SLATE.COM CH-CH-CH-CHANGES A decade after his last album release, Bowie is back with more soon-to-be beloved hits.
CH-CH-CH-CHANGES A decade after his last album release, Bowie is back with more soon-to-be beloved hits.

4/5 stars

David Bowie is a legend, and he’s back.

He is a legend because of his music, his image and his ability to change with the times while still holding onto exactly what makes him the icon he is now. Ten years after his last album release and a health scare, Bowie is back with an album that will please old and new fans alike. What perhaps differentiates this album from many others, including Bowie’s own, is that it was recorded in secret in New York City and dropped unannounced.

Bowie teamed up with famed producer Tony Visconti, who has been responsible for the production of many of his best albums. The dynamic duo was once again able to come together to create a remarkable album. Due to a sporadic recording process, Bowie and Visconti took the execution of the album slowly, recording it and finishing it up over a two-year period. With 14 tracks on the regular edition, the album is consistent and well thought-out despite this abnormal production cycle.

The Next Day is Bowie’s 24th studio album. It’s been 46 years since his self-titled debut album and 44 years since Ziggy Stardust touched down. Now in his mid-60s, he has looked back at his discography and his legacy to find influences for his new album instead of trying to adapt his music to what is popular now. He has taken the qualities that have made him the rock god he is and has morphed them into a comeback album unlike any other.

One of the most remarkable things about Bowie is how he knows just how far to go and when to pull back in terms of his musical stylings. This album is quintessentially Bowie with the bright music, dark lyrics and familiar crooning voice. The Next Day weaves together the wisdom Bowie has garnered over the years with a pulsing, youthful vitality.

Bowie isn’t just a musician, and he’s more than just an artist. He has become a musical chameleon, he’s changed his image more times than I care to count, and his entire career has revolved around which face he has shown at which times. Bowie’s morphed into more characters and dabbled in more genres than any of his contemporaries, and unlike them, he has chosen to stay true to himself despite his ever-changing personas.

The album isn’t revolutionary or anything you haven’t heard before, but it’s solid and a joy to listen to. The majority, if not all, of the tracks are strong, with a few highlights like “I’d Rather Be High” and “You Feel So Lonely You Could Die” standing out. “Valentine’s Day” takes glam rock to a new level, while “Dirty Boys” will get stuck in your head very easily after the first listen.

Bowie won’t tour for this album, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be more Bowie sightings and special performances in the upcoming months and years. Rumors abound that many tracks were cut from this album, so there is quite a bit of potential that this won’t be the last album he’ll release. I just hope that next time, we won’t have to wait another 10 years to hear it.

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