In the cyber-drenched 1990s, David Bowie once again proves himself ahead of the game. OUTSIDE is more a monumental collage of techno-war coldness than a mere album. Bowie combines the most essential pieces of each of his previous personas and musical styles to make OUTSIDE into an all-too-dense song-cycle with a story-line. Sound-wise, it is a closer musical approximation of "industrial" noise than the throbbing tones created by most young guns half his age.
OUTSIDE begins with the premise that the action is taking place here and now ("not tomorrow"), in a fading industrial town in New Jersey, circa 1995. A place that is littered with characters facing inhuman desperation as "rejects from the world-wide internet", making plans to "lease the moon" above their shop. Musically, Bowie reaches for the same densely evocative landscapes that make OUTSIDE's themes so disconcertingly real. A perverse mish-mash of booming classical piano trills loop in and out of machine-like drums and Bowie's schizophrenic monologues. Through the different characters we see the horrible truths of our dying culture--romance, for instance, is brought down with the admission, "if there was only something between us...besides our clothes". OUTSIDE is happening right now, right here.