David Bowie's new album The Next Day contains an intricate framework that challenged me to listen to it as analytically as possible. It is emotionally different which one would expect with all that's happened with Bowie in the last 10 years since his last album Reality. The energy and feel of the album is more redolent and reminiscent then his previous efforts. I was impressed by the subtleties that kept my attention throughout the album. Whether it is his vocal delivery or the way the guitars were introduced, this album delivers a consistency that was missing from a couple of his previous releases.
Despite feeling emotionally transformed The Next Day is stolid, rooted in the past and comes across as an exhibition of Bowie's underexplored influences. From the 50's rock touches of "Valentine's Day" and "How Does the Grass Grow" to the experimental funk of "If You Can See Me" the album acts as an aural museum exhibiting bits and pieces of Bowie's oeuvre. The sounds of the guitars and the song structures themselves often brings a sense of nostalgia to those born before 1973.
The album opens with a gritty rocker entitled “The Next Day” that states that Bowie is not going anywhere anytime soon. The song relinquishes any notion that it has to contain any sounds that are relevant to 2013. Nothing too complicated here just crunchy guitars, pulsating drums and excellent vocal delivery provided by the man himself.
"(You Will) Set the World on Fire" is as catchy as any song he's ever recorded and it may be my favorite track on the album. Bowie's still got plenty of inventive ideas and he proves it here with this observational piece on performing.
"How Does the Grass Grow" is an upbeat number with emanating synths, and a vocal melody that reminds me the most of his older work of anything on the album. As Bowie sings "Will you still love me if we could go back," the juxtaposition of the contemplative tone of his voice with the tempo of the song provides a brilliant way to convey the melancholy of the song. Even though this is an album that probably won't attract a slew of new fans it is an album that will have old-time fans like me very happy for months to come.
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