Our man Glenn Walker was immediately enamoured with the new David Bowie album The Next Day when he streamed it from iTunes a few weeks ago. Now the rest of the world had heard and started absorbing Bowie’s first album in a decade. As a longtime fan of the man, I have to say I’m more than pleased with The Next Day. It could be his finest work in decades.
Take a listen to the latest single The Stars (Are Out Tonight) and then read on after the jump!
Growing Up With Bowie
The first David Bowie single I really recall is 1987’s Day-In Day-Out, which was played to death on 680 CFTR and Much Music here in Canada. To my pre-teen ears, it was a great, catchy single. Little did I know that the album it came from, Never Let Me Down, was reviled by critics and fans alike. By the time Bowie’s next album was released, 1993’s Black Tie, White Noise, I was a fan. I loved what he was doing and the image he projected (Jump, They Say remains one of my fave Bowie tracks). I followed the man down his twists and turns with each subsequent album, embracing the drums n bass featured on Earthling and the more rock oriented Heathen and Reality albums (I’m not a fan of Hours…which I thought was a very boring pice of work). I saw him live, leaned on his stage, grooved in a club and sat at the back of an arena. Bowie. I dug him.
Return Of The Gracefully Aging Duke
With The Next Day, it feels as though Bowie never went away. The album is immediate and welcoming. The voice, that voice, still resonates. Maybe we wondered if it would feel the same, nearly ten years after being hidden away from us all. But working with longtime producer Tony Visconti, Bowie conjures up everything that’s made him the legend he is. Working with colleagues like bassist Gail Anne Dorsey, Gerry Leonard and Earl Slick on guitars, and drummers Sterling Campbell and Zachary Alford, the album feels like classic Bowie right away.
Songs like (You Will) Set The World On Fire and the title track rock hard in a way that first single Where Are We Now? could never hint. In regards to that song, it works in the context of the album much better than on it’s own as a single. For me, though, the highlight is I’d Rather Be High. I don’t know if he’s singing about flying or smoking weed – either way, it’s a fantastic song.
Not only is The Next Day a fantastic Bowie album, it’s arguably his most consistent effort in 35 years. The right album, the right time. The right man. Welcome back, David. It’s great to hear from you.