David Bowie – Tonight (1984): Review


Produced by David Bowie, Derek Bramble and Hugh Padgham
Label – EMI

Bowie’s follow up to the most commercial album of his career (“Lets Dance”), “Tonight” desperately attempts to flow in its mainstream wake. It may be the most disappointing and probably the most forgettable album that he would ever release. Yes, it went Platinum; yes it had two top 10 singles, but there’s a severe lack of quality material to support the excellent choral crescendo of “Loving The Alien”, and the decent pop/rock jaunt (“Blue Jean”). The remainder of the collection is an uncomfortable mess of genre mixes, none of them compelling, tired sounding, and completely outdated, it seems put together with little attention to detail. A hopeless cover version of The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” only adds to the misery, as Bowie attempts to turn it into a maudlin cabaret ballad. He tries reggae (“Don’t Look Down”) and fails, rock & roll (“I Keep Forgetting”), and fails again.


He would soon embark on his Glass Spiders tour and then record the truly dreadful rendition of the Motown classic “Dancing In The Street” with Mick Jagger for Live Aid in 1985. Had the single not been for a worthy cause, then I think that some Bowie fans would have never forgiven him for some of the most un-productive and un-fulfilling work he had ever produced. Ultimately “Tonight” is just saved by two singles. JUST!

Listening to “Tonight” was one of the less pleasant 40 minutes spent in recent memory.


Track Listing
Side one
1.”Loving the Alien” (David Bowie) – 7:11
2.”Don’t Look Down” (Iggy Pop, James Williamson) – 4:11
3.”God Only Knows” (Brian Wilson, Tony Asher) – 3:08
4.”Tonight” (Bowie, Pop) – 3:46

Side two
1.”Neighborhood Threat” (Bowie, Pop, Ricky Gardiner) – 3:12
2.”Blue Jean” (Bowie) – 3:11
3.”Tumble and Twirl” (Bowie, Pop) – 5:00
4.”I Keep Forgettin'” (Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller) – 2:34
5.”Dancing with the Big Boys” (Bowie, Pop, Carlos Alomar) – 3:34

See also…

David Bowie – Young Americans (1975): Review

Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: David Bowie – Changes

Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: David Bowie – Sound And Vision

Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes

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