After heart problems caused him to cancel the rest of his 2004 tour, the world was left wondering where David Bowie had gone? Was he done making music? Had he had enough and just wanted to live quietly? Luckily, Bowie had a surprise for everyone. On his sixty-sixth birthday, he released a new single and announced that a new album was on its way. That record, The Next Day, arrived in stores last month. It is a vibrant record that testifies that Bowie still has plenty of fire in him. Sonically, the album connects with the music he made (Heathen and Reality) before he disappeared. Those threads are there, as well as a light sprinkling of moments that recall his sounds during the 1970s and 80s. Yet Bowie for the most part pushes things forward. The Next Day sounds modern, but in the way that Bowie does what he always does; evolve.
With The Next Day, Bowie doesn’t shortchange listeners, delivering fourteen strong new songs (seventeen if you get the deluxe version). Needless to say, there is a lot to appreciate, so I will hit the highlights. The opener and title track rocks. Lyrically, it talks about being near death, but the passion in Bowie’s singing proves that he’s not ready to call it a day. “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is another solid tune that would have also fit well with the songs on Reality. “Valentines Day” is a treat, because there is a touch of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie in it. It’s still feels modern, but also could be played on a set list next to something like “Starman”. Later on the record, he really rocks on “(You Will) Set The World On Fire” and there is a shredding guitar solo provided by Earl Slick. “I’d Rather Be High” and “Boss Of Me” are also quite strong. By the end of The Next Day, you have to admit that Bowie is still great. He’s still weird and he’s back and we should be thankful.
Essential tracks: “The Next Day”, “Valentines Day” and “(You Will) Set The World On Fire”.