“The Next Day” – David Bowie

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After a ten year hiatus since his last album, Rock n’ roll legend David Bowie a.k.a. Ziggy Stardust a.k.a. the Thin White Duke is back with some seriously awesome new material. On his 66th birthday, the singer announced his newest work, titled The Next Day, to overjoyed Bowie fans who thought he would never make a comeback. Though the album art isn’t entirely original (See his previous album art for “Heroes”), the songs on Bowie’s new album are all very fresh and modern-sounding, but with that special Bowie charm.

The album opens with the title track, “The Next Day,” which immediately sets the mood in the opening bars. The tune is pretty rockin’, despite Bowie’s terribly dark lyrics: “Here I am, not quite died, my body left to rot in a hollow tree.” “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is one of my personal favorites, especially since the music video for the song is essentially a mini-horror movie (it is also shot really well; check it out here). A very wide range of subjects are covered in the lyrics of this album, from straight love songs (“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”) to searching for self-worth (“Heat”) to anti-war protests (“I’d Rather Be High”). There is also a great deal of self-reflection one on The Next Day (considering this is his 24th studio album, I would say there is a lot to look back on…). “Where Are We Now?”, a very tender, melancholy ballad, also doubles as what seems to be a checklist of all the places Bowie visited in Berlin back in the 1970’s, when he was arguably at his most creative. Despite his age, Ziggy still has his voice, and he belts it out much like he did back with the Spiders From Mars.

Judging from the caliber of The Next Day, it sounds like a ten year break is exactly what Bowie needed to write some of his best work in a long while. This new album is pretty varied when it comes to genres. You’ll hear some classic rock, some slow ballads, some funk, some soul, some generally undefinable tunes, and of course some weird stuff too. This is David Bowie after all. Nevertheless, you’ll know right away you’re listening to a Bowie album. I did not have any serious expectations for his 24th studio album, but I can now say with confidence that it is definitely worth a listen.

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: The Stars (Are Out Tonight), The Next Day, (You Will) Set The World On Fire, Where Are We Now?

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