David Bowie's last three studio albums of the 1990s will be reissued March 23 by Columbia, Billboard.biz has learned. "Outside" (1995), "Earthling" (1997) and "Hours" (1999) were originally released b
David Bowie's last three studio albums of the 1990s will be reissued March 23 by Columbia, Billboard.biz has learned. "Outside" (1995), "Earthling" (1997) and "Hours" (1999) were originally released by Virgin but reverted to Columbia in 2002 when Bowie signed a new deal with the label. All three titles have been remastered and bolstered with rare bonus tracks.
"Outside" reunited Bowie with producer Brian Eno, who was behind the boards for the legendary series of '70s albums recorded in Berlin, "Low," "Lodger" and "Heroes." The set is a concept album of sorts centering around a detective, Nathan Adler, investigating the death of 14-year-old Baby Grace Blue. Bowie inhabits no less than seven characters throughout the set, perhaps best known for its top 20 hit on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart, "The Heart's Filthy Lesson." The album was supported on a co-headlining tour with Nine Inch Nails.
"We've gotten to a point where people are exhibiting pieces of body and stuff in pickle jars," Bowie told Billboard at the time. "We have to get to a point where murder itself is going to become an art form. Why is this? What is promoting this? And I kind of put it down to certain paganism and a tacit agreement that we should appease the gods by some kind of virtual sacrifice so we can get into the next millennium unscathed." The lone bonus track on the new edition is the import-only B-side "Get Real."
While the music is steeped in a hybrid of jungle, electronica and rock, a more down-to-earth spirit pervades "Earthling," which featured the single "I'm Afraid of Americans." The set was put to tape almost immediately following the "Outside" tour, as Bowie told Billboard at the time. "We came off the road feeling very excited about ourselves as a band, and I wanted to go in immediately and record something that really reflected that kind of energy," he said. "We went into the studio three days after we got off the last gig. We wrote the material in about eight days."
The new edition features four bonus tracks: a dance mix of "Little Wonder" by Black Grape's Danny Saber, Nine Inch Nails' remix of "I'm Afraid of Americans," Moby's remix of "Dean Man Walking" and Adam F's mix of "Telling Lies."
Always a trailblazer when it comes to technology, Bowie made "Hours" the first full album by a major artist available for sale via digital download with the participation of retailers. He told Billboard at the time that the album was an attempt to write songs that "represent my age group. I wanted it to be reflective of the problems and anguishes of one specific generation. Lyrically, I approached the songs the way a novelist would. I wanted each song to be rich and layered."
The updated version of the album sports the American Psycho remix of "Something in the Air," Marius DeVries' remix of "Survive," Beck's mix of "Seven," an alternate version of "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell" from the film "Stigmata" and the import-only B-side "We All Go Through."
As previously reported, Bowie recently extended his successful A Reality tour with 29 new North American dates. He's up for the best male rock vocal performance Grammy for "New Killer Star," the first single from his latest Columbia album, "Reality."