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David Bowie - The Next Day CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.90 | 181 ratings

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4 stars Recorded in secret with musicians sworn to secrecy, The Next Day, the first album from David Bowie in ten years came as a bit of a surprise with no indication that anything was happening until the release of the laid back single Where Are We Now? Itself a bit of a slow burner, taking a few listens before I realised that we may be onto something here. After all, if truth be told, Bowie's released little to get excited about since the early eighties. Living with this for almost 2 weeks now though I can confidently say it's his best body of work since Scary Monsters.

The word was he'd stepped back to his seventies work for influence giving rise amongst many to hopes of something along the lines of Ziggy Stardust. It's clearly not the case and if the cover wasn't a giveaway, a rather cheap copy of Heroes with a large white square containing the album title over it, then a quick listen confirms its nearest reference would be late seventies Heroes and Lodger era. It's a strong collection of songs too with a high percentage of rockers with strong riffs and hooks and only a few ballads. Bowie's on great form vocally too sounding nothing like a man of sixty six. Perhaps down to his near death heart problems ten years back there seems to be a lot of references to death - "Here I am, not quite dying" he sings on the opening title track. Best of the bunch? I'm particularly fond of Love Is Lost with its simple keyboard line and hypnotic drum pattern, the upbeat and spacey I'd Rather Be High, the dark and moody Heat and the Heroes-esque How Does The Grass Grow? And that single's pretty good too. He's assembled a strong band too including some old friends including guitarist Earl Slick and drummer Sterling Campbell and of interest to prog fans, Tony Levin on some tracks too.

Overall then, while this isn't going to compete with his greatest work of the seventies it's nevertheless a fine body of work and far better than I could have dared hope for. I'm more than happy with The Next Day.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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