Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: David Bowie The Next Day

In my 40 years of reviewing and buying music, David Bowie remains the quintessential overrated artist that I have ever reviewed.  I go back to his Deram S/T album which was uneven but entertaining but his RCA years provided some of the most comical, influential and at times pompous as they come.  In fact the only time I could handle Bowie was the Changes One album to which I still have it remains a A+ record since it captured all of the Bowie that I enjoyed.  Another A album he did was 1976's Station To Station which is my favorite studio Bowie with the 10 minute title track and TVC 15.  Low had the failed single rocker Sound And Vision and I had the album once and didn't like it much.  Ledger was better but Scary Monsters was poo-tastic, meaning overrated  as well and Changes 2 cleans up the mess of those albums.

I give Bowie credit for showing off Stevie Ray Vaughan on Let's Dance and Peter Frampton got a second life on the underrated Never Let Me Down and Tin Machine rocked.  But since then Bowie made two listenable albums, 1993's Black Tie White Noise and 2003's Reality which was his swan song before going into retirement but the big buzz this year was The Thin White Duke returns with The Next Day.  And there's more guitars and Bowie attitude but the whole things seems tossed off.  Oh, it starts out pretty good with the title track although the lyrics are either self pitying or gothic (probably the former).  There's a nice guitar hook on the beginning of (You Will Set) The World On Fire but then it's gets to the chorus and Bowie can't decide to go with a rock sound or disco.  And with 14 meddling songs that don't really go anywhere and I can probably see Bob Lefsetz's view that nobody cares about David Bowie except for his dedicated following. To which I hope they find the melodies and words better than I did on The Next Day but the whole thing sounds half tossed, all down to the recycled album cover.

Chances are that The Next Day will beat out Bon Jovi for the top spot on the Billboard charts but unlike Station To Station or Aladdin Shane, there's hardly anything on The Next Day that sticks.

Maybe he should have stayed retired.

Grade C

Picks: The Next Day (song that is), Where Are We Now? 

Speaking of reality:


TAD said...

Crabby: I'll buy overrated 4 Bowie, but he's had a pretty long career 4 somebody with only a handful of great songs -- Changes, Suffragette City, Modern Love, Space Oddity, Ashes to Ashes, TVC15, DJ.... & he's written a couple other greats, All the Young Dudes & Man Who Sold the World. But yeah, they couldn't have picked anyone better for THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. Maybe I just haven't heard enuf, but I know when I've heard too much....

R S Crabb said...

You can't go wrong with Changes One And Two from Mr. Bowie and Station To Station is a classic but even some of his "classic" albums takes a lot to get into if you're only a casual fan Tad ;)

Reality was a good album but last time i heard that was about 10 years ago but The Next Day sounds like he's more full of himself. I'll probably throw that one in the donation bin. It's just blah.