Next Day

Performers David Bowie

November 5, 2013 | Compact Disc

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Say this for David Bowie: he has a flair for drama. This abiding love of the theatrical may not be as evident in the production of The Next Day as it is in its presentation, how Bowie sprung it upon the world early in 2013 following a decade of undeclared retirement. Reasons for Bowie's absence were many and few, perhaps related to a health scare in 2004, perhaps due to a creative dry spell, perhaps he simply didn't have songs to sing, or perhaps he had a lingering suspicion that by the time the new millennium was getting into full swing he was starting to be taken for granted. He had settled into a productive purple patch in the late '90s, a development that was roundly ignored by all except the devoted and the press, who didn't just give Hours, Heathen, and Reality a pass, they recognized them as a strong third act in a storied career. That same sentiment applies to The Next Day, an album recorded with largely the same team as Reality -- the same musicians and the same producer, his longtime lieutenant Tony Visconti -- and, appropriately, shares much of the same moody, meditative sound as its predecessor, Heathen. What's different is the reception, which is appropriately breathless because Bowie has been gone so long we all know what we've missed. And The Next Day is designed to remind us all of why we've missed him, containing hints of the Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust within what is largely an elegant, considered evocation of the Berlin Bowie so calculating it opens with a reworking of "Beauty & the Beast," and is housed in an artful desecration of the Heroes LP cover. Unlike his Berlin trilogy of the late '70s, The Next Day is rarely unsettling. Apart from the crawling closer "Heat" -- a quiet, shimmering, hallucination-channeling late-'70s Scott Walker -- the album has been systematically stripped of eeriness, trading discomfort for pleasure at every turn. And pleasure it does deliver, as nobody knows how to do classic Bowie like Bowie and Visconti, the two life-long collaborators sifting through their past, picking elements that relate to what Bowie is now: an elder statesman who made a conscious decision to leave innovation behind long ago. This persistent, well-manicured nostalgia could account for the startling warmth that exudes from The Next Day; even when a melody sighs with an air of resigned melancholia, as it does on "Where Are We Now?," it never delves into sadness, it stays afloat in a warm, soothing bath. That overwhelming familiarity is naturally quite appealing for anyone well-versed in Bowie lore, but The Next Day isn't a career capper; it lacks the ambition to be anything so grand. The Next Day neither enhances nor diminishes anything that came before, it's merely a sweet coda to a towering career. [The Next Day already had a "Deluxe Edition" upon its March 2013 release but The Next Day [Extra], released about eight months later, feels more deluxe than the Deluxe Edition. A two-CD/one-DVD set, it contains the entirety of the original album on the first CD, a DVD with the album's four promo clips, then a second CD containing the four songs on the Deluxe Edition ("So She," "Plan," "I'll Take You There," and "God Bless the Girl," the latter a Japanese exclusive), two remixes (the "Venetian Mix" of "I'd Rather Be High," which is overshadowed by James Murphy's epic "Hello Steve Reich Mix" of "Love Is Lost," lasting over a trance-like ten minutes) and, most noteworthy, four new songs. With the exception of "The Informer," a dark anthem with slight echoes of both "Heroes" and Hunky Dory, these are all considerably lighter in tone than the finished The Next Day: "Atomica" percolates with punk-disco purpose, "Like a Rocket Man" nearly sways and skips with its tongue in cheek and "Born in a UFO" is nearly as camp, twisting a fist-pumping anthem to the outreaches of outer space. Any of these wouldn't quite have fit on the meditative The Next Day, but they're wonderful lightweight addendums to a fine record and are certainly worth hearing.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: November 5, 2013

Number of Discs: 3

UPC: 888837878128

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– More About This Product –

Next Day

Performers David Bowie

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: November 5, 2013

Number of Discs: 3

UPC: 888837878128


Title Track Time
1.Next Day --
2.Dirty Boys --
3.Stars (Are Out Tonight) --
4.Love is Lost --
5.Where Are We Now? --
6.Valentine's Day --
7.If You Can See Me --
8.I'd Rather Be High --
9.Boss of Me --
10.Dancing Out In Space --
11.How Does the Grass Grow? --
12.(You Will) Set the World On Fire --
13.You Feel So Lonely You Could Die --
14.Heat --
1.Atomica --
2.Love is Lost [Hello Steve Reich Mix] --
3.Plan --
4.Informer --
5.I'd Rather Be High [Venetian Mix] --
6.Like a Rocket Man --
7.Born In a Ufo --
8.I'll Take You There --
9.God Bless the Girl --
10.So She --
1.Where Are We Now? --
2.Stars (Are Out Tonight) --
3.Next Day --
4.Valentine's Day --

Editorial Notes

Say this for David Bowie: he has a flair for drama. This abiding love of the theatrical may not be as evident in the production of The Next Day as it is in its presentation, how Bowie sprung it upon the world early in 2013 following a decade of undeclared retirement. Reasons for Bowie's absence were many and few, perhaps related to a health scare in 2004, perhaps due to a creative dry spell, perhaps he simply didn't have songs to sing, or perhaps he had a lingering suspicion that by the time the new millennium was getting into full swing he was starting to be taken for granted. He had settled into a productive purple patch in the late '90s, a development that was roundly ignored by all except the devoted and the press, who didn't just give Hours, Heathen, and Reality a pass, they recognized them as a strong third act in a storied career. That same sentiment applies to The Next Day, an album recorded with largely the same team as Reality -- the same musicians and the same producer, his longtime lieutenant Tony Visconti -- and, appropriately, shares much of the same moody, meditative sound as its predecessor, Heathen. What's different is the reception, which is appropriately breathless because Bowie has been gone so long we all know what we've missed. And The Next Day is designed to remind us all of why we've missed him, containing hints of the Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust within what is largely an elegant, considered evocation of the Berlin Bowie so calculating it opens with a reworking of "Beauty & the Beast," and is housed in an artful desecration of the Heroes LP cover. Unlike his Berlin trilogy of the late '70s, The Next Day is rarely unsettling. Apart from the crawling closer "Heat" -- a quiet, shimmering, hallucination-channeling late-'70s Scott Walker -- the album has been systematically stripped of eeriness, trading discomfort for pleasure at every turn. And pleasure it does deliver, as nobody knows how to do classic Bowie like Bowie and Visconti, the two life-long collaborators sifting through their past, picking elements that relate to what Bowie is now: an elder statesman who made a conscious decision to leave innovation behind long ago. This persistent, well-manicured nostalgia could account for the startling warmth that exudes from The Next Day; even when a melody sighs with an air of resigned melancholia, as it does on "Where Are We Now?," it never delves into sadness, it stays afloat in a warm, soothing bath. That overwhelming familiarity is naturally quite appealing for anyone well-versed in Bowie lore, but The Next Day isn't a career capper; it lacks the ambition to be anything so grand. The Next Day neither enhances nor diminishes anything that came before, it's merely a sweet coda to a towering career. [The Next Day already had a "Deluxe Edition" upon its March 2013 release but The Next Day [Extra], released about eight months later, feels more deluxe than the Deluxe Edition. A two-CD/one-DVD set, it contains the entirety of the original album on the first CD, a DVD with the album's four promo clips, then a second CD containing the four songs on the Deluxe Edition ("So She," "Plan," "I'll Take You There," and "God Bless the Girl," the latter a Japanese exclusive), two remixes (the "Venetian Mix" of "I'd Rather Be High," which is overshadowed by James Murphy's epic "Hello Steve Reich Mix" of "Love Is Lost," lasting over a trance-like ten minutes) and, most noteworthy, four new songs. With the exception of "The Informer," a dark anthem with slight echoes of both "Heroes" and Hunky Dory, these are all considerably lighter in tone than the finished The Next Day: "Atomica" percolates with punk-disco purpose, "Like a Rocket Man" nearly sways and skips with its tongue in cheek and "Born in a UFO" is nearly as camp, twisting a fist-pumping anthem to the outreaches of outer space. Any of these wouldn't quite have fit on the meditative The Next Day, but they're wonderful lightweight addendums to a fine record and are certainly worth hearing.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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