The Next Day
Over the last decade, people have been wondering what David Bowie has been up to. His last album, Reality, was released in 2003. Bowie also had a small part in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige in 2006. Other than that, Bowie has been keeping a low profile. Some thought he had retired. Some thought he was now a recluse. However on the day of Bowie’s 66th birthday, it was announced Bowie would release a new solo album. The new album, The Next Day, is Bowie’s first album in almost a decade. Bowie had been working on the album in secret with long-time producer Tony Visconti for the last two years. I think it’s safe to say that Bowie has made a great album.
It’s hard to describe an album like The Next Day without being familiar with Bowie’s previous albums. Bowie is known for being a chameleon when it comes to his music, having his different eras. This album is very much in the vein of what Bowie did in the late 1970’s with his “Berlin trilogy”, which saw him dabbling in the waters of Krautrock.
The self titled track is a great way to open the album. Bowie’s voice sounds great and the song sounds very artsy. In fact, you could say that about the entire album. Bowie’s music is the perfect definition of art rock and he isn’t afraid to be experimental. Take a song like “Dirty Boys”, a jazzy sax-ridden romp: this shows that Bowie is still at it. Personally, I think the best song on here is “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, the second single released for this album. It’s a very catchy song with great lyrics and Bowie’s vocals are just superb. It just seems like the kind of song Bowie would be playing based on the lyrics: “But the stars are out tonight/Here they are upon us/Sexless and unaroused/They are the stars, they’re dying for you/But I hope they live forever”.
The other single from this album, “Where Are We Now”, is an interesting track. For one thing, this was the first new song from Bowie fans heard in almost ten years. Listening to it the first time, I wasn’t crazy about. Now after hearing a few times more, I find myself liking this more. Supposedly the song is about the falling of the Berlin Wall, which almost makes it a sequel lyrical to “Heroes”. The song moves at a slow pace, which suite Bowie’s fragile vocals perfectly which build up during the chorus.
“Valentine’s Day” sounds an awful lot like something Bowie would’ve done during his glam rock phase. Just listening to the guitar work, the vocals, and child-like lyrics it really screams Ziggy Stardust or Aladdin Sane. Other highlights include the melodic laid back “I’d Rather Be High”, the fast-paced rocker “(You Will) Set the World On Fire”, the bouncy “Dancing Out in Space”, and the Krautrock driven “How Does the Grass Grow?”