Monday, January 11, 2016

Tin Machine - 'Tin Machine' from Tin Machine (1989)

Much like Motorhead had 'Motorhead' on their first album Motorhead, Tin Machine had the song 'Tin Machine' on their first album Tin Machine. Motorhead is about motor vehicles and speed and going fast. Tin Machine is about a tin machine. Both songs are propulsive and anthemic and about transport from one place and state of being to another. Unlike Motorhead, however, Tin Machine want to go somewhere WITHOUT alcohol, which is a really salient difference. I have always 'been into' Tin Machine because when I was first getting into Bowie I LOVED 'Let's Dance' (which is still one of my favorite albums) but wasn't super-fond of Tonight and liked Never Let Me Down pretty well, but the mid-80's was not David Bowie's most consistent period. I have never liked Mick and David's cover of 'Dancing In The Street', for instance, and that was all over MTV. Tin Machine represented a path out of the morass of general Music Television Product Homogenization, a return to abrasive guitar textures and a willingly to flirt again with noise, albeit in a more strictly 'rock' context, which Bowie had never been limited to in the past. Reeves Gabrels is indeed a formidable guitarist, as his post-Tin Machine 90's work with David B. demonstrates even further. The best analogue to Tin Machine is probably the late 80's/early 90's 'return to rock' albums that Bowie friend/compatriot Iggy Pop was putting out at the same time, energetic and rougher than standard 80's corporate rock, not 'art rock' or really abstract, still remaining recognizable and somewhat commercially viable. My favorite song off of the first Tin Machine album is probably 'I Can't Read', which has a kind of slow-burning sepentor quality with fretless bass, floating sustained guitar textures and is about not being able to get anything right and just watching COPS on TV and no longer being able to read anything and losing the capacity to write. This happens to me all the time, except I can't watch COPS anymore, but I did watch COPS in the 80's and 90's until I could no longer countenance turning police brutality/propaganda into entertainment. The last to go was probably World's Wildest Police Chases because as a digest of insane police chases combined with a ridiculous heavy moralizing tone of voice was the supreme OTT example of this genre.

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