Ha! Weak by Bowie's standards?? At the time, this band project woke Bowie up from his self-confessed "creative slumber." As he admits, he'd been churning out soulless pop for the "Pepsi generation" (TV ads and all) in a perpetual coked up haze before doing these albums with his old friends, the Sales brothers (from Lust For Life album) and innovative guitarist, Reeves Gabrels. Gabrels played a vital role in Bowie's 2nd lease on artistic life, staying on well beyond the Tin Machine albums. He had confronted Bowie personally about his increasingly bland output in the 80s, and Bowie listened. Also, the live shows were a breath of fresh air, with a stripped down but intense energy amplified by the small venues-- not the monstrous big hair spectacle of his 80s stadium-pop kitsch.
Weak? This must be one of the most underrated bands ever. They have many great tracks, and some of David Bowie's best vocal performances of his entire career (don't get me wrong, I love his voice). What's so bad about them? The lyrics? The playing? The production? I don't find anything wrong, I think people hate it because everyone else does it.
Bowie's always been surfing the trends so going back to uncompromising rock'n'roll was probably seen as a disappointing move and a sign of failure at the time. Too bad. People also seemed to overlook that it wasn't a David Bowie album. Tin Machine is Tin Machine. It bothers me a bit that the reissue gives the artist as David Bowie too. I would imagine Iggy Pop/Stooges fans would like the sound of Tin Machine more than the usual Bowie crowd (the Sales brothers played with Iggy back in '75-'77 so no wonder).