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The Next Day

4.2 out of 5 stars 473 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2013 album from the legendary Rock chameleon, his first studio album in ten years and his 30th studio recording. The album was produced by long-term collaborator Tony Visconti and was recorded in New York. In recent years, radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumor and wishful thinking. A new record: who would have ever thought it? After all, David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants: when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today, he definitely has something to say. Throwing shadows and avoiding the industry treadmill is very David Bowie despite his extraordinary track record that includes album sales in excess of 130 million; not to mention his massive contributions in the area of art, fashion, style, sexual exploration, and social commentary. It goes without saying that he has sold out stadiums and broken ticket records throughout the world during this most influential of careers.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B00AYHK7RU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (473 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,395 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading s.t.'s review, I am not sure I can add in any way to what was written. His review was remarkably thorough.

That said, I originally debated between 4 and 5 stars for this album. My dilemma was simple: "Do I compare this album with David Bowie's past classics?" No, I think that would be a little unfair. Music has changed and so has Bowie. Rather, I believe it is best to compare the album with the music that is current or at least music from the last ten years. Comparing this to "current" rock albums, the genre it mostly aligns, this is a five star album.

Granted it is not an album for everyone. Still no album is. I give little credence to those who criticize this album for not being like today's "pop". Bowie's music is not "pop" nor is trying to be. Those in tuned to music mainstream will likely be disappointed.

Musically its style is often discordant with heavy guitar riffs, orchestral swills, and drum and bass beats. At times it takes an 180 degree turn and goes into an acoustic strip down. This can be disheartening to those unfamiliar with Bowie who may not understand these transitions.

It is an emotional album, but not the same sense as one might consider. It emotions are those that reside deeper into the spirit of the human condition. These are the dark emotions we often try to keep hidden and certainly do not sing about. The album is not about love, romance, happiness or subjects that dominate today's radio mainstay. Isolation, alienation, war, misunderstanding, and revenge are themes on this album. Mixed with cryptic lyrics with uses of references to history, philosophy and culture one has to think when listening. Not always a pleasant experience when I am looking just for relaxation.
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Format: Audio CD
EDIT. A re-appraisal, after a few years:

Music takes time to absorb and appreciate, and our opinions often change over the years. I must admit that my initial review of The Next Day was a little soft on criticism, perhaps because I was so excited about Bowie's return to music after 10 years of silence.

Some of its praise still stands. These are some of Bowie's strongest lyrics: layered, literary, and yet evoking a passion that we hadn't heard in so long. Similarly, it's great to hear his devilish side again. Attempts to be tasteful so often yield bland results, so kudos to Bowie for getting a bit indulgent and theatrical. Some of the tracks on here rival the best moments of Outside.

However, the ambitions of the album are undercut by formulaic song arrangements, lackluster production, and general glut. The album is too long, unfocused, and quite conservative despite its occasional referencing of old avant garde Bowie. I hate to speak ill of Tony Visconti, but the album would sound markedly better in the hands of another producer---and with some other musicians. In short, there are great ideas here, but also a need to get out of old habits and comfort zones.

In truth, The Next Day is not all that far in sound from Bowie's last two albums---Heathen and Reality---yet it connects the sound of those albums to darker classics like The Idiot, Heroes, and Scary Monsters. If Heathen was a contemporary review of 60s pop Bowie, and Reality was a tasteful rumination of 80's rock Bowie, The Next Day is (mostly) a curator's take on Art Rock Bowie. Hopefully he makes more music in the future, but this (and the wonderful Sue/Tis a Pity release) nevertheless make for a great last testament to a beloved musician.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a very good David Bowie album, in my view. It's a great relief to say it, because when some of the gods of my youth have returned in...well...late middle age after a long absence the results have not always been very good, to say the least. Here, Bowie shows that he is still a major songwriting and performing talent and that he still has a genuine edge.

We have had a little time now to digest the track Where Are We Now? and to assess its true merit now that the "Blimey!" factor following its surprise release has worn off a bit. I still think that it's a very good song indeed. I did worry that some of the fragile, almost-out-of-tune vocal wasn't a deliberate effect but the voice of a man who can't quite sing as he used to, but - thank heavens - I was quite wrong. It is followed on the album by Valentine's Day, a track which wouldn't have been out of place on Aladdin Sane and which Bowie sings superbly, and there's plenty of other evidence here that he's still got it.

The songs seem to me to be vintage Bowie. There is the full gamut from singable, rocky tunes like Valentine's Day, through lovely tender songs like Where Are We Now? to the almost tuneless and weird-rhythmed If You Can See Me, with plenty in between. He certainly hasn't settled into a comfortable rut in middle age - If You Can See Me has joined my list of Almost Unlistenable Bowie Tracks and I'm delighted to see that he is still prepared to challenge and unsettle his audience even if personally I don't like the result.

The lyrics, of course, are complex, allusive and often elusive.
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