Album Digest, March 2013
Just the David Bowie album this month as it’s pretty much the only new music that I’ve listened to.
I must admit that I had no idea what to expect of “The Next Day”. It comes almost exactly ten years after “Reality”, an album that I have never really got into despite it having some pretty decent fun tracks like “New Killer Star” and a nice cover of “Pablo Picasso” that has never sent me in search of Jonathan Richman’s original.
My favourite Bowie album is probably either “Heroes” or “1. Outside”, and “The Next Day” captures the feel of both these albums very much to my delight. The first single “Where Are We Now?” indicated melancholy introspection but in fact it’s only one of two such songs, the rest are uptempo and curiously engaged with the world.
I think given the circumstances of how everyone thought he had retired, the gloomy and death-obsessed outlook of many of the songs here is to be expected. I like how the album sets off immediately and pulls no punches with the title track, the chorus being: “And the next day / and the next / and another day” delivered with all the venom you’d expect from the world’s sweetheart all grown-up and old.
There are some weaker songs (like “Boss Of Me” and “(You Will) Set The World On Fire”) but it’s a very good return on a 14 song record. For the first week or so, I’d listen to it and find I’d forgotten one of the songs and find that that song was brilliant. With ten years between albums you might expect him to have saved up a few gems though. Nevertheless he’s written some songs here that deserved to be considered among his very best, not least “Love Is Lost”, “How Does The Grass Grow?” and “Heat”.