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David Bowie - The Next Day CD (album) cover

THE NEXT DAY

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

3.89 | 174 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars A new David Bowie album is almost irresistible, if only to check out what the old master is up to now, 10 years since his last studio effort. The album cover is tantalising, with the large white square blocking Bowie's visage, taken directly from the infamous "Heroes" album cover.

At first glance one may be mistaken for thinking "The Next Day" was a bootleg with such a cover but it is apparent, as the album gets going, that this is the new Bowie. The first song chugs with an industrial rhythm and Bowie's vocals still hold their own. The title track is not classic though and there is no prog in sight.

'Dirty Boys' is funky with some great sax and a jaunty rhythm. One of the better tracks on offer and very odd wah wah guitar like a throwback to the funk of the 70s. 'The Stars (Are Out Tonight)' has a bright tempo and some nice harmonies from Bowie with a strong drum beat and some great guitar melodies.

'Love Is Lost' utilises 80s soundalike synth pads and pounding drums on an offbeat. Bowie sounds cool as he sings of the darkest hour, your countries new, your friends are new, your house, but your fears are as old as the world. 'Where Are We Now?' is very slow and melancholy, Bowie sounds old and lonely as he croons about memories, a man lost in time, walking the dead."

'Valentine's Day' is a simple pop song with a repetitive hook and certainly one of the lowlights for me. 'If You Can See Me' has a wild raucous musical structure, a ton of drum patterns and quirky vocals. 'I'd Rather Be High' is another pop standard and 'Boss of Me' is notable for the amazing sax playing. 'Dancing Out in Space' is a dancey thing with a strong drum cadence and double layered vox. It sounds similar to 'Modern Love' but not as catchy. 'How Does the Grass Grow?' has a cool groove and forceful vocals, with an anti-war theme. I could have done without the ya-ya-ya's; it sounds a bit dated and kitsch. '(You Will) Set the World On Fire' is a fast paced rocker followed by slow cruising 'You Feel So Lonely You Could Die', another highlight on the album.

'Heat' closes it with a droning synth and wonderful bassline, Bowie is very downbeat and sings with an odd timbre in his voice. I like this a lot too and it is perhaps the best song, certainly the most progressive, even featuring spacey synth and dark atmospherics. The distorted guitar crashes are terrific, and overall soundscape is doomy, especially the drones overlayed on an acoustic and creepy violins; haunting and powerful.

Bonus Track 'So She' has a nice chiming guitar, but 'Plan' is fantastic and definitely one that should have made it to the actual album as it is a catchy instrumental. 'I'll take You There' is the heaviest song and it is a bonus! It is far better than most of the material on the album. the fast paced lyrics are great, Bowie sounds fresh and exciting, and those guitar are crashing with gleeful distortion.

I love a lot of Bowie albums, namely "Ziggy Stardust", "Aladdin Sane", "Heroes", "Scary Monsters" and side 2 of "Low", but this new album does not really hit the mark for me. Apart from 'Heat', there is too much pop and dance stuff, and not enough innovation and edgy material, or even Bowie's trademark guitar riffs and keyboard workouts. I am not saying that Bowie should give the game away, I actually admire his desire to keep creating music as it his passion, but this is a very safe effort, and a major disappointment for an artist I have admired for so many years.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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