Bowie returns on The Next Day

by Rachel Bolin / Eshac

6th March 2013

Editor’s Note: With the much anticipated release of Bowie’s new album, we’ve asked our writers to weigh in on their favorite Bowie era. Tune in next week as they relate their own personal Bowie bias.

Bowie is back! After a self imposed 10-year break from music, David Bowie is finally back with his newest effort The Next Day. Listening to snippets of it, you can tell that Bowie has never lost his touch. He has always been boundary shattering and genre breaking with his music, and his lyrics always touch on topics that many modern pop songs tend to stray away from. With his long and fruitful career, he has earned his place as a highly regarded and extremely respected musician.

Bowie chose to break his musical silence by releasing the first single “Where are we now?” on his 66th birthday. It was a loud and triumphant return to his musical career. He had chosen to take a break from his career, apart from a film role here and there, and making some public appearances. He had all but disappeared from our minds.

Many people were hoping that this would be a return to the music was known for – the sonically engaging and often strange music he had produced during the 1970’s and 1980’s, before changing his sound in the 90’s. And so many people will be disappointed by this output, that it doesn’t call back to what he used to be. It’s instead a smaller ballad merely reflecting on his former adopted hometown of Berlin, during the time when he made his Berlin Trilogy albums. This sounds more like an artist merely revisiting the time in his life.

The second single “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” was released in late February. The video features Tilda Swinton (who many call his doppelganger), and casts a strange celebrity couple who stalks both Tilda and Bowie, playing a married couple. The song deals the idea of fame and androgyny.

The video does well to work with the lyrical content. It really is an amazing piece of work. It does take multiple views and listens to properly get it down. It’s like all of Bowie’s other work, you may never fully understand it, but you can always get the basic idea. That’s why so many people love Bowie. He propels these ideas up in his work, and presents them in such a way that people are able to take their own view of the idea and plaster it into the song.

He’s so sonically daring, and isn’t afraid to make mistakes with his music. He does enjoy making his music almost avant-garde, but not quite, so it’s still accessible. He balances the strange and the accessible in a way that not many people are able to.

The reviews of his effort are already out, many of them have given him high praise for his new work. The British newspaper The Guardian referred to it as, “Thought provoking, strange, and filled with great songs.” From the singles already released, you can tell that Bowie is back, and he’s returned with his A-game. It’s always a great thing when a musician of his caliber comes back with great work.

The Next Day will be released on March 11th, 2013.

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