CDP 591990 Tin Machine
Produced by Tin Machine & Tim Palmer
Released on May 1989
Find it at GEMM
CDP 591990 cover  

I didn’t have much skin in David Bowie’s career at this point, so I remember thinking “Hhmmm, Bowie’s in a band.” And Tin Machine was billed as a band. The 1980’s bred resilience among Bowiephiles, who’d grown accustomed to their idol singing Iggy Pop songs. But Bowie trying to be Iggy Pop: this was a horse of a different color. And Bowie was clearly trying to cultivate the alternative rock audience that would have found Iggy attractive, perhaps trying to jumpstart his career by sticking his tongue to the battery acid of big balls rock. The question was: could four guys dressed in suits really rock like the shirtless Igmeister? The answer, ultimately, was no. Sure, there are moments on Tin Machine that smack of conviction -- “Prisoner of Love,” “Amazing,” “Baby Can Dance” -- but these are the love songs that suit Bowie’s familiarity with the haute couture. When he tries to reach out to Iggy’s audience (“Crack City,” “I Can’t Read”), he sounds hollow. Iggy could toss out a line like “get off my dick” in a blasé manner that could be chilling; Bowie by contrast seems embarrassed when he uses words like “fuckheads” and “assholes.” Guitarist Reeves Gabrels certainly tries to generate energy with his fiery fretwork, but he’s playing in the wrong band. Brothers Hunt and Tony Sales (both Iggy alums) lay down a respectable rhythm, but their impact is minimal. Bowie’s the main attraction, Gabrels an interesting sideshow, and Iggy the ghost that came to dinner. Tin Machine does feel more substantive than Bowie’s last two albums, but that’s probably a superficial feeling. I’ve looked for something deeper, returned empty, and come to the conclusion that Tin Machine has a tin heart. That said, it is the best of their three releases, so if you’re curious, start here.


  1. HEAVEN'S IN HERE    (David Bowie)    6:01
  2. TIN MACHINE    (David Bowie/Tony Sales/Hunt Sales/Reeves Gabrels)    3:34
  3. PRISONER OF LOVE    (David Bowie/Tony Sales/Hunt Sales/Reeves Gabrels)    4:50
  4. CRACK CITY    (David Bowie)    4:36
  5. I CAN'T READ    (David Bowie/Reeves Gabrels)    4:54
  6. UNDER THE GOD    (David Bowie)    4:06
  7. AMAZING    (David Bowie/Reeves Gabrels)    3:04
  8. WORKING CLASS HERO    (John Lennon)    4:38
  9. BUS STOP    (David Bowie/Reeves Gabrels)    1:41
  10. PRETTY THING    (David Bowie)    4:39
  11. VIDEO CRIME    (David Bowie/Tony Sales/Hunt Sales)    3:52
  12. (CD/CS bonus track:) RUN    (Kevin Armstrong/David Bowie)    3:20
  13. (CD/CS bonus track:) SACRIFICE YOURSELF    (David Bowie/Tony Sales/Hunt Sales)    2:08
  14. BABY CAN DANCE    (David Bowie)    4:57


DAVID BOWIE -- guitar/vocals
REEVES GABRELS -- lead guitar
HUNT SALES -- drums/vocals
TONY SALES -- bass/vocals
Kevin Armstrong -- rhythm guitar and Hammond B.3
Justin Shirley-Smith -- engineer
David Richards -- additional richards
Tim Palmer & Tin Machine -- mixing
Roger Gorman/Reiner Design -- art direction & design
Sukita -- photography

return to TIN MACHINE discography

CDP 791990
lyric sleeve
US May 1989 EMI USA LP/CD/CS E4/CDP 5 91990 lyric sleeve
ARG 1989 EMI LP 58607  
EUR 1989 EMI LP/CD/CS 79 1990 lyric sleeve
JPN 1989 EMI USA CD CP32-5860 lyric sleeve
MEX 1989 EMI LP SLEM-1634 lyric sleeve
VEN 1989 EMI LP 26219  


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