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on 19 November 2017
On the morning of the 8th of January 2013 - his 66th birthday - David Bowie released his first single in almost a decade, 'Where Are We Now?' and it seemed to come from nowhere. There'd been no fanfare; no promotional interviews; not even a whisper of rumour as to his possible return to making new music after such a long absence. In fact, most Bowie fans - myself included - and those within the music industry, had long given up hope of Bowie ever doing so again. So, it was a huge shock to discover that he'd been secretly writing & recording for some time. But how could anyone as famous as he, in this age of the internet & the intense scrutiny of the press, have done so without it becoming public knowledge? How had he kept it so secret & why? The 'why' can be explained by the impact it had; the 'how' by only telling those who he'd chosen to work on it. It proved to be a masterstroke, as evidenced by the media attention the new single & subsequent album, garnered. The single itself seemed to suggest that Bowie was looking backward; sifting through his past for inspiration. An idea that was strengthened by the artwork on the album cover, released two months later. But 'The Next Day' proved to be more than just the expected trip down memory lane...

1. The Next Day - The album gets off to a fine start with this rocky number, quickly dispelling any thoughts that Bowie would be regurgitating his past throughout the record. In fact, he seems positively defiant in the face of the Father Time. Sadly, it did not do well in the singles chart, reaching a sorry #179.
2. Dirty Boys - A slower track as Bowie sings of running wild on the London streets.
3. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) - The second single, a moderate song, in my opinion & a comment on the celebrity obsessed media.
4. Love Is Lost - There's something slightly unsettling about this song; a combination of the music & the lyrical content. I don't know whether it's about the loss of innocence, first love, re-incarnation or all or none of the above.
5. Where Are We Now? - The song that announced Bowie's return sees him reflect on his time in Berlin almost forty years before. It is as beautiful, poignant & yearning as he has ever allowed himself to be on record & incredibly life-affirming. It was also his first top ten record in twenty years.
6. Valentine's Day - An oddly jaunty sounding song, if, as Visconti claimed, it's about a high school shooter. It's okay but not one of the album's highlights.
7. If You Can See Me - Not sure what this one is about but I love it! It sounds utterly different from anything else on the record & features bassist Gail Ann Dorsey wailing magnificently in the background.
8. I'd Rather Be High - An anti-war song from Bowie? Rarely is he this explicit. Lovely sing-along chorus.
9. Boss Of Me - A fine if unremarkable number.
10. Dancing Out In Space - Well, it could hardly be a David Bowie album without at least one song having 'space' in the title. It's an enjoyable, jaunty piece of fluff.
11. How Does The Grass Grow? - If this is another anti-war it's not nearly so obvious as 'I'd Rather Be High.' It's a little more discordant than most of the tracks.
12. (You Will) Set The World On Fire - A great crunching guitar heralds this song about the beatnik poets & artists that were beloved of Bowie in his youth.
13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die - One of the album's highlights, featuring some great military drumming & a nice use of strings. Bowie's voice is at its full throated best & is complemented by some lovely backing singing. It is rumoured to be a dig at Morrisey.
14. Heat - An acoustic guitar dominates the final song, backed by some atmospherics, as Bowie sings seemingly unsure of who he is. Apparently inspired by a Japanese novel.

While there was an understandable amount of hyperbole about this record at the time of its release, I don't feel it's anywhere near his best work. It is still a decent album but not the masterpiece some claimed at the time.
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on 30 January 2018
What can I say that hasn’t been said already? This is an utterly brilliant LP, and, along with the near-perfect follow-up album Blackstar, marks a fitting end to a wonderful career and leaves the Thin White Duke’s legacy fully intact.

That Bowie produced two of his finest works in the few years before his sad and untimely passing, only serves to intensify the loss felt by his fans and the music world. Despite a stellar twenty-eight studio album career impacting upon six different decades, we somehow feel cheated out of what surely would have followed.
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on 12 August 2017
Despite having the deluxe DVD and double CD version I had to have the vinyl version to complete my Bowie vinyl collection most of which I have had for 40 years. The packaging is excellent with differences from the deluxe DVD/CD version. So sad that Bowie's triumphant return to form was cut short. I recommend Blackstar and the Lazarus LP which includes Bowie's last 3 recordings as well as the cast's versions of his greatest songs.
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on 13 March 2013
I will not go into how long it has been from the last album, mention Bowie's age or even compare this album to others as if you are reading this you more likely have a mind and can do that all by yourself. Also the artwork on the album pretty much says that.

The album has a very positive opener in "The Next Day" and you find his vocals hidden behind a very noisy band. Lyrically intriguing and disturbing but always entertaining. The opener quickly passes to track two "Dirty Boys" welcomes some saxophone and what sounds like everything else. "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" feels like a classic rock n roll song, great rhythmic guitars and a big welcome to the classic bowie vocals, I can see this as a single.

So far four songs in and each track has a real individual feel almost as if this was a compliation album and it could be like that as he has had time on his side. "Love is Lost" feels very much underground and again it works leading into the first single "Where are We Now" we are fixed very much in 2013 and this year Bowie is back. Vocals on this song are amazing and really do get the hairs on your neck to stand up.

Close to half way and I love it so far but is it all one sided? No "Valentine's Day" returns that classic guitar sound, little fuzz and distortion and it sounds like it is played through a personal stereo. Listening to the lyrics again and you do feel the world has changed a lot, a song about a school massacre. Sounds like he is describing the killer and the lyrics "he has something to say". Remember those hairs on my neck, back up again.

"If You Can See Me" is the worst song here and it sounds like a good b side track (Remember them). The album goes along superbly with "I'd Rather Be High" and "Boss of Me" feeling catchy and again more choices as singles. My preference is to the latter with a nice bass sound and great lyrics. Song after song of great music follows and highlights in "How Does The Grass Grow?" and great guitar work in "Dancing Out In Space".

Second last track steals the show "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die" a would-be suicide note or a bad sketch? It is the ballad on the album and lasting just over four and a half minutes but feels far more. Acoustic guitars and female harmonies keep this an epic sounding end to the album.

But not yet as Bowie as always never makes it easy "Heat" is back to the feel the album started with and as ever very bleak sounding. Violin, guitars and well many other things are involved here and help to what I feel make the next album follow on from this well made end. Big bass sounds shake the speakers and make this reviewer very happy.

A great album and one I think could be done live but as we all know that just will not happen, this could be why it sounds so good as the pressure of doing this live is so hard. The kids will love this and if they don't well if Bowie can't get you into music then nothing will.
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on 13 March 2018
Bowie's first new material in 10 years at the time of release, following self-imposed medical retirement after suffering a heart attack. Spread across 4 sides, it is reminiscent of his "german" years, something the sleeve more than hints at. It is also his best album since Scary Monsters. Comes with a free CD of the album to boot.
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on 13 January 2017
As Bowie grew older, he also grew wiser and, seemingly, more confident in expressing his own true self. No longer needing to hide behind a character, this album shows Bowie as the magnificent artist he is; playful, creative and thoughtful. A must have for any long-term Bowie fan, but also a fantastic way of connecting with one of the most daring and inspiring artists of the 20th century.
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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.
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on 5 March 2016
Wow, this CD is absolutely fantastic. Great tunes, great lyrics, special mention for Dirty Boys, Where are we now?, Valentines Day and I'd rather be high, although the whole CD is really good to listen to. An absolute must for any collection in my opinion.....
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on 23 January 2018
What a superstar talent... DB has always been THE soundtrack to my life through the 70's and 80's... but only since his sad passing have I been taking a tour of his metamorphosis through the 90's and into 21st century.... its sad to think the world has lost his musical inventiveness and joy of creating melodies to pick you up and take you on DB magical musical tour
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on 24 March 2013
A lovely album,
Its not Bowie at his Best, But good.
I have been a Bowie fan from day one.
The last Bowie Album to really grip me was "Outside" I played it non stop,
His Albums With Brian Eno were fabulous,
This Album I've played a few times, its just got no teeth. lots of echo's of past glories.
nice , but not cutting edge.
This album is still far better than a lot of stuff around at the moment, hope it does well.
But what's with that cover? looks like someone slapped a post it on and said that will do.
I hope Bowie gets back with Eno and lets have some strangeness again.
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