Album Review: The Next Day by David Bowie
After a decade in the wilderness The Thin White Duke is back with what could be one of the best comeback albums in years. Fears that a David Bowie album would never be heard again were blown away with this beauty.
And for a limited time you can listen to the full album free of charge courtesy of iTunes prior to the official launch on 11th March at http://bit.ly/15Vlwci .
This is NOT an album produced by an old man at the end of his career trying to capitalise on some great music from back in the seventies. Rather, this is an edgy raw album from someone who still has a lot to say and give to his fans.
The first track ‘The Next Day’ is a fast paced almost punky track has more than a trace on Bowie himself despite being based on a tyrant being chased by a baying crowd with lines like “here I am not quite dying, my body left to rot in a hollow tree”. Probably reflective on the last 10 years of his music career. A great track nonetheless.
‘Dirty Boys’ judders and jerks from bass to guitars in a way that shouldn’t work but harks back to some of the music techniques tried by Bowie in a few of his earlier albums with classic lines like “When the die is cast and we have no choice, we will run with dirty boys.”
‘Nuff said on ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ given our review earlier this week. This is a great track and the video brings back Bowies past to haunt himself and Tilda Swinton as a middle aged couple.
In “Oh what have you done?” Bowie laments to a 22 year old who has gone wrong in in ‘Love Is Lost’ a really nice upbeat track with a pounding rhythmic drum beat. Listen to this one with a good sound system and headphones to pick up on the excellent background guitar work.
‘Where Are We Now?’ was released as the first single from the album in December. Melancholia drifts through this track and whilst critically acclaimed I prefer the second single ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’.
‘Valentines Day’ isn’t romantic in any sense as it refers to a kid who rebels against his classmates (‘Valentines told me who’s to go’) and is going postal naming the victims through the song. A classic Bowie track and for me this is up there with some of his best early tracks of the 70’s.
From one of the best tracks on the album you fall into one that is just a jumble of music and vocals and probably not worth of being on this platter of delights . ‘If You Can See Me’ just does nothing for me and not worth wasting minutes of your life on. Another track of a similar ilk is the later track ‘How Does The Grass Grow?’ which I wont even bother to mention as it is just odd.
‘I’d Rather Be High’ brings you back to what the album really has to offer – great music with different influences and not knowing what’s going to be round the next corner. “I’d rather be dead or out of my head than training these guns on those men in the sand”. Another great track that harks back to the Bowie we love.
The sax rips through again on ‘Boss Of Me’ a track with neat lyrics and beat. Not one of my favourites but a worthy addition to the album. “Who’d have ever dreamed” the protagonist asks surprised “that a smalltown girl like you would be the boss of me?” .
‘Dancing Out In Space’ takes things up a further notch with some truly excellent guitar work in a great dance track. A really catchy number that whilst unlikely to be another single it does get you and make you want to get up on your feet and start to bust some moves. Some more clichéd lines as well such as ‘girl you move like water you have stars upon your head’ – what did you really expect from a man who used to have the persona called Ziggy Stardust?
‘(You Will) Set The World On Fire’ is another great upbeat track and I can see this as another single with some really cool guitar work and some cool lyrics such as “I can hear the nation cry!” .
Things then slow right down in ‘You Feel So Lonely You Could Die’ where 2no one even saw you moving through the dark” . A dark painful walk through in emotions and again a track that really is up there with the best of Bowie.
‘Heat’ is the last track on the album and what an end! The tone of the music and lilt of the vocals are thick with shame and guilt and it cools you down at the end of what has got to be one of Bowie‘s better albums that can hold its head high against his earlier music.
The Thin White Duke is back and we cant wait to now get more!
‘The Next Day‘ is released on 11 March in standard and deluxe versions.
As a bit of fun for our readers – if anyone would like to try and match their own personality to one of Bowie‘s famous pesonas that he has used (and admittedly used to hide behind) try out http://quizfarm.com/quizzes/new/dollofcharin/which-david-bowie-persona-are-you/ and have some fun! I came out closest to Halloween Jack and that suits me just fine…
Review by Doug Duffin