on 25 June 2013
It was lovely to hear that David Bowie would soon be releasing his first album in 10 years. But would it live up to the hype? The answer is yes. He has returned to the music world with an album he can be proud to call his own. The usual phrase for a new Bowie album is 'his best since Scary Monsters' which has actually become a tiring and lazy observation in my opinion. The sound on 'The Next Day' isn't dissimilar to that of 'Heathen' or 'Reality' which has been subject to some criticism, but I think Bowie has developed that sound further and made the songs more memorable. Inevitably his releases are always going to compared to his golden era which in some ways is unfair since that was 4 decades ago. He's never going to make another 'Ziggy Stardust' and why should he? Bowie is the master of reinvention and has proven time and time again that he can adapt to new trends effortlessly.
Now to the songs themselves. There are some really memorable moments throughout the album such as 'Where Are We Now?' 'Valentine's Day' and the haunting closer 'Heat'. The songs on here are mainly mid-tempo rock songs with the odd few breaking this rule. I've read some reviews that the album is badly mixed with his voice being swamped beneath the music. I would only apply this to a couple of songs where his voice isn't the focal point but unless you're an audiophile it's not going to be so blatant that it will affect your listen. The lyrics are classic Bowie with him observing and critiquing the world we live in. Some of the songs towards the end get a little lost on the first couple of listens but become more familiar later. That is what I'd say of the album - it will grow on you rather than entice you immediately.
Overall I would say this is Bowie's best post-millennium album (I haven't heard much of his '90s output and going back further is incomparable). The songs are much more developed and full than 'Reality' ,an album which I was a bit disappointed with. The fact that it's his first album in 10 years is an interesting enough factor to buy it and once you do you'll enjoy what is hopefully the first in a series of albums to come.
Released unexpectedly in 2013, this is Bowie's 27th studio album. Hands up al those who thought that we had heard the last from the starman? I certainly had. Then lik a bol from the blue he whacks us with this excellent album.
It's interesting to see that he still has musical vision and the willingness to explore new territory. Most artists of his age are sitting firmly on their laurels and trying to repeat old glories. Bowie shows that he still has ideas, and the creative genius has been resting not dead.
And unlike some of his latter releases, this is an album that grabs the attention and holds it all the way through. No weak tracks here, it's an album with a lot to say and it says it in a captivating manner. Not a moment is wasted. Not only that, but for the first time in ages we have an album release in which someone has taken real trouble over the album art, seeing it almost as important as the music contained therein. This doesn't happen often enough in the mainstream these days and is a real show. I pine for the days when performers such as Bowie regarded the whole enterprise - the music, the album art, even the way they dressed as a coherent whole expression of their vision.
It's a classic album from Bowie, here's hoping that there is more to come.
My version is the Deluxe version, which has 3 bonus tracks. I must say that it was worth getting this version for the final track, I'll Take You There.
on 14 April 2013
David Bowie is one of rock's greatest chameleons. His ability to change, surprise and amaze us has always been an attraction. He taps masterfully into our curiosity and we fall for it every time. But then, he usually delivers a quality product no matter which colour or face he presents us with. The stunningly successful launch of his new single 'Where Are We Now?' after a lengthy period of silence created a frisson of expectation. Rumours of a new album soon followed and so here we have it. 'The Next Day' contains a diverse group of quality songs, including the excellent single. Bowie's performances and his backing musicians are first class. There are lots of different Bowies on this album and that makes for a really interesting listen. Stylish, surprising, creative, unexpected, interesting - this is the man and his music. It will take a few listens, but this is a very good album. Recommended.
Well I'll admit, the genius marketing scam of issuing "Where Are We Now?" out of the blue with no warning at all certainly worked on me. I've got Bowie's last few albums, and they all have their moments, but I didn't buy any of them when they came out and perhaps partly because of that, I've never made the effort to really get to know them. I was mostly content to listen to his golden decade of albums from The Man Who Sold The World to Scary Monsters. But the cleverly orchestrated comeback got my full attention for the first time in decades so I had to hear this a.s.a.p.
So I've fallen for the hype, how am I feeling now that I've listened to the thing a few times?
Well, not conned, that's for sure. It's not particularly strong on melody - though melodically it certainly sounds like a Bowie record and it's far from tuneless. But it's very strong on both arrangements and lyrics - the latter in my experience being the first faculty ageing rock stars tend to lose. Even the less interesting songs, and there are two or three that let the side down a bit, make an interesting noise. And there's a pretty wide variety of styles, though there's little here that wouldn't have fitted in pretty well on Lodger, for instance, though parts of it are a lot rockier than most of that album.
I can't think of another rock artist who's come up with work of this quality at such an advanced age - by any standards this is a very good album - the songs are interesting, powerful, some of the lyrics are quite disturbing, nearly all of them are thought-provoking at least; the playing and arrangements are superb, Bowie's vocals are in good shape. In short I'd say that, while it shouldn't be compared to his 70s heyday it's a far better album than we had any right to expect from someone nearly 50 years into their recording career. He's certainly not just resting on his laurels - he sounds HUNGRIER than he has for a long time. I would also strongly encourage anyone buying the album to buy the deluxe version - the three bonus songs (one of which is an instrumental on which Bowie plays everything except drums) are not the weakest here by any means.
on 6 April 2013
This is Bowie's best work since the triumphant Scary Monsters LP. He has, I notice, resisted appearing on the One Show and Sunday Brunch to promote it. When that day comes, we will know it is The End. Meanwhile, The Next Day starts off in blistering fashion and even the next track - Dirty Boys - after initial misgivings, proves to be a grower. Of course, I have to declare an interest, as ever since I heard the opening beats of Five Years back in 1972 I have been a "not alone" in my following of the genius.
That's not to say he has never done anything dodgy. But cliches like " a return to form" do no justice; I can't think of another artist of his age who could turn out work of The Next Day's quality. It does live up to the hype. One little thing: Valentine's Day is more Suede than Suede and the "Prettiest Star" track on the album.
on 11 March 2013
Having read a couple of the lower score reviews on here by people who have perhaps naively purchased this album expecting Bowie to be reincarnating Ziggy Stardust, I have felt compelled to point out to anyone who has their doubts about this one, should dispel these straight away. An absolutely terrific body of work, which deserves to judged on its own merits, rather than constantly refering back to albums Bowie made some 40 years ago. People have been saying this album mirrors much of his past work, and whilst there are ofcourse some echoes of this, I personally cannot think of any of his albums, which are quite like this one.
The true strength in this album for me, is the pure variety. An interesting placing and arranging of songs and styles contrasting with one another, providing a very fulfilling listen. That said there certainly are some outstanding songs within this album. The opening title track being one of the most punchy, intentive and driving rock songs to open any of his albums; this followed up with the funk guitar 'Dirty boys'. 'Love is lost', an excellent keyboard led piece and 'I'd rather be high' for me also amongst the highlights. In terms of creativity and variation in an album, this one ranks very high, indeed it could be the most creative album in his catalogue to date.
Throughout this year this album has been played inumerable times, and now just hoping that there will be more albums of simillar excellent quality to this.
on 7 April 2013
As most were I'm sure, I was very sceptical of this album. Would you have bought the first single if it was by another artist? What on earth was that video? Who was that woman next to him? I thankfully understood the lyrics as I've been there and done just as described. Anyway, I luckily found the whole album on a tubular web-site and sat and listened with my nine year old son. We then compared it to some of the back-catalogue of Bowie (yes, I have it all...)and when put into perspective, it is really very good. After a few more listens, it got better and better...it still is. I'd highly recommend it.
This is a very good David Bowie album, in my view. It's a great relief to say it, because when some of the gods of my youth have returned in...well...late middle age after a long absence the results have not always been very good, to say the least. Here, Bowie shows that he is still a major songwriting and performing talent and that he still has a genuine edge.
We have had a little time now to digest the track Where Are We Now? and to assess its true merit now that the "Blimey!" factor following its surprise release has worn off a bit. I still think that it's a very good song indeed. I did worry that some of the fragile, almost-out-of-tune vocal wasn't a deliberate effect but the voice of a man who can't quite sing as he used to, but - thank heavens - I was quite wrong. It is followed on the album by Valentine's Day, a track which wouldn't have been out of place on Aladdin Sane and which Bowie sings superbly, and there's plenty of other evidence here that he's still got it.
The songs seem to me to be vintage Bowie. There is the full gamut from singable, rocky tunes like Valentine's Day, through lovely tender songs like Where Are We Now? to the almost tuneless and weird-rhythmed If You Can See Me, with plenty in between. He certainly hasn't settled into a comfortable rut in middle age - If You Can See Me has joined my list of Almost Unlistenable Bowie Tracks and I'm delighted to see that he is still prepared to challenge and unsettle his audience even if personally I don't like the result.
The lyrics, of course, are complex, allusive and often elusive. As always, you can try to analyse what they "really" mean, but I've never found that a very productive way of approaching Bowie because I suspect that, as many poets have, he often puts together words for their sound or effect without them having any "true meaning." I love his lyrics and I often just enjoy the evocative sound of phrases like this in Dirty Boys: "When the sun goes down/And the die is cast..." and let my imagination do the rest. Similarly, in The Stars, we get things like, "Here they are upon the stairs/Sexless and unaroused..." which makes little literal sense in the context but it's an amazingly arresting lyric which sparks off all sorts of mental images and thoughts - which is what good lyrics should do.
I really like this album. The production is excellent; it is varied and sensitive and shows every song off at its best. It will take a while before it is clear whether or not it is a true Bowie classic. My sense is that it's probably not quite a classic, but it's a very good album indeed and warmly recommended.
Whether you love, loathe or find yourself ambivalent to the sometimes brilliant sometimes not qualities of David Bowie's music, you cannot ignore it.
And you certainly couldn't ignore The Next Day, even if you tried.
Bowie's twenty-fourth studio album was announced on his sixty-sixth birthday, the same date that saw the release of the lead-off single `Where Are We Now?'
It was also the singer songwriter's first new studio work in ten years - all of which meant that, with the fascination and attention David Bowie and his music command, top of the chart sales plus critical and Bowie-fan acclaim were assured.
The Next Day is a welcome return to the recording studio for the chameleon of pop and rock, but the initial high-praised reviews that accompanied the album's release had a fair amount of King's New Clothes and waited-ten-years-for-this impact about them.
"Greatest ever comeback album," "good as anything he has ever done" and "his best album in decades" are paraphrased examples of many of the immediate reaction comments, but while this is Bowie's best album in at least twenty years (and more musically adventurous than either Heathen or Reality that preceded it a decade before) it's an album that will split many a rock music fan.
The distinct and creative music, vocal and lyrical style of David Bowie is to the fore on The Next Day, a major reason why so many critics are citing it as an instant classic.
But those traits will also have a fair few listeners deciding it's musically dysfunctional or discordant.
The Next Day is an interesting concept without ever being a concept - the album cover seems to be a nod to the past and one of Bowie's most successful and critically acclaimed periods (Heroes and the Berlin years); lyrically a few of the songs reflect on the past or mortality.
But this is not a sequel to Heroes and, as the album's name and title card obscuring the cover photo suggest, this isn't an artist looking to the past for his musical future.
And David Bowie doesn't tend to do the same album twice.
The title track is punchy, punky new wave, perfectly countered by the darker and slightly sinister `Dirty Boys' that follows.
`The Stars (Are Out Tonight),' lifted as the second single, is perhaps the most accessible song on the album.
The single was accompanied by a short film featuring Bowie and Tilda Swinton, the song and video intermixing and reflecting the everyday and the celebrity.
The ballad `Where Are We Now?' carries a spacey atmosphere and sits surprisingly comfortably on an angular rock album that includes the frantic and edgy `If You Can See Me' and the big-beat and guitars of `(You Will) Set the World on Fire.'
But then whether it's the melancholic `You Feel So Lonely You Could Die' or the discordant, melodic pop over militaristic drum beat of `I'd Rather Be High,' the Bowie stamp runs through `The Next Day' like a Blackpool stick of rock.
The album closes with the track that best exemplifies why The Next Day will receive both high-praise comments and shrug of the shoulders disinterest.
`Heat' is slow and brooding, as is Bowie's vocal. The song is sprinkled with sonic background effects such as wailing guitars and string interjections and carries a vibe like no other song on the album.
Some will instantly hear classic, indispensable Bowie; others will instantly hear a labouring, dismissible outro track.
But The Next Day is, more than anything, an album only David Bowie could make.
on 9 April 2013
The man is back swinging an old bouquet..fresh roses( aladdin sane reference). I waited ten years for the next day. i hope my neighbors like it cause its been next day for a few days on my stereo. punchy punky even glam crunch guitars and slick production. im an uber fan stumbling into town just like a sacred cow. he maaay tooour oh matron i ve wet me knickers x