The release of BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE signaled David Bowie's return to life as a solo performer after releasing three albums with Tin Machine. Reuniting with LET'S DANCE producer Nile Rodgers, BTWN found Bowie putting together a more esoteric kind of dance-rock record not nearly as accessible as "Let's Dance" or "Modern Love." Reaching back into the past as well as into the unexpected (a Bowie specialty), an interesting blend of guests contributed to this album including Al. B Sure!, jazz legends Lester Bowie, Philip Saisse & Chico O'Farrill and past guitarists Mick Ronson and Reeves Gabrels.
Throughout the album, a seamless thread of dance rhythms and an enormous amount of ethereal-sounding sax played by the Thin White Duke make for a hypnotic listening experience. Songs such as the instrumental "Pallas Athena" (featuring Lester Bowie's trumpet playing), are particularly effective in this respect. Most interesting are fresh readings of Cream's "I Feel Free" and Morrissey's "I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday." Originally released on a label that went under soon after the album's release, BLACK TIE is an overlooked gem that demands to be revisited.
Rolling Stone (4/29/93, pp.59-61) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...one of the smartest records of a very smart career....Bowie mines the black [music] mother lode while never conceding his own personality....resolutely up to the minute..."
Q (1/94, p.85) - Included in Q's list of 'The 50 Best Albums Of 1993' - "...Bowie's touch here is surer than at any time since the late '70s...."
Q (5/93, p.88) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...if any collection of songs could reinstate his godhead status, then this is it..."
Musician (6/93, p.90) - "...its hooks effortlessly snare the listener--in part because they're so offhand, mostly because they so gracefully avoid the obvious..."
Village Voice (11/23/93, p.88) - "...the music is the artiste's most arresting in many years; the dancebeats and electrotextures make you prick up your ears and wonder where they'll lead...." - Rating: B-