Sunday, February 28, 2016

29 Days of Bowie: The Next Day

Released on March 8, 2013 by ISO/Columbia Records, The Next Day is the twenty-fourth studio album by David Bowie marks the British artist’s first album of all-new material in a decade as it explores a variety of ideas as it’s all set in a world of art rock. Produced with Tony Visconti, the album was made in a two-year period in secrecy with several of his collaborators that includes guitarists Earl Slick and Gerry Leonard, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, and drummers Sterling Campbell and Zachary Alford along with contributions from King Crimson bassist Tony Levin, famed backing vocalist Janice Pendarvis, session guitarist David Torn, and famed brass musician Steve Elson. The album would mark an album that showcases making an unexpected return and making those wanting for more.

The album opener is this mid-up tempo track with driving guitar riffs, walloping yet steady rhythms, wobbly bass lines, and Bowie’s eerie vocals features an element of snarl which relates to the fallacy of faith and its dogmas where it is one of Bowie’s finest singles. Other singles in the electronic-based The Stars (Are Out Tonight) with its upbeat rhythms, charging guitars, and Bowie’s vocals filled with abstract imagery display ideas of space and comfort. The ballad Where Are We Now? that features a somber rhythm, enchanting guitar textures, swooning keyboards, and haunting vocals by Bowie is a song that are quite reflective in terms of its lyrics as it is one of Bowie’s best ballads. The bopping Love is Lost is led by its steady rhythm, warbling guitar textures, and a swooning organ is a song that has Bowie singing about the sense of despair as it one of the darkest songs on the album.

Another single that play into an element of darkness is the driving rocker Valentine’s Day with its mid-tempo yet walloping rhythms, driving guitars, and Bowie’s enchanting vocals as it’s filled with these dark lyrics with violent imagery as it has an element of black comedy. Tracks like the jazz-rock The Dirty Boys with Steve Elson’s warbling baritone saxophones and Earl Slick’s funky guitar flourishes with its bopping rhythm has Bowie sing very nasty and eerie lyrics that display a sense of grit into the sound. The wailing If You Can See Me with its blazing presentation of backing vocals, pulsating drums, charging guitars, and wailing vocals where Bowie does sing to charging lyrics that add to the song’s power. I’d Rather Be High is another mid-tempo track that is led by these wailing guitar riffs, a bopping rhythm, and Bowie’s blazing vocals that play into offbeat lyrics that relate to the experiences of a World War II soldier.

Boss of Me is a track with bopping rhythms, playful brass arrangements, driving guitars, and Bowie’s wailing vocals as he sings some very playful yet dark lyrics as it showcases his knack of offbeat humor in a complex setting of rock and jazz. Dancing Out of Space is an upbeat song with its swooning synthesizer wails, driving rhythms, and playful guitar riffs as it is a song that Bowie being cool and comical as well as provide some very weird yet fun lyrics. How Does the Grass Grow? is another upbeat song that begins with wailing guitar/synthesizer textures as it then becomes this fast-paced song with a steady, bopping rhythm and Bowie singing some very abstract and offbeat lyrics that are playful but also filled with an element of darkness. The charging rocker (You Will) Set the World on Fire is led by this snarling guitar riffs, Sterling Campbell’s walloping fills, thumping bass lines, and Bowie’s powerful vocals as it features intense and thrilling lyrics.

The ballad You Feel Lonely So You Could Die as it’s a mixture of folk and rock with elements of string arrangements with Bowie singing somber lyrics as it is one of his most enchanting ballads. The album closer in Heat is another ballad but a darker one that is led by soft beats, swooning guitar and synthesizer textures and Bowie’s vocals that sing lyrics of despair and chaos as it among one of his darkest songs. From the album’s deluxe edition comes three more tracks such as the instrumental piece Plan with its eerie mid-tempo rhythms and layers of driving and warbling guitar textures while I’ll Take You There is a fast-paced, driving rocker with wailing guitars and hard-hitting beats as Bowie sings in a powerful vocal style to some intense yet eerie lyrics of despair. So She is an upbeat tempo track with some rockabilly-inspired guitar melodies, chiming keyboard melodies, and a steady rhythm that add to Bowie’s calm vocal as he sings some dreamy lyrics that has this air of imagination.

From an expanded deluxe edition with seven more tracks that was released separately as a digital EP known as The Next Day Extra features two remixes and five other tracks including a song from a Japanese release of the album. Atomica is an upbeat track with some funk-based rhythms, driving guitars, and off-kilter synthesizer melodies that include quirky lyrics that revel into the world of stardom. The Informer is a mid-tempo track with its slow yet walloping rhythms, spurt-based guitars, and Bowie’s wailing vocals as it features very strange lyrics that play into the ideas of faith and idealism. Like a Rocket Man is an upbeat track with bopping beats, a mixture of folk-based and rock guitars, and Bowie singing some playful yet funny lyrics as it is filled with surreal imagery. Born in a UFO is a wailing, upbeat track that features offbeat lyrics and some driving guitar riffs as it is one of Bowie’s weirdest but funniest songs.

From the Japanese edition of the album in God Bless the Girl is this song filled with a mix of folk-based guitars and soothing electric guitar textures to a bopping, Latin-inspired rhythm with Bowie singing some somber yet enchanting lyrics. The two remixes include a remix of Love is Lost by James Murphy for DFA Records that features elements of Ashes to Ashes and Steve Reich’s Clapping Hands in its mix that opens with sounds of rhythmic handclaps that slows down with its house-based synthesizer warbles as it accompanies Bowie’s vocals. The remix of I’d Rather Be High for a commercial has Bowie singing largely to a harpsichord accompaniment with elements of the original track’s instrumentals as it’s one of the richer remixes that Bowie has been involved in.

The Next Day is a phenomenal album from David Bowie that showcases an artist not only being more adventurous and daring but also display a sense of familiarity and make something old feel new again. Even as it’s a record filled with songs ranging from rock, electronic, pop, and art-rock while also having a sense of looking back which Bowie rarely does yet making it feel vital and enthralling. In the end, The Next Day is a spectacular album from David Bowie.

Studio Releases: David Bowie (1967 album) - David Bowie (1969 album) - The Man Who Sold the World - Hunky Dory - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Aladdin Sane - Pin Ups - Diamond Dogs - Young Americans - Station to Station - Low - "Heroes" - Lodger - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Let’s Dance - Tonight - Never Let Me Down - Tin Machine - Tin Machine II - Black Tie White Noise - Outside - Earthling - ‘Hours…’ - Heathen - Reality - *

Live Releases: David Live - Stage - Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders of Mars - Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby - Bowie at the Beeb - (Live at Fashion Rocks (w/ Arcade Fire)) - (Live Santa Monica ‘72) - (Glass Spider Live) - (VH1 Storytellers) - (A Reality Tour)

Soundtracks: Christiane F. - Labyrinth - The Buddha of Suburbia

Miscellaneous: Peter and the Wolf - Baal - Sound + Vision - (Early On (1964-1966)) - (All Saints) - Toy - (Nothing Has Changed)

© thevoid99 2016

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