Thursday, March 07, 2013

David Bowie: "The Next Day" (album review)

It's been a decade since we've had the good fortune of getting new studio material from the mercurial David Bowie.  His new album, The Next Day, breaks that silence next week.

The Next Day is 14-tracks strong, but sounds like a clearing of songs that have been sitting around rather than a cohesive album.

All facets of Bowie are touched upon here.  The title track starts things off with the '80s rock version.  "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" is the glam rock stream.

The strongest moment on The Next Day is when Bowie resurrects his too-brief Industrial side on "If You Can't See Me".  It's a frenzied, energized, and exhilarating experience.  That intensity is only recaptured on the incendiary "(You Will) Set the World On Fire".

There are a number of tracks for which 'bland' would be a generous adjective.  Songs like "Where Are We Now?" and "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die" are easily forgettable.  Elsewhere, "I'd Rather Be High" comes nowhere close to fulfilling the promise of its title.

While very few of these tracks are compelling (most are blah like the mid tempo "Valentine's Day"), the only downright grating moment on the record comes courtesy of "How Does the Grass Grow?".  That track boasts a chorus that sounds like it's been lifted straight out of an old Meow Mix jingle.

Unfortunately, with the exception of the Morphine-esque low rock of "Boss of Me", there is little here that breaks new ground for Bowie.  Hopefully this record serves to demolish the logjam and gets his creative juices flowing once more.

Best tracks: "If You Can't See Me", "Boss of Me"

Track listing for The Next Day:
  • The Next Day
  • Dirty Boys
  • The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
  • Love Is Lost
  • Where Are We Now?
  • Valentine's Day
  • If You Can't See Me
  • I'd Rather Be High
  • Boss of Me
  • Dancing Out In Space
  • How Does the Grass Grow?
  • (You Will) Set the World On Fire
  • You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
  • Heat

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