1st point is that I think this is excellent value. 4 videos on DVD, 10 bonus tracks on a separate disc and the original album in a box for £17 is great value, IMO.
But the most important thing to consider if the quality of the music, so here is my track-by-track appraisal:
Atomica. This is a rocker, highly reminiscent of 2003's Reality. A little bit throwaway and lyrics slightly on the obvious side, but still enjoyable. As a musical composition it's no Ashes to Ashes, but it's fun and full of energy. Bowie sounds buoyant, but perhaps starting to believe his own press "I hold myself like a god".
Love is Lost remix. Adore this track. Love the chaotic percussion of the manic clapping that mutates and forms into waves of sound. Contrasting against the subtle piano flourishes and the electronic notes.. What's particularly satisfying about this remix is how it dissects Bowie's vocals by stripping out a lot of the instruments, so you get to hear his classic double octave stereo vocals (singing one octave higher in one channel than the other). Get this guy in to do more remixes!
Plan. A short instrumental that leaves no trace of any sort of melody or harmonies, but like sone of the tracks on Heroes, it's a valid piece of texture that precedes the awesome...
The Informer. Wow! Maybe the best song on either disc of TND. Compositionally sophisticated, dark lyrics, stunning backing vocals (so many layers of Bowie's voice), swirling guitars..... Vocal delivery is slightly one dimensional near the start, but soon opens up. Lyrically and musically this is a song that could have been on Diamond Dogs.
Like a Rocketman. A melodic, if derivative, rocker. Bowie does the Beatles and has a ball. Nice to hear Bowie loosening up enough to allow his guitarists a bit of space for a few solos. My criticism of TND (main album) is that it's too poised and calculated. No time for guitar solos, no indulgent cover versions, no need for memorable vocal melodies.... There's no real fun on that album. This song is highly indicative that Bowie still has a more playful side to his music. A very poppy song.. That's something you couldn't accuse Bowie of being recently.
I'll Take You There. Another Reality-sounding rocker, but again fun and upbeat. Nice middle eighth section (there are loads of those on TND, a new trend for DB) and short enough to not outstay its welcome.
I'd Rather Be High (venetian remix). Always loved the original version and felt it wasn't given the credit it deserved. The soldier character. The resignation of the chorus, the rising and falling backing vocals of the chorus, the shuffling beat, the jangly guitar riff. All perfectly conveying the young soldier's yearning to be elsewhere. The simple addition of a harpsichord seems to have given the song a new lease of life and it now sounds like a classic hit song. Over 30 million views of the video on youtube suggest it is already a hit.
Born in a UFO. Yep, does sound like a parody of the Springsteen song and the vocals sound startlingly like Bowie's on his mid-70s cover of a Springsteen song. Retro sci-fi imagery, dramatic guitars, Bowie sounding younger than he has for decades.. Can understand why Radio 6 have been playing it so much for the last month.
God Bless the Girl.. Think of the chorus of Underground (from Labyrinth) mixed with Madonna's Like a Prayer and you're halfway there. A poignant song, a celebration of someone dedicating their life to spreading the word of God. Bowie singing of his admiration for her. Touching lyrics that describe the passing of time, and again brilliant backing vocals for the chorus. I don't know what Bowie has been putting in his coffee but it's working..
So She - The best song Badly Drawn Boy never wrote. A little bit reminiscent of I Would Be Your Slave but instead of being about God this song seems to be Bowie singing of love. Not in an obvious way but little flashes of emotion. Wistful, dreamy....This song floats along but leaves too soon. I love this style of song from Bowie. I'd place it next to tracks like We All Go Through, Wood Jackson & Days.
In my opinion, the Next Day extra is a standalone new album from DB. 8 original tracks and 2 remixes. If TND is like a polished and complete collection of paintings, TND Extra is the accompanying sketchbook and has the qualities TND lacks. The fun, the indulgence, the solos, the playfulness.. I'm finding that since buying it, TND Extra is rarely far from my CD player.