David Bowie has only gone and done it again. Releasing a new single, 'Where Are We Now?' With minimal fanfare after a decade of silence put the music media into immediate overdrive and so far 2013 has been the year of Bowie. An exhibition at the V&A, documentary retrospectives of Ziggy Stardust and celebrity devotees falling over themselves to give soundbites about the importance of Bowie to their own journeys in music, style and life.
That Bowie's legacy looms large is not in dispute, but does 'The Next Day' live up to the weight of expectation? It does, and it doesn't. It's great album, Bowie is in fine voice and the record is shot through with enough light and shade to make it interesting. If you liked the melodic introspection of the single then you'll probably also like 'You Feel So Lonely You Could Die' and 'Heat', and if you like a bit more power to your music than you'll find that competently represented on the opening track 'The Next Day' or on 'Valentine's Day'.
Like I say, it's a great album. So where does it fall down? For me with the weight of comparison with Bowie's previous work. I like 'The Next Day', I am delighted to have Bowie back, but I have the feeling that this is an album I'll listen to once or twice and then, whenever I'm in the mood for some Bowie, I'll turn to his catalogue. Because, quite frankly, this isn't different enough and, despite the media fervour surrounding Bowie at the moment, I think we all know he could do better...
The Next Day / Dirty Boys / The Stars (Are Out Tonight) / Love Is Lost / Where Are We Now? / Valentine's Day / If You Can See Me / I'd Rather Be High / Boss of Me / Dancing Out In Space / How Does The Grass Grow? / (You Will) Set The World On Fire / You Feel So Lonely You Could Die / Heat
'The Next Day' was released on March 11th 2013 on CD, vinyl and via download.
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