IIt’s hard to imagine now that there was a time when people could laugh at David Bowie, but they laughed at them. Since he sadly passed away in 2016, he has gained a certain reputation for holiness – but people haven’t always been so kind.
A new box set, “Brilliant Adventure,” celebrates all of Bowie’s solo albums from 1992 through to “Hours” in 1999, as well as the unreleased 2001 record “Toy” for good measure. It’s a ripe time for revision, given that so many of his moves at the time sparked raised eyebrows and derision. This was when Bowie found pre-millennial relevance, but few recognized it at the time. Considering the work that has taken place in previous years, this is hardly surprising.
He’s always tapped into the times, but unfortunately for Bowie that meant becoming a bit consumed by the money-hungry spirit of the ’80s. After the thorny proto-grunge art-rock masterpiece of the years 1980’s “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” and the gigantic success of 1983’s pop-tastic delight “Let’s Dance”, he seemed less concerned with innovation than with the pursuit of hits and mass approval. That’s what spawned the puffy, commercial, 80s silliness with long hair and padded shoulders of “Tonight” and “Never Let Me Down,” backed by the pomp of Broadway Stadium on Broadway. The Glass Spider Tour. Bowie himself even referred to this time as the “Phil Collins years”.
This only brought down his hard rock supergroup side project, Tin Machine, but their eponymous debut in 1989 and their 1991 follow-up “Tin Machine II” – a hangover from Bowie’s’ 80s era – are widely regarded as Bowie’s tallest. faux pas. Either way, it helped him stretch his legs ahead of the invigorating period that was to follow: a decade of inspiration and left turns.
In 1990, he told the world that he was removing much of his classical repertoire from his live performance by playing his hits for the last time on the “Sound + Vision” world tour. Then, 10 years later, Bowie’s thirst was so great that he brought them back for his scoring title at Glastonbury 2000. That night Bowie’s grace shone through so he could reclaim his legend and become the majestic legend that we remember as today. But he had to go through so much to get to this.
Bowie entered the 90s, considered a has-been of naff rock, and left him as an icon linked to Glastonbury. These are the defining moments that made this possible.
The return to form
What happened? David Bowie, after disbanding Tin Machine and marrying model Iman, came back rejuvenated. Reuniting with pianist Mike Garson and guitarist Mick Ronson (with whom he hadn’t worked since the heyday of the ’70s) and his’ Let’s Dance’ cohort Nile Rodgers, Bowie created a masterful, moving and charming dose of art. -rock avant-garde who attacked his own demons and the racial tensions of the time.
Key moment: The debut single ‘Jump They Say’, both a subtle prog house banger while reflecting on the death of his half-brother Terry, who committed suicide in 1985 after a historic battle with mental illness and schizophrenia.
The Twin peaks cameo
What happened? Is there a better way to scare Phil Collins fans than to scream through a nightmarish David Lynch scene? No, and the cameo of Bowie, FBI agent Phillip Jeffries in Twin Peaks: walk with fire with me remains the most entertaining moments of all Twin peaks series and one of his best on-screen moments, featuring Bowie’s chops and chameleon acting talent for a delicious Southern drawl – all while setting him to the table of left-field art for the coming years. The labyrinth, This is not the case. Not a fly in sight.
Key moment: “AW HELL GOD BABY DAMN NO!” So good.
The forgotten gem
What happened? Written as the soundtrack to a film adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s novel of the same name, “The Buddha of the Suburbs” came out with a bang in 1993. Yet those who heard it were treated to Bowie’s glorious sound at his more free and experimental, but also a record with a rich musical know-how at its heart. While referencing much of his glam and synthesized work from the mid to late 70s and drawing inspiration from influences from T. Rex and Roxy Music to Kraftwerk and Neu !, there is a confidence and a modern sparkle in “The Buddha Of Suburbia”. this gives it a constantly contemporary look. In 2003, Bowie will declare that it is his favorite album of all his albums, but remains largely a lost jewel and eclipsed by the imposing reputation of his other masterpieces. Give her some love.
Key moment: ‘Dead Against It’ – Bowie at his best and freezing cold. It still looks like a high speed train to the future.
The declaration from the outside
What happened?: While everyone was convinced of Britpop and convinced that we were going to live forever, Bowie took on pre-millennial terror to deliver a terrifying art-rock concept record about a detective investigating the murder of a 14 year old girl in a seedy underground world of “art crimes”. PARK LIFE! Told through the perspectives of all the ne’er do wells involved, it’s Bowie who exercises his ability to create characters and an entire world to lose himself in. Having reunited with Brian Eno for the first time since his late 1970s Berlin trilogy, ‘Outside’ also creates a dense soundscape of industrial metal, trip-hop and ambient electronica. Freed from the confusion and mixed reviews at the time, this now stands as one of Bowie’s most difficult yet most rewarding statements.
Key moment: Bowie is introduced to gothic metal on ‘The Heart’s Filthy Lesson’ and shows a new generation of shock rockers how it’s done.
The tour with Nine Inch Nails
What happened? Thriving when he is least comfortable, Bowie chose to combine the difficult material of “Outside” with the challenge of touring with Trent Reznor and the industrial metal pioneers Nine inch Nails in the United States. Talk to Humo magazine, he explained that “it seemed logical to confront me with the audience of NIN”. With their star on the rise and Bowie’s considered to be in decline, the first dates would have been almost entirely made up of NIN fans, forcing the icon to improve their game and reinvent themselves again to conquer them. It worked, and we can only dream of seeing such a line-up again.
Key moment: Rather than taking a break between sets, the two acts chained their performances together to form a long continuous show. Their explosive collaboration on stage to deliver tracks like “Scary Monsters” is something else.
Tribute to Warhol
What happened? Bowie may have paid tribute to Andy Warhol by writing a song in his honor on 1971’s ‘Hunky Dory’, but it did him a disservice when the two met later that year for an awkward experience and embarrassing, as the couple did. I didn’t hit it off and had little to say to each other. Still, it left enough of an impression on Bowie that he later pulled off a heck of a performance portraying the pop-art genius in the 1996 biopic. Basquiat, the story of the unfortunate neo-expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat. This is by far the best on-screen portrayal of Warhol, and Bowie even manages to make it almost likable.
Key moment: “No paint piss, Jean – the art of oxidation!”
The feast of 50 years
What happened? What did you do for your last birthday? Did you shine a light on your influence on alternative music through the ages by making headlines at Madison Square Garden in New York City with Foo Fighters, Lou Reed, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Frank Black of Pixies and Robert Smith by The Cure? No? How was Nando’s? Did you get the envelope?
Key moment : ‘All The Young Dudes’ with Billy Corgan. Chills.
The jungle boogie
What happened? Carrying the more rock side of ‘Outside’ but supported by the influence of jungle, techno, drum and bass and contemporary gifts such as The Prodigy and Underworld, many considered the album ‘Earthling’ to be a kind midlife crisis with full-bodied rhythms to tap into a dominant mood. The truth is, if you revisit it now, you’ll hear a loud, lively, and invigorated Bowie.
Key moment : ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans’, which would also be remixed by Nine Inch Nails with buddy Trent Reznor featured in the stunning music video.
What happened? After being a friend and mentor for a few years, Bowie jumped on the single version of the painful title track from Placebo’s immaculate second album “Without You I’m Nothing,” as well as an appearance with them at the BRIT Awards for a legendary cover. from T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy” – passing the baton while introducing Bowie as the godfather of glam and rock grace that bends the genre to a whole new generation.
Key moment: This magnificent performance of ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ in New York
The future interview
What happened?: It’s hard to imagine now, but people so easily forget that in 1999 the Internet was in its infancy compared to what we know today. Google had just started. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube – and the idea of ââa “social network” capable of running an election or shaping the very concept of “truth” – it all seemed unfathomable. It was the year Napster launched to forever change the way we consume music, but it was three years after Bowie became the first major artist to release a download-only single.
Hell, in 1998 he even started BowieNet – his own internet service provider with an extensive online archive, a collection of interactive material, and a social network (via a live chat section that Bowie himself frequented often). These were ideas that many large companies would not have understood for a decade or more. His ideas and ambitions were captured in this now legendary Newsnight interview, in which Bowie tells the very cynical Jeremy Paxman that the Internet was more than a medium for relaying basic information, but a revolution in the waiting – soon to transform the way we live our lives and do our work. art, destroying the boundaries between creator and audience.
Key moment: “I don’t think we’ve even seen the tip of the iceberg,” Bowie told Paxman. âThe potential for what the internet is going to do to society, both good and bad, is unimaginable. I think we are actually on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying. As Bowie’s promotional posters for 1977’s flagship album “Heroes” once told us, “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”
– ‘Brilliant Adventure’ is now available on Parlophone / ISO Records