Speaking of “The Electrician,” it is also most definitely an influence on “The Motel,” which many people consider one of the best songs on Outside — including David Bowie, who continued to perform it all the way through his final tour in 2003–04. (The only other song from the album similarly honored was “Hallo Spaceboy.”)
I’ve never been quite so crazy about it. It’s atmospheric, to be sure; but it’s too long, and I’m not sure about the grandiose turn it takes in the last couple minutes. I’m not too sure about this video, either, but maybe you’ll know what to make of it.
According to Chris O’Leary “The Motel” was recorded around the same time as the title track, which for me is the most frustrating song on the album. I’m pretty sure there’s a great composition in there — it has sweep, it has melody, it has drama — but the production is awful: tinny and trebly and littered with wince-inducing skronk sounds. I mean, am I wrong?
Live versions don’t fare much better, marred by meandering solos and questionable sonic choices. I’d love to hear this song performed straight, tastefully, preferably with an orchestra — maybe someone out there can make that happen? I’d appreciate it.
And that’s about all I have to say about that. It appears that without really planning it I’ve fallen into writing about these songs in pairs, and so there will be two more entries before we wrap this up. Am I maybe getting a little carried away? Yes! That’s what I do! Your patience, as always, is appreciated.