David Bowie did what we all might have thought was impossible. He unleashed a new single and video on the same day without a single ounce of warning. In a business that is all visible to everyone who’s interested, any major recording artist who enters a recording studio at any given time is going to be found out and publicized so for anyone working on a new album, we know and we’re waiting. It had been ten years since his last album and the future seemed uncertain. The master of the arts has once again taken his craft a step further and proved that the impossible can be done.
The first sounds of the album came from the song Where Are We Now, released January 8 along with the lyric video. As the first glimpse of anything Bowie in ten years, it was the best statement for him to make that would get the most reaction. There’s a subtle reminiscence in the song that shows Bowie’s age and life experience as he relives his time spent in Berlin during the 70s. Its gentle presentation is persistant but the song’s lack of a conclusion serve as a pathway to what’s next. It was purposely left wide open
Bowie knows what he’s doing.
The level of precision on The Next Day as incredible as Bowie’s confidence shines through on these songs. They aren’t as crisp as most of today’s productions are but Bowie is clearly an expect and that’s what makes this album stand out in 2013. He’s gone over everything with a fine tooth comb and his level of expertise is what comes through most on these songs.
The album is independent from outside influences of present-day trends as Bowie spent parts of the past two years recording it with longtime producer Tony Visconti. However, there are attributes of past sounds that make their way into this set. I’d Rather Be High is accompanied by a 2000s-era U2 guitar style, Boss Of Me sounds like mid-90s alternative rock, Dancing Out In Space is almost Beach Boys-like with its bouncy beat and smooth, car-ride guitars and Bowie returns to the 80s with How Does Your Grass Grow. But songs like Love Is Lost and The Stars (Are Out Tonight) aren’t quite as easily defined and leave the openness up to the ears as two of the album’s true highlights.
Many of the songs appear short and to the point even if the stories that lie behind them aren’t. Like anything Bowie does, this album is likely to reveal more with further listens and further research but it’s one that will be as rewarding as the effort put into learning about. The Next Day is pleasing for the quick listen or the repeat plays, the longtime fan and for those new to the man that is David Bowie.
1. The Next Day
2. Dirty Boys
3. The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
4. Love Is Love
5. Where Are We Now?
6. Valentine’s Day
7. If You Can See Me
8. I’d Rather Be High
9. Boss Of Me
10. Dancing Out In Space
11. How Does The Grass Grow
12. (You Will) Set The World On Fire
13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die