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David Bowie - Tonight CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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2.29 | 140 ratings

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3 stars David Bowie "sold out" in a glorious way for his prior effort, the blockbuster "Let's Dance" album, so it probably wasn't a surprise when this follow-up album seemed pretty shallow and superficial on the surface. Pure 80s pop, with a ringer for a hit single ("Blue Jean"), and a large handful of filler. Total crap, right?

Well, no. There's actually plenty to love about this album.. For one thing, "Blue Jean" is probably in its own way the simplest, most wonderful song Bowie ever recorded. The stop/start riff that introduces the verses makes a great hook, and the transition to the minor chorus with the doo-wop-esque backing vocals is just wonderful. I would gladly listen to this song on repeat all day long. The fan favorite on this album is the opening epic "Loving the Alien", which even skeptics would have to agree is just a beautiful song with some really nice chord changes. As an opening track, it occupies the same haunting, regal territory as, say, "Come Talk to Me" by Peter Gabriel. Melancholic grandeur, this is prime Bowie. So at the very least, this album has 2 bona fide classics on it.

For the remaining songs, Bowie again plunders his pal Iggy Pop's catalog for three decent-to-great cover versions: "Don't Look Down" (from Iggy's "New Values" album) done as a Police-like reggae ballad quite nicely; the title track "Tonight" (from Iggy's "Lust for Life" album, co-written by Bowie), done as a cheesy duet with Tina Turner (ah, the 80s); and fast rocker "Neighborhood Threat" (also from "Lust for Life"), done in a similar albeit glossier manner to the original. So it's pretty clear Dave was short for material here, but luckily he had some good Plan B's to fall back on.

The two other covers are less successful, though. The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows" is completely butchered (God only knows, indeed, what the hell Bowie was thinking here), and the Leiber/Stoller number "I Keep Forgettin'" is just okay. That leaves just two more originals, the pretty neat "Tumble and Twirl", a vaguely Latin dance number that works just fine for what it is; and the bombastic closer "Dancing With the Big Boys" which is one of the weaker songs on the album, ending the album on a bum note.

Three stars. If you have any affinity for 80s music, you could do a lot worse than this. And the highlights "Loving the Alien" and "Blue Jean" alone make this a worthwhile purchase for fans.

HolyMoly | 3/5 |


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