David Bowie – The Next Day (2013)
No doubt you were as surprised and excited as I was back in January when David Bowie released a shock single, Where Are We Now?, and announced a forthcoming album. And tentatively we tuned into the radio or logged onto to YouTube to listen to it. And how did we feel? Blown away? Disappointed? Unsure? Did we know how to feel about a guy who had not released an album in 10 years, but is one of the most interesting and innovative British musicians of all time.
And so here we are, a new album, recorded in secret, with legendary producer Tony Visconti at the mixing desk, and…
…well, it’s actually very good.
There is a certain nostalgia on this album. The sound is inimitably Bowie, mostly shouting back towards the Berlin era; indeed the cover is a defaced version of the “Heroes” (1977); and Visconti, of course, produced Low (1977), “Heroes” (1977) and The Lodger (1979).
I feel like there are snippets of shoutbacks to previous works, the end of You Feel So Lonely You Could Die is the unmistakable intro drum beat to the album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). Where Are We Now?’s lyrics discuss all sorts of landmarks in Berlin, Dschungel bar on Nuremburg street, Potsdamer Platz, the KaDeWe department store, etc. Whereas, If You Can See Me has digital beats hearkening back to Earthling (1997). The Star (Are Out Tonight) has an upbeat rhythm, reminiscent of Boys Keep Swinging from The Lodger.
Yes, this is Bowie on fire; he’s retrospective but not dwelling. A fine addition to his oeuvre.
Favourite tracks: Dirty Boys, (You Will) Set The World On Fire, Boss Of Me
Spotify link: David Bowie – The Next Day