Parlophone Label Group are reissuing three David Bowie albums on CD next month originally released between 1995 and 2000.
The albums in question are Outside (or 1.Outside, if you’re feeling picky) from 1995, Earthling from 1997 and finally hours… from 1999. This looks to be an exercise in getting these long-players back in print, so almost certainly no remastering, no extra tracks and given the cheap price, probably fairly basic packaging.
The pick of the three is Outside, arguably David Bowie’s most underrated album. It’s certainly dense, long and undoubtedly the “Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle” subtitle inaccurately suggested the album was a load of old bollocks, and probably put many people off. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s very rewarding, rich with musical experimentation, contains good songs and has a great production. This saw Bowie writing with Eno again, and David also shared co-production credits with him and David Richards. The Heart’s Filthy Lesson was a fine single from the record, as well as the remixed-by-the-Pet Shop Boys, Hallo Spaceboy.
Earthling had its moments, as Bowie embraced the internet (Telling Lies was an early MP3 single) and drum and bass. Little Wonder was an improbable hit single in the UK, but after the considered conceptualisation of Outside, Earthling felt a little more contrived with Bowie hanging out with industrial rock ‘bestie’ Trent Reznor, and doing a Geri Halliwell on the cover with his union jack coat (Earthling was actually released the same month that Halliwell wore *that* dress). With his red spiky hair, earrings and slightly manic, new-teeth grin, the then 50-year old for once felt like he was trying too hard to be ‘cool’.
hours… is a strange album. The first single Thursday’s Child is as soft and comfortable as an old pair of slippers and perhaps even less appealing than trying too hard, is not really trying hard enough. For this writer, this album felt very much like DB on automatic pilot, and while nothing here is awful, there isn’t much truly great, either. Fans would have to wait until the turn of the milennium and Heathen and Reality for Bowie to really find his mojo again.
All three albums are reissued on 8 July 2016.