If there’s one thing in this damned crazy world of ours that I agree with John on, it’s that “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” is an awesome song. Maybe one of the best David Bowie has ever done. That he can manage to put out a song like that, or an album like The Next Day after a decade without a single release continues to be amazing to me. It definitely makes me feel validated in spending the last month revisiting and meeting his entire catalog. But are we all caught up in the hype of Bowie finally coming back after all these years, or will The Next Day remain as a proud part of his legacy?
If anything, I consider this a validation of the last few Bowie albums. Tony Visconti is back as producer, and listening to all of his work in quick succession, The Next Day really does feel like a continuation of the work they did on Heathen and Reality. What that means is music that touches on Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, and The Berlin Trilogy easily and capably, with a keen awareness for contemporary tastes. Bowie’s done a lot, and his music at this point reflects the knowledge and experience he has playing the pop game.
That is a lot to say that The Next Day is expertly done, although far from innovative. There’s no underlying menace, groundbreaking production, or anything to that could possibly get in the way of this album feeling like a treat. A pleasant little treat. And that’s OK, right? What possibly could David Bowie have left to prove at this point? That last Radiohead album was innovative and I haven’t listened to The King of Limbs since 2011 because of that. My star rating here is an indicator of where I would place this album in the overall Bowie legacy, if I hadn’t just done that Retrospecticus, I probably would have given The Next Day a higher rating.
I’m really excited to not have to write about David Bowie anymore for a while, but I fear getting out of the habit of listening to his music every day will prove more difficult.
Favorite Tracks: “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” “Where are We Now?” “Dancing Out in Space”