#5: David Bowie – Outside (1995)

Hi. Here at Pierce’s Press I take a look at bloated, self-indulgent, expansive double albums and gleefully trim it back to a single, dreck-free, no filler, concise, listenable record without having to reach for the skip button or needle re-positioning.

I think it may benefit some over-stuffed double albums from a little tightening up. It’s certainly the case for un-doubled #5: Bowie’s indigestible Non-Linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle Outside, now receiving the Un-Doubled mistreatment.

outside-undoubled

Outside Undoubled

Side One:

  1. Outside (4:04)
  2. The Heart’s Filthy Lesson (4:57)
  3. A Small Plot of Land (6:34)
  4. The Motel (6:50)
  5. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town (3:48)

Side Two:

  1. No Control (4:34)
  2. Voyeur of Utter Destruction (4:21)
  3. Wishful Beginnings (5:08)
  4. We Prick You (4:35)
  5. I’m Deranged (4:31)

Bowie’s willfully noncommercial Outside seems intent on thoroughly alienating a legion of fans who jumped aboard in the 80s. This reunion with Brian Eno after some 18 years since his canonized Berlin-era landmarks, however, created a marvelously dense album. Folding in elements of techno, electronica and grunge, it’s as excessive as any mid-90s epic rock magnum opus as there ever was. Unfortunately it is also massively elongated, containing a substantial amount of intrusive conceptual fluff, although the proper songs can stand up on their own, as there is certainly some brilliant and inventive avant-garde rock to be found here. Dispensing with the melodrama may have inspired this concise masterpiece.

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