The Next Day: Open Thread

next day

All right, it’s streaming now, so what’s the point of waiting, really? Plus I’ve been buried in work, and the next post is going to be one of the epics, so why not talk about the new Bowie album?

I won’t be getting to the songs on The Next Day until spring 2014. However, in the hopes of preventing discussion of the new album from derailing/drowning other posts, please use this post as an open thread to say what you think about the new one.

A word on civility. I’ve rarely had to ban anyone or delete posts, for which I’m grateful. However, this is a new album, there’s a lot of media hype and there are going to be a lot of strong opinions about it: excitement/disappointment/bemusement/bafflement/irritation. All I ask, in the words of my old gym coach Mr. Shea, is that you “play the ball, not the man.” Or, in less athletic terms: criticize the record if you’d like, but not your fellow posters for having differing opinions on it. For example, if you start a comment with “I can’t believe you call yourself a David Bowie fan,” you are not being cool.

Have at it. See you next week.


487 Responses to The Next Day: Open Thread

  1. Lee Murray says:

    Unusual time for a post 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Shane James Bordas says:

    Just to kick off with first impressions, I’m hearing bits of Scary Monsters and Lodger… odd rhythms, amazing snatches of lyrics. Blown away by Love Is Lost, the big ballad You Feel So Lonely You Could Die and the killer closer, Heat… ‘I am a seer but I am a liar.’

    God has not abandoned us, he has returned!

  3. relph says:

    Well I think is excellent!
    Highlights on first listen: “The Next Day”, “Love Is Lost” and “If You Can See Me”

  4. s.t. says:

    First impression is very good! I am getting Heroes, Lodger, and Scary Monsters vibes. The title track is like a sneering redo of Beauty & the Beast; Dirty Boys is like a cut from The Idiot if it was recorded in 1979; the single Stars sounds much more impressive within the context of the album; Love is Lost has a wonderfully acrid tension. In fact, this may be the most resplendently bitchy collection of songs that Bowie has compiled. So far, my favorite may be How Does the Grass Grow, and the final two tracks, but this is consistently thrilling stuff. I’d Rather Be High is somewhat middling, but perhaps it’s a grower.

  5. I am trying to get where he is coming from. Pretty unique point of view. But it’s Bowie, so what else is new? Right now I’m listening to The Boss of Me. The songs seem like transcriptions of dreams. “how does the Grass grow” He seems slightly crazed. I like the way he is always looking at complete despair or desolation and then looking away from it. He seems to like standing on the edge of the abyss — like out of curiosity. Not sure if I like it. I might love it. I don’t get it, but it’s really interesting. I wonder who he is addressing? In the last song he kept saying My father ran the prison or a prison. I think it is kind of like he is saying that his father, his God, ran the prison of life? I don’t know. Just rambling at this point.

  6. Mike F says:

    The album should be called “BowieSampler.” Here are my instant mini-reviews based one listen:

    1. The Next Day – Pretty Pink Rose
    2. Dirty Boys – David does Iggy
    3. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) – Visconti polishes a Bowie mediocrity
    4. Love is Lost – boring
    5. Where Are We Now – heartfelt melancholia, breaking new ground
    6. Valentine’s Day – Drive In Saturday – He can still sing like this? Fuck yes!
    7. If You Can See Me – Look Back In Anger
    8. I’d Rather Be High – embarassing attempt at psychedelia
    9. Boss of Me – slow version of New Killer Star
    10. Dancing Out in Space – filler, David ran out of ideas
    11. How Does the Grass Grow – Glass Spider v2.0
    12. (You Will) Set the World on Fire – 1960s flashback a la Pin Ups
    13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – When I Live My Dream
    14. Heat – Scott Walker

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Interesting. I’ve only played it once and and it sounds great.

      I think the second single ‘The Stars…’ is less a dud, more a song for U.S. radio, (and it sounds better in context on the album), whereas, ‘Where Are We Now’ hit the sweet spot for most UK fans.

      I think the album is a kind of primal scream via guitars, less ‘Lodger’, more the album Tin Machine promised to make. Some critics weren’t keen on ‘Boss of Me’, but my ears were needing a breather from the frantic wailing guitars by then (it was about 5 am UK time listening on crappy earphones, lol), and I needed a change of pace.

      I think Bowie has deliberately gone for a strong overall sound, rather than clear variety a la ‘Scary Monsters’. Variety is there, but everything is angular and edgy – which I love – but he is clearly holding back on the truly ‘beautiful’ vocals.

      I love it, but I need some breakfast before listening to it again on decent speakers; I’m already wondering about the other tracks from the sessions and the next album, which is a wonderful feeling.

      I have to admit, Visconti’s blether about ‘this would sound great in a stadium’ was giving me flashbacks to db saying ‘Never Let Me Down’ was ‘made to be played live’, gulp!!

      Glad it sounds so much better than that and truly ‘Bowie’. I wonder how it will go down with the apparently gay, cocaine fuelled, Satanic, Third Reich loving freaks who are still waiting for ‘Ziggy Stardust 2’?

      (This is not a dig at anyone’s sexual orientation, just an observation of the kind of sticks some people seem to use to beat Bowie with when they don’t like a song or album.)

      For those who have difficulty with db 2013, can I just direct them to recent pictures of genesis p. orridge. And, hey – don’t you just love a mustard cardigan?

      • s.t. says:

        Haha yes, but embracing “difficulty” is kind of essential with anything involving Genesis P-Orridge, from COUM Transmissions on.

      • postpunkmonk says:

        My wife and I were watching the Joy Division documentary and when Genesis popped up to speak my wife was confused by Porridge’s appearance. Then I explained the how and why of it… and she just gaped in disbelief.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I bumped into the ‘old style’ Genesis P. at the Egon Schiele exhibition in London’s Royal Academy, early/mid 90’s. He was with his wife and kids, just before the ‘underage children’ difficulties with his Derek Jarman films.

        One of his kids was being a bit stroppy and threw down the audio guide headphones. Genesis then had to reprimand the kid like a good father should. Ah – these rebels, lol!!

      • postpunkmonk says:

        Taking the kids to Schiele? Good for them! Not letting the kids run the show? Even better!

    • James says:

      Nice concept, here’s my take:
      The Next Day – Repetition
      2. Dirty Boys – David does Iggy
      3. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) – Richard Ashcroft
      4. Love is Lost – I hate it.
      5. Where Are We Now – Thursday’s Child
      6. Valentine’s Day – Everyone says Hi
      7. If You Can See Me – a bad impression of Look Back In Anger
      8. I’d Rather Be High – I agree: embarassing attempt at psychedelia
      9. Boss of Me – Not bad.
      10. Dancing Out in Space – Oh God, the bonus tracks are better, you can hear them on the best buy site.
      11. How Does the Grass Grow – Strange but with a bad chorus that destroys the song
      12. (You Will) Set the World on Fire – Best verse melody of the album, but the chorus again…
      13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – a song that flattens out.
      14. Heat – Bad imitation of the most overrated singer in the world: Scott Walker

      • The Pataphysical Me says:

        James says:
        March 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

        Nice concept, here’s my take:
        The Next Day – Repetition meets Reality
        2. Dirty Boys – David does Iggy meets a straight Tom Waits
        3. The Stars (Are Out Tonight) – Richard Ashcroft (????)/ middle of the road song… no surprise!
        4. Love is Lost – I hate it.(??? i think it’s good, like this certain kind of tension i can feel into it)
        5. Where Are We Now – Thursday’s Child (i’d rather say Fantastic Voyage… straighter than Thursday’s child)
        6. Valentine’s Day – Everyone says Hi (the average Bowie pop tune)
        7. If You Can See Me – a bad impression of Look Back In Anger (thanx to Gail ann for introduce the song!)
        8. I’d Rather Be High – I agree: embarassing attempt at psychedelia
        9. Boss of Me – Not bad.
        10. Dancing Out in Space – Oh God, the bonus tracks are better, you can hear them on the best buy site.
        11. How Does the Grass Grow – Strange but with a bad chorus that destroys the song
        12. (You Will) Set the World on Fire – Best verse melody of the album, but the chorus again…
        13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – a song that flattens out.
        blah blah blah blah blah blah………….

        14. Heat – Bad imitation of the most overrated singer in the world: Scott Walker; NO, SCOTT WALKER IS NOT OVERSTATED, BOWIE CAN’T BE WRONG WHEN HE SAYS SCOTT IS HIS GREATEST INFLUENCE; HOW CAN YOU SAY IT’S A BAD IMITATION?????? HIS VOICE IS AMAZING!!!!!!!!

      • col1234 says:

        calm down, man. no need for all caps.

      • Romjé on the rocks says:

        (You Will) Set the World on Fire: Iggy’s “Bang Bang (i got mine)”… comes immediately to my head, even in its 87 clothes!
        it’s good to listen to that voice again & the next surprise is that for a DB album, it’s a complete surprise-less album! very poppy. Kind of great frost between 2003 & 2013; same line-up minus Garson & plus Zach…, same sound.

      • The Pataphysical Me says:

        Hey Colonel Parker…, you have to know i got my licence to live; Walker Scott’s got a wonderful voice, kind of Lyrical one and i can understand that people who are disturbed by “Bel Canto” can’t bear it… it’s not the average pop voice, deals more with britten, Deller, the last Richard Strauss works; and Walker brings us a very singular world, will be better understand in decades; love that kind of voice, think Bowie can do it with a huge huge talent!
        so, sorry for James but io feel Scott Walker as one of the greatest singer of all time, this is my opinion and i don’t pretend to say the TRUTH but….

  7. I love the driving tension of “Love is Lost,” and if I’m not mistaken I even hear the return of the old Eventide-Harmonizer-on-the-snare in that one…

  8. yeah, it’s a good’un. slightly better than the last 3 methinks. god, what a lot of hype – they must be spending a fortune.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I’d say it’s less traditional hype or money spent, more a ‘perfect storm’ with people wanting him back, anniversaries of Ziggy and Aladdin Sane, and the V&A Bowie is… and Tate Glam! exhibitions. These things take years to organise and Bowie is not involved in them, apart from opening his archive to the V&A.

      The media are full of men of a certain age who were probably fans the first time round and magazines and newspapers are desperate for sales these days, jumping on anything that will give a quick return.

      I do hope a backlash is not waiting around the corner. Now the album is out I’m sure things will settle down. Although, each paper/magazine will still want the ‘exclusive interview’, and if time proves Bowie is true to his word and does not give any, they will probably get mischievous in petulant retaliation.

    • s.t. says:

      I’ve found that every Bowie album that’s been released since Outside (I’m not old enough to remember beyond that) has been hyped and promoted to high heaven. Of course, working at a Tower Records certainly didn’t help. Still, at least this was only a month’s worth.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hype, or promotion, made ‘Ziggy’ and db a star, (as well as the name of his band around the time of ‘TMWSTW’). I think promotion only becomes hype when the ‘product’ can’t live up to the apparent strength of the promotion.

        Dropping the single on his birthday was a master stroke, but after that you are at the mercy of Twitter et al and the press these days. I’m sure Paul McCartney thought turning up to the opening of every envelope last year would raise his profile in a cherished living Beatle kind of way, but to UK observers he just garnered more and more scorn due to his bad performances and perceived arrogance.

        The press take their lead from Tweets, then write the story to suit what the audience is thinking. If people had taken against the first single really strongly, and some did, I think the press could have given db a rough ride.

        I was nervous as the album release approached when one or two of the 4 star reviews had a slight back peddling feel on enthusiasm, so I’m relieved it sounds so strong and intriguing.

        On my two slightly rushed listens, and not on good equipment, it is certainly varied with purposeful clear echoes from the past – Visconti has dropped hints at this and I don’t think he would have talked about these specific things if db hadn’t wanted him to.

        It’s hard to judge if one hears things because they are there or due to prompting (in interviews by Tony Visconti). I’m not sure how much it sounds sonically like ‘Lodger’, although I did notice ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ referenced, it’s more the travelogue aspect of the ’79 album that is invoked, but travels through Bowie’s life via his back catalogue.

        The mention on this stream of ‘Ching-a-ling’ and the ‘Song of Norway’ t-shirt from the first video, hint at his first love and musical inspiration for many songs, like ‘Mars’, Hermione Farthingale. I wonder if this is where Bowie sees his career lift off and take the shape it did, the desire to win Hermione back by becoming the star he always wanted to be. To go from zero to hero and back to earth again?

        I will need time and lyrics to see if these initial thoughts hold water, the album sounded different on my second listen. Two or three growers and one or two which might pale on future listens, but no hateful embarrassments. As ever with Bowie, it has it’s own identity and it seems to be one most of us want to know better.

        I think it’s clear it is a rich listen on many levels. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s thoughts. It feels like 1973 all over again. Who’d have thought?

  9. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die is a lovely throwback to glam-era Bowie. The almost-Five Years drum beat in the fadeout seems to point that out explicitly.

    Actually, the songs that grab me the most on this record are the slower, moodier pieces. Where Are We Now? has really grown on me over the last few weeks. The album closer Heat is fantastic as well.

    My first impression of the record (after one listen) is very positive. “Best since Scary Monsters” is such a timeworn cliche, and I’d have to give it a lot more time to settle before I’d be comfortable saying that, but there’s no question in my mind that it ranks among the best of late-era Bowie. Who’d have thought, a few months ago, that we’d be treated to this much new quality material? Staggering.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      My sentiments exactly.

      And what about the album cover? Will there be an 11th hour sudden change and ‘Ta-rah!’? I’m resigned to this one, which I understand ‘intellectually’, but still not warming to.

      It seems to make some kind of sense, ‘we can be heroes, just for ONE DAY’ – hence, ‘The Next Day’, but the designer claims he tried other Bowie covers and the white blank square didn’t work, which suggests the idea didn’t originally come from the “Heroes” lyric.

      Maybe db was keeping the designer in the dark too and got him to do it with many album covers, so that his intention was hidden should anything leak out?

      Bluff or double-bluff?

      • s.t. says:

        After the hologram cover for Hours and the Mario Paint job on Reality, I resigned myself to the fact that Bowie’s aesthetic whim has grown more perverse. At least this one is glaringly obvious of that fact…

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Don’t you like the ‘hours’ cover? I didn’t like the ‘Reality’ cover, but it suited the music (which I liked on the whole, despite the feeling it had been made ‘for touring’).

        If music has a colour, to my mind ‘hours’ was aquatic green music, so the cover was too bright.

        “Heroes” and “The Next Day” do share a similar colour for me, perhaps due to the brittle angular general sound. I’d add ‘Station to Station’ to these two, and feel the original black and white cover suited the music better. And the ‘MWSTW’ kick cover. The black and whiteness suits them. But I do love the dress cover – as a cover.

        I didn’t know I was going to write this till it came out – I think I’ll go consider Bowie covers and colour a little more.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hold on – I think I may have a plausible explanation as to the album cover question!

        It’s the inverse of the original ‘Station to Station’ cover, which was large white border with a central black and white image – from ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’. We can be ‘heroes’ just for ONE DAY, then you FALL TO EARTH the NEXT DAY?

        On two rushed listens this album seems to have many references to stars and being a ‘star’. Also cyclical things like the ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide’ type ballad ending with the drum intro of ‘Five Years’. Repetition and returning to where db/the story began.

      • kentoikeda says:

        I was reading the Station to Station article on this blog, and noticed that the print ad for Station to Station looks a little like the new print ad. (If this is how all Bowie print ads look, forgive my ignorance.)

        Station to Station:

        The Next Day:

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Thank you! 🙂

      • Diamond Duke says:

        “And what about the album cover? Will there be an 11th hour sudden change and ‘Ta-rah!’?”

        “Ta-rah!” you say?? You mean something like…Amanda Lear reunited with her pet panther some 40 years later? Sure, I could go for that. Like, yeeeaaahh maaaaan, that’s the ticket… 😉 (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!)

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Re: Ta-rah!

        D’uh! Too many nights of seasonal insomnia have dulled me of late – then I got ya!

        For your pleasure I will simply say, the young Judy Dench. ‘Don’t ask why’.

  10. says:


    Just a word.
    I like your work and would be happy to see it printed.
    As I wrote before, why don’t you start to publish a “phase one” such as up to Scary Monsters?



    TIM: la tua mail in mobilità con il BlackBerry®

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Hasn’t it already been done by a couple of other people? Still, room on top for a little ‘un.

  11. V Delay says:

    I’ve just checked my calendar. The record hasn’t been released yet. What are you all talking about?

    • V Delay says:

      Right. Free stream. As you were.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I was rather shocked at the free stream over a week before the release. It proves Bowie is confident in the quality of the content. I’m guessing figures show the hard core fans have already pre-ordered, so this is to let ‘new ears’ hear and get hooked too; this could be Bowie’s biggest record since the world conquering ‘Lets Dance’.

  12. angusdurer says:

    Just wonderful! For once the hype is justified. The most coherent, complex, quirky, hooky and downright Bowie record for years. Love is Lost an early standout on first listen. Agree Where Are We Now makes much more sense in the context in this company. But some much good stuff to get to know…God bless Mr B.

  13. jopasso says:

    LIstened the album once.
    I think it’s a grower (great albums are), because it has let me down a little little bit.
    I suppose due to the expectations.

  14. Jeremy says:

    As much as I love Bowie, I’m probably the only one here who will not be streaming it, even though it would be easy for me, and will wait until I have the delux CD in my hands so I can listen to it on my home stereo with three sets of speakers. Then I’ll probably only listen to it a few times until I get the vinyl – now that’s when it will all happen! Call me old fashioned…

    But I’m heartened by fans responses to the album here and on other sites. The year of Bowie!!!!

    • col1234 says:

      No, I’m holding out, too. I only have iTunes on my laptop, and it sounds like a crappy transistor radio. Plus I’m still focused on “Outside” (and “Station to Station” for the revisions). (with one exception: listening a lot to “Heat,” for what will soon be obvious reasons).

      • Jeremy says:

        Yeah, it’s not worth it unless you can listen to it in quality circumstances, although I certainly do understand the urge to listen in this case.

        Great Outside write-ups by the way – you seem to be enjoying it and I do love that album myself.

      • V Delay says:

        Decided to adopt this approach too, but couldn’t stop myself from listening to the first five songs (including the 2 singles). I agree with comments that the (for me) underwhelming “Stars…” sounds significantly better in the context of the album. I also agree that the track titles were deflatingly banal, and this tempered my expectations accordingly. Having listened to the first third I now have to say that I am genuinely excited at listening (properly) to the rest of this record.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        To paraphrase Salieri (about Mozart), ‘Too many words…’ in the song titles.

        Some of the titles here had me worried, and the longer clunky ones seem to be proving to be the tracks attracting most negative comment.

      • AlonInSeine says:

        Well, The Motel is on Heat, Mr. Engel

    • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

      Yeah, I’m resisting the temptation for a sneak preview too. I figure I’ve waited this long, why unwrap my Xmas presents a week early? I look forward to bringing it home from the shops (awful front cover notwithstanding) in my own two feverish little hands.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Yes, I too was/am struggling to like the cover, but check out my other fuller comment on this page where I suggest the reason for it – ‘Station’ meets “Heroes”.

    • Queen Bitch says:

      I would actually call you new-fangled rather than old fashioned. Listening to crackly vinyl on a portable mono record player… sound quality be damned, hearing it was what mattered.
      I do admire your self control though, and your devotion to vinyl is indeed beautifully old fashioned and entirely admirable.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Aaah! A red and cream mono Dansette with ‘Ziggy’ crackling away on it. And Purple bedroom walls too. How very 1972, darlings!

  15. Robert Carafa says:

    The January single could not have been less indicative of the sound of this album, this record is almost entirely a glam rock piece, very good for the lifestyle of dedicated Bowie kids and something familiar for the oldies circuit.

    I like everything I’ve heard so far!

  16. Mike says:

    I’m lovin’ it, apart from I’d Rather Be High (great title, pity about the song), Dancing Out In Space (shudder), and Set The World On Fire (which does anything but).

    • Patrick says:

      Yeah , have to agree they are the weakest tracks. Dancing Out in Space is probably the nearest he gets here to the ghost of Never Let Me Down mediocrity. The rest of the album is really growing on me. This album is good and , deservedly, is going to be big.
      If he doesn’t play live, they’ll give him an award just to try to get him out in public to collect it.

  17. sirsha says:

    I refuse to listen to the album until it is released but from the comments above, I think I’m going to enjoy it.

    The video for Stars sold me. I listened to the song first and it really reminds me of his last album, not exactly my favorite but I don’t hate it. Then I saw the video and the song sounds so much better to me. The video also seems like a bit of a throwback, reminding me of Thursday’s Child.

  18. Gnomemansland says:

    Yes and no… the songs are tighter both lyrically and melodically than on many of his last few long players and the singing is good but the production is kinda flat and samey. The drums and guitars clatter along sounding polished but played in that way that pro musician’s have that is note perfect but in desperate need of a little Frippery or even Eno on the VCS3.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I think it’s db avoiding too much loveliness, including holding back his vocal beauty. Strong powerful vocals yes, but we are not being seduced easily. It’s like a kind of garage band feel.

      I think that’s why db’s doing the plinky-plonk piano playing rather than Mike Garson.

    • markouteast says:

      tighter songs, flatter production: my thoughts exactly.
      I was beginning to question why I heard this so different than everyone else, even played around with the itunes’ equalizer thinking that was the problem. so, thank you for commenting.

      • Gnomemansland says:

        The production sounds much perkier on speakers than headphones. After three or four listens tis probably his best since Scary Monsters –

  19. MC says:

    Haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but I must comment on Stars. On one listen, I agree with Maj and others that it resembles the title track from Reality, though for me it’s quite a bit stronger melodically. It’s interesting how the critics going wild over the record are failing to place it in the context of DB’s previous albums, probably because …hours, Heathen, and Reality still languish unheard in comparison to the canonical series of albums of the 70’s and early 80’s. For me,based on what I’ve heard so far, it’s like he picked up from where he left off – not a bad thing for me at all, I should add. (and the intro to the title track – all I’ve heard of it so far – sounds frickin’ amazing!)

    Attention must be paid also to the video for Stars, which for me ranks immediately with his best ever – quite an improvement on the rather humdrum, trend-chasing clips he made in the late 90’s (Thursday’s Child excepted, which it seems to quote from.) And from someone who swore off music television in his latter days! Age looks good on him. It should also be mentioned that the DB-Tilda Swinton is inspired – truly a match made in Ziggy heaven.

  20. Art says:

    Quick impressions:

    Dirty Boys is delightfully weird. Definitely has an Iggy Pop vibe, as previous comments have suggested. Boy George tweeted that he thinks Bowie is channeling Marc Bolan in the lyrics of this track.

    Valentine’s Day would make a great single. Reminds me of the Beatles.

    You Feel So Lonely You Could Die is gorgeously epic.

    Heat, as people are already starting to point out, is the most Scott Walker-esque song on the album. I can almost imagine it on Bish Bosch.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      ‘Heat’ seems to be a mash-up of so many things in his career – a love of Scott Walker, hints of ‘Space Oddity’ bass and acoustic guitar (?) etc. I haven’t listened enough to get the others yet.

    • The Pataphysical Me says:

      “Heat, as people are already starting to point out, is the most Scott Walker-esque song on the album. I can almost imagine it on Bish Bosch.” More “Climate of Hunter than Bish Boschesque !

  21. King of Oblivion says:

    After one listen it edges Outside as my favorite DB since the ’70s. (To me the ’80s was a completely lost decade….) Of course one listen is hardly enough to form one’s everlasting opinion so I’ll keep listening. Much as I enjoyed Outside, Earthling, and Heathen none of them kept me so consistently interested and entertained on the first listen as TND just did. Love his voice, love TV’s production. The sound is so oddly ‘naturalistic’ for a Bowie record. It’s really a new approach for him. Hard to believe a mere three months ago I’d have placed my bet on DB being permanently retired. So happy I was wrong!

  22. Queen Bitch says:

    This is more fantastic than I could ever have dreamed.
    Oh my God, he has still got it.
    I am rendered speechless with absolute joy.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Calm down dear, it’s only a record…

      Heh-heh-heh! It is good to hear, isn’t it? And so many dots to join, even without a lyric sheet.

      • Queen Bitch says:

        ha ha, nothing ‘only’ about it. I may have a tendancy to over excitement, but hey, if there was ever anything worth getting over excited for… this is it!

      • Queen Bitch says:

        Is it a bit over the top to have booked the week of release off work to listen to it?
        Fortunately my boss is a Bowie obsessive and entirely understanding 🙂

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        A week off work? OTT? Yes. But then again, no!! Enjoy!!

  23. Paul Kelly says:

    ‘Love Is Lost’ has a ‘Let’s Dance’ album feel to it, I wonder if it’s even intentional. The guitar licks are very SRV (and let’s face it, SRV played pretty much one lick over and over on Let’s Dance) and it’s in the key of B flat minor, so….

    • Maj says:

      Heh, just listening to it and you do have a point there. 🙂

    • s.t. says:

      Perhaps this is what Let’s Dance would have sounded like if Bowie had done what Nile Rogers originally wanted, an art rock album to rival Scary Monsters.

    • s.t. says:

      But actually I’m getting a bit of a Wire vibe here.

  24. AlonInSeine says:

    Two extra tracks:

  25. gcreptile says:

    Here’s my opinion after the first listen: I am surprised about this demonstration of strength. Strong guitars, strong voice. Bowie hasn’t sounded this strong since maybe Earthling, or actually, Outside. The guitars are rather versatile, there are lots of neat little tricks and ideas. The album is more Rolling Stones than Beatles though, that is, more power, noise and swagger than melody, experimentation and versatility. Bowie’s best albums combined both approaches and I personally prefer the Beatles. The album is a bit short on melody, but of course, that’s a very early judgment to make after one listen. I will be away for holidays next week so even though I’m a german, and so I get the album sooner than everyone else (harharhar!!!) I will not be able to comment at the time. So here are some very quick opinions on single songs:
    Where are we now is still my stand-out track, but I did listen to it very much and love it deeply. The Stars are out tonight sounds actually quite good, now that I’ve listened to it a few times. It’s the change of harmonies that gives it strenght – it is very Climate of Hunter, actually. So, Heat, Bowie does The Electrician – again. I’m fairly certain now that the last song Bowie will ever record, will be a duet with Scott Walker. It will be the fitting end to both their careers.
    Other noticeable songs: The Next Day, Dirty Boys, If you can see me, You feel so lonely you could die.

    • gcreptile says:

      Sorry, I have to add something. Bowie does a lot with his voice, it’s very refreshing. The whole album is very refreshing in the context of a recording history of almost 50 years. Visconti’s production is surprisingly contemporary.

    • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

      …Just on your point about getting the album before everyone else GC…not quite! I live in Australia.

  26. Maj says:

    Well, I gave the whole thing a listen today, in two parts (skipping the two known singles). I did really short notes on a tiny piece of paper as I listened & I’ll type them in a slightly more literate version here:

    The Next Day – I liked it instantly. DB may sing about kings or himself or what have you but the music sounds almost whimsical. And I like that.

    Dirty Boys – my note reads “Weill-ian” At this moment I can’t remember how the song goes. Will need more listens.

    Love Is Lost – my note says “cool”.

    Valentine’s Day – well this one made me pause, literally. Because one of the hooks reminded me so much of some other song…and then I remembered: Way Back Into Love, which is a lovely pop song from a Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romcom. Which I like, both the song and the film. A feel good sort of thing. So now I know what Bowie’s been doing in those ten years. Watching romcoms with wifey.

    If You Can See Me – note reads “Outside-ish but not as good”. I suppose this one can only grow on me from now on.

    I’d Rather Be High – this one gave me Buddha vibes (and therefore also TMWSTW and Hunky vibes). That can’t be a bad thing.

    Boss of Me – sounds like something that could be on Lust For Life and I apparently “<3 it".

    Dancing Out In Space – has Heathen-ish guitars, which jumped at me first. It's also a bit catchy.

    How Does The Grass Grow? – this one I needed to listen to twice because I completely tuned out the first time. But it has some catchy bits.

    (You Will) Set The World On Fire – my note goes "Tin Machine", but I meant it in a good way. It sounds like TM at their best.

    You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – as I tweeted, I fell in love with it about 5 seconds in.

    Heat – was surprised at how much I liked this one. I thought it would be too indigestible but I actually liked it a lot, and right on the first listen.

    As I wrote on Twitter, I can already say I like the sound of the album more than pretty much any of the 90's albums. It sounds almost warm, not as cold as…well, 70% of Bowie's output. I'm going to have to let the songs grow on me etc. but I can already commend Visconti for his work on this – and whoever mixed the thing.

    • Eightline says:

      Spot on about Valentine’s Day – just saw that Grant/Barrymore romcom ‘Music and Lyrics’ yesterday, and liked the title song. Today, while I was listening to the new db album, my wife pointed out to me that Valentine’s Day sounds like Way Back Into Love. And then I read your comment. Now I will connect Bowie with Hugh Grant, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing …

      • Maj says:

        Glad I’m not the only one hearing it. 😀

        Though I have to say now that I’ve listened to VD countless times it sounds like its own song and no longer reminds me of WBIL as much. So the Bowie – Grant connection might pass after a while, if you’re worried about that. 🙂

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        To Maj & Eightline –

        I had a listen and I too can hear something similar, but ‘V. Day’ also echoes some of db’s own early work. It’s one of his ‘archetype’ songs I think.

        Your observation convinces me even more that he’s aiming the song at, and about, a particular audience, who will unthinkingly choose it as a 14th Feb love song.

        And somewhere in Temperance Building, high on Poacher’s Hill, H. Jack will give a wry, and now perfect smile. A future single?

  27. Joe The Lion says:

    I’m not going to go on at length, and there have been some great, lengthy posts already that say what I’d say if I had the patience to write it – but I think I really love this album. I’m only on a first listen, but what I particularly like is that I know that’s not enough – it’s a layered, catchy-yet-difficult album, which I’ll need to live with for a while before I fully appreciate. But I love it already, probably because I know it will reward the time I am going to put into it.

  28. King of Oblivion says:

    Hey folks is it just me or… is the Shadows’ riff that is (finally?) properly credited on “How Does the Grass Grow” not the same melody that appears in “Ching-a Ling” and subsequently in the synth breaks of “Saviour Machine”?? Bowie’s never been one to waste ideas 🙂

  29. Joe The Lion says:

    Third listen – favourites are Dirty Boys, Love is Lost, Valentine’s Day, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die and Heat – plus both singles. But there’s not one I dislike.

  30. Patrick says:

    Ok I have managed to hear it. First impressions. Mostly positive.
    He was absolutely right to return after 10 years with WAWN, even if not typical of the album. “Stars” as mentioned works better in the context of the album but is still one of the weaker tracks.
    There’s definitely a “Lodger” feel to some, though much of that original album I couldn’t get into. He uses his voice in different ways but there is also a hearken back to the “mockney Londoner” vocal sound of the later 60s. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die could be the new classic.
    It has been written that there is often one track on an album of his that suggests the next direction and feel of the next album. Perhaps the final track Heat is that, I’ll hazard a guess, though Scott walker might be asking for his song back.:) I actually would like DB to do more instrumental or non rock formulaic tracks as well.Surprise us like LOW surprised us.
    Relief all round that this didn’t turn out to be Never Let Me Down Vol II
    I also hope now that he’s broken the ice he can get on with being even more creative without the burden of the last 10 years of expectation.
    Given the competition , I expect this album to win some awards, and not due simply to sentimentality. It will give his back catalogue another boost for yet another generation. A crash course for the ravers!

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I concur with most of your sentiments. This album, the 40 years anniversary of his stardom and the V & A exhibition will garner new fans and rekindle older fans interest.

      I’m sure it’s a relief to db himself who is, after all, merely human – which makes his life’s achievements remarkable (and his failings and mis-steps understandable).

      I too hope he can relax now and indulge himself in his ‘art’ and truly forget about proving anything, or competing with contemporaries and the young turks.

      I’m sure we all just want him to make the best music he can for as long as he can. This is certainly a great start.

    • david says:

      Scott Walker could ask, but he;d be forgetting where he got it from in the first place=Warszawa.

  31. Brendan O'Lear says:

    The first Bowie album I remember being was released was Aladdin Sane. Got it for a birthday present from my grandmother as it was heavily advertised on television. (So much for Bowie the cult artist) I hated it at the time. The next I remember were Station to Station and Low. I felt so disappointed and betrayed by them both, wishing I’d been old enough to witness Bowie at his peak, instead of the ‘past-it’ version. Fast forward to Let’s Dance and I loved it the moment I heard it.
    The moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for. If you love it now, you might live to regret the instant gratification.
    I’ve always found Bowie most rewarding when he does what I didn’t want him to do. I didn’t want him to ever record again so what should I expect? I’m in no hurry to find out. The other ending was so perfect: just vanish offstage without telling anybody. I hope he doesn’t spoil it.

    • Steve Mallarmy says:

      He has sort of spoilt it, in terms of the artistic narrative. He would have had to come back with something so extraordinary and different, a Tilt, and he hasn’t done that, even if all those fortysomething critics want it so badly that they’ve been telling us he has.

      That said, The Next Day isn’t bad. Better than I’d expected in fact, but not as good as I’d hoped. It’s not the Reality repeat I’d assumed it would be, and it’s not Lodger either, as all the critics have been saying, unless that’s just shorthand for eclectic. It’s a kind of resume of a career, with a bit of glam here, a bit of Berlin there, even a bit of Never Let Me Down. The backward-lookingness of it is made most explicit in Where Are We Now, which on my third or fifth listen of the album I still think is its best track. Heat runs it a close second – I love that sinister “my father ran the prison” – but is let down by the fact that it really is too close to a pastiche of Nite Flights/Climate of Hunter Scott Walker, right down to that liquid bass.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I think it does work artistically but not in the way some might have hoped; it’s a pivotal album, a kind of portal to the past and future. I’m sure we’ll get the darker stuff again, but this album is exciting and new without being too scary for fresh young ears.

        Who buy’s Scott Walker’s later albums? Who listens to them? Scott Walker can afford to indulge himself because few people care and he has nothing to loose. And I’m a fan. It’s the old Capt Beefheart ‘Clear Spot’ vs ‘Trout Mask Replica’ question. You’re glad the latter exists, but you play the former more. When Bowie made ‘Outside’ and toured it everyone moaned for ‘hits’ and ‘proper songs’. The guy can’t win.

      • s.t. says:

        To be fair, Twinkle, Bowie really doesn’t have anything to lose either, except attention. He hasn’t really needed money since the 80’s, so his struggle for originality/subversion vs acceptance/fame was not really necessary.

        Still, I think it’s part of what keeps him interesting. We already have Scott doing his thing, and Bowie will never go that far down the purist hole. Even an anarchist like Eno can get frustrated by Bowie, since Eno’s anarchism is of the purist sort, and Bowie’s role in life is to corrupt our sense of purity. His confused take on art is inspiring, even when it’s frustrating.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I was thinking more in terms of Bowie losing too much audience. He takes risks and does alienate – Tin Machine and ‘Outside’ for example – but although he’s never really been an out and out populist singer a la Elton or Rod, he seems still to care about being a star, albeit one who explores the worlds edges, and re-presents ideas and thoughts in an accessible way.

        I don’t know if I’d call Eno an anarchist. An educator/disseminater of other peoples ideas. A useful ear in the studio to help creative people spot some interesting fragment(s) they’ve missed, or to stop them ‘normalising’ everything too much.

        And the famous ‘Oblique Strategy’ cards were already created in an earlier form around 1970 by Peter Schmidt, Eno merely helped expand and promote them. Eno has never hidden this fact, but history rather forgets their genesis.

        I don’t know how much the musicians played in creating the early couple of ‘song albums’ by Eno, but the whole ambient sound he has created these past 40yrs can be found in Michael Nyman, Neu and Harmonia. Eno seems to have added very little. To my mind he just sliced off a few bits from their work and expanded them. His best melodies seem to have a country music feel. Borrowed?

        Mostly he creates short fuzzy bleeps and noodles which float in like an intro, and out again without putting a song or anything interesting in the middle. I know – I bought them. Even David Byrne couldn’t really rescue them on their last collaboration a couple of years ago.

        On his way to meet up with Bowie in Berlin, Eno spend some days jamming and recording with Harmonia, then left with the tapes which didn’t appear till recently. Eno claims ‘Warszawa’ was mainly him musically, (Bowie adding vocals later), the track inspired by young Duncan playing piano on Uncle Eno’s knee during a babysitting period, or something like that. But I’ve spotted fragments of the piano sound in Neu.

        And The Walker Brothers’ ‘The Electrician’, from ‘Nite Flights’ a year after ‘Low’, echoes ‘Warszawa’ at the start. So, it seems the mature Mr Engel was taking inspiration from Bowie in Berlin, as much as the young David Jones was admiring Scott Walker.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I just missed the ‘Aladdin Sane’ tour by a few months, being deemed too young to visit the nearest big bad city at night. ‘The Diamond Dogs Tour’ never came to the UK, and ‘The Station To Station Tour’ only went to distant London. Feel my pain.

      I lived through those years, looking at the photos and ‘imagining’. When I did finally see the ‘Ziggy Movie’ in the early 80’s I was rather disappointed. It wasn’t as weird as the photos and reviews in ’73 made it seem and, more importantly, my imaginings.

      Of course, being at the gig, any great gig, is different from seeing it on film because emotion is created that no moving picture can capture.

      I just feel this is what we do with Bowie; he makes us dream and imagine things that even he, or anyone, can really live up to all the time. If you didn’t live through the 70’s you will never truly know the pain of mid-80’s Bowie. The UK hip press are a cruel bunch.

      That he has dragged himself back from the brink to produce the many interesting moments of the past 20-odd years is quite an achievement.

      History tends not to dwell on the portly Sinatra in bad wigs singing about rubber tree plants and ants. And Miles Davis doodling and noodling with electronics. They say, look at these wonderful works. In later life they did a bit of this and that, and it showed they were trying new things, even if it wasn’t always what people wanted.

      They’ll do the same with Bowie and the 80’s will get a short paragraph. I think this album get get at least a chapter.

      • Queen Bitch says:

        Spot on.

      • s.t. says:

        Nicely put. I was born in the early 80’s, so any knowledge I have of Bowie in the 70’s is from music, video, and writing. Most of the writing, as you say, adds to the Legend of “classic” Bowie.

        An important exception, though, is the work of Lester Bangs. As a die-hard Bowie fan, it was hard for me to work through some of the tirades that Lester spewed against my idol. To some extent, Bangs was just flexing his purist cred, and some of his attacks were unfair and hypocritical (rip-off? As if Let it Blurt didn’t rip off the Voidoids and the Contortions).

        But some of his charges seem to have some weight. He noted Bowie’s awkwardness as a rock performer, here was a stiff nervous man who the media hype machine was trying to sell as the new Mick Jagger. He criticized Bowie for–with his entourage of managers, PR men, and security guards–fully indulging in an artificial attempt to turn a musician into something larger than life, something for the lowly fans to adore.

        Importantly, Lester seemed to ignore the simple fact that Bowie was writing some of the best stuff in the 70’s (and even helped figures like Lou Reed and Iggy). And eventually he stopped trying to be a Mick Jagger type and his performances became more commanding, at least from the video record. But it’s probably true that his early legend from Ziggy onward was manufactured from the top down. And ever since the Beatles, the rock press has actively cultivated these narratives of Rock Supermen, Bowie included, with tidy little stories about their legendary impacts. There’s some truth in these official narratives, but I find the messy complicating factors much more fascinating.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I wonder if Lester Bangs had seen any early Jagger – a stiff, twitching man in search of rhythm; like a white middle-class economics student at his first disco, lol.

        I don’t know much about Bangs other than he seemed to take instant umbrage at Bowie and demanded an interview from the ‘snaggle-toothed Limey’ – and was then surprised Bowie wasn’t keen to oblige. Maybe Bangs was friendly with Jagger? For many at the time, in the UK certainly, Bowie made Jagger instantly yesterdays man. (And 1973’s ‘Sticky Fingers’ was the last Stones album of note).

        Bowie was still creating his persona as a ‘star’ and part of this was being unreachable. And it quickly came true. I can understand some people at the time thinking it was all smoke and mirrors and Max Factor. And I can understand Bowie showing signs of nerves on occasions because some Americans initially didn’t get the subtleties of what he was doing.

        Most of the British blues bands in the 60’s were nice middle-class kids. As was Robert Zimmerman who created the ‘Troubadour Bob Dylan’. (I know, I’ve said this before somewhere, zzzz…). And Tom Waits’ ‘hobo howling at the moon’. I mean, that vocal style is not his natural voice, it’s artifice, for the character he plays to make his art.

        Tom Waits, Dylan, and others stick to one persona, seem not to dress up, and are perceived as more ‘real’ and ‘authentic’. Bowie saw that late 60’s thing was false, that going on stage was unnatural, so rather than jeans and t-shirt why not make it a more interesting spectacle. Bowie’s playing with image and characters (which in a sense were all aspects of his own personality) was his strength, but also what put some people, like Lester Bangs, off.

        Of course, Bowie too has always had a love for ‘perceived authenticity’ in others, from NIN and The Pixies, to Iggy, Lou Reed and Mott the Hoople. Not forgetting that Holy Grail of true authenticity – Black Music.

        Bowie, like Marc Bolan, Rod Stewart and Pete Townsend had all been ‘Mods’ in the 60’s (UK). Mod’s were sartorial dandy’s who also wore make-up on occasions, and all the above mentioned men are believed to have had some kind of homosexual experiences at some time. It’s an aspect of ‘Glam’ that is sometimes not made enough of I feel. And Mod’s loved soul music.

        (I read somewhere that, while playing the North of England as ‘Ziggy’, Bowie asked a young fan named Ian Curtis, (later of Joy Division), if there were any good Northern Soul Clubs he could visit.

        Lester Bangs, I believe, once said gay men were not dancing to ‘John I’m Only Dancing’, it was black music they got down to. So although ‘Young Americans’ was a shock to many fans following the three previous albums which had brought Bowie to fame, it really wasn’t such a leap for db. And it hints at Lester’s comments having struck home.

        An American DJ on UK BBC radio has said that Ziggy/Bowie’s vocals seemed shrill to some U.S. ears. While recording with Lulu, (possibly the UK’s most soulful voice after Dusty Springfield), in ’73/’74, db was encouraging her to smoke more cigarettes, to get a more soulful vocal. (It was a different time folks). It could explain the ‘David Live’ vocals… or maybe it was just the side effects of the cocaine.

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Speaking of pain twinkle, I was 12 when Bowie was touring his final and most extravagant Ziggy incarnation Aladdin Sane, and am not sure if my parents would have let me witness the spectacle first hand, as like many parents (Dad in particular), they were pretty shocked by the outrageousness of it all. I’m pretty sure though, that with persistent nagging I could have talked them around.
        However, it’s all academic, as despite being born and raised in Coventry, I was dragged to the sunnier climes of Melbourne Australia in 1969, after persistent rain ruined one too many summer holidays, where I’ve lived ever since. As such, I’ve always been really disappointed and angry that I was forced to observe the defining phenomonon of my generation from 12,000 miles away.
        Ironically, when Bowie did finally make it to Melbourne for the first time in 1978, it rained buckets.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Australia, eh? That’s near New Zealand. Did you ever catch sight of plumes of smoke from a spidery type bonfire in 1987, lol?

        Yeah, kids – seize the day. We never knew that moment would be so fleeting, or we may have struggled harder to get to the ’73 gig.

      • s.t. says:

        Yes, quite right about the authenticity of artists like Dylan and Waits. Most of these people are poseurs or actors in some way, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the artist gives their all to their work.

        Incidentally, it was his love of Lou Reed that inspired Bangs’ rage against Bowie. He saw Bowie as opportunistically using sexual controversy to get attention and money, in some sense making a profit off of stuff the Velvets has done just for the hell of it. While that’s basically true about Bowie, it’s also true about Lou! He made song after song about people in Warhol’s Factory. His life was nothing like Candy Darling’s, but he knew it made for great song material.

        Still, while it’s true that Jagger had similar middle class roots, he’s still comfortable as an alpha male, and as a traditional blues rocker: swaggering, shouting, and struttin’ his stuff. Bowie, on the other hand, became more commanding when he re-embraced his European cabaret side, and especially when he developed his beautiful baritone style of singing. The stiffness never went away, it just seemed to make sense given the directions he took.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Re ‘stiffness. I think it’s partly ones innate dance ability, and more likely the fact that most of Bowie’s early music is not easily ‘danceable to’ the way a Stones tune is.

        But it seems a peculiar gauge of authenticity and worth, ‘the ability to dance and appear relaxed’. That would kill off many a worthy career. And Lou Reed wasn’t exactly Michael Jackson in that ill-fitting leather suit on the ‘Rock’n’Roll Animal’ tour.

        Although db never stole someone else’s band, possibly contributing to his demise, then making self-aggrandizing theatre out of a hollow eulogy while murdering hundreds of butterflies, I would suggest Bowie is as much an alpha male as Jagger.

        db’s steady Capricorn climb looks like putting him at the top of the heap, (if he has not already done so), as he and his contemporaries play out their final chapters.

        I read a quote recently from around ’79, where L. Bangs was trying to wind up Lou about Bowie, saying he’d stolen Lou’s riff’s. Lou replied, haven’t you heard ‘Bewely Brothers’, a**-h**e?!?

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Andy Warhol encouraged Lou to keep those ‘dirty words’ in when recording – to get attention? Money? Andy was just one big dollar sign. Lou had tried to get money and success with earlier commercial songs. The demo’s show Lou was a Dylan wannabe till John Cale gave his wonderful lyrics musical balls.

        Lennon and McCartney borrowed from Little Richard and The Everly Brothers. McCartney’s tunes improved overnight when he moved in with Jane Asher’s highly cultured musical family and he realised you could ‘borrow’ from dead composers who were out of copyright. If only George Harrison had been as wise. All musicians take inspiration, borrow and steal bits from everywhere, as many a poor black bluesmen will tell you.

        Again and again I keep reading about this money thing with Bowie, when so many of his contemporaries like Led Zeppelin and Elton John and the Stones etc all made truck loads more than db – and flaunted it outrageously. What has it got to do with HIS creativity specifically that bothers people?

        I’ve been chastised – rightly so, and I am still ashamed of a tired sleepless night’s loss of good manners – for saying “how can someone call themselves a Bowie fan and then say blah-blah-blah…!” But, I do ask, on a site which stimulates debate about the meaning and value of his work, why many people seem pre-programmed to make snide comments about Bowie using the kind of comments Lester Bangs uses.

        Of course it’s fun to joke about the messiahs return among like minded contributors, but I hate blind sycophancy too. My vinyl went into storage 20yrs ago and I’ve never got round to buying ‘Never Let Me Down’ on CD. I will one day, for completest sake. I may play it once, just to remind… No I probably won’t, lol. But, as a fan, I don’t feel the need to rub db’s nose in it as if he was a very mucky pup who’d made a mess on my favourite carpet, despite the embarrassment and pain he has caused me on a few occasions.

        I know you are not being snide, you’re just repeating what you know about a certain period that has been written about. Your talk of Lester Bangs just reminded me of other things I’d read here and in other places over the years. Which is why, not knowing the age and demographic of others on this site, I am can’t resist trying to put some balance back by pointing out similar behaviour in many other musicians and that it is not something specific to Bowie.

        Keep up the interesting comments, they are reminding me of so many interesting corners of Bowie’s work I’d forgotten I knew.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        And I failed to make the glaringly obvious observation that Bowie re-recorded ‘John I’m Only Dancing’ as a soul dance track for ‘Young Americans’.

        Dave Davies was another 60’s ‘dandy’ who experimented sexually, and possibly aspects of his life were the inspiration for ‘Lola’. And we all know what a fan of the Kinks Bowie was.

        Apparently, Syd Barret spent a week or two running around in a dress claiming to be gay too.

      • s.t. says:

        Oh, I totally agree about Lou. He was just as awkward, just as artificial, and just as opportunistic as Ziggy. For all of Bangs’s righteousness, he ended up backing a guy whose best ideas were already spent, and grew increasingly desperate. And by staying true to Lou, Lester pushed away other great artists in the 70s, most notably Bowie. To be fair though, he did enjoy Young Americans, and paid high compliments to Station to Station and at least the first side of Low. I’m not sure about his opinion of Heroes-to-S.M.

      • gcreptile says:

        I just want to agree with twinkle-twinkle about Bowie making Jagger yesterday’s man. I also am too young to have experienced the time, but when I read a music magazine or music critics, well, they have a certain canon. Now, Bowie is a part of that canon, but at the top there are always The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and The Who, in this order. These were 60s artists. Yes, they had their hits in the 70s, but the majority of their prime was in the 60s. This is the first generation of modern pop culture (the artists before them, with the exception of Elvis Presley seem to be reduced solely to their historic value).
        Then there was the year 1969. And with it came the 2nd generation of pop culture, Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Jackson Five. The Beatles fell apart, Nixon became president, and so on and on… Bowie’s ‘fault’ was to be too similar to the previous generation, especially Jagger. He was the most visible indication that the glory of the hippie days, the summer of love, the swinging sixties, were over. He made people old.

        Just 2 days ago I, once again, looked into the Rolling Stones’ ‘500 albums you have to hear before you die’ list. Bowie’s highest place was in the 30s I think. The Beatles were in the Top 10 FOUR times. Now, I do agree that the Beatles are the most important group of all time, but the bias is amazing. It’s a very boomer generation/american-centric point of view. And I would say that many of the vital new artists of today care much more about Bowie than about Dylan or even the Beatles. Maybe it’s my own bias, but did people really care about Dylan’s ‘Tempest’? Or about the Stones’ ‘A Bigger Bang’? I tell you, Bowie’s album release got headlines on many national newspapers here in Germany, which is very unusual (the Berlin-themed single might have helped, of course).

        And just one last remark, that canon of the critics only allowed a select few to join. There’s Springsteen in the 70s, The Smiths and all things Morrissey in the 80s and Radiohead in the 90s. (It’s comical when Pitchfork magazine publishes a best of the 2000s list and there’s Radiohead’s Kid A at the top, which is just barely of the decade. Similarly, a top of the 80’s list with The Clash’s London Calling at the top which just makes the decade by release schedule. It’s the critics’ fear of anything new). Anyway, see you in a week.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I would like to add that I do respect Eno as a producer, I just feel he’s being a little disingenuous with his tale of being ill in bed and hearing music with one broken speaker and being inspired to create his ambient music. There may be some truth in the event, but I think a whole heap of ‘borrowing’ had more to do with it.

  32. Queen Bitch says:

    Although I tend towards Diamond Dogs as my favourite album, that is largely the association it has for me of one particularly splendid day I spent with DD as the soundtrack.
    I love the sheer diversity of Bowie, granted there was a bit of a dip in the 80s, but Outside, Earthing, Hours, Heathen, Reality – his best work, and on just a few listens I think The Next Day is going to be up there with them. Viva Bowie

  33. rob thomas says:

    re. this comparison to Lodger: it struck me as soon as I heard (the pretty terrific) ‘Where are we now?’, whose changes instantly recalled ‘Fantastic Voyage’. Would anyone more theory-minded care to confirm/enlighten/expand/etc? Thanks as always.

    • Maj says:

      Well I’m not theory minded but I can tell you it’s quite eclectic and therefore it echoes Lodger in that respect. Some of the sound on the album is reminiscent of that of Lodger – and especially The Next Day, the song, could totally appear on Lodger. It’s the one song from the new album that decided to get stuck in my head on a loop and the longer it stays there the more it sounds like something from Lodger. So that’s all I can say.
      I think different people hear things differently but the Lodger comparison is not completely off base, IMO.

      • Patrick says:

        Re: the “Lodger” connection.
        Hard to pin down , as I’ve said, Lodger is the still the most difficult and still unloved album of the 70s for me , apart from maybe Back in Anger. on TND there’s a kind of compactness to some tracks, the writing and the production, rather than “epic”. It could also be the low quality sound of the itunes previews, flattening the sound even more. I’ve only heard them on headphones so far.
        After a sort of settlement and sure-footedness in the sound of Low & heroes , Lodger was unsettled and unsettling, with the critics as well as the public, hence the appropriate title. Picking up nomadic influences from East as well as west.
        Now DB has been probably very settled over the last years than at any other time in his life, so the mix here comes from personal contentment , and having a wide range of possible tracks to expose, rather than , we assume, the sort of psychological uncertainty or alienation that Lodger suggested. On TND he’s still distanced fom society, but in a different way , so instead of “DJ”, we get his lyrically biting (if not musically) take on celebrity and the media on “Stars”. And as many spotted WAWN had a hint vocally of Fantastic Voyage. Then from Boys Who Keep Swinging who end up with Dirty Boys?

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        ‘Where Are We Now’.

        I’m no musician, so can’t say if the ‘Space Oddity’ fragments do appear in this track – although it would make some kind of sense given what db’s doing with this album. But it certainly has the mood and some lyrical echoes in Robert Wyatt’s equally elegiac, ‘Free Will and Testament’

        Also, I don’t know what young Lexi and Iman are listening to around the house, but Rumer’s ‘Blackbird’ has the same floating quality of ‘WAWN’, and starts in a similar way, as though it was already playing, but on mute, and then the sound got switched on, if that makes sense. I’m sure there is a fancy term for it, lol.

        I played all three back to back and they didn’t sound as similar as they did in my memory of them. But there is something about the general sound and mood which caught my ear.

    • col1234 says:

      the best song analysis i’ve seen of “WAWN” has been by Alan Titchmarsh on this thread:

      so not really like “Voyage,” which is mainly D-E-Gm or A-D-G in its choruses. but what the chorus of WAWN is very much like is the little melancholic bridge of “Space Oddity” (“heeere…am I floating ’round my tin can”): nearly the same chords, as Titchmarsh notes. so very much in line with DB’s past.

      as Momus covered the song, I’m sure he’s got some insights too!

  34. Queen Bitch says:

    Honestly, the more I listen, the more I love it.

  35. Ramzi says:

    Just listened to it and I’m blown away, what an outstanding album. The final four songs – How Does the Grass Grow in particular – are just superb, and the rest of the album is brilliant and all. Heathen’s my favourite Bowie album of all time, and this definitely has the potential to be on a par with it.

    One gripe I have with the reviews, good and bad, and people in general is that they feel the need to make a comparison with his earlier work. Almost every review has someone make a tenuous link between each song and one from the past even though they sound nothing alike (I don’t understand how Dancing Out in Space is anything like anything on Earthling).

    I’ll have to listen to it a lot more, but at the moment I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

    • s.t. says:

      I don’t hear Earthling in that song, but comparisons to his others works are pretty hard to avoid, and they need not be reductive or insulting, so long as there is some merit to the comparison. Plus, Bowie himself loves recursive explorations of sound and theme, he’s baiting such comparisons with his new cover art, his reflective first single, the reference-heavy video for his second single, and other nods such as the insertion of the 5 Years drum beat in the Lonely song.

      • Ramzi says:

        yeah sure I get thematic comparisons but most of the ones I’ve seen really just pertain to a song sort of sounding like another, comparisons that just feel unnecessary in my mind. But of course, thematic references and ones such as Five Years and Lonely are valid and worthwhile to point out.

      • s.t. says:

        Me, I always use song comparisons, simply as a means to describe how something sounds. I think it’s fun, and useful when you can’t think of am appropriate metaphor. But I can see appreciate how it can go wrong, and your example of Dancing Out in Space is a good one. The need for a writer to sound knowledgeable can sometimes backfire.

      • s.t. says:

        Haha, wow, here’s a whole string of ridiculous comparisons, from Entertainment Weekly: “The album-opening title track sounds like a return to Station to Station, single “Where Are We Now?” wallows in Low-era melancholy, and “Boss of Me” is a gospel-glam strut in the spirit of Aladdin Sane’s “Watch That Man.” Visconti drops in a bevy of sonic retrospective winks, making it easy to spot references and also to re-edit: If you dig the end-of-the-world dirges from Lodger, you’ll adore “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die,” but if you never got over Space Oddity’s psychedelic folk, you can jettison all but “I’d Rather Be High” from iTunes.”

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Here I am, pot AND kettle, agreeing with you. We are in danger of over analysing and it can be tedious people linking everything to past work, but this album seems to be making those references on purpose.

      Still, as much as I love the ‘how the album was made’ stuff from Tony Visconti (or any musician/artist – even for records I’d never buy), there were times when I wished he wasn’t saying quite so much. We were already primed to think ‘Lodger’ before we heard a note.

      It’s better to try and let the art, of any kind, unfold it’s meaning over time, not be wrung dry in one moment then discarded.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Re my comment on ‘letting any kind of art unfold’, I was really thinking in terms of the media.

        More than ever, these days writers, musicians, film-makers, or whoever, tend to be grilled from the off and encouraged to lay everything out pat for quick and easy consumption. It’s better if the artist stays as quiet as possible.

        We, the audience, are the ones who should be doing the ‘wondering’, analysisng the work, yet never quite having our deductions fully confirmed. We’d love to know the full meaning of say, ‘Bewley Brothers’, but it’s probably best that we don’t.

    • Steve says:

      Agreed on Dancing Out in Space, but self-reference is definitely a thing Bowie “does” (e.g. there’s a big quote from Sweet Thing in If You can See Me on this one, I think), so it’s difficult to avoid talking about it.

  36. Remco says:

    I like it.

  37. Rebel Yell says:

    I have listened to the stream several times before commenting ( to preclude initial euphoria bias). The album is really good and solid, not something I had to learn to appreciate…when LOW first came out I was like WTF? I already had “ears” for this one. Not a concept album just solid tuneage. For some reason alot of it sonically makes me think of the fifties, early sixties (not just the Apache yeah yeahs). To quote Ann Powers DB is playing Pop Magpie Bowie, picking up shiny objects from here and yon on this album IMHO. ( Yeah I hear Scott Walker’s “The Electrician” on “Heat” and thought I caught a Who riff in one song. “Talent borrows, genius steals” – Oscar Wilde.
    He should make a video of “Valentine’s Day” to move the discussion on gun control in the USA. Tilda Stardust was brilliant choice for last video, LMFAO!

  38. Mike F says:

    I gave it another listen. It’s a solid album with no real surprises.

    My only complaint is they chose to give “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” the full Visconti production treatment instead of “Valentine’s Day.” VD actually has a good melody but sounds like it was a quickie. The Wikipedia page for the album confirms this:

    “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” – (Bowie)

    David Bowie – Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
    Gerry Leonard – Guitar
    David Torn – Guitar
    Gail Ann Dorsey – Bass
    Zachary Alford – Drums
    Steve Elson – Baritone Sax and Contrabass Clarinet
    Tony Visconti – Recorder
    Antoine Silverman, Maxim Moston, Hiroko Taguchi, Anja Wood – Strings
    David Bowie and Tony Visconti – String arrangement
    Gail Ann Dorsey and Janice Pendarvis – Backing Vocals

    “Valentine’s Day” – (Bowie)

    David Bowie – Vocals
    Earl Slick – Guitars
    Tony Visconti – Bass
    Sterling Campbell – Drums

  39. Mike F says:

    I guess we haven’t heard from Momus yet because he’s busy covering everying song on the album. 🙂

  40. Mother says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment, this blog it’s the best of all.
    Beautiful timing
    Can’t add much to what’s already been said, but one question.
    Is that Bowie on sax on Dirty Boys?

    • Patrick says:

      No, Steve Elson

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I believe the sax player played on ‘The Serious Moonlight Tour’, and elswhere – but I don’t have the magazine article at hand to give more details, sorry.

  41. Maj says:

    So I’ve given the album a few more listens and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s brilliant. It’s just…so *alive*. I don’t know why it seems that way to me, the last 3 or 5 albums were hardly dead but there’s just something about this one.
    Oh, an I have an extremely corny metaphor for you, but it really sums up the way I feel about The Next Day: it’s like a Belgian chocolate box.

  42. King of Oblivion says:

    We’ll I’ve listened to it 4 or 5 times now. Loving it more each time. Gonna take a break now until the CD arrives next week, don’t want to burn out even before release date!

    My faves at this point:

    The Next Day
    Dirty Boys
    Stars (REALLY grew on me after thinking it was a bit weak as a single)
    Love is Lost
    Where are we Now?
    If You Can See Me
    You Will Set the World
    You Feel So Lonely

    For a minute there I thought I was gonna list the whole LP 🙂

    And most of the rest I’d list only slightly below the above.
    I see a lot of people diss “Dancing out in Space” but I find it a very enjoyable ‘bowie-lite’. More Ziggy-era fun than the ’80s reject I’ve seen some accuse it as.

    The only track I’m having trouble getting into is “Boss of Me”. But I’ve had Bowie songs take a long time to creep up on me in the past so… who knows.

    I think The Next Day is as good as anything he’s ever done except the handful I consider his absolute prime (TMWSTW, Hunky, Ziggy, Aladdin, Dogs, Low, Heroes.) It easily qualifies for the second tier of his career work, which is to say, absolutely brilliant, a level of work I frankly thought he was no longer capable of.

  43. Gnomemansland says:

    So is the Next Day the album we all wanted – the one that somehow reconnects with the seminal 70s – in a word no. Is it a worthy follow up as some have suggested to Scary Monsters – sort of? More to the point Next Day is an attempt at a redemptive reading or rewriting of Bowie’s post Scary career. We get hints of all the post Scary phases; a touch of Tim Machine here, a burst of Outside there, even dare I say a little NLMD there. It is as if he has tried to make good on all the broken promises and cul de sacs of the last thirty odd years. When this works it does so with exuberance as on Valentine’s Day or Where are we now? – on other occasions it can be an unwelcome reminder of the pits and hollows of the LPs we tried to love but just couldn’t. Don’t put your iPod on shuffle though as any track from Next Day followed by say Life on Mars or Sweet Thing will soon shrivel.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Yeah – I rather think that’s where my thoughts are heading. An enjoyable interesting album which will lead new ears to the back catalogue. You could trim a couple of tracks and toughen it up even more. I think I will have to wait for the full album proper, played louder on my own, to really know.

    • King of Oblivion says:

      What connects TND to the 70s for me is the sense of abandon and experiment he manages to contain within what are at heart strong and catchy pop songs – that spirit’s been lacking for a long time but it’s returned on TND.

      It’s hopeless to expect him to somehow conjure up the excitement his work contained in his 70s prime – he’s a different person and so are we. And the 70s phenomenon was as much about how we reacted to what he did as what he did in the first place. Bowie would not have been able to write the songs he’s writing now when he was in his 20s. There’s a greater lyrical and musical sophistication now along with a pervasive world-weariness that mirrors the perspective of his core audience. We’re all growing up together.

      Perhaps Bowie seemed better in the 70s. For most of us getting drunk, having wild sex, listening to deafening glitter rock seemed better in the 70s too, and for a lot of the same reasons. It’s different when you’re young. But the reward for losing all that is wisdom, and Bowie’s busy expressing the wisdom of a 66-year old rock artist better than anyone ever has, and perhaps will again.

    • James says:

      It would have been a tougher album if it had been restricted to 7-8 tracks, and a bit more attention to details.

    • Queen Bitch says:

      The 1970s are 40 years ago. Who wants that? Why reconnect? Why not something from now?

  44. Steven says:

    Like others, I’m gonna wait for the CD to listen to this.

    I’m also tempted by the vinyl, two weeks later. But I’m kind of annoyed that it’ll only be available as a double disc with the bonus tracks tacked on. I’d rather hear it with the intended final song as the actual final song – and ideally on one disc even if that reduced sound quality slightly. I can hear the bonus tracks on the CD or elsewhere.

    • Remco says:

      Damn, I hadn’t realized that the vinyl contains the bonus tracks too. Ah well, it’s already ordered and payed for and besides I’ve already listened to the mp3 version often enough to have Heat firmly fixed in my head as the album closer.

  45. David says:

    Why will you have to wait until 2014?

    • col1234 says:

      uh, ’cause I have to get through Outside-Earthling-Hours-Heathen-Reality-and-other-stuff first?

  46. unclearthur says:

    I think it is not about celebrity. The stars are the never dying, hunting demons , Bowie gave birth to. Also the album stream shows a very dark Bowie, a N.Y. Album. I name it post-rockalyptical. Just pieces and bits, deranged and forlorn.
    By the way, in the video Bowie can get quiet angry, can’t he?Look at his face as he is pounding on the door…

  47. TW Duke says:

    Album is just ‘meh’/average in my opinion.

    About first half good, gets off to a cool start: we think we’re up for “Scary Lodgers” — a bit over our heads, somehow utterly insane yet competently professional at the same time.

    Title track fine, love “Dirty Boys”. I like next few tracks. Second half of album, from about “Boss of Me” on, I lose interest and it never recovers.

    All well and fine that “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die” is regarded as the new “Rock and Roll Suicide”. To me, it’s boring, and sounds like a Rocky Horror Picture Show/Hedwig and the Angry Inch attempt at reaching Bowie-of-yore dramatic album closing heights (but Hedwig’s “Midnight Radio” managed to do this at least a decade ago, and with a better/more interesting song).

    How is this any better than “Heathen”? Sure, lots of great press coverage for Bowie with this one, what with the “10 years away” slant the press can put on it all, but, really, for me, the “late career masterpiece” of Bowie was “Heathen”.

    For anyone really into Bowie, didn’t we all feel this way a decade ago, about “Heathen”?

    As per the current Bowie media hysteria, I’m old enough to remember late 1984, when MTV blasted “Blue Jean” at us 24/7 in America at the top of every hour.

    Doubtless “The Next Day” will be an “album download of the week”; will be a British number 1 for a week or two…..

    My advice to the young ones, just go download “Scary Monsters” or “Heathen” if you want a huge Bowie thrill.

    • s.t. says:

      As far as media hype goes, it seems that every late Bowie album is touted as his return to form, his best since Scary Monsters.

      Still, Heathen was indeed a nice consolidation of Bowie’s strengths as a pop songwriter, weaving the sounds of several decades quite cohesively. But there was something crucial missing there as well. Heathen found Bowie tapping into his prettier, good-humored side, but where was the darkness, the cynicism, the bitter drama that blessed so many classic Bowie recordings? Opener “Sunday” is the closest he gets to, say, the darkness of Outside, but it feels so gracefully resigned, much like the rest of the album.

      What’s great about The Next Day is that the “Halloween Jack” side of Bowie finally came out, after almost 20 years. What’s more, the album marries the cracked theatricality of Outside with the discipline of the later album, so it doesn’t take years of absorption to appreciate.

      By no means is it a definitive album, but with an artist so prolific and eclectic, what is? It may not reach the heights of Scary Monsters or Heroes, but it’s really damn enjoyable to hear Bowie having some good nasty fun again.

      I’d actually say that both Heathen and TND are necessary late-Bowie albums. Together, they represent a fairly comprehensive distillation of themes and styles throughout his career.

      • King of Oblivion says:

        Well put. I like Heathen, but I don’t think it compares to TND for the reasons you state.

      • Maj says:

        I think you pretty much nailed it.

      • James says:

        Nice comments. I feel Heathen was superior in diversity. TND sounds unfinished and under-produced (a la Tin Machine). It never reaches any heights. But after 10 years he might be out of touch and searching for HIS sound. Also the choice of musicians was not appropriate, Eno, Fripp and Kizilcay would have made a huge difference. The Reality bunch are not the creative ones unfortunately. Very conventional sounding combined with unconventional writing.

    • jopasso says:

      I couldn’t express it in a better way

    • James says:

      I agree with you, it’s overhyped to death, I remember when NLMD came out, critics were going: ‘A snake dance into the future !’ Oh man where they lying their ass out!!!

  48. diamond dog says:

    Well its been a hell of a wait and is the latest eagerly awaited collection worth that long pause….Well on the whole yes its a good solid body of work . Ive been listening to this man for 40 years so i waited for a day till i dared put it on .First impressions …its a little over long which spoils the flow and if he had pruned the flab and bland material would be solid. Im listening to mp3 which is not my favourite medium its thin and reedy i cannot wait for vinyl (lets hope its analog) . Visconti has given a flat sound not many or discernable trick and treatments much like heathen i feel . It needs time to mature (40 years i won’t be here ) but it sounds healthy and a step in the right direction . Cannot understand why he chose stars as the single its is perhaps the blandest tune on this collection and i do wonder does he not hear it . Anyway i will keep listening…..

  49. diamond dog says:

    P.S i don’t actually hear many echoes of the past to be honest ? its sounds like a direct follow up to Heathen? So the eviews hearing this and that from the past puzzle me.

    • Patrick says:

      Well we hear them, but we also see some continuity from the 90s output. At least you’re not so confused as the reviewer in NME who highlighted/summarised the best tracks from TND as being the title track, “Dancing Out in Space” and “Outside” (sic) !!!

  50. Mr Tagomi says:

    I thought I was being very clever hearing Scott Walker’s “The Electrician” in “Heat”, but I see that about a million people have beaten me to it.

  51. Nobody says:

    Kudos to Bowie for getting back into the studio! It can’t have been easy for him after his illness and from what Tony Visconti and Mike Garson have said it sounds like he lost a lot of confidence about making music during his break. I haven’t streamed the whole album, I’m going to wait to buy the cd but had a sneaky listen to a couple of You Tube clips before they were taken down. So apart from the two singles I haven’t heard much, just a little bit of the title track and Love is Lost. I love what I’ve heard so far, I think it stands up for itself. I can’t help but feel sorry for Bowie with the way everyone expects him come out with some profound, innovative masterpiece every time he goes near a recording studio! The new stuff sounds like he’s simply enjoyng making music again and that’s fine by me! Like I said I haven’t heard the whole album but reading some of the reviews by critics and fans there seems to be general concensus that music sounds energetic and tuneful with added strangeness! I won’t be picking the album apart and over analyzing, I will just enjoy the music and be grateful that Bowie has got the confidence to make music again. Visconti has said that Bowie just wants to make music maybe we should just let him do that rather than nitpicking, analyzing and cricising him for not making Low part 2 or something! He’s not doing any interviews or live stuff and I can fully understand that, he should just concentrate on enjoying making music again and doing the way he wants to do it.

    • fluxkit says:

      I like the not-over-analyzing. I don’t want to rush to any verdicts about any of the music. I just want to enjoy it, dance to some tracks, listen repeatedly and get to know it.

  52. James says:

    As much as I want to love the album, after 6 listening under perfect conditions, I must say that it might be one of the worst album he’s ever made. Taking in account that it took 2 years to deliver this. I’m so disappointed.

  53. James says:

    Oh yes and defacing the Heroes cover for this…

  54. diamond dog says:

    I never over analyze Bowie no need even the miss steps have at least that voice which i love. ..he could sing the phonebook. Its a solid work he is never going to write life on mars again he is different the times are different and we are different. This album has some great stuff some growers i never expect much he is a genius im glad we have him back.

  55. Mike says:

    After about a dozen listens, I’m finding TND a middling affair where the great (Where Are We Now) and the very good (Love Is Lost, Dirty Boys) fight to be heard among the dull (The Stars Are Out Tonight) and the embarrassing (You Will Set The World On Fire).

    Oh, and Dancing Out in Space is worse than anything on NLMD or TONIGHT. Sigh…

    • fluxkit says:

      A song worse than “God Only Knows” and “New York’s In Love”? I find that hard to believe, but I’m going to wait until the cd arrives to test the hypothesis.

      • fluxkit says:

        Actually, “Dancing Out In Space” did first sound like a throw-away track to me, but it too has been growing on me.

  56. Nobody says:

    See what I mean! Sigh!

  57. ofer says:

    Here are my impressions of the new album, from the Israeli website, translated badly:

    Imagine that tomorrow morning John Lennon releases a new album. Not a collection of materials lost, not Beatles leftover, not a Jam recorded by a fan below his window. Simply a new album. Excitement, naturally, will be huge – after all, no one expected the fresh material of a dead rock star – so great that hardly anyone would remember Lennon’s last albums were far from its peak, to say the least.

    David Bowie, in contrast to Lennon, is not really dead. On the other hand, in contrast to Lennon bowie is not “really” anything. Unlike most iconic rock legends, he never cared for the rock star status as a knight of honesty, and instead preferred to shape his media image and play with it self-consciously. In that sense, the past decade, in which he completely disappeared from the public eye, is as close to death as possible: a tactical decision by David Jones to kill bowie the icon, and create the aura that will make the comeback album a meda evet as big as the second coming. It worked on the PR level, of course, and yet some fans can’t forget Bowie’s years in the wilderness, prior to retirement: Embarrassing 80s, followed by a desperate effort, and mostly a failed one, to restore some of the seventies spark in the ’90s and early millennium. Is that whats the new material would sound like? If the messiah is not going to walk on the water, maybe he should stay in the grave.

    So when reviews praised “The Next Day” – you almost couldn’t trust them. It was hard not to wonder wha Andy Gill, The Independent’s critic, who called the album “the best comeback in the history of rock ‘n’ roll”, meant: Is this the comeback of David Bowie the genius, responsible for the most sublime creative sequence in the history of popular music from 1970 to 1980 that disappeared Immediately afterword, or the comeback of straining David Bowie, who disappeared ten years ago? Is this album to enter the pantheon, or a “respectable” one like “Heathen” and “Reality”?

    The answer, as usual in these cases, is complex, but that does not mean that the article before you is about to deviate from the chorus of critics praise. “The Next Day” is clearly not as perfect or important album as “Station to Station” or “Low” – between us, what chance did he have against such monuments – but he gives real reasons for the sirens to sing. Boiwie can not be the revolutionary that bent genres abd redefined goals and directions for western culture, but this album brings him back to shape as a songwriter – and in his case, that’s some shape. At age 66 Bowie made an album that is not only his best since “Scary Monsters” (a compliment every Bowie album received in the years before retirement), but the first since “Scary Monsters” that manages to consistently and continuously link with the qualities and characteristics of his golden age. It may not be as good, but it’s a work by the same guy.

    “The Next Day”, simply put, is a sequence of great tunes. Part for 2-3 fillers (one of them, unfortunately, was the second single from the album) this is the first coherent and compelling collection of Bowie songs since 1980. Like his last albums before retirement, he drew direct inspiration from his back-catalog and corresponded with himself, without showing special efforts to connect with the times. But unlike those albums, the comparison with the past does not stir discomfort. “The Next Day” is a work of the same person responsible for creating those masterpieces, and his mojo’s back. It was hinted in the brilliant homage to the “Heroes” on the cover, and is clear from the first note: the theme song that opens the album with a sweeping Rocker; “The Dirty Boys” that sounds like a lost song by Iggy Pop from Berlin and “Where Are We Now” that also returns to that era; “Valentine’s Day”, which sounds at first like cheesy and lame but it’s text turns it into a deep, dark, and very addictive tune. “The Next Day” kicks the door open, with a true show of strength.

    later, bowie turns to more experimental areas, with “If You Can See Me” that returns to the sound of jungle / industrial from his 90s albums, and “I’d Rather Be High”, a psychedelic piece that takes him to the 60s. Final stretch comes back again to draw directly from the classical period: “How Does The Grass Grow” is reminiscent of the energy of “Lodger”, the ballad “You Feel So Lonley You Could Die” is a conscious homage to “Rock’n’roll Suicde” and ” Five Years “from Ziggy, and” Heat “breathtakingly closes the album, and continues a long-standing Bowie correspondence with his idol Scott Walker.

    Three things hold together this idea salad: immediate and infectious melodies; tight production by Tony Visconti; and in addition to those, the lyrics. This is a key point, because the genius lyricist is perhaps was most lost in later Bowie work: after being a great poet alienation and irony in the peak years, he then zigzagged between pretentious pathos and and a mature, overly sweet agenda, and these almost never really gave him interesting ideas or seemed to fit him. lyrics on “The Next Day” don’t so much return to the themes of young bowie, as they return to touch with considerable talent themes that truly engage him – now it’s death, fear of war, the end of civilization and the human desire to do evil – and in most cases find again the accurate, multi-layered tone, flattering bowie and making him relevant again.

    It is difficult to assess at this stage what portions from “The Next Day” will enter the eternal pantheon of Bowie’s songs. it’s not one of his five greatest albums, and likely not in the top ten – the competition is very tough. But for many fans Bowie that couldn’t connenct with most of his later work, listening to the new album is a moving affair, thus eliminating the petty comparisons to past peaks. Before considering eternity, it is the first in more than a decade Bowie sounds fresh and relevant to the present moment in time for a whole album – and more than that we really do not need.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      The dial on my ‘where to place this album’ keeps wavering, although it never goes lower than a 3 star and there are certainly some top Bowie moments here. I think you have caught many of my own feelings in this piece, thank you.

      I’m taking a break from the album stream till it arrives proper. I’m trying not to dwell too much on the official glowing reviews, this blog, or my own previous expectations. I’ll let the dust settle and see if I can hear it anew.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Oh – just a thought, if anyone fancies a titter or two.

        Online, the Huffington Post review of TND notes that Bowie’s vocals are not what they were, about the same as the aging Jagger, but not ‘immortal’ like, ah-erm, the two Pauls – Simon and McCartney!!! McCartney!?!

        I know, I was laughing so much I couldn’t leave a polite comment… or any other for that matter, lol!

      • Maj says:

        LOL You know when I was first assessing Bowie’s aging vocals on this album the first comparison I could think of was Macca. Sir Paul certainly doesn’t sound immortal.
        In fact, I was just thinking a while ago that Jagger’s vocals have not changed that much over the years. Doom and Gloom vocals could have appeared on an album 40 years ago.
        Oh well. Different people hear different things…

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Handbags!! Please don’t compound the ‘Huff’s’ offense, lol.

        I mean, even a young Macca could never compete with Bowie now. Please refrain from putting db’s name next to croaky, squeeky tuneless Macca again, please, lol. Consider me hissing and fitting.

      • Maj says:


        In seriousness though, I’m with you. I love the Beatles but Macster is my least favourite voice among them (well, not counting Ringo).
        I have to say though I’m not the biggest fan of bleaty Bowie (he himself described his singing as such in ’72), I much prefer the later baritone thing.

  58. ofer says:

    Okay, so the first paragraph was google translated without double-checking. Sorry for that.

  59. _._._._ says:

    WOW, backlash after only 4 days… I would’nt place this album in my top 5 Bowie albums, but god damn if this isn’t head and shoulders above Heathen and Reality. He’s got some of his best lyrics and hooks in years, make no mistake. Not to say the album doesn’t have its share of dead weight (Dancing Out in Space, If You Can See Me)

    • s.t. says:

      My votes for dead weight are I’d Rather Be High and Boss of Me. I wish he’d have played around with them a bit more.

      • _._._._ says:

        interesting you mention boss of me, i feel like once its really “firing at all cylinders” towards the end, its pretty good. Unfortunately it just takes so damn long to get there.

        Love is Lost- one of my favorite Bowie songs of the 1983-2013 period. So damn COOL! Sounds like a true mix of Scary Monsters/Low, with the organs evoking “Because You’re Young”, and the drums echoing “Breaking Glass”. It’s certainly “heavy” enough to be considered a serious rock song…it baffles me why this most likely won’t be a single….as opposed to “The Stars are Out Tonight”….honestly it sounds like a reality outtake.

        Hope that is clear! English is not my first language so there are some formatting problems…I’m jsut so glad we have this new album! I am a young fan, who didnt get into Bowie until well after Reality, so this is quite a treat! Especially discussing it with you folks!

      • James says:

        that makes 4 dead weight. add Dirty Boys and How does the grass grow?.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      At the time of it’s release one a critic wrote, “Heroes” – the title track – is the song which makes you forgive him the rest of the album.

      Try removing that track – would the album still be thought of as highly today? A good experimental and emotional work certainly. Sometimes the difference between good, great and stunning is relatively slight.

      Take away the album cover and ‘A Day In The Life’, and ‘Sgt Pepper’ is just a collection of nice songs, as Lennon himself pointed out.

      What this new Bowie album has that his albums haven’t had in a long time is context. It enriches the work, but it also sets huge expectations. I think it and we need time to let it settle in.

      Still, at the end of the day it is just a record – you either like, love or dismiss.

    • King of Oblivion says:

      hmm…. I LOVE If you can see me.

  60. Mike F says:

    I want you to try something. Please try it for real.

    From memory only, try to sing part of the song “The Next Day” which is the first track on the album. It could be the chorus or maybe part of a verse. No cheating, try it from memory only!

    I bet you can’t do it because the song contains very little in the way of memorable melody. It’s crammed full of impassioned vocals but without much of a tune. This is the problem with late period Bowie and this album especially.

    Is there a Bowie 70s album where you can’t sing at least part of the first track? I bet you can do it easily for all of them. (For Low, we’ll use “Breaking Glass” because the first track is an instrumental.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I’m perfectly able to sing both verse and chorus from the title track. It’s not a hookfest, but it’s easy enough to recall.

      • Mike F says:

        Thanks. I should also ask how many times have you listened to the song?

        I listened to it a total of 3 times so far. It has gone in one ear and out the other without leaving a trace on my brain.

    • _._._._ says:

      this is hardly knew, I find it no harder to “harmonize” then say….Joe the Lion?

      I mean, it is not my favorite track on the album, but there is a chorus and such with a refrain and stuff.
      “Heere I am., not quite dying/My body left to rot in Hollow Tree”

      Sorry if this is not clear, english is not my language.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Many of Dylan’s best work lack a tune. Sometimes Bowie goes for sonic effect over melody.

    • Maj says:

      After the 1st listen of the full stream, the one (non-single song) that got stuck in my head & I’d been able to reproduce (if I could actually sing) was actually The Next Day. The chorus (or whatever that is, starting w/ Here I am…) is incredibly catchy. Not much thanks to melody but that’s beside the point.

      • Mike F says:

        Thanks for the feedback on my “The Next Day” question. It seems everyone finds it much more memorable than I do. I also should have asked if people read the lyrics because that may be a factor. They don’t sound clear to me and I generally avoid reading Bowie lyrics so a lot of it sounds like “yadda yadda yadda” to me.

        @twinkle twinkle: It’s true that Dylan is not known for melodies. He is known for lyrics first and foremost. Sometimes Bowie goes for sonic effect over melody but none of the sonic effects on this album are new for him. All standard Visconti stuff.

    • Maj says:

      Oh, and apart from Sunday all of the post-Outside album openers are insanely catchy and highly hummable & sing-alongable. In my opinion.

      • Mike F says:

        @Maj: I agree with you. “Sunday” from Heathen is another lead off track that I’ve forgotten the melody of. The rest are easy for me to recall. There may be a pattern. Both albums Heathen and The Next Day are intended to be “serious” so he deliberately doesn’t lead off with a catchy tune.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Yes, I think there is a definite ‘serious’ intent by using ‘TND’ and ‘Heat’ to bookend this album. However, ‘TND’ followed by the gritty sleazy ‘Dirty Boys’ only draws attention to the more produced ‘Stars’ and causes a slight jarring to my ear.

        You can see the thinking though in this download CD age. A strong opening artistic statement – two tracks for people like me – then, just incase some weaker souls were thinking it may not be for them, in comes a radio friendly tune.

        The first two singles split people – many liked one over the other. I’d say if you didn’t like ‘WAWN’ you wouldn’t like the title track, ‘Heat’ and a couple of others – and vice versa.

        Some people seem to have 2, 3, even 4 weak/duds on their list. 14 tracks, not including the bonus ones. It does seem slightly long, but if people lose up to 4 tracks, they still have a strong substantial album tailored to their taste.

      • James says:

        ‘Nothing remains we…’ I can sing that anytime. Heathen reached me emotionally so I got it instantly, TND doesn’t, it’s cold and distant, he’s never done anything like this before. I don’t think I will ever dig this album. As if it had been done by proxy. But this said, at 66 he’s another person he was 10 years ago so…

    • King of Oblivion says:

      Well… I would consider that a good thing!

  61. twinkle-twinkle says:

    Here is a link to a Bowie article from Mr Paul Morley; it’s very much like the recent talk he gave at Tate Liverpool for the Glam! exhibition.

    It very much sums up how it felt to be a Bowie fan from the early days, especially if you lived in the UK.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I should have said, it’s the Morley Glam lecture, but with the Marc Bolan bits taken out. Whereas the Tate ‘Glam!’ exhibition is ‘Glam’ with most of the Bowie bits taken out, if you can imagine such a thing.

      I guess they are all at the V&A.

  62. diamonddog says:

    hopefully all the hype will bring younger people to delve into the fantastic body of work this man has given us. Lets not forget the rolling stones have not done anything of worth since sticky fingers in 71? the odd single but at least this is a body of fresh work not just a hits package with a single on it which the stones do every couple of years.

    • fluxkit says:

      “Some Girls” and “Tattoo You” do have some supporters… which at least would bring us up to the late ’70s… but yes.

    • Maj says:

      Well that’s pretty much how I got into Bowie when Heathen came out. I probably would have gotten around to listening to him at some point either way but seeing a glowing review of that album helped speed the process up.

  63. King of Oblivion says:

    New York Times on TND: “Mr. Bowie’s twilight masterpiece”

  64. Having given it 4 or 5 listens now, I’d probably trim Dancing Out in Space, Set the World on Fire, Boss of Me, and maybe I’d Rather Be High, if I were in charge of the sequencing. All have their charms (well, maybe not Fire, though it’s just plain forgettable rather than bad) but do feel like filler next to the others and do delve into some of the more questionable goofiness. Space and High could stay but the other two should go. Boss’ lyric is bad enough to cancel out the sax groove for me, which is saying something (and Dirty Boys fills that role nicely). Dancing Out in Space is incredibly goofy but also earwormy– it’s no Gemini Spacecraft cover, but what is?– and goofiness as part of a Bowie song with “Space” in it is rather, well, quintessential? or some better word I can’t think of. I’ll indulge in it either way.

    Most impressive overall is the singing. While I enjoy Reality the vocal choices/his condition on it were sometimes questionable or made him sound like the old man he wasn’t yet quite. TND doesn’t have any crazy lung puncturing action but the voice wouldn’t sound out of place on his work of 20-25 years ago. That said he never really approaches the emotional places he reached on Heathen, an album where on several occasions I feel his voice jumping down my throat and trying to emerge as my own. That may have as much to do with the personnel shakeup and quality of the songwriting on that album as the voice, perhaps, but either way what I’m saying is Heathen can damn near bring me to tears if I’m in the right mood for it. TND doesn’t do that, but it doesn’t seem to aim for it either so that’s fine.

    Wow that sure is a lot about what the album DIDN’T do for me As for what it did do: it’s unmistakably a Bowie album and it rocks quite a bit and has some strange lyrics and it sounds like a good time was had making it, and that perception whether true or not has quite an effect. And the album isn’t officially out yet and it already has me excitedly looking forward to the next one. Dance for my amusement!

  65. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    Well, I bought the album today. Does that officially make me the first on here to have an actual copy? Anyway, on my first couple of listens the songs which are leaping out at me are Valentine’s Day, I’d rather Be High, How Does The Grass Grow and Dancing Out In Space. Not necessarily the tracks that most on here seem to be loving,but then I’m just speaking in terms of songs that display an ear-grabbing hook which cements itself in your brain on a lazy couple of first listens. Speaking of lazy, it’s a minor quibble but I don’t like the front cover – it’s just Heroes with a post-it note.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I got it today too, with the bonus tracks.

    I’ve been streaming it on iTunes for the past week too. I’ve heard it many times but I still haven’t come close to having a handle on it overall.

    But it is loaded with beautiful moments. Absolutely loaded with them. It’s given me an immense amount of pleasure getting to know it.

    Set the World on Fire is the only song I have qualms about so far. It seems much more obvious in its moves than the others. Sounds like something that might have been on NLMD or maybe TM1. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

    Where it will ultimately prove to sit within the DB canon, I have no idea.

  67. twinkle-twinkle says:

    Here is a link to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Front Row’ arts programme from Thurs 7th. (Programmes are usually only available for a week from original transmission date).

    It’s a half hour Bowie special album review, with a link to another half-hour interview from 2002; some rather prophetic talk on mortality.

    I’m not sure if, or how, one can access this outside the UK, but fingers crossed for you. Cheers, Twink.

  68. The most bewildering and possibly interesting thing about this album is the talk of “deadweight” or least-liked songs; they seem to wildly differ from every opinion I’ve read, which is quite cool because this album is clearly promoting a lot of creative discourse.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Yes, it is a peculiar thing, and something db seems to attract more than most. Certainly since his critical wobble with ‘Lets Dance’, the stumble of ‘Tonight’ and fall with ‘NLMD’ (a cruelly ironic title which allowed the retort, ‘but you have – you have!!).

      Some say it’s lame to remove even one embarrassing track from a much disliked album, but given the venom and no doubt minimal sales it now generates, maybe db should do a ‘Scott Walker’ with ‘NLMD’; Scott deleted several albums from what he considers his ‘wilderness years’.

      Some fans seem never to have forgiven Bowie falling from grace, or not being gay enough, not taking drugs anymore etc. Many just hated/hate the fact he was/is so revered and happy to kick him when he was down and/or trying to get back on his feet.

      In my opinion he’s been back for many years. I now try not to think of these overly negative comments as coming from Morrissey trolls in Bowie drag, just genuine fans who want perfection in everything Bowie.

      • Queen Bitch says:

        Some people take more pleasure in hate than in enjoyment. You have to pity them, what a dreadful way to be.

        I like Morrissey too by the way, along with many others. Which is not to say that I don’t have my favourite songs from everyone, but even my least favourite songs from my favourite artists tend to be interesting if nothing else.

        Why demand perfection – I’m not perfect, I never expect others to be.

        Great that the album is provoking so much debate though, as we all know the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about 🙂

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Cheers! I stuck with Moz through his difficult 90’s, (For example, I do not believe Morrissey is racist),but his bitching about Bowie after the ‘Outside’ tour rather wore me down, but mainly his behaviour in general is beneath him I think.

        He got a rebirth here in the UK, became the NME darling again, and then he blew – again. He’s a most peculiar bloke. I have a really funny story about a embarrassing lover’s tiff a friend witnessed, just the three of them chatting in a flat but,hey – it’s not about him, is it? So…

        Anyway, if Moz had stayed as silently dignified as db over that ‘Outside’ debacle, everyone would have forgotten about it by now, and Moz would still have his dignity.

        I bumped into Moz at a New York Dolls gig not long ago, but good manners prevailed and I didn’t vent my spleen like I imagined I would, lol. It’s a shame he is still pulling strokes, like allegedly trying to put the photo of him and Bowie on the reissued ‘Last of…Playboys’. He has contributed a lot of great music to the world.

        Yeah, this album is still sounding strong. And I’m having palpitations at the thought of all the goodies on show at the Bowie V & A exhibition in London. I think Bowie is looking to produce strong work before the ‘final curtain’ and I feel he probably has a few gems tucked away for the big finish. We make it sound so easy, don’t we, lol?

        When imagining a new Bowie album – if it was ever to come – I asked myself, what would I want, as much as, what would Bowie feel he needed to deliver.

        I thought the obvious – Low/Heroes – stripped down acoustic – really out there weird – rock’n’roll – jazz a la ‘Disco King’. I think we have a bit of everything, but not quite as we might expect. It seems like a portal for new fans, a reminder to old, a generally likeable album, but not too easy either.

        It’s almost like a CV/Resume and a manifesto of intent; this is what I do, and if you stick around you may get a whole album of one of these styles, but with a twist. Or maybe he was just dragging out the best music he could do at that moment, like it or lump it?

        It is exciting to hear the babble, but all the myriad of opinions could be really crippling for a creative person if they got lodged in their head. And I’m sure they have in the past. But we just can’t help ourselves, can we, lol? 😉

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Here’s this debate again. For the record I would describe Let’s Dance as a stumble, Tonight as a fall on his face which dislodges teeth and skins hands and knees, and NLMD as getting up and dusting himself off. But instead of applying band-aids and disinfectant, going on tour with the silliest song on the album as his centre-piece for the show.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Harsh but, sadly, true. (And neither of us mentioned ‘Labyrinth’, lol!). Now I have!

      • Queen Bitch says:

        Well I like Moz’s music, I don’t agree with much of what he says, but would defend his right to say it and all that. At least he has opinions and voices them however detrimental to his career.
        I have to admire his magnificent curmudgenliness.
        Anyway, back to Bowie. I am enjoying my mammoth listen thus far 🙂 🙂 I even got up early (for me on a day off) there’s devotion for you!

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Curmudgeonliness – great word – and very apt for our Moz. And a great live version of ‘Drive-in Saturday’ too. I’ll give him that.

  69. twinkle-twinkle says:

    TND just arrived on my mat. I think the cover works better in the flesh than it does online, on a computer screen. You kind of get used to it, like a band with a crap name who make great music.

    Of course, for those with any serious gripes about this album, the cover could compound the pain.

    Anyway, a nice cuppa and the bonus tracks to start, methinks.

  70. Mr Tagomi says:

    There is an awful lot of talk about DB’s demise in this thread. The man might easily have 15 or more years’ worth of career ahead of him, health permitting. I for one see no need to interpret this album as some sort of valedictory statement. In fact it would be fascinating to see where he goes artistically as he moves into old age.

    • Queen Bitch says:

      I just want him to outlive me. I can’t bear the idea of a world without Bowie.

  71. Ben P Scott says:

    My review:

    It’s not often that I get to welcome back an artist who is often regarded as the greatest who has ever lived. Up until a few months back, no one could have believed that we’d actually be listening to this now. But here it is, the new David Bowie album ‘The Next Day’.

    2003′s ‘Reality’ was the third in a series of LPs made since 1999 that saw Bowie abandon his experiments in the 90′s for a more straight forward, perhaps less adventurous approach. Maybe the heart attack he suffered in 2004 was a warning sign, a suggestion that he needed to slow down and have a well deserved break. But a couple of years later and there was still no sign of Bowie returning. The long silence and complete lack of public appearances led to rumours about his health, and as each year of inactivity passed, the chances of Bowie making a comeback were looking less and less likely. Many thought that he had decided he’d made his contribution to the world and owed it to himself to live out a normal life for the rest of his days. Even his biographer Paul Trynka thought that he had retired, and wouldn’t ever return unless he could deliver something “seismic”.

    Then a few weeks ago, on the day that Bowie turned 66 years old, the world was stunned at the instant arrival of a new single and the announcement of a brand new album. How did the world’s biggest star manage to record an LP in complete secrecy over two years, without rumours getting out and news being leaked on the internet? In an age of instant and easily accessible information, this true icon had pulled off a masterstroke. The musicians involved in the record were all made to sign non-disclosure agreements, and even producer Tony Visconti had to keep his mouth shut whenever asked about Bowie’s activities. This comeback album was secretly recorded, sensationally announced, and has been heralded by a storm of hype whipped up by the music press, clamouring to welcome back this unquestionable legend. But is it really the “seismic” work that Bowie needed to come out of retirement to give to the world?

    The opening title track’s dark strut is put to the grisly tale of a tyrant being overthrown, a subject clearly inspired by Bowie’s new-found interest in medieval history. With its inspired lyrical imagery and angular guitars, this is not the sound of a frail old man with nothing left to say. In fact the 66 year old Bowie has more to say than the vast majority of artists many years younger. Immediately it feels a lot more vital from the beginning, like Bowie’s decided that he only wants to be heard when he has something truly outstanding to offer. And this is it. Not only the album Bowie fans have been awaiting for a decade, but the return to form that a lot of people thought would never happen.

    ‘Dirty Boys’ is a portrayal of a feral gang of delinquent hooligans set to sleazy guitars, seedy horns and omitting a creeping burlesque vibe, while ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ is a lot more clever than it would first appear. Maybe it’s about the superficial nature of modern day stardom compared to his true eternal fame, or perhaps it’s just about two lovers looking up into the night sky. Or it could even deal with the shallow culture we have to tolerate, where people are more likely to gaze at celebrities in magazines rather than gaze at the constellations. But one thing’s for sure, Bowie is fully aware of his mortality as well as his immortality: “the stars are never sleeping, the dead ones and the living”.

    The intense gothic rock crunch of ‘Love Is Lost‘ is a world away from the elegiac reflection of ‘Where Are We Now?‘, the album’s most sombre and graceful moment. But while it looks back on the past, mourning its passing with a teary eye, it also celebrates life as the sadness takes a joyful turn during the song’s stunning climax. ‘Valentine’s Day’ is the closest he (and anyone else) has ever come to reviving the magic of ‘Ziggy Stardust’, putting an instantly engaging melody to a description of a certain embittered individual wanting revenge on the world, possibly a high school killer. The frantic bustle of ‘You Can See Me’ provides another striking contrast, reprising the utter chaos of 1995′s ‘Outside’ and the drum n bass rhythms used on follow-up ‘Earthling’. There’s a tune in there somewhere, but melody is clearly not its main concern.

    It’s more adventurous than the three previous albums he made since the 90′s, but his ideas sound more fully formed and carefully thought out this time round. In fact this could very well be his most diverse collection of songs. Sometimes you have to look below the surface to understand the genius of this record, and trying to get your head around the lyrics is like venturing into a mental minefield. ‘I’d Rather Be High‘ brings forward passionately delivered vocals, anti war commentary, complex lyrical references and a spacey guitar hook that lends the track a gliding psychedelic ambience, while ‘Boss Of Me’ is characterised by rasping horns and bright drums. The instrumentation gives it a typically New York sound, appropriate since all these songs were written and recorded there. Maybe as an Englishman, realising the contrast of his original surroundings enables him to soak up the sound of the city and embody it into his music more effectively than anyone else. ‘Dancing Out In Space’ seems to constantly have stuff going on, in fact it’s not unlike something from the ‘Let’s Dance’ era mixed with the warped oddness of ‘Low’. This and the preceding ‘Boss Of Me’ are both enjoyable, but probably the two least substantial moments on ‘The Next Day’.

    The lyrics are cryptic and fascinating, often inviting the listener’s own interpretation. But it’s not just his words that make you wonder, it’s the various musical references to his past and what they could mean in the context of these new songs. It’s the sound of an artist aware of the influence he has had over the years, and ‘The Next Day’ brilliantly represents the way that his past haunts the present.

    ‘How Does The Grass Grow’ begins like another 80′s Bowie number but that enjoyably weird chorus is something else altogether. It certainly takes some unexpected turns that’s for sure, including a vocalisation of ‘Apache’ by The Shadows. The muscular power of ‘You Will Set The World On Fire’ thrives with Kinks-esque guitars and a hugely infectious chorus, making for an obvious potential single. And that squealing ‘Scary Monsters’-like solo is absolutely magnificent. With its showstopping melodrama, the glorious ‘You Feel So Lonely You Could Die’ is like an introspective companion piece to ‘Rock N Roll Suicide’, magically rising into a sky-reaching gospel chorus. It fades out with the drum pattern that opens ‘Five Years’. Again it makes the listener wonder how it fits into the jigsaw of the song, intriguing and sprinkled with mystery.

    ‘Heat’ is a sparse, ominously brooding closer. that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the Berlin trilogy, a sinister drone of claustrophobia and coldness punctuated by an unsettling croon. As it fades, the strummed acoustic guitar begins to resemble the intro to ‘Space Oddity’, bringing his latest album to a close by returning full circle to his very first hit single. What could it possibly mean?
    Perhaps being out of action for so long and watching the world of popular “entertainment” descend into vacuous blandness might have awoken something in him that had been sleeping for a long time. Perhaps before 2004 he was too concerned with constantly moving forward and making the next record to possibly take a break. Too busy to take a look back at his entire life, career, and his musical journey through the decades. After taking the time out and making sense of his past, he’s also aware that the weight of his history is always going to be on people’s minds whenever he releases new music. But this album’s revisiting of his past is not about nostalgia, it’s about placing references to previous works in the fresh context of new songs.

    It somehow bridges many styles that are completely at odds with each other, adding a new ingredient to gel them together. That new ingredient is the present day. Despite revisiting many eras of his past, he doesn’t ever fall into the trap of self parody and certainly doesn’t sound like he’s running out of new ideas. He’s challenging himself again, not wishing to end his career with the comfort and steadiness of the previous three LPs. No one else could have made a record like this but Bowie, in fact it’s only now that he himself is capable of doing so. Just like no-one could have made an album like ’Station To Station’ except for the 1976 Bowie. His output is so wide ranging and diverse that none of his albums come close to defining him, because each era saw a different Bowie. But this is a case of looking back while moving forwards.

    He doesn’t ever sound like a “museum piece” over the course of these 14 tracks, in fact he sounds more hungry and more relevant than he has done for decades.

    To say it’s a pleasure to have him back would be an understatement.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      There is so much to agree with here. I’m sure the health scare and the finite nature of life has focused him (although I think he has always had that awareness, from his fathers early death and Terry, his half-brother’s, mental health problems). ‘hours’ was also a sign that the late 40’s/early 50’s mental click had struck, and thoughts of mortality were now probably a daily companion.

      As well as other meanings given here generally about the title, it could be read quite simply in terms of, ‘That seems like only yesterday, but it was 40yrs ago’, or whatever. Time telescopes and life turns out, in some sense, not to be linear, but just a series of moments filed in our heads, some of which are stronger than others.Good or bad, meaningful or trivial, each awaits it’s Proustian trigger.

      This album – this blog indeed – is full of such triggers and I am surprised at the visceral reaction both can create. Even when some thoughts seem fanciful, the fact that this album is causing rich and varied interpretations shows it’s more than the just general pleasure at his return, or media hype.

      I now like the cover even though I’m now questioning some of my earlier thoughts. Well, I say I like the cover, but, hell’s teeth db – the lyric sheet is unreadable!! And it looks like it was designed for a different cover entirely.

      This album could almost have been titled, ‘Those not busy being born are busy dying’. (Dylan).

  72. wirestone says:

    Agreed, Mr. T. The opening single was a brilliant gambit in that respect — so backward looking and autobiographical seeming — that I think some people are still reviewing the album they imagined that single would be on, rather than the one DB actually recorded.

    For once you look into it, TND seems rather to be a collection of short stories. A bunch of concise songs in an array of styles, dipping into history and a multitude of characters, few of which (to me) suggest newfound interest in autobiography.

    If TND says anything about Bowie as a person, it’s that he’s fiercely protective of his legacy and proud of his talent, and is unwilling to disown any part of his career — not even the dance-y stuff from the 80s. (It is also almost entirely uninterested in the current pop culture moment, which is a real change from the almost painfully plugged-in Bowie of the 90s.)

    Having the lyric sheet to look at over the last few days has also really enhanced my appreciation of the record. These lyrics have some real depth. (Except the one glaring exception of “Boss of Me,” which I guess skates by because it sounds cool.)

  73. Portsmouth Bubblejet says:

    Wonder what triggered off Bowie’s reminiscences about Berlin on this album? Along with “Where Are We Now”, there’s another reference to Berlin in the opening lines of “I’d Rather Be High”:

    “Nabokov is sun-licked now
    Upon the beach at Grunewald
    Brilliant and naked just
    The way that authors look”

    It’s a reference to Nabokov’s “The Gift”, I think, which contains a memorable scene in which the central character Fyodor walks through Grunewald forest in Berlin. He then sunbathes naked on the beach by the River Havel, as described by Nabokov in the line:

    “The sun bore down. The sun licked me over with its big smooth tongue. I gradually felt that I was becoming moltenly transparent, that I was permeated with flame and existed only insofar as it did. As a book is translated into an exotic idiom, so I was translated into sun.”

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      That Nabokov quote is quite stunning.

      My observation is a more visual one. Unless it is purely me/us looking for meaning and ‘finding’ it because we expect it, I get a sense that, more than he has done in a long time, Bowie is leaving clues and references both clear and subtle, even down to his apparently casual daily dress.

      There are only about 3 main repeated images released around this album, not counting the cover; the banjo playing, the Burroughs one, and db in cap and horizontally striped t-shirt.

      He may have been wearing that cap for a long time, I don’t know, but he last wore one so prominently in Berlin, his other pointedly ‘ordinary guy’ period.

      The recent striped t-shirt photo, almost mugshot-like , if not in angle certainly in mood and matter-of-factness of style, makes me think of a cartoon thief’s get-up; give him a black mask and a bag marked ‘swag’ and there it is.

      The picture niggled at me, it’s peculiar features, until you think of the borrowing or stealing he has done over the years, and now again with his own musical history on this album.

    • stuartgardner says:

      Portsmouth B, I’m extremely grateful to you for sharing this. I’m sorry to admit that the only Nabokov I’ve read is Lolita, and so I probably would have scratched my head over this reference for years if you hadn’t turned on the light.
      I shared your insight on the board:
      Thank you!

  74. wirestone says:

    Gail Ann Dorsey said that Bowie would often reminisce about Berlin when they were just hanging out in the 90s and early 00s, which struck her as unusual because he didn’t often talk about the past.

  75. Anonymous says:

    “I’ll Take You There” =
    In a good way

  76. JamesZ says:

    Dear David,

    In the future when TND is re-issued, please perform a “Too Dizzy” on “Boss of Me” and “Dancing Out in Space” and excise those 2 songs. The album feels a bit long, and those 2 horrible songs severely interrupt the flow of an otherwise strong album. Glad you’re back, give my best to Iman.

    • JamesZ says:

      Also, concerning “(You Will) Set the World on Fire” –could you redo this with a new theme and new lyrics? Like you turned “I Am a Laser” into “Scream Like a Baby” ? Sure, the 60s Greenwich Village folk scene may have been cool, but you’re David Bowie and you’re actually MUCH COOLER than the Greenwich Village folk scene of yore itself. I really like it musically, but the lyrics and subject matter feel beneath you, like Hemingway writing “Fifty Shades of Grey” books or Fellini making Jennifer Aniston films.

  77. Mr Tagomi says:

    Quick question for people who know about these things –

    “If You Can See Me” seems rhythmically irregular at first, but from my vague understanding of time signatures, trying to count it out, it seems like it may actually be simpler than that, alternating between 4/4 and 2/4 or some other such configuration.

    Can anyone out there give me a breakdown of what’s actually going on in that song?

    • Mr Tagomi says:

      I’ll try to answer my own question on this.

      Seems to me that the song begins in 10/4 or something similar.

      Then switches to something like 8/4 and then two bars of 3/4 in the riff/bridgey bit.

      It repeats this for a verse, then switches back to 10/4 for the bit that builds up to “If you can see me…”

      And then the song goes back to the start of the cycle and repeats all of the above.

      This is only my rough stab at what’s happening. It’s something like that anyway.

      I think that for DB it’s a bit of a departure to engage in such an exercise in what some might consider self-conscious musicianly trickery. Maybe I’m wrong on this.

  78. Diamond Duke says:

    Well, I was at Best Buy when it opened this morning at 10 P.M. and I picked up my copy of David Bowie’s The Next Day (Deluxe Edition). I put the whole thing on repeat, and – aside from today’s work shift – I’ve been cycling through all 17 tracks. As of this moment, I’m currently on my fourth go-round, and it keeps getting better with every listen!

    Okay, now for my overall assessment:

    Yeah, I know it’s been quite a slavishly fashionable thing for media hacks to say that every record Bowie’s released since the mid-’90s has been “his best album since Scary Monsters.” However, that conveniently ignores the fact that 1995’s Outside rather successfully managed a return to the spikier terrain of his Berlin work (the Low/“Heroes”/Lodger triptych), and that in 2002-03, both the meditative Heathen and the more rocking Reality managed to introduce a more mature “later” style. Granted, the admittedly energetic Earthling falls somewhat shy of the mark, coming across as perhaps a bit too trendy with its jungle/industrial stylings, and the admittedly poignant ‘hours…’ is perhaps a bit uneven. But overall, Bowie’s had a very solid track record with his albums since the mid-’90s, certainly nothing to be sneezed at.

    Yeah, Scary Monsters represents a definite career highpoint (BTW, my personal second fave in his catalogue after Aladdin Sane), and it’s not likely he’s going to crack that standard soon. And – let’s be honest here – for all its strengths, The Next Day doesn’t quite do that. Scary Monsters is very much the climax of his Bowie’s more youthful period of creativity, and as admittedly impressive as much of his later work has been, it would be unreasonable to expect any kind of Scary Monsters II. (In an interview sometime during the 2000’s, Bob Dylan marveled at what he was able to accomplish in a song like It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding, saying something to the effect of “I’m older now, and I can do many other things, but I can no longer do that.”) But like Outside, Heathen and Reality, it’s a very strong record. In fact, as annoying as the repeated invocations of Scary Monsters are in reviews of each successive album, I’d say that there is an apt comparison to made between that album and The Next Day. Certainly it’s Bowie’s most aggressive and dark piece of work in quite some time. In fact, I have to say that quite rarely since Scary Monsters has Bowie sounded as much like he needed to get something off his chest. (Even Outside‘s edgier aspects were filtered through a veil of dystopian fantasy, a la Diamond Dogs.)

    One thing that really struck me about The Next Day as a whole is that it represents a kind of smelting together of all the trademark styles that Bowie has become famous for (ranging from the glam of Ziggy and Aladdin, to the danceable pop of the Let’s Dance era, to the wired tension of the Berlin years, a bit of Scott Walker here, and even a bit of Earthling there). Bowie has always claimed that it’s never his goal to be some kind of avatar of the “real” or the “authentic,” but The Next Day shows definite signs of the “masks” morphing together into something which reveals – in an indirect, non-confessional, purely emotional way – what lies beneath to serve as their common ground.

    The Next Day – A melodically sparse opening number, running on a spike of pure adrenaline. I must admit, this was a bit of a grower for me, primarily because there was no easy hook to it, but I like it more every time I listen. Lyrically, it would appear to be about people who abuse and exploit religious faith for their own gain: “They live upon their feet and they die upon their knees / They can work with Satan while they dress like the saints / They know God exists for the Devil told them so!” The perspective here would then appear to be very pro-Christ, if not necessarily outright Christian. The person declaring “Here I am / Not quite dying” is possibly Jesus himself (as tempting as it is to look at it as Bowie’s own proclamation to be very much alive and well and with us)!

    Dirty Boys – Very much influenced by Iggy Pop, with a coolly minimal, raunchy saxophone riff and a vocal melody which reminds one a great deal of Little Doll by the Stooges. I love that line “I will buy you feather hat / I will steal a cricket bat”! Shades of Alex and his droogs from A Clockwork Orange, or perhaps Halloween Jack and his Diamond Dogs

    Where Are We Now
    The Stars (Are Out Tonight) – It strikes me as rather interesting that the two songs which Bowie picked as the first singles from The Next Day are the ones which harken back the most strongly to his two previous albums. It’s almost as if Bowie is reminding us of where we left off 10 years ago, and then picking up the thread from that point with the rest of the album. Where Are We Now has a very strong Heathen feel to it (in particular Slip Away and 5:15 The Angels Have Gone). That one remains my favorite of the two. I love its tenderness and its sense of nostalgic melancholy. The Stars (Are Out Tonight), as many others have pointed out, has a strong Reality vibe to it, but I certainly don’t see that as a bad thing. The lesser of the two single releases, definitely, but it’s still a good song. And yeah, I love the video with Tilda Swinton, one of my favorite actresses. Seriously cool!

    Love Is Lost – A very tense and uneasy pop number, with its eerie keyboard chords. One of my favorites from the album. Lyrically, it seems to be about the youthful fears of displacement which inevitably accompany one’s ambitions and desire for upward social mobility. One strongly suspects Bowie is writing from personal experience here…

    Valentine’s Day – Just a dash of the old glam flavor here, very catchy. The lyrics are about a disgruntled would-be school shooter with a fixation on asserting some sense of power over others. Granted, Bowie has definitely had a rather mixed track record with his various attempts at social commentary, not really being a natural hand at it, but he’s actually rather deft and graceful here.

    If You Can See Me – One of the really big surprises here, a true sleeper! A crazed, odd-metered prog-rock tilt-a-whirl, with the Clare Torry-esque wails of Gail Ann Dorsey harkening back to Earthling‘s Dead Man Walking. In fact, this feels more like a proggier take on the Earthling vibe, without as much of a jungle/industrial feel. This also has some rather intriguing, sometimes chilling lines in it: “Now you could say I’ve got a gift of sorts / A fear of rear windows and swinging doors / A love of violence, a dread of sighs” “I will slaughter your kind who descend from belief / I am the spirit of greeed, a lord of theft / I’ll burn all your books and the problems they make” And that line “If you can see me / I can see you”: Nietzsche’s abyss, perhaps? And you just know that Bowie’s sharp enough to realize that when any of his lyrics refers – in the first person – to wearing a dress, his listeners’ minds are instantly going flash onto the cover of The Man Who Sold The World. What is the point, then? Are we back into the fraught realms of The Man Who Sold The World here, updated for the new millenium, its demonic forces re-cast as agents of nihilism and nothingness?

    I’d Rather Be High – My personal favorite song on the entire album. My vote for third single, if it should come to that! A vaguely retro-psychedelic feel, certainly from the title. And the lyrics, relating to the pain and strife of warfare, definitely complement the music, adding to the ’60s retro feel.

    Boss Of Me – One of two recent co-writes with guitarist Gerry Leonard. Nothing much to say about this one, other than to observe its pseudo-funk groove. And is this an ode to Iman? If so, respect is definitely due. Still, not bad, but not really one of the album’s highlights for me.

    Dancing Out In Space – Now this one’s got the biggest “earworm factor” of the whole album! In fact, when I first listened to this on YouTube on the day the album was streamed, it was all I could do to restrain myself from getting up and doing some silly “happy dance,” windmilling my arms and bobbing my head from side to side! Quite the goofily infectious chorus, to be sure…

    How Does The Grass Grow? – Another exercise in edgy pop. Good but not great. Musically quoting from the Shadows’ Apache in its chorus, this would seem to be another song about war. But this would seem to go that little bit further with its connections between sexuality, violence and death.

    You Will Set The World On Fire – The smoking riff has got a real Jack White/Ray Davies vibe to it. A bit simple and straightforward, but it’s still got a kick. The lyrics refer specifically to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Dave Van Ronk and the early ’60s New York folk music scene, but are more generally about the ambition to make a statement and make an impact on the cultural landscape – as well as the attendant good and ill arising from when one’s successful. Bowie seems to be identifying with Dylan’s early years of struggle and making a connection with his own youthful desire to make his mark.

    You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – As others have already commented, this is very much cast in the same mould as Five Years and Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide, the two bookending 3/4 ballads from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (and even a bit of the doo-wop flavorings of Drive-In Saturday from Aladdin Sane). However…lyrically speaking it’s almost the “evil twin” of the Ziggy tracks! Where the lyrics of those songs pledged love with lines such as “Your face, your race / The way that you talk / I kiss you, you’re beautiful / I want you to walk” and “I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain / You’re not alone!”, the lyric of You Feel So Lonely You Could Die just positively oozes with schadenfreude in raking over the misery of a person who’s done others a great deal of wrong and has now come to grief: “When you’re walking through the park / Some night on the thriller’s street / Will come the silent gun” “I can see you as a corpse / Hanging from a beam / I can read you like a book / I can feel you falling / I hear you moaning in your room / Oh see if I care” (The reference to the “silent gun” somehow reminds me of O’Brien’s promise to Winston Smith in 1984 that one day he will eventually be shot, while the “thriller’s street” line reminds me of Halloween Jack’s “amazing” set which “smells like a street” in Sweet Thing/Candidate from Diamond Dogs.) Even though Bowie very rarely indulges in any sort of overt autobiography, it’s certainly worth pondering who could possibly have served as the inspiration for this artfully vicious John Lennon-style character assassination (a la How Do You Sleep? or Steel And Glass). I can certainly make one or two quite obvious educated guesses (and I’m going to further guess that others might make the same leap), but there is certainly another possibility: Remember the cover of you-know-who’s I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday from Black Tie White Noise? Perhaps this is a further bit of referential layering on Bowie’s part! (Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! ) Or…maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe the first-person perspective of the song’s lyric is simply the personification of another person’s own self-loathing and paranoia. Who really knows…?

    Heat – Bowie’s latest “Scott Walker” song, supposedly. I can definitely pick up a bit of a Walker influence here, mixed with a bit of Space Oddity‘s sense of isolation (the acoustic strumming). Very moody, very atmospheric, and it certainly brings the album proper to a darkly ambiguous close. (One more thought: The “father” who “ran the prison.” Could this in fact be…God?) But wait! If you’ve got the Deluxe Edition, there’s more to come…

    So She – Very low-key, rather unremarkable. I’ve heard it a couple times and it didn’t make much of an impact right away. That could change, though…

    Plan – Slow instrumental dirge. As Bowie instrumentals go, it’s not quite in the Low or “Heroes” ballpark (although it does serve as an effective prelude in the video for The Stars (Are Out Tonight)).

    I’ll Take You There – A rather cool, up-tempo rocker. It’s certainly rather catchy. I can understand why it didn’t make it into the body of the main album, but all the same it’s not bad.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I’m with you on ‘God’ running the prison. That guy meddles in everything. Deities, eh? They’re just so omnipresent.

    • Queen Bitch says:

      The reason I wouldn’t attempt an actual ‘review’ is because others do it so much better; and I would pretty much have to agree with what Diamond Duke says above, but I’d not put it half as well.
      So I’ll just say that after a week of intensive listening, it’s a work of total genius, but then as it’s Bowie, that isn’t such a surprise.
      Welcome back DB, the universe has missed you.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hi QB,

        Glad you seem to have enjoyed your week off with Mr Bowie. Back to work tomorrow? (It was you with the understanding boss wasn’t it?). 🙂

      • Queen Bitch says:

        Hi Twinkle x2
        Yes, I had a lovely week thanks, yeah, my boss is fab, though I think I may be converting another of my colleagues. The rest might be a little bit bored now though 😉

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        ‘David Bowie is… driving non-believers mad!’

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Ooop’s – forgot a smiley face with that last comment – 🙂

  79. fantailfan says:

    I’ve never bought a Bowie album hot off the press (I like to wait 20 or 30 years, to see if they hold up), so I’m going to go at this one slowly. Bowie’s music is so dense now, which I mean as a compliment. “The Next Day” (song) is very “Beauty and the Beast.”ish, which I guess is the point.
    As for the New Yorker article, it is drivel. In fact, all of the online reviews read like the writer listened to it once or twice while texting and watching Downton Abbey on the DVR. “Bowie’s back!” No, he’s been there all along, you just weren’t looking hard enough. Talentless hacks.
    I think I can wait a year for a good review of the album.

  80. V Delay says:

    I’ve heard it through a few times now, and I must say I am not enamoured with large swathes of this record. Conversely, I absolutely love large swathes of it as well, with a few bits and pieces in between these poles. Kentoikeda’s link to the print advertisment above (“insert your picture of David Bowie here”) and twinkle-twinkle’s comment about different listeners finding ‘dead weight’ amongst different tracks leads me to conclude that The Next Day has been conceived, at least partly, as a ‘cut up’ record for the iTunes age. While cohesive in terms of production values and tone, the songs themselves do indeed appear to mine various DB traditions, and the three extra bonus tracks (all high quality) invite the discerning listener to create their own version of The Next Day. Mine currently consists of 11 tracks (including all of the bonus material) clocking in at just under 40 minutes. I’ve discarded 7 of the ‘actual’ album tracks, which for me are now the bonus guff. And it is a brilliant record: tight, cohesive, focused. A worthy successor to ‘Scary Monsters’ if ever there was one! Insert your picture of David Bowie here.

    • V Delay says:

      That should be 6, not 7 album tracks that have become my ‘bonus guff’.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Wow! 7 removed? I’ll see if I can guess which.

      • V Deleay says:

        Give it a go. The album I’m hearing is an absolute stunner!


      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Ah – I think you’ve got me beat, or db’s got you, lol. By which I mean I can’t find 6, (your revised number), I’d jettison totally.

        ‘Dancing out in Space’ – sounds like the basis for what could have been a good song, I’m thinking of the ‘wooing’ guitar bit, but Bowie uses a most unappealing vocal on a dull lyric. Reject.

        ‘Boss of Me’ – a wobbler. More ‘BTWN’ than ‘YA’s’ – I like the way he sings the verses but he repeats the chorus too often. As this a no frills/no embellishments kind of record, this track would benefit from loosing what follows the faux ending. Or, just come back after the faux ending with a sax workout, with no vocal repeat of the chorus. Or sax and a bit of Bowie scat. I can still live with it.

        ‘Set World on Fire’ – Well, I’ve owned up elsewhere to liking Tin Machine, especially TM1. The tambourine is a much underrated instrument for turning a weak-to-good song into a great one. (I’m not being facetious, it is a fact).

        Unfortunately it is not enough to get a true blaze going here. I think it needed more guitar licks higher in the mix during the early chorus’s, and a longer ending with more axe-fireworks. Sounds like it was written purely to tick the ‘r-a-w-k’ box. I like the start and the very end, and it too can stay.

        But I can see why these 3 might go.

        I like the bonus tracks, although ‘Plan’ isn’t a song proper.

        ‘The Stars…’ – I like, and is smarter than it seemed initially. You can just see it blaring out of open-topped cars on long summer evenings, with the occupants singing along, not fully understanding the ambiguous lyric.

        Ditto ‘Valentines Day’ – It’s a great song with it’s true implications not fully spelled out ‘to the ear’, the lovely vocal and sparkly sounds covering the words which hint at the inherent violence. You can just imagine db sniggering knowing that, come every 14th Feb, lovers will be asking for it to be played for that special someone and unthinking DJ’s will be happy to oblige. This is not on any delete list, I just mention it for it’s ambiguous nature, like ‘Stars’.

        And ‘Dirty Boys’ is another great song destined to be played by strippers for years to come, (and possibly for models on catwalks). Art and mammon in harmony, as Eno once noted of Bowie. Wasn’t there a rumour a few years ago that Bowie and Sting were thinking of investing money into a burlesque club in NYC?

        Anyway, I can see you might choose the first 4 I’ve mentioned for deleting, but I’m stumped because I like most of it, even the weaker ones.

        You’ll have to put me out of my misery and tell me. Once I can read the bloody lyrics I’ll write a review proper.

      • V Delay says:

        Well, that’s a stirling effort t-t, you almost nailed it. Seems our tastes are in close orbit.

        For what it’s worth, here is The Next Day as I’m hearing it:

        Side A
        1. The Next Day
        2. Dirty Boys
        3. So She
        4. How Does The Grass Grow?
        5. Plan
        6. Where Are We Now?

        Side B
        1. Valentine’s Day
        2. If You See Me
        3. I’ll Take You There
        4. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
        5. Heat

        That’s 38 minutes of post-Scary skewed genius, levened with a few poptastic gems. I’ve tried to retain as much of the original running order as possible – because it works so well.

        **Bonus Tracks**
        Love Is Lost
        The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
        I’d Rather Be High
        Dancing Out In Space
        Boss Of Me
        You Will Set The World On Fire

        …which for me represents a kind of revisiting/re-visioning of some of db’s 1982-1990 material – albeit with stronger/stranger arrangments (Love is Lost could easily have been on a better version of Tonight. Just add marimbas). There’s inevitably a bit Reality in there as well…not that there’s anything wrong with that as such…these tracks are just a bit smooth/soft-rock for my liking. I prefer the more left-field Bowie, and the record has enough of that for the kind of overhaul I’ve presumptuously imposed. A generous swag of bonus tracks, isn’t it? Bowie was crazy not to include some of these on the album proper…CRAZY! 😉

        Just to go back to my earlier point – I think this ‘cut up’ approach may well be a deliberate ploy on Bowie’s part. As a fan of the weirdo Low-Scary Monsters Bowie, I am able to create the Bowie album of my dreams from this wealth of material (and for me, the version I’ve come up with is five star, top-ten-best-ever material). If I was a NLMD/Reality kind of Bowie fan I’d be able to put together a nice melodic radio-friendly record with a few left-field numbers on it to satisfy. It is a gestalt bowie record, a tabula rasa, a space onto which you can project your own Bowie.

        And for me, this is the record that would have followed Scary Monsters had Nile Rodgers been too busy to make Let’s Dance…

        …which brings me to my final point, which isn’t necessarily about historical revisionism and daft fan-projection (but could well be). The material on TND sounds very much to me like Bowie was in part reclaiming the 1980s (from SM to Tin Machine inclusive) and following some of the loose threads he left dangling. You could read it as laying claim to the ground that he pioneered from Heroes to SM, and then exploring it in more depth, taking up themes and ideas that he didn’t have the time or inclination to follow back in the day. That’s not to damn the record with faint praise as a kind of re-hash, but rather to give kudos to the artist for having the courage and vision to re-open the old dusty crates and reframe the works in a new gallery space. A re-contextualisation, if you will.


      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        You are being generous to me. Although I suspected you’d remove ‘The Stars…’; not wanting to loose ‘Love Is Lost’ and my lovely ear-worm, ‘I’d Rather Be High’, made it difficult to get it totally right.

        ‘Plan’ seems in a peculiar place,(not as lead intro before TND?), but I’ll have to try it. You’re other comments, especially the last two larger paragraphs, are full of thoughts I could echo. Cheers!

      • V Delay says:

        …and I’ll try it your way. Makes much more sense, actually. The re-ordering of tracks is always fluid. I have no idea why I sequenced Plan where I did – a quick intuitive thing, I suppose. I always change my mind and that’s all part of the fun of messing with the canon. You should see my version of Diamond Dogs….

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Re your alternative Diamond Dogs mix –

        Does it start with weird chanting and end with Halloween Jack shimmying up a rope to the distant sound of ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’, lol?

        I suspect you’ve mucked about and added bonus tracks like I have.

      • V Delay says:

        Actually, I dispensed with Hallowe’en Jack altogether…


        This is my re-imagining of DD if the estate of George Orwell had in fact given permission for a musical version of 1984:

        Bowie: NineteenEightyFour (1974)

        Side A
        1. 1984
        2. Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing
        3. Rebel Rebel
        4. Tragic Moments

        Side B
        1. 1984 (reprise)/Dodo
        2. Alternative Candidate
        3. We Are The Dead
        4. Big Brother/Chant

        Then there’s my de-Lennonised Young Americans…

        So you see, my messing with TND is actually rather conventional.

        The cut-up, pick’n’mix playlist age has effectively de-canonised the album and democratised song selection, sequencing and compilation – a kind of Death of the Auteur, if you will (to mix genres). With the availability of a plethora of bonus tracks and the means to easily re-sequence them (to wit, the iTunes playlist), fans can ‘correct’ the perceived errors of their idols and create the album they believe should have been released.

        To many this would be like removing a few of the ten commandments and adding a few of your own to suit yourself in defiance of the Superior Power. A fair enough critique. Of course, the mark of a truly great album is the sheer redundancy of this exercise. Why re-sequence Ziggy? How could you improve ‘Scary Monsters’, ‘Hunky Dory’, ‘Stationtostation’? Of course, it’s all academic anyway, meaningless in the broader context, and there’s no accounting for taste. Diamond Dogs without Diamond Dogs is patently absurd. And yet.

        I imagine there’s no better sociologist of (his own) music than DB himself, and I’m sure he’s aware of this possibility, and with The Next Day (‘insert your picture of David Bowie here’) I believe he has tacitly acknowlewdged and accommodated this practice. He’s a very canny cat, after all. A good thinking head on his shoulders.

        So bring on “God Bless The Girl” so I can complete side B of the new record!

        btw – I’m sticking with my original sequence for “Plan” – it provides a comedown and link between HDTGG and WAWN, and has its musical mirror on side B with the outro of YFSLYCD. Things really matter TO me…

        …ah, Bowie Fanatics…bless their cotton socks, every last one of them.


      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Okay, I won’t mention my love of ‘that’ song and Lennon’s greatest lyric, I need all the ‘Brownie-points’ I can get for credibility’s sake.

        Re your Diamond Dogs – Wouldn’t ‘Rebel Rebel’ have to go too, along with the title track? It’s more your post-Aladdin glam insertion.

        ‘Alternative Candidate is one sexy swinging track, isn’t it? But, ‘Tragic Moments’ – I seem to have missed something.

        I’ve finally got some lyrics for TND that I can read – on the official db website. I’d gotten out of the habit of looking there when it was being revamped. Not sure I like the new design, a bit impersonal. This place has rather distracted me.

        So now I may be able to add some thoughts about the new album. The lyrics have helped confirm the feelings that I had on them musically, about how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

        It’s a hugely enjoyable grower.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Oh! I was never a fan of ‘Scream Like a Baby’ – too over-wrought, and ‘Up The Hill Backwards’ – great musical bookends and fabulous lyric, I just didn’t like the way it was sung in the main body of the song.

        The Nietzschean lyric of the cover, ‘It Ain’t Easy’, fits the album a treat, but musically I didn’t care much.

        ‘Black Country Rock’ – a ‘filler’?

        And who’s to say ‘Fill Your Heart’, ‘Kooks’ and even ‘Eight Line Poem’ wouldn’t have been axed by some back in the day, if CD/downloads were available.

        I always think of tracks like those when I read reviews of new Bowie work. I either love these songs, can live with or have grown accustomed to them, and would never avoid.

      • sparkeyes says:

        V Delay—I find your re-imagining of Diamond Dogs as 1984 – The Soundtrack intriguing and want to give it a try—which version of Candidate/Dodo do you use? No files I have approach the quality of the other tracks—doesn’t this jar when played?

      • V Delay says:

        Sparkeyes – most of the extras for my version of ‘1984’ are from the deluxe reissue, so the sound quality is (for the most part) consistant. You can purchase these individually on iTunes. The only exception is ‘Tragic Moments’ (AKA Zion), which I managed to find on a bootleg. This does jar a bit, but when putting the playlist together in iTunes you can use the soundcheck function to even out the differences. It *nearly* works, and the unfinished ‘la-la-la-ing’ on Tragic Moments is quite fitting for a soundtrack. The two very different versions of 1984 also add to the soundtrack feel.

        Oh, and I also use the single track version of Sweet Thing/Candidate from the iSelect album.

        Twinkle – Rebel Rebel actually fits nicely with the 1984 theme: “Julia was a rebel from the waist downwards”. I contemplated using the US single version but demured in favour of the album version (starts better and segues nicely with ST/C/STR).

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Re ‘Rebel’

        Hi, again, V Delay. I see you’re thinking, it works.

        ‘Sweet Thing’ is a slippery one too, as there are aspects of the song and delivery – the camp ‘boyzzz’ – which could make it more glam ‘Dogs’ than ‘1984’. You could also read side one as ‘Dogs’ and side two, ‘1984’.

        Charles Shaar Murray suggested ‘Rebel Rebel’ bursts out as if from a broken jukebox in the decaying city. I think the album is more interesting because it isn’t a straight ‘1984’ soundtrack. I’m also glad the Spider’s rhythm section refused to wear bowler hats a la droogs in ‘A Clockwork Orange’, it made the Ziggy thing more unique, evocative and personal to Bowie.

        Back to TND – it just gets more and more enjoyable with every listen. Maybe I’ll be able to finally formulate and condense my thoughts sometime during the holidays. Happy Easter heathens.

  81. normanball1 says:

    I marvel at the marketing campaign in the run-up to TND. It was a breathless march up the hill backwards. I’m alright Jack. Are you?

  82. Michael says:

    TND is a great album, and as I skipped past Dancing Out In Space again, I was thinking how earlier albums had the benefit of being pretty much 10 or so tracks. You really get the best stuff coming out of the album distilled into a great work.

    Think on it: as far as I can tell there’s not much more for Aladdin Sane, Station To Station, Low, Heroes, Lodger, Scary Monsters than what we’ve seen. Now imagine Heathen, Outside, and The Next Day trimmed down. The lesser tracks have diluted the final products. At 10-12 tracks, they’d pack a much more intense wallop.

    If you could make those albums 10-12 track efforts, what would they be?

  83. Sky-Possessing-Spider says:

    No way Jose should “Dancing Out In Space” be excised from future pressings of The Next Day, ala “Too Dizzy”. It’s one of the strongest, catchiest and downright most classically “Bowie-esque” tracks on the album. I have to agree100% with Diamond Duke’s assessment of the song.
    The tracks that are still not clicking with me after many listens now are “Love Is Lost” and If You Can See Me” which both seem to flail around desperately, in search of a tune. “Heat” is kind of portentous and ho-hum, but then Bowie is apparently exercising his Scott Walker fixation AGAIN, so that kind of explains it. And similarly, “You Will Set The World On Fire” is bombastic and shout-y, and also quite dull. Other than these, I think the album is great.

  84. fluxkit says:

    Well, I finally got my copy. I listened online yesterday first. I must say that the opening track clicked from the start and just keeps getting better. It’s one of my favorite DB tracks already. Love it!

    “The Stars (are out tonight)” is growing on me. I think hearing it first with the video accompaniment distracted me, but hearing it on my stereo reveals that the song has a nice groove and stands well on its own.

    I like the final bonus track quite a bit.

    On first glance I would agree with the comment that the album is maybe a couple tracks too long, but I doubt you’ll get most people to agree on which couple of tracks are the ones that should have been cut.

    I read a website I very much dislike (Pitchfork) give a solid review of the album, but noted that it might be too clean sounding. This is one critique I agree with. Some songs would certainly benefit from some more squall, wailing or something off kilter. The kind of things that made everything on Lodger and Scary Monsters more exciting. So maybe a bit too much polish and restraint in a few places.

    I was hoping for something as good and consistent as Heathen, and largely I think this is… maybe somewhat less consistent, but also with more standout moments.

    • fluxkit says:

      I just keep liking it more and more! A lot of songs are starting to stand out. I think it’s far more exciting than I had allowed myself to hope.

  85. Diamond Duke says:

    Okay, here’s something I always wanted to ask of other posters in the past, but I didn’t think it would be appropriate for me to risk derailing the thread. Now, however, seems like the perfect time to pose the question:

    Would you care to list your favorite David Bowie albums in the order of most favorite to least favorite? And where exactly does newbie The Next Day fit into “your scheme of things”? 😉

    I’ll go first:

    1) Aladdin Sane (1973)
    2) Scary Monsters (1980)
    3) The Man Who Sold The World (1970)
    4) Diamond Dogs (1974)
    5) Outside (1995)

    As you can see, I definitely have a stronger bias toward the darker and heavier, more fraught and psychodramatic side of the Bowie experience. Not to mention the fact that things always get interesting when Maestro Mike Garson is on board!

    6) Hunky Dory (1971)
    7) Station To Station (1976)
    8) The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)

    Putting aside my greater love for Bowie’s darker and heavier stuff, I believe a good case can be made for Hunky Dory being Bowie’s strongest record purely from a songwriting standpoint. As far as the other two go, it’s purely down to Ziggy vs. the Duke. And being as biased as I am toward Bowie’s darker side, I gotta give Station To Station a slight edge over Ziggy!

    09) Lodger (1979)
    10) Reality (2003)
    11) Low (1977)
    12) Heathen (2002)
    13) “Heroes” (1977)
    14) The Next Day (2012)

    Now then…while others may vehemently disagree, in my mind the late ’70s Berlin years and the Visconti reunion years from 2002-13 are pretty much tied in my mind. While the Berlin records (in particular Low) may be the Bowie faves of the hipster set, I found that them to be a bit on the sparser, more austere side. I respect them a great deal, to be sure, but I don’t put them on quite as much as the others listed above. Having said that, I must say Lodger‘s actually my favorite from the late ’70s triptych. I also thought it appropriate to put Low and Heathen back to back, since they were both performed that way in their entirety by Bowie during certain 2002 gigs. And the back-to-back placement of “Heroes” and The Next Day is pretty much self-explanatory! Also, new album The Next Day falls pretty much right square in the middle of my own listing of Bowie records, hitting #14 out of 27.

    15) Earthling (1997)
    16) Young Americans (1975)

    Not bad at all, these two. But they both seem to me rather time-stamped, and they both represent a deliberate attempt at writing an album in a particular, specific style. In the case of Earthling, it’s jungle/industrial. In the case of Young Americans, it’s funk/R&B. Like I said, both are very good records, but they’re both somewhat dated and emblematic of specific time periods.

    17) Space Oddity (1969)
    18) ‘hours…’ (1999)

    Thirty years apart from each other. Both of them showing Bowie’s mellower, reflective “hippie” side. Both of them somewhat uneven in quality.

    19) Pin Ups (1973)

    The most dated product of the glam era. Can’t quibble with Bowie’s choice of cover material, and I can’t fault the energy of the performance. But it all feels just a little bit on the Rocky Horror/Bryan Ferry parody side, and once again feels just a tad dated.

    20) Never Let Me Down (1987)
    21) Tin Machine II (1991)

    Entering serious “guilty pleasure” territory here. So shoot me! 😀 A bit on the pompous, schlocky stadium-rock side here (albeit in different ways), but I am quite invincibly a classic-rock radio brat, so some of it actually hits that sweet spot for me! Even I’ll admit, however, that neither represents Bowie’s finest hour…

    22) David Bowie (1967)

    Probably the most genuinely eccentric item in Bowie’s canon, and not quite like anything else. By turns vaudevillian, poppy, folky, dystopian, and sometimes just plain weird. It may be an acquired taste for some.

    23) Tin Machine (1989)
    24) Black Tie White Noise (1993)
    25) Let’s Dance (1983)

    Representing the opposite poles of Bowie’s ’80s experience, Tin Machine and Let’s Dance have strong moments, but at least half of the songs on both records are sub-par.

    26) The Buddha Of Suburbia (1993)
    27) Tonight (1984)

    I’m out of time right now, but I’ll explain further tomorrow! 😉

    • col1234 says:

      ideally, this would be better for the end of the blog next year (what else are you lot going to talk about then?) but go ahead, I guess…

    • fluxkit says:

      I don’t think I could ever rank Bowie’s albums. I do know that three of my personal favorites are in the bottom four in the above list.

  86. King of Oblivion says:

    yeah.. I tuned out when you put ‘Reality” above “Low”.
    Yet… I agree “Tonight” is his worst album.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      ‘Low’, “Heroes”, ‘Heathen’ & even ‘The Next Day’ lower than ‘Reality’?

      It’s nice to see someone being generous to Bowie’s ‘weaker moments’, like our old ‘fiend’ (sic) ‘NLMD’, and it’s all personal taste, but ‘Aladdin Sane’ at number one was a surprise too.

      Still, you’ve set us an interesting challenge D. Duke – for next year? – although I’ve already got my main thoughts in a file, ha-ha-ha!

      You’re a brave man and I salute you.

      • Stolen Guitar says:

        Well… a brave man? Perhaps, but I’d prefer misguided. Or deaf? Or …well, take your pick from any number of pejoratives! I hope that I’ve not transgressed Chris’ exhortation to be polite and kind to fellow posters ( after all, we’re all here for the common cause) but I really can’t allow this to pass without comment.

        ‘Young Americans’ below ‘Reality’? Really?? Below ‘Earthling’…how, and more pertinently, why? ‘Outside’ better than ‘Low’, “Heroes” and, most inexplicably, ‘StationtoStation’. I’m very sorry, Diamond Duke, but you’re wrong.

        I know, from previous correspondence, that I’m from the first wave of Bowie fans ie 1970 to 1980, but, thanks to Maj and others on this great (and Chris, it truly is great) website I’ve garnered some appreciation and, not a little admiration, for those that arrived a little late at the party. I was only there by dint of being born earlier than you and other erstwhile later Bowie fans but really; you can’t be serious!

        I’ve said it before, here and, God knows, in countless other bars, dinner parties and who knows where else; ‘StationtoStation’ is the work of a genius at the very height of his powers. There is no other record from that year that either sounds like it; there is no other artist that has produced a similarly ‘traceless’ piece of art ie where the fuck is the connection between ‘Young Americans’ and ‘StationtoStation’ and who, amongst your ‘Elvis, Beatles and the Rolling Stones’ (not forgetting R. Zimmerman) ever produced a ‘Low’ to follow it?

        I haven’t posted for a while and this has mainly been out of a respect for the old adage, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all’. True, ‘Outside is a whole lot better than its immediate predecessors, and ‘The Heart’s Filthy Lesson’ is GREAT, but, and it’s an unqualified but, this is all relative. The 70s records are his best…they just are (even ‘Pin Ups’!) and to state otherwise is just plain wrong. I understand that you may have a stronger love or affinity for the later material, because of your youth, but to ignore the greatness, and I mean that in its most grandest, imperial sense, of the work that stretches from ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ to ‘Scary Monsters’ is just perverse and obtuse.

        If you can name any other artist that has produced a run of work that compares with the sequence as I’ve described it, well, then, let’s see where ‘Outside’ may fit in there. Or better still, name me an artist that has produced an equivalent to ‘Outside’…It’s a good record, but ‘StationtoStation’ is a great, great piece of art. We won’t hear anything remotely like it again.

        Have I said this before? Apologies to one and all but…!

        I love this blog and shall miss it when Chris finally gets around to the next record after ‘The Next Day’ (well, surely the law of diminishing returns applies to Bowie, too?) and, contrary to my comments above, I am truly heartened by ‘young’ Bowie fans. Spread the gospel and keep his work alive.

        Major Tom is about to retire now, for the school run waits for no man, but I shall sleep soundly…as the train’s chuffing and whistling exhorts me to sleep!

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I agree totally,this blog is a wonderful endeavour. My toes still curl, cheeks running red in shame and embarrassment at my late night irritation and extreme bad manners a few weeks ago – it’s no excuse to say I hadn’t quite understood what kind of blog I had stumbled upon, although it is the truth.

        Even when the penny finally dropped it did take a little while to fully relax and calibrate my reactions to some comments. At my age I was rather shocked to find how much some things still meant to me.

        It is good to see new young Bowie fans showing such an interest and seeing Chris and others passing on interesting nuggets to the understanding of Bowie’s work.

        And of course, I still feel a final diamond album or two will come from Bowie.

      • Diamond Duke says:

        Stolen Guitar,
        If “misguided” is what I am…so be it! 🙂 There is purely a personal ranking of Bowie’s albums, and I am by no means making any sort of grand claim that Outside is necessarily better than Station To Station, or that Reality and Earthling are necessarily better than Young Americans. This is purely a matter of personal taste. And you may notice that in my posts above and below, I gave my explanations for why I ranked them the way I did.

        Mind you, I am not offended. But if you will indulge me a bit of heresy, might I suggest that my position as a relatively new Bowie fan perhaps confers an additional advantage upon me which you, as a “first-waver,” do not possess. For the most part, I truly love those older albums from Bowie’s more youthful, “classic” heyday (although, yeah, Young Americans and Pin Ups are a bit further down the list). And I respect what those records mean to the original fans from back in the day. The sad truth, however, is that I can never be you, and I can never truly share your perspective. (Believe me, there are times when I genuinely envy that.) Furthermore, even though Bowie’s later records (meaning from 1995’s Outside onward) no longer possess the same youthful je ne sais quoi of those classic records which to a large extent gave them much of their meaning to the old guard, Bowie’s maturity now gives a fuller command of his gifts. Maybe he can’t exactly knock the world sideways with another Ziggy or Low, but he can do other things now. (As Bob Dylan once said sometime in the 2000’s regarding his song It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), “I can do other things now, but I can’t do that.”)

        And it’s that question of Youth vs. Maturity which I weigh in my mind when I’m giving my ranking of Bowie’s albums. I was born in the year 1973, the year of Aladdin Sane, and I really start to get into David Bowie until the late ’90s, when my curiosity was piqued regarding Outside because of so many of its songs figuring in the soundtracks of my favorite films of the era. And it wasn’t even until the spring of 2011 – a scant two years ago! – that I seriously delved into the man’s back catalogue and discovered such a rich musical treasure trove. So believe me, I truly respect the “first wave” and I perhaps even envy the fact that they were there on the journey from, say, Diamond Dogs to Young Americans to Station To Station to Low. But perhaps there is another perspective to be had from the “newbies,” y’know… 😉

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        When I said ‘you’re a brave man and I salute you’, it was as a Captain about to go down with his ship. As it turned out, ‘incoming’ was minimal and you are still afloat.

        I can see there has been some damage to your deck, but it’s the dangerous placing of an unstable ‘NLMD’ below the waterline which could cause most damage.

        I’m sure you’ll make it to safety where this unwanted cargo can be safely removed.

        Sail on!

  87. col1234 says:

    meant to ask: has anyone heard the mysterious “18th track,” “God Bless the Girl,” which apparently DB is only issuing on the Japanese version of Next Day?

      • fluxkit says:

        Thanks. It sounds decent, but I don’t feel like I’m missing anything essential now.

      • Diamond Duke says:

        Thanks, col1234! 😀 Very nice, actually. Not exactly up there with the 14 main tracks on The Next Day, but I think it’s certainly better than So She, which kind of went right through me.

      • V Delay says:

        Deffo a keeper. I’d add that to my presumptuous re-working of the record (above), probably as the third track on side B. There’s a Diamond Dogs-y feel to it (down to the piano comping I guess). Any ideas on how to get hold of it…anyone…?

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Yeah – I agree, a ‘keeper’ – this is lovely, very hooky yet understated. A strong traditional ‘Bowie vocal’ too. And why don’t, and when will, we have it? V D’s got another remix to do, db!! (May even be available if the money is right).

      • CosmicJive says:

        Absolutely love this track. It’s a very simple song but I really like it. Very good vocals on this one.

      • Patrick says:

        Yes, love the intro guitar etc. even if it slightly trails off towards the end. Worthy of replacing one of the weaker tracks on the full album.Look forward to hearing a better quality recording, maybe someone will post on YT

  88. Diamond Duke says:

    Further thoughts regarding my listing above. After having pretty much internalized The Next Day after cycling through it multiple times and allowing it to steadily grow on me, I’ve come to the conclusion that The Next Day belongs in my Top 10 (if no one else’s)! Seriously, it was come to fulfill all the expectations that I could possibly have had with regard to any Bowie comeback – and then some! What’s more, I have decided that it should switch positions with Reality

    09. Lodger (1979)
    10. The Next Day (2012)
    11. Low (1977)
    12. Heathen (2002)
    13. “Heroes” (1977)
    14. Reality (2003)

    Mind you, I am not caving in to peer pressure regarding Reality here! 😀 Frankly, I can’t really understand why so many people seem to dislike that record, practically putting it down in the cellar with Tonight and Never Let Me Down! (And as much as I personally enjoy NLMD on a “guilty pleasure” level, I can perfectly understand the ill regard people have for it.) Reality kind of strikes me as the more aggressive, “rockier” twin sibling of Heathen in much the same way that Earthling is the “rockier” twin of Outside, or Ziggy Stardust of Hunky Dory, or even “Heroes” of Low. (Nicholas Pegg, in The Complete David Bowie, observes that in those cases, the first album tends to be more crafted and cerebral, while the second is more visceral and “thrusty.”) My former ranking of Reality as #10, however, was always a bit of a sentimental gesture, since for the longest time there always existed the possibility that it would be Bowie’s last record, and it kind of took on some of the same air of finality of, let’s say, Abbey Road, In Through The Out Door or Strangeways, Here We Come. Who knew there even would be a Next Day? 😉 Looking back retrospectively, though, Reality kind of takes on a more “transitional” sort of middle-chapter quality to it, connecting the more ethereal feel of Heathen with the spikier thrust of The Next Day.

    Elaborating further regarding the end of my list (for I ran out of time yesterday)…

    23) Tin Machine (1989)

    The opposite end of the ’80s experience from Let’s Dance. Frankly, it’s a bit of an overcompensation for the mainstream pop gloss of his ’80s work, foregoing smooth polish in favor of a noisy, spontaneous rock-out. Overall, it works better in theory than in actuality. Sure, it was probably a necessary step, and it was certainly a bold statement at the time. Hardly a bad record, mind you, but a good chunk of it doesn’t hold up quite so well. (It seems to me that this album’s attempt to connect Bowie’s hard-rocking side with his “arty” side served as a bit of an uneven, first-draft effort for what he would eventually achieve on Reality and The Next Day.) Tin Machine II may be more of a “guilty pleasure” than the first, but the fact is I just like the songs on that one a little more.

    24) Black Tie White Noise (1993)
    25) Let’s Dance (1983)

    You could probably say I’m probably underrating the hell out of Let’s Dance, and I’d have to plead guilty there. But the fact is, I’ve never really warmed to Bowie’s R&B/pop side. And as much as I genuinely respect Nile Rodgers, the fact is his production tends to gloss over Bowie’s rougher edges. All in all, just a little too clean-cut of an approach for me. However, BTWN has got a slight edge over Let’s Dance due to its attempt at reconnecting with the funkier and more ambient sides of the Berlin experience. Let’s Dance is enjoyable up to a point, but some of it comes across as filler to me.

    26) The Buddha Of Suburbia (1993)

    I kind of feel guilty about ranking this one so low! I respect the fact that this album means a great deal to Bowie, and that it marks the beginning of his ’90s/’00s renaissance. However, perhaps owing to its origins as soundtrack material for a TV mini-series, it feels a bit incidental to me. An important transitional step, to be sure, but beyond the admittedly wonderful title track, I personally don’t really get much out of this (not to mention the fact that my favorite song on the record, Strangers When We Meet, was ultimately reincarnated to much better effect on Outside). Sorry! 😉

    27) Tonight (1984)

    Ultimately, the most redeeming quality of this record is that it helped to further put a certain Mr. James Osterberg’s accounts more securely into the black. Beyond that, it feels like the one time Bowie has truly phoned it in. Nothing really feels at stake here, and the record ultimately feels so much less than the sum of its parts. Yeah, sure, Loving The Alien is wonderful, and Blue Jean is good fun, but in sum total it’s ultimately the worst fizzle of Bowie’s career.

    • Patrick says:

      The “past year” ?, “The Next Day (2012) (sic)

      Why is more than one person already forgetting TND was released in 2013?

      • Diamond Duke says:

        An honest mistake. I have not yet internalized the current year as being 2013 in my mind instead of 2012. I’m a little slow with that sometimes… 😀

  89. Diamond Duke says:

    Further thoughts! 😀 (And I sincerely hope I’m not wearing out my welcome…)

    As of right now, my two favorite albums released with the past year are David Bowie’s The Next Day and Soundgarden’s reunion disc King Animal. (And King Animal is another comeback record, Soundgarden having split and not released an album since 1996’s Down On The Upside.) While I’m guessing that those two particular artists are generally assumed not to appear in the same fans’ headspace (other than mine, of course!), Soundgarden is yet another example of a band which blends a full-on hard-rock approach with a more alternative, left-field sensibility. And, as it turns out…they’re also David Bowie fans! One of the songs from the new album King Animal is Eyelid’s Mouth, with music written by their drummer Matt Cameron (who also mans the traps for Pearl Jam – busy man!) and lyrics by singer Chris Cornell. See below…

    • col1234 says:

      duke, i’ve gotta delete these links–they’re crashing my computer every time this loads. sorry.

      • Diamond Duke says:

        Sorry to hear about that! 😀

        Anyway, just go to YouTube, people, and type in Soundgarden – Eyelid’s Mouth and Soundgarden – Eyelid’s Mouth Commentary. And you tell me if the results don’t sound at least a little Bowie-esque… 😉

  90. Gnomemansland says:

    Having lived with the album for almost a couple of weeks now the verdict is that it is really rather so so – aside from Where are we now and Valentine’s Day – which all seems a little churlish as it feels as if quite a lot of effort went into it and it is great that Bowie is alive and well and recording. Still the two tracks mentioned above would make a nice addition to a ChangesthreeBowie

  91. David L says:

    I’m amazed by how strong this album is. It reminds me most of Ziggy and the first side of Low, in that it’s a collection of excellent songs, no masterworks, nothing revolutionary, just the work of a great songwriter and musician and singer. Best album since Buddha, IMO.
    And a nice riposte to the AARP. 😉

  92. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    I just read that Bowie and Bon Jovi’s new albums are going head to head in a battle for the no.1 spot in the U.S. charts. Seriously, I hope Bowie absolutely creams that poodle-haired pedaller of cliche’-riddled drivel rock, specifically catered for people whose tiny minds are never invaded with an original thought.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Poodle-haired pedlar of cliche-riddled drivel rock. Nice.

    • humanizingthevacuum says:

      Funny how both peddled poodle-haired cliche’-riddled drivel rock in ’87!

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Yeah, well when Bon Jovi write anything a millionth as good as “Time Will Crawl” I’ll let it slide.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Ouch! I walked right into that, slack-jawed and mouth flapping, lol!

  93. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    No Twinks, I was responding to humanizingthevacuum’s comment there. Incidentally HTV, I’m interested in your thoughts on the new album. I recall a little while back that you were pretty adament that Bowie should stay retired. Are you sticking to your guns on that one? Or has he won you over with “The Next Day”??

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      My comment seems out of sync, I was replying to HTV too. It’s cool. Didn’t really hurt… choke… sniff!

      • humanizingthevacuum says:

        After reviewing the album, I’m pretty sure, “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die” notwithstanding, he should have stayed retired.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Aah! Now I know you’re joking. Had me fooled for a minute there, lol!

        Seriously? Oh, well – I forgive you, but others may hunt you down… and leave a large post-it note on your visage as you sleep, lol.

      • humanizingthevacuum says:

        I went through it at SPIN two weeks ago.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        And still no Post-it’s, lol? Interesting review. And helpful reviews of the review, putting it and SPIN in context – for my UK understanding.

        I too salute Uncle Lenny – a great poet and gentleman.

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        I was curious as to what humanizing the vacuum was referring to exactly when he says he went through the album at SPIN two weeks ago, so I read said magazines review of The Next Day online. Basically the guy did a hatchet job on the album, calling it an unnecessary and unwelcome return, and giving it a measly 5 out of 10. It really re-inforced why I’ve never bothered to purchase this festeringly irrelevant rag, which should be dispensed to the public on a roll of serated paper.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hi S-P S.

        He-he! It did give me a wry smile. At least he stopped short of saying it would have been better if Bowie had died of drugs or an assassins bullet in1980. I think the reviewer compromised on the star rating, as I feel that particular review of TND ‘screams’ 2 or 3 stars tops, not 5. Each to his own though. It would appear from the comments below the review that Mr Bowie is not the only one who should be retiring.

        That aside, in general, when I read extreme negative comments and reviews about Bowie or his work, I tend to feel the people making them either hate Bowie anyway, or are the kind of controlling lovers who turn into bunny-boilers.

        I’m off to add Lou Reed’s, ‘Live, Take No Prisoners’ to my iPod. It can’t be ‘The Next Day’, all day, every day, lol. Cheers!

    • s.t. says:

      Yeah, that SPIN review really is something. I look forward to reading well considered critiques of works that I love (for instance, Pauline Kael has permanently qualified my appreciation of Stanley Kubrick’s films), but that review of TND really was just a cheap hit piece. Pushing ahead of the Queen Bitch, if you will. HTV, no personal offense intended, but getting rid of that article would be good for the CV.

  94. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    Well, I can only re-iterate that I’m just absolutely rapt to have Bowie back among us. Before January the 8th I was so convinced that we’d heard the last of him, that I started stocking up for a never-ending Bowie-less nuclear winter.
    I put together four – count them four -80 minute cd’s of (mostly) recent rarities, including B-sides, bonus tracks, demos, cover versions and collaborations with the likes of The Arcade Fire, David Gilmour, Scarlett Johansen, Lou Reed, Eno, Adrian Belew, Rustic Overtones, Kashmir, TV On The Radio, Goldie, P.Diddy and NIN.
    As well as this I compiled my own Bowie MTV UnPlugged album, and a 2.Outside disc comprising all the reams of unreleased material from those sessions doing the rounds on You Tube.
    I guess you could say that I was not prepared to go gently into that long goodnight.

    • Cansorian says:

      Ah yes, the desperate times, desperate measures scenario, I know it well. I did pretty much the same thing, multiple cd comps with names like, “Dave’s Plus Ones” (the collaborations) and “What Have You Done To My Song, David Bowie” (the cover versions and what I’m sure what some of the original composers said about such). I once spent several fruitless hours on the web trying to track down “Planet of Dreams”.

      I even went so far as to try to re-evaluate the stinkers. I actually bought NLMD on vinyl thinking that maybe it was just the harsh CD mix that made it sound so unlistenable. No suck luck. What makes it so awful is the terrible music, production, instrumentation, lyrics, and even the song titles. “Shining Star (Makin My Love)”, WTF? If this isn’t a song title on the new Bon Jovi that’s keeping TND from number 1 on the charts then it should be.

      Unfortunately, this OCD-like behavior has carried over to the new album. I currently have four different CD versions of TND in rotation. The regular 14 track one, the full 18 track deluxe Japanese one, the 12 track version of what I think the album should be (sure to change with time), and a whopping 28 track, 2 ½ hour mp3 CD version that pairs a new album track with a catalogue counterpart that I think inspired or compliments it.

      Oh Dave, what have you done to me? It’s only a matter of time until I’m living off milk, peppers, and cocaine!

      • James says:

        There are 3 posts in youtube for planet of dreams for your information, you must have found it by now I suppose.

      • Cansorian says:

        Thanks, James, I originally did my searching in those dark days before youtube but I did eventually find said track.

  95. Jeremy says:

    Well I’m rapt too and today I finally listened to the album and I’m really happy with it. I love how on many songs he sings in an uptight way. The arrangements are fresh and the songs never outstay their welcome. I can hear echos of the past for sure but it doesn’t sound like Reality (for example) much to me, it’s also a far stronger album than either Heathen or Reality to my mind.

    Also I can understand why he references Heroes on the cover. The Heroes album sounds like its cover – it sounds black. I don’t mean afro american black or gothic black, but the colour black. Like Heroes TND sounds black and I love that sound. I hope someone else understands this!

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Yes, I understand your colour thing with this and other albums. I wrote earlier about Bowie’s ‘black albums’ and their covers; the UK dress replacement ‘MWSTW’ kick cover, ‘Station’, ‘Heroes’. I also see ‘D.Dogs’ – ‘Young A’s’ – ‘Low’ – ‘hours’ as dark too. (‘NLMD’ is dark in a different way, lol. Is this a running gag, or a running sore?).

      I’ve read or heard on radio interview, that other albums were tried as covers for TND, especially ‘Aladdin Sane’, which would make sense on 3 counts – the V&A ‘Bowie is…’ exhibition poster, and the insane behaviour and/or psychological states of the narrator/characters in many of these songs, and the 40th Ann. remaster.

      I can’t remember the exact words used, but I think they said the ‘Aladdin Sane’ cover was going to be erased, I don’t know if by a square or rubbed out a la R. Rauschenberg erasing a W. de Kooning drawing.

      So things seem to have been fluid as regards the cover.

      • Jeremy says:

        Great! Well they made the right choice as I don’t think it would have worked with the AS cover. I’m a fan of the cover BTW – I think that it is very clever and more so when you see the whole package with the mirror and Bowie’s intense portrait.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Yes, it’s weird – from starting out hating it, I can’t imagine any other cover now. I love it, especially as you say, when you hold it and get the full impact and the internal resonances. db obviously not keen on lemons… Or critics? Looks like he means business.

        The musical contents aren’t half bad either, growing ever stronger too. Cheers!

  96. Patrick says:

    Well , here in the UK, TND has just officially given DB his first No1 album in 20 years since BTWN , outselling Bon Jovi by 2 to 1.
    Not bad for a pensioner.
    Let’s hope the US audience will show similar good taste.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      There is a very intriguing and cryptic comment on The Guardian newspaper website too.

      Something along the lines of, ‘no tour, but just be grateful you live in Europe – wink!’

      So, London’s O2 Arena a la Jackson, or Berlin?

    • King of Oblivion says:

      They won’t. Bowie’s always been too good for America 🙂

  97. Patrick says:

    It may not last but here’s a better recorded version I just found of the Japanese issue bonus track ” God Bless the Girl”, I think it’s a lovely track.

  98. King of Oblivion says:

    Well it’s several weeks since my first listen, the songs are thoroughly pounded in and rattling around my head. Gonna update my opinion now.

    I give it 4 out of 5 stars. For reference, the only post-1980 albums I’d give that to are Buddah, Outside, Earthling, and Heathen. And I compare Bowie to himself. Compared to other artists, I’d much rather listen to any of his stuff than almost anyone else.

    Song rankings:

    5-star: Love is Lost, Where are We Now?, Valentine’s Day, How Does the Grass Grow?, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die.

    4-star: The Next Day, Stars are Out Tonight, If You Can See Me, I’d Rather Be High, Heat

    3-star: Dirty Boys, (You Will) Set the World on Fire

    Could do without: Boss of Me, Dancing Out in Space.

    The beauty of Bowie is that ask me a year from now, I’ll probably have different opinions.

    • King of Oblivion says:

      Just for kicks I added up my 5- and 4-star songs. They make up a 39 minute album in themselves. “Low” was 38:48 long. I keep thinking if he had just edited this thing more tightly it would be indisputably one of his best records ever.

      • V Delay says:

        A sentiment expressed a few times now in this thread. A penny for your version… (you can see mine a few inches above here -only add “God Bless the Girl” as track 4 on side B)

  99. col1234 says:

    rumor update:

    Bowie rumored to possibly to play the Albert Hall, April 15-20? take with eight grains of salt.

    • Patrick says:

      Interesting. Why have a tour page set up on your recently revamped website unless you intend to er…tour…

      • humanizingthevacuum says:

        Twinkle-twinkle: Or we love Bowie so much we don’t see the point of tolerating mediocre albums.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Dear David,

        We love you so much – but will not tolerate mediocre albums.

        Tolerate? Well that’s him told. I can understand an album causing disappointment, frustration, or even embarrassment, in ’87 perhaps, but your use of the word ‘tolerate’ rather proves my point.

        I disagree with your opinion, but I’d defend your right to express it. Just assure me no rabbits will be harmed because of it, lol.

  100. Kento says:

    Having lived with this album for several weeks, I think the correct interpretation of this album is that it was made so that David Bowie (and crew) could enjoy making and recording music, more so than to make any artistic statement. That is what DB said he was pursuing for decades, and I think (hope?) he finally really figured out how to do that with this album.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      In a sense I know what you mean, Kento, it’s an album full of traditionally sized – 3 to 4 mins – varied songs which take you on a speedy trip to the end, not counting bonus tracks.

      But so many things jump out at me and, although less obvious than say a ‘Ziggy’ or an ‘Outside’, I think this may one of Bowie’s most carefully constructed artistic statements ever. The fact that it can also seem simply as an eclectic group of songs is also part it’s creation. I’m still distilling my thoughts.

      But why such a beautiful song as, ‘God Bless The Girl’, never made the US/Europe official album, never mind the deluxe version, is a mystery to me. It’s more substantial musically and lyrically than ‘Dancing Out in Space’.

      • Kento says:

        I hope I didn’t seem to say that I thought the album had no artistic value, I think DB likes making things with artistic value, and the scenario he’s in that allows him to create music in an enjoyable way is also one that is artistically productive. I hope he continues what he’s doing, and continues enjoying it!

        (And yes, I think God Bless the Girl is my favorite track, but I don’t want to have to go to Japan and buy the album again just to get it.)

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hi again, Kento.

        No, I totally understood you and agree this album does sound like a collection of songs too. I’m sure the next album will help clarify this one. I may just be disappearing up my own exhaust with the ‘conceptual’ thoughts I seem to have with this one, lol. Keep enjoying the man!

      • Patrick says:

        This is an unashamed “populist” album with short catchy songs and hooks etc. The nearest thing to anything “experimental” is Heat and even that has enough melody to not scare the masses.
        Which to why I said before it will be “popular”, Kinda obvious , but as he moved to the margins/periphery previously , he’s now back in the mainstream , the smaller 90s audience that say, ate up Outside, may be quite different.
        He’s got the world’s attention again, will he built on it or say “been there, done that” again, now back to experimentation/risks?.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        I agree, it is populist and accessible, but there is a subtle other reading of most of the songs, especially the book-ending tracks – I’m excluding the bonus tracks in my thoughts.

        I’m including things like the cover and release date in my, er, thesis – thesis is way too grand a word for my thoughts. I’m just trying to gather my ideas, filter and refine and see if I still feel the same before I share them.

        I too have the belief that he is using this album as a portal for a new audience to discover him, but keeping most of the old guard with him before moving on. So, although I love and admire most of the album, it is slightly compromised.

        I truly believe Bowie will finish on ‘Art’. He hasn’t come this far for mere beauty. However, I now believe weird – or experimentation/so-called risks – is easier than beautifully crafted, intelligent songs.

        People can easily get caught up in the making of something rather than the end result; the snare drum sound is actually a heavily miked room of startled humming birds. Wow!

        After many years of traipsing around cold, dark, abandoned buildings in pursuit of a new cultural experience, perhaps being ‘part of the performance’ and having to interact with naked blood soaked performers, I now see the value of a proscenium arch theatre, good acting and an intelligent script – or it’s musical equivalent.

      • humanizingthevacuum says:

        why must “weird” vs “accessible” be a binary?

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        It needn’t. I think a balance of both is usually best – the right mix for each particular work.

        It warms my cockles to see so many fans of ‘Outside’ on this blog. Sometimes an album starts with a concept, experimentation, and songs follow – like ‘Outside’.

        TND seems to have been songs first, then worked up musically with experiments, still with a certain ‘don’t normalise it’ feel to the sound, but not to the degree of ‘Outside’; I suspect the lyrics started to reveal a theme, showing Bowie what he was thinking/feeling and then he ran with that, which would explain why the weaker songs are in there. There are songs he clearly had to write, and two or three which filled in or linked the others.

        I feel, if this album was totally just about catchy songs, he’d have added at least two of the known 4 bonus tracks instead of some others on the album. And he could have just made it a straight 60 min album.

      • s.t. says:

        This is the first I’ve heard about “God Bless the Girl!” Listening now, pretty damn good, but I might swap it for I’d Rather Be High. I’m one of those rare folks who really like Dancing Out in Space (perhaps it would be better titled as Dancing Round My Room).

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        You know, sometimes I forget I’m less keen on some songs and actually enjoy them, lol.

        The other day I had to go out. I put TND on, just to listen to the first couple of tracks as I changed. As each further track came on I thought, ‘I’ll go after this one’. Suddenly the best part of an hour had flown past.

        When it comes to meaning-full (sic) tunes, it’s definitely no barren wasteland – wink!

  101. MC says:

    Now that I’ve lived with this album for a couple of weeks, I will take the opportunity to put down some preliminary thoughts. I realize I’m a little late to the party so I hope someone reads this!

    1)My first impression, that TND sounds like a followup to the last brace of albums from a decade ago, now seems only partially correct, or at least to apply primarily to the first 2 singles. After a more thorough listen to the whole thing, it sounds largely like another direction entirely, or like a host of possible directions.

    2) It’s easily his most guitar-oriented album since Tin Machine 2, more of a showcase for the work of Torn, Leonard,and Slick than Reality was, even – not what people were expecting, maybe, which is great.

    3) Due to above, mostly lacking the autumnal feeling of the last few (WAWN obviously excepted) It does seem like a compendium of Bowies past – elements of previous records cycle through. I think the links to the Berlin trilogy are largely a red herring, inspired by the defacing of the “Heroes” cover – I hear more glam-era myself along with other less likely Bowie “selves” – but what TND does have in common with “Heroes” is something less tangible – a certain spirit of anger allied with a desperate optimism that courses through many tracks.

    4) A key example of the above is I’d Rather Be High, and I must say I don’t understand the knocks it’s received – I’ve had it on the proverbial auto-repeat since I got the cd, definitely a highlight, for me, along with the title track, Valentine’s Day, WAWN, Stars, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die, and Love Is Lost. I am pretty big on most of the album, actually (though, like a lot of posters, I don’t see the point of Dancing Out In Space).

    That’s it for now. Look forward to revisiting the album in a year. Cheers!

    • s.t. says:

      1) & 2) Agreed. 3) The cover does perhaps prime the mind to find associations in TND’s songs with Heroes, but there are a few more explicit ties. For instance, How Does the Grass Grow could have fit comfortably on the first side of Heroes, and The Next Day bears a strong resemblance to Beauty & the Beast. That said, the Lodger and Scary Monsters ties are also there, plus a little glam (Lonely), a little 60’s pop (Valentine’s), and a little 80’s arena (Boss and Fire). Not to mention ties to his last few albums, as you mentioned.

      4) I want to love I’d Rather Be High. It definitely has its charms. I love the verses, both the lyrics (“just remember Duckies, everybody get’s got”) and Bowie’s nervous squawk of a delivery. But the verse/chorus/verse structure is a bit too rigid to really let the song take off. It ends up feeling a little plodding, a little perfunctory to me. Dancing Out in Space is also simplistic, but for me the motorik backing works well with a simple structure, so it feels more appropriate. I also think it’s a lot of fun, dumb though it may be.

    • David L says:

      I agree with your impressions, MC. I’d Rather Be High — I love it. It’s a heartbreaking song in a way. It conjures a vision in my head of the reluctant protagonist of Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage, although the song concerns a soldier in a recent war, of course — all of which is to say, war doesn’t change. And the psychedelic treatment is great, a link to the 60s when anti-war songs probably first came into vogue …

      I really enjoy the three extra songs as well (on the “deluxe” version of the album). “So She” is a beguiling, mysterious song for me, causes a bittersweet emotional reaction and I’m not sure why. Something so sad yet joyous about it.

      Frankly, this new album floors me. I feel so lucky to be around at this time when Bowie is still such a vital artist, and we get to discover his new work as it happens.

  102. Queen Bitch says:

    I’ve realised that because of the nostalgic nature of WAWN I was sort of expecting to have to almost make allowances for the album, as in, he’s older now, more reflective, mellowed etc.
    Ha ha, silly me! Not a bit of it.
    I have to say though, I like all (18) tracks, I don’t get the knocking of any of them. I like some more than others, but that’s my own taste and is so for every album I own.

  103. humanizingthevacuum says:

    So does anyone else here, three weeks later, having a “meh” response to this album like I did?

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Feel like a group of one? Honestly, this a friendly ‘hi’. I can understand why you, or anyone, might not be taken with this album, but for me, genuinely, there are 9 tracks of 14 here I love. Only 2 cause me disquiet. Is it only 3 weeks, I feel this album has been around for much longer.

      Does Adam Buxton of BBC Radio 6 Music troll this site. His excellent Bowie tribute even had Scott Walker singing ‘the Laughing Gnome’ and Bowie and Eno doing ‘Pete & Dud’ – get your own script writer Adam, lol!!

    • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

      It’s interesting HTV, but here we were arguing this point a few months back, when it looked as if Bowie had retired, and I,hungry for a new album, took exception to your comment that you hoped he had. What I found hard to understand was your assumption that if he did return he would be all out of ideas, and only blot his copy book. If you had enjoyed “Heathen” and ‘Reality”, as I seem to recall you claimed you did, I couldn’t (and still don’t) understand what would lead you to such an assumption.
      Anyway, far from having a “meh” response, my enjoyment of this album is growing stronger as the weeks pass by. I certainly think it’s better than those two aforementioned albums and “Hours’ at the very least.
      HTV, it feels as if you had already made your mind up that you were not going to enjoy any new Bowie album, whatever he came out with: That you had made a stand, and now you felt compelled to stick by your guns. Of course, as someone who took up a contrary position all along, you could argue the same of me. Sure, I wanted to love this album, and I do. Having said that, if he had plopped another “Tonight’ in our laps (“plop” being the operative word), I would have joined in the chorus of condemnation.

      • Patrick says:

        Now the dust has settled, I will reiterate what I said before. it’s a very “poppy” album , with conventional structures and mostly memorable hooks and mainstream friendly. it isn’t a “difficult ” or ground breaking album that will have fans or critics pouring over the innards like Low or Outside, it’s a continuation/consolidation, and in a way, after the surprise that it appeared at all , with repeated listenings , it’s immediacy may not yield the longer term complex and mixed rewards or secrets that some other albums have, but time will tell.

      • humanizingthevacuum says:

        I found “Where Are We Now” a stone bore in January (still do), LOVED “The Stars…,” so when the title track-Dirty Boys-Stars trio unfurled I got excited. Add “You Fee So Lonely…” and maybe “Valentine’s Day” and you’ve got what I listen to. An album as good as “Reality” would have been a treat, but it’s barely better than “….hours.”

      • s.t. says:

        I can’t wait til Chris gets to the Hours tracks to find out what people see in those things. The phrase “barely better than Hours” sounds like profanity to me, reserved only for something like Never Let Me Down.

  104. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    See, now we’re getting somewhere. A couple of weeks back you wrote that you only liked, “You Feel So Lonely”. Now, that’s expanded to the title track, “The Stars Are Never Sleeping”, “Dirty Boys” and “Valentine’s Day” as well. Who knows how many more tracks may burrow their way in over the coming weeks. Personally, I find that “How does the grass grow, blood-blood-blood’ chant going around in my head quite a bit these days.

    • It may happen but I doubt it, as a revisit this weekend showed. Those tracks I already liked when I reviewed it, which is why I was relieved that the editors awarded the thing a five out of ten stars (few writers choose headlines or ratings).

  105. twinkle-twinkle says:

    Re-reading the SPIN review dispassionately, I feel it contains several thoughts I’d disagree with. One would be the idea that ‘Reality’ would have been a fitting end to Bowie’s career. Had Bowie gone silent, for whatever reason, after ‘Heathen’ – yes, maybe. However, for all it’s high quality treats ‘Reality’, like ‘Lets Dance’ and ‘NLMD’, (and possibly ‘Aladdin Sane’), was an album made for touring – and selling. ‘Reality’ would have been to end with a ‘wimper’.

    The Next Day; “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” T.S. Eliot

    There is a great deal of autobiography on this album. I don’t see db attacking today’s youth on ‘Love is Lost’, the 22yr old is clearly Bowie observing himself in 1969, when he was emotionally incapable of dealing with the loss of the person he felt was the love of his life. Many song moments on this album have the ring of truth, of real and actual events.

    Take the reference to Finchley, for example. If you drill down you can find all manner of possible readings: The Archer, located on East Finchley tube station, by Eric Aumonier, of a kneeling archer depicted as if having just released an arrow. Harry Beck who created the present London Underground Tube Map came from there; underground, labyrinth – Minotaur? The first British soldier to die in the First World War came from Finchley. And Monty Pythons ‘Funniest Joke in the World’ competition was set there. Is ‘life’ the funniest (bad) joke? Okay, I’m probably finding too many possible readings/coincidences, but they do fit the subject matter of this album and Bowie’s career in general. I have similar readings for other tracks.

    This album is full of multiple references to, and readings of, dying suns, sons and stars; ‘celebrity stars’ who never die because their image(s) live on, light still reaching us from dead stars, our own dying sun, death at the end of life, premature death in war or from one crazed killer etc. ”We are stars”, as Moby once sang; “We are ‘stardust'”, as the Hippy’s once proclaimed; “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” T.S. Eliot.

    And this album is often as arid as a desert, hence Bowie’s parched vocals on certain tracks. “Alas! Our dried voices, when we whisper together are quiet and meaningless as wind in dry grass.” Like Scott Walker, Bowie is resisting using the easy seduction of his ‘beautiful vocals’ and the (over?) use of vibrato the SPIN review claims to dislike. “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot

    I think TND is shot through with references to T.S.Eliot’s Four Quartets; four interlinked meditations with the common theme being man’s relationship with time, the universe, and the divine. In describing his understanding of the divine within the poems, Eliot blends his Anglo-Catholicism with mystical, philosophical and poetic works from both Eastern and Western religious and cultural traditions, with references to the Bhagavad-Gita and the Pre-Socratics as well as St. John of the Cross and Julian of Norwich.

    “We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.”
    ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

    I’m going to stop there for now and see if any of these thoughts seem valid for anybody else. I’ll be warming a pipe and slippers in ‘Pseuds Corner’ if you need me, lol!!

  106. V Delay says:

    Bravo, t-t!

  107. Queen Bitch says:

    I still LOVE LOVE LOVE it! After ever so many listens 🙂

  108. V Delay says:

    The Next Month…

    The new record has had a chance to well and truly sink in now, and my own verdict, for what it’s worth, is an emphatic thumbs up.

    I went to the V&A exhibition last Sunday, and this really underlined how fortunate we are to be hearing any new music by this man, let alone an album that for me stands with his very best work. “Best since Scary Monters” indeed. For me it really is – and Outside was a tough one to top.

    True, I dont like all the songs here, and I do have a quibble with the running order. But to suggest this record isn’t anything other than “Classic Bowie” would be churlish.

    Besides, as I’ve stated in previous posts, we live in an era of playlists. We have implicit permission to mess with the canon. I’m no fan of track by track ‘pick-n-mix’ – I like to listen to an ‘album’

    My version of The Next Day now looks like this:

    Act One:
    1. The Next Day
    2. Dirty Boys
    3. So She
    4. How Does the Grass Grow
    5. I’d Rather Be High
    6. Plan
    7. Where Are We Now?

    Act Two:
    8. Valentine
    9. I’ll Take You There
    10. If You Can See Me
    11. Love is Lost
    12. God Bless the Girl
    13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
    14. Heat

    This particular running order works for me, and it was a lot of fun working it out. It probably won’t work for you, or indeed anyone else. There’s no accounting for taste.

    The songs that don’t do it for me – Stars, Boss, Dancing, Set the World on Fire – can conveniently be dropped off, to be reappraised at this fan’s leisure. I don’t even dislike them, they just don’t fit in with what’s in my head right now. As far as attrition rate goes I think that’s a remarkable achievement. An embaressment of riches.

    What I love about this album (or any variations thereof): the spare instrumentation; the ‘hard edged’ sound; the (mostly) briliant, evocative lyrics; the little details: fills, middle eights, key shifts; the coherence/variation balance between the songs; and especially, the sublime instrument of Bowie’s voice, which is frankly at its peak here, in all its colours and shades and with that trademark Bowie phrasing. I love it.

    Viva Bowie.


    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      And Viva you too. So jealous – I’m having to wait till next month for the V&A exhibition.

      Interesting track running order too. The more I get to play this album at a decent volume on my own, like you, the more I hear in it. I’ve gotten used to it’s personality and forgotten my pre-release imaginings and most of my initial gripes.

      Almost everything seems ‘right’. I think even the colloquial simplistic lines are done knowingly and purposefully, ‘Boss of Me’ etc, but the ‘USA’ refrain in, ‘I’ll Take You There’, still clunks for me and spoils what could have been a great track (but it is a bonus). ‘Set the World on Fire’ is the only track which now seems wrong to my ear. Not bad in itself, just not the right kind of rocker for the album, although it is in the right place I think.

      And – flower in button-hole, finger on brow – was it not Oscar Wilde who said,

      ‘Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.’

      We always have the ever cheerful Queen Bitch to keep this blog smiling 🙂

      • s.t. says:

        Does this mean that there’s another person who’s warmed to Dancing Out in Space?

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Guilty as charged, your Honour. And I’d like my love of ‘hours’ and mere ‘quiet disappointment’ of ‘NLMD’ to be taken into consideration too, lol.

        Actually, if TND has a companion piece, I’d say it’s ‘hours’.

      • col1234 says:

        I like it, for what’s it worth

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        That’s good to hear. Been enjoying your recent posts too.

      • Queen Bitch says:

        Twinle Twinkle I love being described as ever cheerful 🙂 I have a reputation as being a grumpy old thing. But Bowie makes me happy. Music makes me happy. I wouldn’t even want to live in a world without music.
        I find that anything Bowie does in interesting, no matter if I like it or not, and being interesting does it for me.
        I also find that sometimes I can listen to a song and find something new or different, or another interpretation occurs to me, so sometimes I may skip a track, but I’d never cut one out totally, I never know when I might find it fascinating. For years I never really got Stationtostation, then one day, wham! I just got it and now I LOVE it. Good music will always repay you for listening, it mayy take its time, but it always will.
        Superfluously I add: Bowie is good music.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Glad you liked the description, Queen B. Well, you always seem more ‘up’ and positive compared to many of the rest of us, who do tend to focus in on details we dislike.

        I can certainly analyse and babble on forever with little prompting. My brain is like those domino things they do – filling a large hall with intricate designs of thousands of erect dominoes; tip one over and off they go, one after another. That’s me, one thought quickly moving on and me never quite catching up. Good for creativity, bad when trying to be succinct.

        Not every domino is a good thought, but – hey, I never get blocked creatively. Maybe it accounts for my tendency towards apophenia, examples of which I have shown round these parts on occasion, lol.

        Don’t worry, I had to look up the meaning too. I took some comfort many years ago when Peter Gabriel admitted his tongue couldn’t keep up with what his brain was trying to say. It’s just a pity I’m not THAT creative. 🙂

        Hope you’re enjoying the new video despite us grumps, lol.

      • Queen Bitch says:

        I do like the new video, Db getting old? Never!
        I love reading what all you clever analytical people have to say, you’re all sooooo interesting.
        I think I’m cheery on here because it’s much more interesting than ‘real life’ where I’m very grumpy because I’m tired and bored. Still, winding down to retirement now, when I think real life will become fun at last, just like music and all the important stuff 🙂

  109. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    Yep! Can’t imagine how anyone who’s a fan of that whole Neu-beat/Motorik sound wouldn’t like it.

  110. greg says:

    Just started reading this site (my god, it’s good). Bowie fan since the Ziggy days (yes, I’m old). I’ll put my thoughts about this album in a more coherent manner shortly, but for now I want to add my voice to the thumbs up (RIP Ebert) crowd. In fact, I’ll say, without hesitation and after many, many listens, that “The Next Day” is a masterwork. I can’t even use the “best since Scary Monsters” trope because I believe TND is considerably better (certainly more consistent) than that wonderful album.

    I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the lyrics. Some are rather obvious (Valentines Day is a school shooting tale, I’d Rather Be High an anti-war song, WAWN is self-evident). But I’m particularly curious about some of Bowie’s specific targets here: Is “You Will Set the World on Fire” about any particular star & manager, do you think? We’re clearly in the West Village folk milieu of ’60s — Van Ronk, Bobby, etc. — but I’m wondering if he has a specific narrator in mind. For some reason, when i first listened I pictured Odetta as the fire-setter, with her trademark burning incense smoking from the head of her guitar.)

    Same question, essentially, about “You Feel So Lonely” — which dictator is he addressing? Apparently Bowie’s been reading up on the Dark Ages – is YFSL the result? And the “my father ran the prison” — a historical reference, or entirely fiction?

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      My advice – leave now while you can!

      Otherwise, you will be trapped here forever, your head full of argument, questions, thoughts you feel forced to share. More thoughts. And even more thoughts. God man, just go!

  111. greg says:

    Too late. I’m a goner already.

  112. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    Hey Twinkle, you seem like a fairly knowledgeable chap. Can you explain to me the significance of the Nabokov reference in a song which otherwise seems to be a fairly straightforward tale about a young man going off to war?

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      See – see, Greg!!

      Here in the UK we’ve been having a bit of a paedo-fest, so I’m admitting nothing about my knowledge of Nabokov, lol.(Probably like most folks, I only know of ‘Lolita’). As Popeye might have said, ”Oy knows wot oy knows.” The rest is more questions from me too.

      I was hoping to do some more thinking, or ‘Googling’ – other search engines are available – on these points myself this weekend. It’s been a busy period at work and when I found time I’d rather got stuck on refining my thoughts on ‘TND’, ‘YFSLYCD’ and ‘Heat’ and the general theme which caught my eye. Although the album does throw up multiple readings and self doubt creeps in about interpretations. And in looking for one half remembered quote you stumble on several others which seem to fit. I guess that’s the beauty of it.

      I might just give my notes a final read over, then stick them on here.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        This kind of thing is never an exact science- and not as easy as Chris makes it look. I’ve had to simplify for some kind of clarity. Quite quickly these three tracks jumped out and suggested the following reading. For me, the album seems to be about love, spirituality and their opposite, various forms of violence and loss. I sense other interpretations, but I can’t see past these thoughts at the moment.

        “He is haunted by a demon, a demon against which he feels powerless, because in its first manifestation it has no face, no name, nothing; and the words, the poem he makes, are a kind of exorcism of this demon.” ― T.S. Eliot, The Three Voices of Poetry

        All the roads were straight and narrow, but Bowie, wrestling with thoughts of good and evil, chose to weave down by-roads pursued by his own demons and the truth that – the monster was he. If Bowie is the beast, is he also the hero/king? Is there a price to pay for some kind of Faustian pact, having been given everything he wants? Now cornered, alone for the last time, falling to the ground like a leaf from a tree.

        On TND title track I hear the sonic momentum and/or lyrical references to ‘SM’, ‘B&TB’ and ‘TWOAC’. TND title-track could therefore be seen to link or bookend 1970-80, Bowie’s youthful peak, and a period he has had to wrestle with ever since. ‘Space Oddity’ doesn’t get a nod till ‘Heat’, where the end of TND returns us again to the acknowledged creative start of Bowie’s story in 1969. ‘In my end is my beginning.’ We are reminded that for the new to come in, the old must be released. (As ‘Heat’ fades out, in my head, I hear the asthmatic honk of young db’s laugh at the end of the ‘SO’ demo).

        And what of the body left to rot in a ‘hollow’ tree? Is it the Kabbalah Tree of Life? The Celtic imagery of trees, the Gnostic Gospels…who was God? What is religion, what is spirituality? Is Bowie, again, wondering if the spiritual path is hollow and empty After All? Are the gods, or God, dead – if they ever existed?

        There was a lot of emphasis put on the genesis of this song from Tony V, yet it was also vague. Was it a ‘Hitchcockian MacGuffin’, an attempt to distract us, or the key? The album seemed just a random collection of songs and styles – snapshots. Now I wonder if it is more cinematic, perhaps hallucinatory, like a dream which ‘crossed twilight between birth and dying.’

        One might imagine this alleged dying medieval king (one of the 17th Cent characters from the proposed follow-up to ‘Outside’, or a convenient avatar for Bowie? One of my threads lead to a very bloody mythical video game), hiding out, or dumped, in the hollow tree, weaving in and out of consciousness, memories coming and going, thoughts getting mixed up, like the aural palette of the album. ’The poet’s mind is… a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.’

        Now apparently fit after his health scare(s), Bowie must feel born again, or more possibly, in a kind of ‘living-limbo’ between his pre-2004 days and an unknown, but now ever present, end. Is that the significance of the penultimate placing of what sounds more like an album closer, ‘YFSLYCD’, as a kind of false ending, a song which doubles back on ghosts; an echo of ‘Rock’n’Roll Suicide’, (an update, based on reality more than youthful fantasy), but minus ‘RnRS’s’ optimistic belief of not being alone, hence the way ‘YFSLYCD’ tails off. And having referenced the climax of ‘Ziggy’, we slip into that career making album’s drum intro, returning us to yet another beginning, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending…

        “There was a door
        And I could not open it. I could not touch the handle.
        Why could I not walk out of my prison?
        What is hell? Hell is oneself,
        Hell is alone, the other figures in it
        Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
        And nothing to Escape to. One is always alone.”
        ― T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party

        And so we find ourselves in a strange land; ‘Heat’/ Hell? “Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment.” Limbo? A psychological or spiritual prison? ‘We think of the key, each in his prison, Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison.’ Is it too easy to assume the father in the song is God? The imprisonment of St John of the Cross and his, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’?

        Could this be Bowie’s last ‘pop’ album, with him now hinting at being more simpatico with the musical aims of Mr Engel from now on, or simply acknowledging SE’s part in Bowie’s own journey? The peacock in the snow – a beautiful image from Fellini’s ‘Amarcord’, or a young glamorous Bowie in a cocaine snowstorm, freezing his brain? ‘The songs of dust’ – more coke, ashes to ashes… or seeing ‘a world in a grain of sand’ like Wm. Blake? “When a poet’s mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experiences.”

        For some medieval minds, the mirror was the door through which the soul frees itself by passing, for others the pursuit of personal refinement was likened to polishing the mirror of the soul. What is revealed and what is concealed – what is the mask and what the mirror? ‘The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.’
        David Bowie is… The blanked out face on the cover and mirror inside – even after a lifetime of searching and searching, Bowie suggests he does not know. Or maybe he IS lying, as the inner cover photo of Bowie looks like he ‘means business’, ready to face down the world, possibly even death.

        Perhaps ‘we don’t actually fear death, we fear that no one will notice our absence, that we will disappear without a trace.’ For who can bear to be forgotten? I’m only following my intuition and enjoying the impressionistic resonances in the songs. Maybe, as Oscar Wilde suggested, it is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. If so – help!

        Or, it’s just a pop record from a 66yr old L-a-a-a-n-don geezer.

      • V Delay says:

        Hope you’re running a good coolant through your system, t-t. Your circuits must be running hot.

        On ‘Heat’, I don’t see the gnostic reading as overly simplistic – it’s easy enough to hear the narrator as some kind of amnestic Christ figure, and given Bowie’s interests in this kind of thing (admirably documented throughout this blog, notably the recent entry on ‘Thru’ these architects eyes’) it’s not at all unlikely. The album opener and closer are fab bookends, lyrically and musically oppositional and complimentary at the same time, and the whole album is littered with themes that link and tie these extremities together with elaborate knotwork: power, conflict, war, violence, fear, alienation… familiar territory, new twists.


      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Ha-ha-ha! I certainly feel a lot lighter now it’s not clogging up me b-r-a-i-n, even if some of it may be a bit duffo.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Hello, again, SPS.

      With a fresh head this morning and some old notes, I hope my thoughts add something to your own. As PBJet helpfully showed us, this image comes from someone sunbathing naked on a sunny beach.

      We could read it as a simple contrast to the war and death happening on other sands in the song. A soldiers happy memory, like in a film? The soldier and the person on the beach at Grunewald feel the suns heat in hugely contrasting ways; the sunbather feels himself melt in a kind of pleasurable ecstasy, becoming one with the sun and perhaps the godhead/universe, while a soldier would feel the heat in a more unbearable way. A dead body in the desert would be bleached by the sun if not radiated there by bombs. It all seems to lead to sand and dust one way or another.

      Mmm… that’s my best for now. Cheers!

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Oh, I forgot – the person on the beach could simply be feeling rejuvenated by the rays, or that they are the centre of the universe, in a megalomaniac kind of way.

        Honestly, I promise I don’t go around talking like this in real life, lol.

      • vallancey says:

        To me this is Bowie in New York, and Bowie in Berlin, ‘walking the dead’ shifting through time; characters and landscapes, welcome and unwelcome appearing to him in flashes. I was fascinated to learn that there is an actual Grunewald beach by the lake near Berlin. Nabokov may even have bathed there. Whether or which, the four lines at the opening of I’d Rather be High are among Bowie’s most beautiful ‘… the way that authors look’. The naked sun-licked Nabokov might be interpreted as a reference to Nabokov’s synesthesia; the author as a golden fork lying out in the sun. But putting a young soldier in the story is an interesting twist. Cannon fodder Lolitas?

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hi, hope everyone is starting to have some kind of summer.

        I just found this stunning video. I know I’ve been banging on about Bowie and T.S. Eliot as regards TND and db’s work as a whole, well treat yourselves to this link and tick off the Bowie songs and album titles and general content.

        Even what some consider superficial songs like ‘Lets Dance’ and ‘Dancing Out in Space’ get meaningful substance via T.S. Eliot. This professor guy may look like he’s going to be dull, but he’s a hoot.

        Honestly, it’s not dry and is very informative in a speedy 56 mins. Then get to your library or spend £15, or equivalent, and start reading.

        If you love Bowie you’ll be glad you did.


  113. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    Well thanks for that considered response. On a different note; my own feeling about (the song) The Next Day is that, while Bowie may be singing about some Middle Ages despot on one level, the whole allusion is a bit of a red herring, (much as the locomotive noises in STS distracted us from that song’s true intent about the “stations” of the cross), and in fact he’s singing about himself. After all (oh by jingo),in the greatest comeback since Lazarus, first he teases us with a song and accompanying video (Where Are We Now), which suggests that he’s frail and ill, then comes roaring back to life with the opening shot, “here I am not quite dying”. Shades of Oscar Wilde’s quote, “the rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      He does like to have his cake and eat it – the big tease, lol!

      We know he likes to hide which songs and interpretations are closest to home and TND could have sounded too self-pitying without the cloak of the apparent narrative.

      I love this album so much now, yet I can’t wait for the next one. I’ve never felt this way about a Bowie album before, it really has got stuck in my head both as an ear-worm and cerebral experience. Maybe I’m just at a funny age. It’s cheaper than a sports car and less problematic than an affair, ha-ha-ha! Not that I need either. Keep enjoying!

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        …Sounds like you’re having a bit of a middy-life ccrrisis…ha!ha!Only joking of course.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Nah! Had that, wasn’t too bad. Now I’m in the, ‘I really don’t care anymore, I’m going to die so I’m damn well going to say it, do it, and to hell with the nay-sayers’ phase, lol! The aging white man shapes I throw dancing to ‘If You Can See Me’ are a treat. Well, from the inside looking out anyway.

        Despite my previous post to the contrary, I don’t have a pipe or slippers yet, but I am on the look out for a nice mustard cardigan.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Sorry about this, just found more. I’ll leave this last link, then people can do their own searching if it strikes a cord.

        This ‘talk’ has ‘forgetful snow’; ‘something like a drowning’ with a ‘sailor’; reference to the Grail myth and Kings/Queens; an unhappy married couple with a dull life, the kind Bowie told Dana Gillespie he wanted to escape; a lost love – a ‘Hermione figure’; the brown/dark Thames; crowds of people crossing a bridge, which is a reference to Dante’s trip into hell where he saw crowds of those who had passed on – ‘walking the dead’.

        There is so much more. Interesting that Bowie made a passing remark a few years ago about listening to a lot of opera. T.S. Eliot references R. Wagner whose work, including ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and ‘The Ring’, have themes which crop up in Bowie’s recent work.

        At the end of ‘hours’ Bowie sings of black-eyed ravens; ravens returning to Valhalla signified the destruction of the gods. Bowie’s next album was ‘Heathen’.

        Both Wagner and Eliot ‘cut-up’ existing stories to create their own private myths. Wagner wanted to create a new kind of art which brought together music, poetry, painting, dance/performance etc. Sound familiar?

        Anyway, I think if you dig around in the work of T.S. Eliot you’ll find a rich seam to mine. I’ll try and add things I’ve found in the appropriate song sections on the blog when I can.

        Hope this is useful.


    • s.t. says:

      Yes, I agree. As is the case with many pop stars dubbed “literary”–Kate Bush and Patrick Wolf being some other examples–they’re almost always talking about themselves through their references, even if they don’t realize it. But at 66, I’m sure Mr. Bowie’s quite aware of what he’s doing.

  114. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    Yeah, that’s the way! Isn’t it great when we finally pull away from those “teenage angst” years (which, for some, can stretch well into the 20s), and get to that point in life where we finally feel really comfortable in our skin?

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Yeah! Probably because many have so much more skin to be comfortable in, ha-ha-ha! I’m okay so far but, damn, why did Sir Isaac discover so much gravity?

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Not a problem for me. I’ve managed to keep myself pretty fit, running at least 50 kilometres a week.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Despite still thinking in ‘miles’, I’m impressed. And how true about the ‘angst’ of ones 20’s, but mine did include ‘NLMD’ and ‘The Glass Spider Tour’, ha-ha-ha! Saw it 3 times, and I still never got the ‘Screaming Blue Messiahs’ as support – damn!

  115. twinkle-twinkle says:

    P.S. It’s only just struck me, but my avatar on here looks loopy – like the Tasmanian Devil from ‘Bugs Bunny’, or Gnasher from the ‘Beano’, he-he! I would have preferred electric blue.

  116. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    I saw the opening night of (I think) three Glass Spider shows at Kooyong Tennis Centre. On the third night, high winds caused the cancellation of Mr Bowie abseiling down the Spider’s belly, which apparently was a pretty common occurrence at a lot of the outdoor venues.
    The Rolling Stones were among many bands who also performed at Kooyong, playing there in 1973, though it hasn’t been used for either rock shows or tennis matches in a long, long time.
    I had pretty average seats the night I went, a long way from the action. I enjoyed it at the time I guess, but these days I just can’t bring myself to watch the DVD, as the ridiculously over the top theatrics and dialogue make me cringe, and my flesh-crawl. I mean, one of the dancers was called Spaz Attack for pity’s sake.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      I was, eh… lucky enough to get the full works on two occasions – he really suits gold wings, lol. It was impressive in some ways live. But you’re right, I got the DVD and live CD a couple of years ago and it is painful trying to get through the talky bits. One play was enough to assure me I had matured a bit during the intervening time. I believe ‘Spaz’ was already called that pre-Bowie. I’m sure he was in Tony Basil’s ‘Mickey’ video.

      My ‘NLMD’ was boxed away with my other vinyl almost 25yrs ago – gulp! – and I’ve never heard it since, as I don’t own it on CD. I think the ‘SBM’s’ went up in smoke with the Glass Spider in New Zealand, ha-ha-ha! ‘Good’n’Gone’!

      Only joking, I’ve no idea what happened to them, but it’s hard to get all their stuff complete last time I tried. Who can bear to be forgotten…Oh, sorry – done that, lol!

  117. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    P.S. I really like The Screaming Blue Messiah’s too. I still have their album “Bikini Red”. Whatever became of them?

  118. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    “Spaz” was in the original Mickey video?? Now that is a surprise. I must have seen that video a thousand times, as its’ on high rotation on my cable music channel (FOX’s Music Max are OBSESSED with the 80s). Now I know that Toni Basil’s back-up dancers in that vid had some of the chubbiest legs ever squeezed into a cheerleader’s outfit. But I didn’t think any of them were guys.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Mmm… I have just found a remix version which has Toni dancing with a ‘band’ who have a guitarist who looks like Spaz, as I remember him. Have we started to lose the thread of this thread, lol?

  119. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    You’re right, we have wandered w-a-a-y off track. So getting back on track I’ll ask you this. I was one of the first to buy the Next Day, as it was released in Australia early as you know. It cost $20 for the 17 track version. Now I’m agonizing over whether or not to buy the Japanese version which has just hit our shores. For the privilege of owning one more track, the rather enjoyable “God Bless The Girl’, I’m looking at shelling out a whopping $47. Am I crazy for even considering this? What would you do??

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Waking up to find that not only policemen, but the self-seeking incompetents who run the world are now often younger than me and, generally speaking, that big business and other lunatics have finally taken over the asylum, I have chosen to redress the balance of this frightening truth by – ‘discussing’ the merits of David Bowie with strangers. And you ask me to consider if you are crazy, heh-heh?!?

      Of course you buy, man! Well, due to a computer glitch, the only way I could get TND on to my iPod was to buy it again from iTunes. And my potential 5th(?) version of ‘Aladdin Sane’ looms – but only if they’ve finally fixed the silent chasm between ‘LSTNT’ and ‘Jean Genie’, lol.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Of course, we may still get ‘God Bless The Girl’ on a future single, but if history is anything to go by, we’ll get screwed for all our stupid fanaticism will give, lol.

  120. twinkle-twinkle says:

    So, SkyPS – just between the two of us – have you succumbed to the temptation of that Japanese import yet, lol?

  121. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    No, not yet…
    On another note, I believe the V&A are in negotiations to bring David Bowie is Down Under. I sincerely hope this happens.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      That would be great. I’m sure I read 75,000 objects in his archive, this show has 700. I can see further larger shows and a museum one day.

      I don’t think the ‘Diamond Dogs’ set suffered the same fate as our ‘beloved Glass Spider’,lol, but you never know. It could be re-created – and I’m sure the ‘Time’ hand and other props are in storage somewhere.

      We had a bit of a funeral here this week and some people showed their feelings to it and events around it by buying, ‘Ding-dong, the Witch is Dead’. I’m surprised people who support their President’s aim for change haven’t thought to buy ‘Valentines Day’ and make it a ‘protest’ hit. I’m sure Obama’s a Bowie fan too. Well, isn’t everyone these days, heh-heh?

      I spoke to one db fan this week who was complaining of all these johnny-come-latelys, lol. Get off our land!

      Anyway, I do hope the V&A show tours. I’ll let you know my thoughts next month with as little gloating as I can muster. I tried going on the official Bowie website to see peoples thoughts on the new album, but I felt I was two-timing this blog!?! How strange – but I am the monogamous type, heh-heh!

  122. Sky-Possessing Spider says:

    As much as I wish my family had stayed in England, I’m certainly glad I didn’t have to live through a decade of Thatcherism. I don’t know if Australia just likes to be different politically speaking, but we often seem to do the opposite to the rest of the Western world.
    Back in the 80s, when Maggie and Ronnie were subjecting the world to their right-wing values, Oz went the other way, ousting the Liberal (conservative) govt. and electing ex-trade union boss, blue collar Bob Hawke as PM.
    Somewhat symbolically, Hawke’s conservative nemesis at the time was named Andrew Peacock. (who says politics is for the birds?) More recently, when the U.S. and the UK “zigged”, electing Bill Clinton and Tony Blair respectively, Oz once again “zagged’, voting in a horrible little heartless tory weasel named John Howard.
    Anyway, once again I ‘ve managed to derail this thread,(though I blame you for mentioning Margaret Thatcher.) So, I’ll get it back on track again by saying, yes, I think “Valentine’s Day” would make an excellent rallying song for some (long overdue) gun reform in America.

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Ha-ha-ha! Sorry, I thought I was being reasonably subtle without pinning my flag to any particular mast – I’m sure Bowie’s church is broad and we all hold a mix of views on individual topics (funny how it’s always other people who get it wrong, lol). Although I do think that lyrically, on this album, Bowie is commenting on how things never seem to change much. I’m well pre-zimmer frame age, but I’m starting to get a strong sense of deja vu too. There was war just prior to db’s birth, in his teens and on through till now. In many ways we haven’t developed that much since we we’re living in caves, or fighting in dance-halls. Despite the horrors we inflict on each other, if you scratch the surface of most unforgivable evil doings, you will probably find some kind of reasoning, however warped and misguided, although that is little comfort to the victims.

      Moving on with the ease of someone who’s life is relatively happy and whose question suddenly seems banal – whatever happened to the talk of Bowie’s book of 100 objects? I thought it might have been on sale as part of the V&A show, but I’ve heard no mention of it. Maybe saving it for Santa’s sack later in the year?

  123. twinkle-twinkle says:

    Wow! All this tumbleweed – is no one excited by Bowie’s oblique opening up in Rick Moody’s article on TND? Is it just life and the weekend distracting people, or am I missing some kind of subtext in Bowie’s choice this side of the pond?

  124. blammo says:

    If you are looking for the TND review that is missing here, check out the musings at The Rumpus. Idiosyncratic but poignent and cthonic explorations of Bowies latest:

  125. Brandon says:

    I’d just like to take a moment to say it was while listening to this that I stumbled upon Pushing Ahead of the Dame and have been vigorously been reading ever since. I don’t always agree with the song assessments, but I usually do, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot not only about Bowie but about those that influenced him and those he influenced. This site is amazing, and I feel lucky to have it available.

    On The Next Day: I feel it’s a very strong latterday album. If I hadn’t waited a decade for it, I wouldn’t know just by listening that so much time had passed since Reality. I think it feels like a natural continuation of what he did on Heathen and Reality. It’s definitely front-loaded (like a number of his albums, especially Scary Monsters and Let’s Dance) with the first five songs easily my favorite. But there aren’t any songs I dislike, and Bowie – so often self-referential – does it well on this album, most wonderfully when the drum-beat from Five Years comes in.

    I look forward to continuing my reading of this site. Thanks to everyone who comments.

  126. So…what are everyone’s thoughts on the TND video? I’m trying to figure out what the hell the point of it was, apart from “shock”. (Though I must say I didn’t personally find it that confronting; having read beforehand all about the backlash from the church and the video being taken off YouTube I knew what I was in for). I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed by it or to start waxing intellectual about it…

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Mmm… Perhaps our silence speaks volumes?

      I think this song needed a more inventive video, if one had to be made at all. I hope this is the last from TND, but I now fear other songs will be ruined by more videos.

      db is diminishing the song by laying out much of it’s evocative lyrical content for easy consumption and interpretation. It also seems to be an excuse for some obvious, if non-shocking, shock tactics, while creating a humorous(?) pastiche of Madonna; see this site for Chris on his thoughts about BTWN’s bonus single, ‘Lucy Can’t Dance’.

      For such a propulsive song the video seems really slow, the editing rarely catching ‘the beat’. The all too brief glimpses of db in action are the only moments it seems exciting. I found it dull, plodding and worse of all, an own goal; it allows the various church bodies to make accusations about Bowie which, in this instance, can seem true. Ouch!!

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        I disagree. Anything that pokes fun at the Flat Earth Society -heh! heh! is fine by me.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Thank Satan you’re back! After that crack on your nose and then silence, I feared the worst. Today at work I decided tonight I’d send out a call and see if you were still alive. Glad you beat me to it.

        db is looking good in the wee glimpses of him in action. He does good pointing, doesn’t he? 😉

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        P.S. S-P S –

        RE: TND video. You’re just jealous that FINALLY Chris and I agree on something, ha-ha-ha!! Stop the press…

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Well, thanks for the concern, but that crack on the nose was really nothing. I just wore a mouse for a few days (though not millions in their hordes.)
        I’ve been reading the site regularly as always. But I guess not feeling that I had anything, particularly, to add to the dialogue on the collaboration with Trent Reznor, opted for radio silence.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        You’re welcome. I’m guessing you have nice weather too. We are still wearing winter clothes, scarves and wooly hats, the lot! Seriously – and it’s mid-May!! Even my distracted brain noticed that.

        Been busy with real life and my Bowie homework for Chris, whether he wants it or not, lol. Hopefully will post some stuff before I get distracted by the V& A show. Who needs sunshine, heh-heh!

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Actually we’re FINALLY moving away from the sunshine for a while. Last week was like Summer’s last gasp with temperature’s hovering around 25c all week, but now we’ve settled into more autumnal teens, I’m happy to say.
        This may be hard for you sun-deprived Poms to understand. But when you live in a place that’s had about 15 years of drought and water restrictions, bushfires in one half of the country and floods in the other, you tend to get a bit fed up with summer. At least, I do. Summer involves lots of squinting too, with the light turned up to a very Spinal Tap-esque 11.
        Can you do me a BIG favour? When you go to the V&A Exhibition, can you please ask (plead with) someone in charge to bring the exhibition down under? There was some speculation about it for awhile, but I never heard any more about it. There are a LOT of us here in a fan club called Bowie Down Under who would just L-O-V-E to see it. Thanks in advance.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        My pale Celtic skin does not like too much heat, but waking up to November wind and rain in May this morning is a tad depressing. I have Paul Morley’s email if you want to beg, heh-heh!! He has had an influence on the exhibition behind the scenes. Enjoy your refreshing winter. 🙂

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Yes please, Paul Morley’s e-mail would be appreciated if you think he could be helpful. I read some of the extracts of the book he was trying to write over the course of a weekend. Did he manage to finish it?
        Anyway, I’ve searched high and low on the V&A site for contact details but can’t find any.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Heh-heh-heh! Probably best not, for my sake, lol. I should know better than to make such a throwaway quips to a fellow Bowie fanatic, but I don’t blame you, lol. I will seek out what answers I can. 😉

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Hi SPS, I was just looking for your web link you once posted for me, but I couldn’t find it. Any chance of giving it to me again? 😉

      • Sky-Possessing Spider says:

        Here’s a couple of links where you can find samples of my work.
        Of more Bowie-related interest to you might be a novel I wrote called “Catch a Falling Star” which was put out by Sid Harta Publishers. Chris has read it, and seemed to enjoy it.
        Yesterday I picked up a copy of the V&A David Bowie Is book (which I’m hoping isn’t as close as I get to the real thing). I have to say the exhibit looks truly amazing. Do you have a favourite costume out of all the wild things he wore in those Ziggy days? I really love the Kansai Yamamoto robes with all the Japanese writing, which the dancers would dramatically rip off during the Aladdin Sane gigs.
        But my all-time favourite would have to be the Freddie Buretti red plastic thing with the black feathers that he wore in the 1980 Floor Show, while singing with Marianne Faithfull in her backless habit. Cor, they don’t make them like that anymore. One tiny detail the book revealed which I’d never noticed about that one before, was that it was covered in red and black sequins.

    • Maj says:

      Well I chose neither. I was grinning all the way through when I watched it first (before it got taken down) and properly laughed out loud by the end of it. Knowing nothing about it going in (apart from the few pics…”is he a monk?” “is he a Jedi?”) or peoples’ reactions to it, so I just went with it. Yeah, you could analyse, and go into the catholic symbols and what not, or you could laugh your head off because of Bowie the Prophet’s pulling off another disappearing act at the end. 😉

      I don’t think it’s supposed to be taken particularly seriously.

      And people still getting outraged by stuff like this only amuses me even more…

    • col1234 says:

      first reactions: it’s dull. it’s very 80s “controversy”—stigmata, dirty priests, “desecrating” Catholic imagery. Just Piss Christ and “like a Prayer” redux. The smirking schoolboy joy the Bowie camp took in the thing getting banned reminded me of the “Day In Day Out” video, of which I’m not fond.

      still, maybe i’ll dig it more in a year when I have to write about the song.

    • s.t. says:

      Just like the video for The Stars Are Out Tonight, I find this one to be underwhelming as pop/media event, but a charming lark nonetheless. I agree with col1324 that it does wallow in 80’s Madonna territory (and now Gaga: thrice regurgitated!) with the sacrilegious imagery, but it’s also a campy send-up of some of the album’s (and especially that song’s) themes.

      Regardless of it’s relevance as art, it’s great to see Bowie out and about and clearly having fun again.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Yeah! A campy send-up of those doomsday songs they can’t get enough of – both the ‘media’ who love to pretend to be enraged, and the artists who need to feel ‘shocking’.

        I just wish the Bowie video for TND was more campy and/or more visceral. Maybe some porn actors and a sense of actual erections might have really got some people reaching for the smelling salts, lol. Or the first pop ‘snuff video’? But where can you get actual virgins to sacrifice these days, lol.

        I hope he has a bit of a think before making any more. I could live with ‘The Stars…’, but I really didn’t need this one. The album is rich enough in images without videos cramping it’s potential.

      • s.t. says:

        I think Trent got pretty close to the first pop snuff film with his Happiness in Slavery video! And then there’s the infamous video for “Lust for Life” by the Girls, and “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack. In recent years there has been a deluge of “NSFW” music videos, so TND does seem rather quaint in that light.

        I can enjoy the videos on their own, but they may do their songs a bit of a disservice. I like the slightly opaque feel of the new album, and the videos threaten to reduce the songs to very simple (hackneyed?) themes like “Celebrity Obsessions” and “Oppressive Religion.”

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Very true. I’m not even going to admit to the number of decades, eh – years I mean, it has been since I took notice of videos. This blog and youtube have shown me how much Bowie stuff is out there and it is frightening how long it would take me to catch up, heh-heh! Slowly but surely… 🙂

        ‘Happiness in Slavery’, you say? Just curious, lol.

    • King of Oblivion says:

      It’s underwhelming, the worst thing about it being the brutal edit of the song which to my mind virtually ruins it. My guess is Bowie intends the pyhonesque humor (priest knocking out the beggar, Bowie “ascending”, absurd levels of blood-spray) to be the main point, but the other more poker-faced images obscure the humor. Certainly miles from the heyday of Bowie video.

  127. Bruised Passivity says:

    Hi, long time enjoyer, first time commenter here. 🙂 While I have great respect for the opinions on offer so far regarding Bowie’s TND video, I must say am I rare disagreement with them simply because I found the absolutely hilarious! I feel that WE, myself included, tend to take so much of David’s work very seriously (which it rightly deserves) but this can often lead to inadvertently taking some things too seriously. Is this not possibly the case with this particular video. For me this is full of Bowie’s sense of humour: the blatantly cliché Catholic corruption theme, the Tarantino-esque blood use, the song truncation to oversell the theme of the nearly “art for art’s sake” visuals and, above all, casting himself once again in messianistic/prophet “Rock God” roll. I was in tears I was laughing so hard! The fact that he managed to also stir up some controversy with what I perceived as a deliberate joke was only an added bonus. Just my point of view everyone. Looking forward to reading more of your thought provoking comments.

  128. zappuccino says:

    I’ve been reading this wonderful blog for quite some time now but have never felt the need before to make a comment. I just thought I should point out that there’s even an instrumental version of Where Are We Now out there.

  129. Maj says:

    So…what does everyone think of the Valentine’s Day video?
    A bit of a reference to Be My Wife video, in a different setting? Bowie looks fine (the older he gets the more he resembles my uncle, only DB has abt 90% more hair), and at the end he’s pretty creepy. Which really makes me want to see him play Hannibal’s uncle. Him together with the sublime Mikkelsen would be a creepfest – and a treat.

    • col1234 says:

      it’s okay. the videos for me have been a case of diminishing returns since “Where Are We Now.” It does seem a bit odd that he keeps putting them out (the post-“WAWN” singles have been charting very meagerly) & perhaps suggests that this is his way of “touring” in 2013. so maybe there’ll be a “Dancing Out in Space” one soon.

      • Maj says:

        He keeps putting them out because he can, obviously. 😉
        TBH I had no idea the song would be a proper single, video and all. Thought it was gonna be just a vinyl affair – and then the next day (no pun intended) a video showed up.
        Oh, he can totally make a video for Dancing Out… I won’t mind. I’m easy to please. But I’d rather see him guest on Hannibal. I hope he’s at least thinking about the offer.
        Btw, everyone should see The Hunt – starring Mads Mikkelsen. I heard it’s out in the US now. I saw it last winter and can only recommend.

  130. Bruised Passivity says:

    I love the simplicity of the new video; it really lets the message of the song come through. Aspects of US culture are so ‘funny’, they freak-out over the religious symbols of TND but not a peep for a song about a school shooting. I’ve loved this song since I first started listening to the album, it doesn’t surprise me he’s chosen to release it as a single. For me this is Bowie’s contribution to the US’s ever raging ‘gun violence debate’. From the finger snapping in the intro (the sound of bullets being loaded into a clip) to the use of steel guitar (a nod to country music, the soundtrack of American heartland) this song is a withering comment on gun culture in America. Watch out NRA, Bowie’s onto ya, LOL. Still, the assertion that the video releases are his substitute for touring the album also has validity. Either way, I’m enjoying having new material to be excited over. He could just stand on screen in a paper bag I’d just be happy to watch, LOL. 🙂

    • Maj says:

      I’d be happy to watch that too, BP! Mainly coz he hasn’t really done it before! 😀 (or has he? ha!)

      • Bruised Passivity says:

        LOL, I think your right Maj, I don’t think he ever has (surprisingly) but it does strike me as something he would have done for Warhol. 😉

    • s.t. says:

      The popularity of Lennon’s “Imagine” and Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” among socially conservative blue collar Americans demonstrated that most people here don’t pay attention to pop song lyrics. All they want is a good hook.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Come on, s.t., surely there must be a few c***-sucking, atheist, trannies in blue collar America? Lol!! All they want is a good fook.

      • s.t. says:

        Ha, I just noticed this!

        Lou’s gonna get to your kiddies, America, by hook or by fook!

  131. Queen Bitch says:

    I love the simplicity of the video. Damn he looks good…

  132. sunray jahchild says:

    i really like this album.
    the first words you hear and see on the screen in Moon
    where are we now.
    apologies if a million posters have metioned that before

  133. sparkeyes says:

    Just seen it and I expected him to walk off inexplicably half way through and reappear in a padded room.

  134. s.t. says:

    New expanded edition of TND out November 5 with some unreleased tracks, including:

    01 Atomica
    02 Love is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy)
    03 The Informer
    04 Like a Rocket Man
    05 Born in a UFO
    06 I’d Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)
    07 God Bless the Girl –wider release

    I’m actually hoping these picks are a bit minor, and that he’s saving his best leftovers for a follow-up album…

    • s.t. says:

      …also: “Like a Rocket Man?” Is this when Bowie finally addresses his issues with Elton John in song?

      “Born in a UFO?” Some of these TND song titles make me think he has been keeping an eye on how Nick Cave’s been aging in Grinderman.

  135. sunray jahchild says:

    If only albums still came out on vinyl, as a ten track lp this would have been brilliant. get rid of boss of me (how i wish he’d titled it ‘death of me’), dancing out in space, how does the grass grow and world on fire, plus the bonus tracks, and you’ve got a really fine album

  136. Bruised Passivity says:

    Any thoughts on the Love is Lost James Murphy remix? I only just heard it’s release in Canada the other day. I quite like it. It’s slight musical reference to Ashes to Ashes made me giggle. Really looking forward to the unreleased tracks in Nov.

    • s.t. says:

      I think it’s lovely. Bowie’s original has a bit of Gang of Four wiriness to it, but the flamenco claps here call to mind PiL’s Under the House, as treated by Matmos. And yes, the cameo of Ashes to Ashes halfway in is a nice treat. I generally like James Murphy’s groovin productions, but I find his vocals to be underwhelming, so this (and the new Arcade Fire tracks) is the best way for me to digest his talent.

  137. Kikouyou says:

    “get rid of Boss of me”…This is the best track on here!

  138. Maj says:

    A promo clip for the Next Day reissue:

    I won’t be getting it just yet, totally skint. But definitely at some later point. It looks nice.

  139. s.t. says:

    Someone has leaked the new songs on YouTube. Here’s the full Atomica:

    Visit the user’s page to access the other songs.

    • s.t. says:

      These new songs all seem to have an explicit 80’s vibe to them. Some TND tracks touched on the 80’s, like Boss of Me and You Will Set the World on Fire, but the new ones feel even more so. They’re also more fun, which is perhaps why they didn’t really fit on the album, which seems to be unified by topics like exploitation and cruelty. Here’s a quick take on each:

      1) Atomica – If the guitar on 60’s tribute You Will Set the World on Fire was supposed to recall the Kinks circa You Really Got Me, this updates the sound to The Knack’s Day. Rather than a Blondie anthem, Atomica is “My Sharona” by way of “Fashion.” It’s a fun little new wave rocker, though a little slight.

      2) The Informer – The drums of earlier bonus track “Plan” are used here for a more fleshed out song, a proper rock ballad. I hear snatches of “I Dig Everything” in the verses, and a touch of “Absolute Beginners” in the arrangements. Still, it has that clipped, anxious vocal delivery that’s all over TND, so it would fit reasonably well on the album.

      3) Like a Rocket Man – This sounds like a sequel to previous bonus track “So She (very similar guitar parts) but it’s more of an overt pop song than that rather modest charmer. It’s actually closer in spirit to Valentine’s Day and How Does the Grass Grow, all of them being batty pop ditties with surprisingly sinister undertones.

      4) Born in a UFO – The title made me think of Grinderman, but alas, all we get is Tin Machine. Actually, it’s like the chorus of “Born in the USA” married to Bowie’s take on “Like a Rolling Stone.” This perhaps could have used a little more time in the oven.

      5) God Bless the Girl – We all know this one, but damn is it good! An uncanny fusion of “Like a Prayer” and “Magic Dance” that somehow still manages to sound urgent and moving, perfectly in keeping with TND. In fact, I wish he had replaced World on Fire with God Bless. It’s one of his best songs of this era.

      • fluxkit says:

        I think Atomica is great. I don’t get comparing it to “My Sharona” at all. What a terrible song to think of.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        The, ‘My Sharona’, wiki page makes no mention of the fact that the riff of ‘M.S.’ sounds uncannily like the latter section of The Small Faces, ‘I Feel Much Better’, (2.47 in). Bowie and Steve Marriot of TSF’s were close at one point.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        P.S. All Small Faces/Spencer Davis Group/Knack ‘riff’ roads seem to lead back to Homer Banks, ‘(Ain’t that) a Lot of Love’.

      • s.t. says:

        twinkle, I’ve missed your insights!

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Aaah, s.t.

        Is ‘insights’ a euphemism for verbosity or rants, lol. I thank you warmly, anyway. My resolve to monk-like silence weakened due to a second glass of wine and synchronicity; I had played The Small Faces earlier that day and the ‘riff’ was fresh in my mind.

        On my return from a few weeks relaxing in the sun, (back in Sept), I had intended to echo the peace and apologies others had exchanged, but I got caught up in work, then – whoosh, it’s nearly Xmas. I don’t know why col’s posts back around Sept got me so carnaptious – I think my un-posted ripost to ‘Little Wonder’ stretches to over a thousand words, lol.

        Since then I have looked at each of col’s postings the way I used to watch William Hartnell’s Dr Who – tight in the corner of the sofa, cuddling a cushion. Col warned ‘hours…’ wasn’t one of his favourites. I girded my loins expecting the worst. Okay, he stamped his foot at the title spelling, but the rest is excellent so far. Very fair.

        I just hope col can keep ignoring that whirring noise – of Lester Bangs spinning in his grave, lol.

      • s.t. says:

        Really all I was saying was that My Sharona pops in my head whenever the Atomica riff is playing. Having now heard “I Feel Much Better,” I’d say that’s a plausible inspiration for Bowie. Still, the stiff nerviness of Atomica definitely has a New Wave feel to it, and he had to at least be aware of The Knack in the 80’s. So you never know…

        Anyway, it gave me license to bring out a bad “Knack’s Day” pun!

      • s.t. says:

        Yes, it’s a hard balance sometimes. Letting our personal attachments get the best of us can very easily show the worst of us, and yet where’s the fun if there’s no passion involved? The answer my friend, is wild like the wind. Or maybe it’s midway through that magical movement from Kether to Malkuth.

        Ol’ Les was a paragon of passion, basically a human incarnation of Plato’s stallions of the soul, except free of their charioteer. Spirit and Appetite thrashing around, fighting, fucking, and sleeping it off once in a while. His works really are enjoyable to read once you realize that he was primarily concerned with the process of evaluation rather than the stamping of labels upon product. He often contradicted himself, but he admitted as much, and was usually open to reevaluation.

        There’s definitely a kinship with Bowie to be found. Bowie may have someone holding the reigns to keep his steeds in check, but the charioteer’s a bit devilish himself. Bowie likes strategy and control, and yet he also likes to ride his impulses, and to subvert expectations. Actually, I think a big reason why Bangs seemed so obsessed with hating Bowie was that he couldn’t totally read him; he couldn’t see the horses pulling the charioteer. Here was this man making a spectacle off of show biz artifice, who seemed so desperate for attention, so flighty, that me made a mockery of all previous attempts to imitate authenticity (see: every other musician). Bangs couldn’t quite get that 1) Bowie was at least honest about being an artificer, and 2) that his continual subversion of the holy notion of authenticity itself was driven by Bowie’s own (authentic?) cannibalistic passions.

        But…opinions can change. it took Bangs about 8 years of cantankerous bile-spewing toward Miles Davis’ On the Corner before he finally “got it” and subsequently loved it. Maybe if he had survived until the late 80’s, he could have eventually learned to appreciated the jumps from Bewley Brothers to Sweet Head to Sweet Thing onward. At the very least, an appreciation of 70’s Bowie could be prompted by some the contrast provided by everything on the radio, including “Day In Day Out.”

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Nicely put, s.t.

        I suppose one could quote Lou Reed quoting Yeats, ” ‘The best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity’. Now you figure out where I am.”

        ‘Passionate’, mmm… Like ‘cool’ the word has now lost it’s power and become meaningless through overuse. Have you seen our Prime Minister? He’s always claiming to be passionate about something, or other. Everyone’s ‘passionate’ these days. Sigh.

        Anyway, when I found myself trying to relax on holiday, floating in the middle of a large pool, with involuntary thoughts of Bowie and this site bouncing around my head, I knew it was getting silly; even if I had been wearing swimming trunks, and the pockets had contained paper and pen for notes, should I really have been thinking about my new theory on db’s sax and it’s ‘real meaning’, or, Nina Simone’s possible influence on ‘Low’ etc? I needed a rest, lol.

        When I spoke of my trepidation at reading some posts, I hadn’t meant to imply col was anything like The Dr’s arch enemy, the Daleks…

        Obviously I was thinking – Cybermen, lol. I jest, col.

        Warm salutations.

      • s.t. says:

        Yes, the passionate political persona often masks a lack of vision and know-how. But in art, it’s usually desirable.

        …Unless we’re talking about Mel Gibson’s Passion.Talk about rendering things meaningless through (obsessive) overuse…

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        You know, s.t., I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Mel Gibson film, certainly nothing more than a clip or accidental few minutes.

        I had a slightly older friend who loved Mel. She passed away just as his looks were on the wain – I remember her regret as she noticed the slight thinning of his hair at the front and his eyes crinkling. She missed his full-blown midlife crisis. She was Jewish.

        This got me thinking of a silly either/or question:

        Bowie’s musical history stays as it is, OR, db’s 80’s never happened – but he went bald?

        I like to think – I went bald so he didn’t have to, lol.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Wane, not wain. Damn that John Constable rattling in my head, lol!

      • s.t. says:

        Hmmm…a very interesting question. I would like to think that Bowie would take advantage of his baldness, perhaps sport a continually evolving set of wigs, with personas to match.

        I don’t think he would ever “go Eno” on that front, there’s too much honesty there. For Hours, I’m picturing a graceful gray or white Wizard’s wig, maybe feathered like Farrah Fawcett as an homage to the bygone 70s.

        But, oh, the world does not have enough wigs or skin creme to save the reputation of poor martyred Mel. Well, that’s too harsh. His magnum opus is a horror-comedy masterpiece, perfect for midnight screenings on Halloween. Maybe Mel can jump out at certain moments dressed like Riff Raff (or maybe Eno?) and scream something in medieval Latin.

  140. Anonymous says:

    Love is Lost:

    Oh, the Supermen. The Illuminated Ones.. The “beautiful girl” at a crossroads and has chosen her path and it leads straight to them. In all their blinding glory. “(Oh, What have you done?”) She is leaving behind the fleeting temporal life of mortal love for soul love. For their death abyss.(“for they are like the grave.”) Sacrificed on the altar of these Unknown men. She has taken the Oath..Drunk on their knowledge and ashes she faces the great UNKNOWN. Her young life , once full of promise, is forever forsaken for them. For Empires Rise and Fall and still there is them. And she has now tasted the fruit from their bitter tree. And there is no turning back.

  141. Patrick says:

    Some more Next Day Plus tracks released and on Youtube. Disappointing.
    Oh for the quality control of the Golden Age of vinyl Albums.

    • Patrick says:

      I don’t seem to be subbed to this thread so didn’t see the recent updates. Just posting another message to resubscribe.

  142. Ramzi says:

    The 4 new songs are found here

    Set to footage of Elisabeth Hasselbeck doing yoga (!!!)

  143. princeasbo says:

    News just in about The Next Day re-release:

  144. Bruised Passivity says:

    Thoughts on the 2 videos for the Love is Lost Remix…
    Low tech version – simple and effective. Liked the home made style, and a bargain at $12.99!
    High tech version – beautiful and transfixing. Really enjoyable but makes me wonder why he is sooo into promoting this particular track? I mean it’s a fun listen but is it that special?

    • Maj says:

      Oh. There’s a high tech version. Thanks for the heads up.

      I’d gotten so used to Bowie being retired I still haven’t made it a habit to check news every day. 🙂

    • Patrick says:

      Well the 12.99 version was debuted at the Mercury Awards ceremony night, here in the UK , as a concession to not performing ,or even turning up, though he may have been tipped that he wasn’t going to win. The Youtube version, though I haven’t seen it yet (having got rather underwhelmed by most of the Next Day extras) , is suitably “controversial” it seems, to raise his profile again with the (younger?) internet audience. Remember also that this pre x-mas period is traditionally when the bulk of the record industries profit is made, when gifts are given in the form of music, presumably downloads now rather than CDs mostly. TND was released way back in Feb/Mar?
      Why any track is chosen over another sometimes when there are arguably stronger options on any album is anyone’s guess.

      • s.t. says:

        I have a feeling the youth factor was at play here. It’s likely that David met James Murphy during the session for “Reflektor,” and remix of his own work resulted (Murphy is of course a huge fan). LCD Soundsystem is about as famous now as Arcade Fire used to be–that is to say, not very, but known and respected among critics and tastemakers. So, it’s some easy cred that can help get younger music fans interested in the Bowie brand.

    • fluxkit says:

      I absolutely love this remixed version of “Love is Lost.”

  145. Bruised Passivity says:

    Good points about the pre x-mas promo timing and the youth cred aspect, sorta what I suspected. Am I nuts or is there an Adam and Eve metaphor going on with the electronic video? Or am I simply trying to find meanings where there aren’t any?

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  147. s.t. says:

    There was a comment made for another post (can’t remember which one) that mentioned that Trent Reznor had found The Next Day to be underwhelming.

    Recently, however, Trent wrote a short essay that indicates a change of opinion. The piece speaks to the subtle power of the album:

    “To me, David Bowie is in the very top tier of artists — with capital letters. He’s proved himself so many times that I sit back and trust him. Often, he’s so far ahead of the game, it takes time to catch up. Bowie doesn’t strike me as someone who sits down to write songs and says, “That’s my collection of what I did this summer.” With Bowie, there’s a mission statement, a set design, a feel and a whole new identity — a construction that he’s created to voice and stand in the middle of the stage.

    When The Next Day came out [in March], I was genuinely surprised — a new album from Bowie? That’s fantastic. I didn’t even know it was on the horizon, particularly with the rumors of his health circulating for the last few years. Then I was kind of pissed off because, between finishing an album and going on tour, I didn’t have long chunks of time to absorb it. I listened to it while going back and forth to the Valley for Nine Inch Nails rehearsals. It was a puzzle — it didn’t sound like how I thought it might sound. I thought maybe it was a bit conservative sonically. But over several months, it made its way into my playlist on countless bus rides; when I’m sitting alone to listen to music, I reach for The Next Day.

    I’m still unraveling the riddle that he presented. I’m still getting new meanings out of the lyrics. What I thought was conservative production now feels forward-thinking. Like any great album, it’s revealed itself to be something that wasn’t what I initially thought.”

    Well said, Trent.

    Here’s the link:

  148. Queen Bitch says:

    Still love it!

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Me too, Q.B.

      As Xmas and Jan 8th approach I was just thinking of you, SkyPSpider, s.t., all the regulars and irregulars like Momus who,along with a certain Mr Bowie, have made this year such a ride.

      If this nervous flyer survives his impending flights, he’ll toast you all on the other side of some midnight, which more than likely will be the 1st Jan with a glass of Glayva.

      It’ll be interesting to see where col and db take us next year. Have a fabulous holiday folks.


      • s.t. says:

        Cheers to you as well, Twinkle. Have a happy holiday and a Glayva falvored New Year.

        And the next year, and the next, and another year!

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Love the typo, s.t.

        ‘A falvored New Year’; florid faced, collapsed in alcoholic merriment?

        I can see bulbous veiny noses on old men and a crackling log fire – if the word actually existed, lol.

        All the best!

      • s.t. says:

        If Santa could grant me just one wish, I would have falvor enter the English language, preferably in Germanic sounding compound words like “falvorswine.”

        Either that, or an edit function for wordpress posts.

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Falvorswine – even better! Love it.

        As 2013 came to a close, we lost Peter O’Toole, the last great ‘falvorswine’ of his generation. He now joins hell-raisers Harris, Reed and Burton, in that great manly watering-hole in the sky – cheek speckled with sawdust and hair caressing the rim of a spittoon.

        Come on db, surely ‘falvorswine’ could be slipped into a lyric on the next album? You know, the one before the tour – HINT! Okay, limited gigs… One off gig? Santa!!!

  149. stuartgardner says:

    Does the drum strike that opens the album suggest the sound of a gunshot to anyone other than me?

    • twinkle-twinkle says:

      Yes, but I was waiting for col to reach TND proper before blethering on some more, lol.

      Aladdin Sane, which was originally proposed as TND cover, references 1913 and other years before World Wars.

      As TND came out 100 years on from 1913, the calm before the storm as it were, I wondered if it was suggesting the assassin’s bullet which killed Franz Ferdinand and started a century of conflict in the world.

      As TND also has Bowie’s personal life running in tandem with more international events, it could also be interpreted as the starting pistol to life, as mentioned in ‘Time’ on Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’.

  150. twinkle-twinkle says:

    Blink… Blink… No news of a new album or tour? Not r-e-e-e-a-l-l-y expected, Lol.

    As Frank might have put it, ‘When you were sixty-six, it was a very good year…’

    Happy Birthday db x

    • Bruised Passivity says:

      I must say it felt a little strange today to NOT be pacing around my house with happy tears streaming down my face over proof that the Mr. Bowie wasn’t sick or retired but was still a musician with more to share with his fans. 🙂 But a good day none the less. Many Happy Returns Mr. Jones, Affection always.

  151. Mr Tagomi says:

    I’ve just noticed that the line “The stars are out tonight” is in Iggy Pop’s The Pasenger.

    Just wanted to make note of it.

  152. twinkle-twinkle says:

    Ah! ‘S’ – for ‘silence’…

    • s.t. says:

      Laying in bed, coming and going on easy terms…

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Glide in and out… Just go to sleep one day…

      • s.t. says:

        She says…”Ssshhhhh…”

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        It’s Sunday. Nothing remains…

        But, Ikea…

      • s.t. says:

        Twinkle-Twinkle little bat, how I wonder what you’re at. Up with Uncle Floyd you fly, keeping mum as posts roll by… 🙂

      • twinkle-twinkle says:

        Lol… I’m touched, but haven’t people suffered enough from my teasing tussles and spleen venting?

        I’m probably telling lies, starting fires, or putting camel shit on other walls.

        Or more than likely painting naked people. Lots and lots and lots of naked people. Flesh, it’s what oil paint was invented for.

      • s.t. says:

        Flesh…and ape men with metal parts.

        Happy painting, then! May you splat upon deeply felt beige.

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