Review Revue: Tin Machine – Tin Machine


All right, you know what? I liked Tin Machine. Granted, I was just shy of 13 when the first album from David Bowie’s much-derided late-80s rock band was released, and I was perhaps the perfect audience for this project: I loved Bowie’s music, but I hadn’t built up much of a layer of cynicism and bitterness, and I had no particular feelings about him as a person or a celebrity; he was just a cool guy who made music I liked. I also liked loud, weird music, and the combination of Bowie with the incredible guitarwork of Reeves Gabrels was quite literally music to my pubescent ears. Anyway, it’s probably a good thing I never got into it with the KCMU staff at the time:

“The biggest hurdle superstars of Bowie’s stature have is that when they change direction so radically, as he does here, we question his motives — I can’t worry about his motives, all I can do is listen and when I do — I relisten to this & love it.”

“Don’t know if it’s a radical change. More like a return to his rock leanings after that shitty last LP.”

“This is harder rockin’ in an AOR way. Pretty Darn Dull! Pointless guitar james and overlong songs.”

“For those who’d like to know, Hunt & Tony Sales are Soupy Sales’ kids & played w/Iggy Pop in the late ’70s. Reeves Gabrels used to be in Rubber Rodeo.”

“‘I Can’t read’ is great. I like it, but I’m paid to.”

“Does this washed up rock star deserve your attention after mating with Mick Jagger (ask yr parents!!!) in that ‘Dancing in the Streets’ video? Gimmie a break!”

“But he’s such a babe!!!”

“Lame as a two-legged dog. This insistence on past legends still being able to create viable and vigorous music is pathetic. Nobody would give this the time of day if Bowie wasn’t in it. He was once creative and great. Now he’s merely grasping at what is considered the latest trend in hard-pop-rock. Give me the Pixies for hard-pop-rock.”


“Used to be my all time here…”

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  1. Chris Estey
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I always liked “Crack City.” And the cover of “Working Class Hero.” “Under The God” wasn’t that bad either … I never loved the record, but I was a little embarrassed that good rock fans turned on it with so much venom. I’d rather hear it than most of what he’s released since then; and it was of reasonable quality made with more than decent intentions. I haven’t had it since 1990, but I’d definitely give it a chance again if I inherited a copy (or found it in the buck bins) … their second LP I know nothing about though, really.

    Thanks, Levi!

  2. Posted October 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    All right, you know what? I STILL like Tin Machine!

  3. Philip LaRose, KEXP
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Awww, I liked this album! I had it on cassette, probably still do somewhere in my box o’ cassettes. At some point I should get it from iTunes…

  4. Chester
    Posted October 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I was 18 when this came out. I loved and still love Tin Machine. The second album isn’t quite as good, but this first one rocks and makes some powerful social commentary at the same time. I think it’s some of Bowie’s most interesting work. Granted, he has produced better work, but the negative criticism is not warranted. And to deride Bowie for suddenly changing his artistic course is ridiculous–his entire career has been built on violent changes in direction.

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