[Review] The Tubes: Outside Inside (1983)

There was no going back now, as The Tubes continued their winning ways with another David Foster-produced smash.

Kronomyth 7.0: Yes, again.

Welcome to U-toto-pia. Population: you and some guy wearing a “Back to the Future” t-shirt. If the two of you are feeling silly, relax. Back to the Future was a great film and Outside Inside is a great album. Not great-for-the-ages great, but great for the eighties.

The Tubes, after all, were not just another band of middle-aged top fortysomethings. They challenged musical normalcy in the beginning, then masked their affection for it in concepts and, finally, embraced it. The Completion Backward Principle marked the beginning of the embracing: “Talk To Ya Later,” “Don’t Want To Wait Anymore.” It worked and the world embraced back. Outside Inside is a second hug, stronger than before. They slip us a kiss with the hits (“She’s a Beauty,” “Tip of My Tongue”), and whisper weird things in our ear but briefly (“Drums,” “Wild Women of Wongo”).

The result was their most successful album, and The Tubes promptly became victims of their own success: Fee Waybill released a solo stinker and their next album bombed. Funny thing is, they sound invincible on Outside Inside. Whether they’re playing Utopian pop or modern R&B, it’s done with such aplomb (that’s right, I wrote “aplomb”) that The Tubes connect on every track. It’s professionally played, probably product, and perpendicular to their past, but a party is a party. Like Utopia, you’ll give yourself a headache trying to connect the dots between “Trapped” and “Mated,” “Mondo Bondage” and “The Monkey Time.” Leave the art-rock baggage at the door, listen to the music and treat your inner monkey right.

Read more Tubes reviews

Original LP Version

A1. She’s A Beauty (David Foster/Steve Lukather/Fee Waybill) (3:58)
A2. No Not Again (The Tubes) (3:28)
A3. Out of the Business (The Tubes) (3:27)
A4. The Monkey Time (Curtis Mayfield) (3:52)
A5. Glass House (The Tubes) (3:26)
B1. Wild Women of Wongo (The Tubes) (3:58)
B2. Tip of My Tongue (The Tubes/Michael Snyder/Maurice White) (3:57)
B3. Fantasic Delusion (The Tubes) (3:55)
B4. Drums (The Tubes) (2:22)
B5. Theme Park (The Tubes) (3:13)
B6. Outside Lookin’ Inside (The Tubes) (0:54)

The Players

Rick Anderson, Michael Cotten, Prairie Prince, Bill Spooner, Roger Steen, Fee Waybill, Vince Welnick with Patty Austin (vocals), Bill Champlin (vocals), Martha Davis (guest vocalist on A4), Nathan East (bass), Chuck Finley (horns), David Foster (keyboards), Gary Grant (horns), Gary Herbig (horns), Jerry Hey (horns, horn arrangements), James Newton Howard (keyboards), Bobby Kimball (vocals), Mingo Lewis (percussion), Steve Lukather (guitar), David Paich (keyboards), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Bill Reichenbacher (horns), Freddy Washington (guitar), David Williams (bass), Larry Williams (horns). Produced by David Foster; B4 co-produced by Michael Cotten, Prairie Prince and Stacey Baird, B6 co-produced by Michael Cotten and Prairie Prince; engineered by Humberto Gatica, Dennis Kirk, Greg Ladany; additional engineering by Stacey Baird, Jeff Bergeson, David Cole, Ken Kessie, Jack Leahy; mixed by Humberto Gatica, Greg Ladanyi, George Massenburg, Fee Waybill.

The Pictures

Tubes package and visual design by Michael Cotten and Prairie Prince. Art direction by Michael Cotten, Prairie Prince, Roy Kohara. Eye by Prairie Prince. Cover collaborators: Paul Knotter, Balfour Patterson. Art contributions by Bill Burks, Jim English, Mat Leach, Lee Mell, Stan Pesket, Phil Shima, Jim Welch. Photography by Crees Van Geledren, Mike Hashimoto, Jim McCrary. Photo contributions by John Exley, Doug Menuez, Ira Sandler. Head by Larry Fergusson.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette on April 4, 1983 in the US (Capitol, ST-12260), the UK (Capitol, EST/TCEST-12260), France (Capitol, 2C 068 400164), Japan (Capitol, ECS-81574) and the Netherlands (Capitol/EMI, 1A 064 400164) with diecut cover; reached #18 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Capitol, CDP 7 48453).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc in the UK (Beat Goes On, BGOCD 133).

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