jazz trumpet were a good combination?) of "Looking for Lester" or the pure schlock of Bowie's cover of "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday," it will be too soon.

While I don't like the other tracks on the whole, though, I'd have to say that like some of them in part. The album is bookended by "The Wedding" and "The Wedding Song," a celebration of Bowie's then-recent nuptials with the model Iman, and there's enough emotional intrigue in them for me to enjoy them without too much embarrassment. "The Wedding" could have been a muzak disaster like "Looking for Lester," but somehow the cross between the standard dance beats and Bowie's rough saxophone playing (a more accomplished sax player might have ruined this, honestly) is enough to elevate it into something I genuinely enjoy. "The Wedding Song" is basically the same track but with vocals, and as before I kinda sorta enjoy it, as Bowie's vocals give the banal lyrics a good chunk of emotional heft that makes me feel a little better as the album ends (at least, before the bonus tracks come on). Again, I don't love it, but I don't hate it either; bear in mind, though, that I liked "Shining Star (Making My Love)," so I might not be trustworthy.

Elsewhere, I'd have to say that the cover of Cream's "I Feel Free," as ridiculous as it sounds with all of the glorious heavy 60's guitar sound stripped away, still manages to have its delightful melody largely in tact, despite the best efforts to cover it in ridiculous production that sounded dated the instant the album was released. The cover of "Don't Let Me Down & Down," at the least, could have theoretically been a halfway decent Prince ballad, so that has to count for something. And, ehn, well, I kinda like all the wah-wah guitar textures and the way trumpet is used in the title track (a collaboration with Al B Sure! - no, really, the exclamation mark is part of his name, that wasn't excitement), which I'd be fine hearing every couple of years.

The rest is easily forgettable, though the two bonus tracks are somewhat of note: they're a remix of "Jump They Say" (which didn't grab me at all in the album but has an actually perceptible funk groove here) and a fun (albeit overlong by at least a minute) up-tempo number called "Lucy Can't Dance." They're fun! Overall, though, this album has an awful lot of negatives going against it, and when I have to struggle for compliments in the parts that I don't instinctually hate, a bad grade is inevitable. There's more good material here than on the worst 80's albums, though.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Bowie must have realised he'd hit an artistic dead end on Never Let Me Down, because after that derided effort (salvaged just a little by the more recent 2018 revision of the album, and the quite good Glass Spider tour) he put his solo career on hold and undertook the wild expedition which was Tin Machine.

Black Tie White Noise is the first solo album Bowie put out after Tin Machine ran its course, and finds his creative batteries somewhat recharged. It's another stylistic shift, with Bowie drawing on electronic and alternative dance music styles of the time to refresh his sound. The end result is not quite compelling - it's much more pleasant background listening than it is an attention-grabbing masterpiece - but it's certainly a soothing enough listen, and a capable manifesto for Bowie's exploration of the electronic dance-rock crossover territories, a process which would continue through the rest of his 1990s albums.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of DAVID BOWIE "Black Tie White Noise"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.