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David Bowie: The Next Day

7 Apr

David Bowie shocked everyone by releasing The Next Day, his first album after a decade of retirement with no advance publicity. What further shocked us was how incredible his return is. A decade has allowed us to forget just how good David Bowie can be and his latest album serves as a stronger reminder than any perusal of his old work ever could.

Every song in the album is strong, often verging on spectacular, and despite the album being filled to the brim with references to his old work each song feels entirely new. Much has been said of how easily Bowie adapts to the times, and the meme-like adaptation of Heroes that serves as this album’s cover is no exception, but what is often lost in the noise is how good his music can be. There doesn’t seem to be a wrong note in this album and songs like The Stars (Are Out Tonight), How Does The Grass Grow and especially Valentine’s Day are exceptional. Bowie has left behind a music legacy that very few others can match and with The Next Day, not only does he evoke the masterpieces that have come before, but adds another work of art to stand alongside them.

Excellent thought the music is, the content of the album is also worth bringing up. Topical in places like Valentine’s Day, How Does the Grass Grow and even the sixties-referencing I’d Rather Be High and more inward-looking on The Stars (Are Out Tonight) and The Next Day, Bowie reminds us why he is respected not only as a musician, but as an intellectual force. Diverse and witty, Bowie walks across us across a fascinating landscape.

Although The Next Day is not quite of the standard of say, Ziggy Stardust, this is nevertheless a triumphant return for David Bowie and hopefully a long-lived one.

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