Review Summary: An eery Bowie classic.
This is a strange album. I don't have to delve deep into the music to find a sense of eeriness, hiding shyly beneath the glossy coat of 80s production and radio-friendly songwriting.
There is a dreamy quality about this album which is rather hard to pinpoint. Each of the songs are fairly conventional in their form, but the production and musical arrangement of each of the tracks give them a surreal texture that gives the album a dreamy aesthetic quality, which is the album's greatest merit. This is the kind of album that you need to own to truly appreciate. Hearing the first guitar arpeggios as the crackles of the vinyl slowly subside is truly a pleasure to any devout record collector.
This record has been maligned by many Bowie fans throughout the years, with criticisms that the album is an unimaginative money grabbing scheme. I personally feel that "Tonight" is unique among David Bowie albums, even with it's glossy 80s production and conventional songwriting. Bowie has always been praised for his genre-hopping, and this album is in fact no exception. "Tonight" explores a dimension of pop music that was previously undiscovered by Bowie.
The stand out track is "Loving the Alien". This is a Bowie track that easily ranks among his greatest. Not only does it serve it's purpose as a stand alone pop song, it also acts as a terrific album opener. Other stand out tracks are the upbeat and danceable "Blue Jean", which acts as somewhat of an interlude in the album, and the maligned "Don't Look Down", a reggae track that continues the eery vibes of "Loving the Alien".
Sure, this album may not be that "definitive plastic soul record", or that "innovative techno album", but the aesthetic qualities of this album deem it a worthy addition to your music collection.