Hooking up with regular Madonna collaborator Patrick Leonard as the co-producer of this album proved to be just the trick for Ferry. Bete Noire sparkles as the highlight of Ferry's post-Roxy solo career, adding enough energy to make it more than Boys and Girls part two. Here, his trademark well-polished heartache strikes a fine balance between mysterious moodiness and dancefloor energy, and Leonard adds more than a few tricks that keep the pep up. Five out of the nine songs are Ferry/Leonard collaborations; all succeed, from "Limbo"'s opening punch and flow to the cinematic (and unsurprisingly French-tinged) feeling of the title track. The atmospheric, almost chilling "Zamba"'s minimal, buried drums, soft synths and doomy piano, make it the best of that bunch. Ferry's best moment here is all his own, though -- the great single "Kiss and Tell," with a steady, bold bassline leading the way for his slightly dissolute portrayal of mating rituals and all they entail. Like Boys and Girls, the album's supporting cast mixes a lengthy list of session pros with a few guest stars. David Gilmour returns, but even more interesting is the appearance of another guitar hero -- none other than Johnny Marr, hot on the heels of the Smiths' dissolution. He took the music of a Smiths instrumental, "Money Changes Everything," and made it the basis of a full collaboration, "The Right Stuff." Marr shows a little more fluidity than usual, likely thanks to the rhythm section's smooth, effortless groove, while Ferry steps to the fore with gusto. In sum, a great listen from start to finish.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett