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).
In 1989 Tin Machine was portrayed as a joke by rags like the NME. Evidently, I was an impressionable teenage reader and just never bothered with Bowie. This year I've finally got around to exploring Bowie's back catalogue. I must say the NME hacks were wrong, Tin Machine stands it's ground as yet another well executed phase of his career.
Bowie was entitled to add "hard rocker" to his list of guises; Mod, hippy, glam, soul, New Wave, he's done it all. I think TM might be underrated, but I can't say for sure whether I'd have taken an interest in them, without him as lead singer.