Now then, where do I start with this one? I mean, it’s David fucking Bowie. The man’s not even from this planet.
Before breaking open the case, there was an ambivalent uncertainty oscillating in the back of my mind – what to expect? I was candidly hoping it wasn’t going to be a half-cooked record that’s been fashioned purely as an indecent money spinner.
Many vintage musician has walked this re-launch route before – some of the high rollers have included Paul McCartney with I Look Like An Old Woman, Sting with I’ve Grown This Amorous Beard As Justification For Obscure Folk and Mr Bowie’s mate Iggy Pop, with I Never Really Left, People Just Stopped Caring.
‘The Next Day’, however, is on course for a number one slot. If I’m right it will be Bowie’s first number one album in twenty years following ‘Black Tie White Noise’.
After ten years of hush (excluding Bowie’s role in Chris Nolan’s 2006 picture, The Prestige) we, as a fan base, were expecting a lot.
We were teased with the single release ‘Where Are We Now?’ (8 January) to celebrate Big Dave’s 66th birthday but to be honest, I wasn’t enamoured – it was hard work.
You want to adore it because it’s David Bowie, but I’m going to put it out there, it was a bit wet – a grower, not a show-er, Dave. What it really boils down to is the fact that the album itself is a collective, to be appreciated and consumed in one sitting.
If you were to show someone 1/14 of Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, he mightn’t be particularly taken with it either.
‘How Does The Grass Grow’ sticks out like a sore thumb – sounds a bit like the band’s been listening to either too much of The Talking Heads or The Flaming Lips – not 100% on what’s going on there.
Before I even got the chance to consume the full album, ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ was brought to my attention with its accompanying video featuring La Roux’s birth mother (Tilda Swinton). It’s a dark, dramatic yet energetic piece that revolves around the struggle of coming to terms with his inevitable aging. It rings truth as to how iconic Bowie really was – a pioneer, insouciantly traversing time.
‘Dirty Boys’ is everything is says on the tin. It’s sloth like tempo laden with filthy, punchy bass and discordant overdriven guitar slinks lustrously around your ears – really down to earth, with tangible 70s authenticity branded across its arse.
The striking thing about Bowie and his music is that it’s so regal, but at the same time it’s incontestably evident he does not give one single fuck.
This is where ‘You Feel So Lonely You Could Die’ comes into play with the trademark, harrowingly high-end strings that burn passion through the choruses. It’s everything we have come to associate with the man. This one’s a high flyer, in my books.
The most pertinent question is; will it tour? So far, all we have is hearsay but when quizzed Bowie’s wife, Iman, said, “we have a 12-year-old in school, so we’re stuck – we can’t travel. Our schedule is around her, so I don’t know. We’ll have to go visit, but we won’t be on tour with him.”
Bowie’s guitarist however, has commented, “He’s fairly adamant he’s never going to perform live again. One of the guys would say, ‘Boy, how are we going do all this live?’ and David said, ‘We’re not’. He made a point of saying that all the time.”
Only time will tell with this one…
The album was never going to be ‘Aladdin Sane’ or ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars’ but it definitely holds its own as a decade’s silence killer. It hosts all the magnetism and British charm that we’ve grown to associate with David Bowie and it demonstrates his unmatched ability to command an audience.
I doubt I’m alone in saying this – I’ve got absolutely everything crossed that this will put David Bowie back on the road.
Find the published article at IAreYeti.com