David Bowie

tiggerlion's picture
What's it called?: 
The Next Day
What does it sound like?: 
The PR has been genius. He's back from the dead! But is it any good? Of course it is, it's superb. This is a proper rock album. Its production is suffocatingly tight, the band sound as though they are fed on raw meat and Bowie, himself, is humming with energy. It is a classic guitar, bass, drums set-up with relatively few embellishments (Steve Elson's brooding, menacing baritone sax features on two tracks and a handful have strings, but Visconti strings, strings with purpose). There are a couple of 'ballads' and a few pure pop performances, [The Stars (Are Out Tonight)], otherwise, it's mean, moody, provocative & best played loud. The lyrical imagery is dark, mysterious and unsettling, full of death, violence and strange behaviour. Bowie sings them with relish and commitment, adapting his voice to each song wonderfully well. He hasn't sung this well for decades. The Next Day is confident, brazen & aggressive but, most of all, it's new and it's now!! I could listen to it for ever!
What does it all *mean*?: 
Class is permanent. This is a true return to form. There are nods to the past but it's as though Bowie has come to terms with his imperial phase and has decided to do what he does best, now in the present. It sounds as though there's more to come.
Goes well with …: 
His seventies albums. Seriously. The Next Day is easily as good as Lodger, Scary Monsters or, even, Diamond Dogs. The pervading mood reminds me of Outside without the silly chat & fussy production but The Next Day sits comfortably with his best.
Might suit people who like …: 
The great thing about the comeback & the genius PR is that Bowie has an audience again. He has everyone's attention and people are taking notice. I hope some youngsters are listening because there is a dearth of great guitar rock at the moment.

Comments

Woohoo! etc. :) :) :) Happy days!!!!

Nudge, nudge

Trust me. I always found side two of Scary Monsters a bit wearisome. He was trying to be commercial, having experienced low sales from his Berlin Trilogy. In that respect, he was successful, even more so with Let's Dance.

The first side is absolute dynamite - not least because of Fripp's contribution. The second is rather pedestrian in comparison, though I do like the rather wearied reprise of It's No game.

I prefer the reprise version to the opener. I've often longed for a translation of his Japanese girlfriend's contribution.

http://bowiesongs.tumblr.com/post/8643857806/its-no-game

It's pretty much a translation of the English lyrics.

As for the lyrics, the English translation begs more questions. It's no game, indeed.

All I can say is, "Nani ga okotteiru no ka wakaranai."

Why can't we have Bowie as Pope? He's much closer to God and he dresses better.

... The Next Day, but I'm inclined so far to go along with tiggerlion's review (although I think the album may just be one or two tracks too long).

Currently in full-on 'Dame' mode, I caught the tribute band 'Absolute Bowie' in Glasgow last night. They were great. Any time I looked around the audience (as one does) all I could see was people smiling and singing along. Respect to the tribute band!

& I'm a great advocate of the 40 minute album. Now, there aren't two tracks I'd be happy to lose.

The deluxe three bonus tracks are too much though. I'm glad I've heard them but for regular listening (and a guarantee of great pleasure) simply repeat the fourteen 'proper' tracks as often as you can.

Boss of Me \ Dancing Out in Space \ How Does the Grass Grow? - snip those out of the running and replace with 'So She' and you'd have a classic Bowie album

But now I'm not so sure that it isn't right as it is.

They are a bit more pop than rock with more of a flow to them & less tension than the rest. Without them, the album would suffer constipation! Plus how could you cut out a song with Steve Elson's fabulous sax playing?

The more you listen, the more 'right' it is.

with Heathen, Reality and Outside maybe. I wouldn't stretch further than that.

As good as Diamond Dogs etc? I don't think so. This is a 3 star album tops. I reserve the right to change my mind, but some of the stuff eg Boss of me, is lame, dated and tuneless. Production is poor and mastered way too loud.

Flashes of brilliance and I am glad we have it.

Make sure you've listened to all 14 The Next Day tracks at least four times. Then, load up Diamond Dogs, follow it with The Next Day and polish off the sequence with Scary Monsters. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Oh. And Heathen, Reality & Outside are grossly under-rated but nowhere near as good as this.

I didn't follow all your very detailed instructions, but I have given it a few more listens and (hooray) the vinyl will be with me soon. It is a grower and I will up my rating to ****

because, in the context of Bowie's oeuvre, that's the number of stars I give Scary Monsters, Lodger & Diamond Dogs.

However, I still think The Next Day is *****

Hunky Dory *****
Ziggy *****
Aladdin Sane ****1/2
Pin Ups ***
Diamond Dogs *****
Station to Station *****
Young Americans *****
Low *****
Heroes ****1/2
Lodger ****
Scary Monsters ****1/2

is the only one of that run that I don't possess. Should I reconsider? Can remember feeling a little underwhelmed at the time by what I heard.

Some good stuff on Side Two. **** from me!

For me.

Whatever you do, ianess, make sure you have a copy of The Next Day.

I luuuurve Pin-Ups. Worth at least ****

Otherwise, lop a star off DD & give it to "Heroes" & that daft 1/2 belongs to Aladdin Sane (BTW its new remaster is meant to be startlingly good).

Has some enjoyable moments, but it's pretty ropey.

than a Bowie one. From that perspective, it's marvellous. To my ears, at the time, Diamond Dogs was dire and miserable in comparison. I like DD better now.

Has to be 5 stars. Great songs, terrific cover. I think he was at the peak of his cultural impact at that time.

For Let's Spend the Night Together.

It's wild, camp, irreverent & great fun. Converts the Stones languid seduction into a thrilling knee-trembler!

... I don't like Time either.

But, fair point.

I think it is superb, & yes, I would put it on a par with Scary Monsters & Lodger.

Great stuff, wonderful album.

Can't get enough of it.Everyday brings a new favourite.Today's Is 'I'd rather be high' Has anyone ever used the word 'Duckies' in a song before?

But I think that track vies with Valentine's Day for the next 'single'.

His best since Heroes IMHO.

Post...

... I'm enjoying it, I don't think it's anywhere near as good as "Scary Monsters" - certainly not "Diamond Dogs". I've said previously that Bowie's really decent albums ended with "Scary Monsters" but I'm going to have to say I was wrong after gorging myself on his more recent work. I still don't like Earthling or Hours very much - Heathen and Reality are OK - but Outside is fantastic.

Both Diamond Dogs & Scary Monsters have weak side twos. Put The Next Day between them & you will find it is consistently good throughout and a match for both those albums, even without Robert Fripp livening things up!

If you think Outside is fantastic, it won't be long before you fall for The Next Day's charms.

...I don't think it is anywhere near as good as "Heathen" and certainly not fit to lace the boots of "Scary Monsters" or "Diamond Dogs". Never a big fan of the Berlin trilogy so in my view, it is possibly edging "Low" but I realise I'm probably in the minority here.

You are in a minority, Six Dog.

Have you played Diamond Dogs or Scary Monsters lately? They may not be quite as good as you remember.

(ahem)

Seriously a few weeks ago I played it all the way through for the first time in years and found it as good as an exemplar of DB's whopping great talent as anything else he's done. There are maybe six or seven albums of his that I like better but... It really is very, very good by any normal standard.

And I do like the demo version of Candidate you get on the Ryko CD, containing as it does the immortal lines "It's a matter of fact/ That a cock ain't a cock on a twelve-inch screen", surely magically designed to be playing just at the moment your mum comes into your bedroom...

Side Two is a bit messy & runs out of steam. Plus, 1984 is a great track but does not belong.

I do like the fact Bowie played so much guitar, sax and keyboard himself. The album's atmosphere is really unsettling. It was number one too. Like you, I like it a lot & think it confirms Bowie's talent, but there are probably seven better Bowie albums. At the moment I think The Next Day is one of them!

OOAA as always.

40 years since his first number one (Aladdin Sane - an album I bought on the day it was released!) and 20 years since his last (Black Tie White Noise - an album that celebrated his marriage to Iman). He must be chuffed!

and received a "yes dear" in response. Sigh. Anyway, good work tigs - it seems The Next Day outsold its closest rival (the new Bon Jovi album) by more than two-to-one!

that I BOUGHT ALADDIN SANE ON THE DAY IT WAS RELEASED!??

(Sorry for shouting. Sometimes, I get carried away.)

The next task is to make sure it stays at number one this week &, I notice, both you & Raymond are already busy cajolling people to purchase it. Thank-you, mini. If I ever meet David, I won't forget to tell him your role in all of this.

it's getting it's head kicked in by Justin Trousersnake this week, but what do kids know, eh?

Does each album sale get checked by you? Or are you really 'down with the kids'?

Tell me how can you un-buy albums? I can't allow Justin Timberlake to be fastest seller of the year. I'm willing to knock on doors & un-buy them!

... a Japanese iTunes only bonus track. Why do they do this?

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