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David Bowie - The Next Day


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Rod Dreher:

Lots of good buzz around the new David Bowie album,
The Next Day
. Bowie is 66, and if he really has put out a good album at his age, hats off to him. The reviews have been really good. I sampled it on iTunes last night, and I regret to say that my overall impression is that it’s possible to be too damn old to rock and roll.

Some cuts are a lot better than others, but the only one that moved me was the elegiac “Where Are We Now?”, which has a haunting Berlin cabaret feel to it. It sounded good, but it also sounded
right
for a 66-year-old man. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the album; it would be interesting to know how it sounds to a young person who doesn’t know Bowie’s catalog, and wouldn’t know that he was listening to a retiree-rocker. Still, though Bowie’s voice is far more supple than his co-generationalist Mick Jagger’s, it’s hard for me to get past the idea that all that vocal ferocity is just a pose. Rock is a young man’s game (or a young woman’s, but mostly a young man’s), and I’m just not feeling the anger, the libidinal energy, and the passion of younger Bowie’s work.

And that’s okay! I’m middle aged, and I don’t have the anger, the passion, and the libidinal energy of my younger self. This is normal. If you’re still trying to rock as hard at 66 as you did at 26 and even 36, you’re not maturing. That’s not to say you cannot and should not make great music into old age. It’s just that not every genre is equally suited to one’s maturity. It’s just that Bowie sounds so much more — what’s the word? —
credible
on the brooding, pensive “Where Are We Now?” than on the harder stuff on the record. . . .
Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The enthusiasm for THE NEXT DAY is probably overstated. I've been incredibly excited just because there's finally more Bowie to listen to, and I suspected for a bit there that we wouldn't ever be getting a new Bowie album (save for the leak of the never-released TOY).

But THE NEXT DAY is a good album, even if it's not a great album, and compares favorably to much of the latter Bowie albums. "Heat" is probably my favorite track (lots of Scott Walker there).

Edited by Ryan H.
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Bowie is 66.

Tom Waits is 63.

Bob Dylan is 72.

Richard Thompson is 64.

Bruce Springsteen is 64.

These guys have done some of their loudest, most energetic work in the last few years, and in my opinion some of that work stands with their finest. Sorry, Rod Dreher, but I don't see any problem at all with rocking as hard at 66 as you did at 26 and even 36. If you've matured, it may be that you're bringing that much more expertise, experience, and emotion to your rock and roll. That's not to say there aren't plenty of aging rockers who wear their immaturity on their sleeve, but I discern immaturity in something other than how hard they rock.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Darren H wrote:

: If we dug through the deep A&F archives and unearthed every Rod Dreher quote Peter has posted over the years, I feel pretty confident I would disagree with every single one of them.

Hmmm. He's one of my favorite bloggers, but I only link to him rarely here. Maybe when he seems especially contrarian. (Now if you said you disagreed with every single Rod Dreher quote I have posted *at Facebook*, I'd be a little more worried. :) )

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 month later...

Bowie (sort of) describes his writing process to The Rumpus, starting with a list of 42 words that he says influenced The Next Day.

Effigies

Indulgences

Anarchist

Violence

Chthonic

Intimidation

Vampyric

Pantheon

Succubus

Hostage

Transference

Identity

Mauer

Interface

Flitting

Isolation

Revenge

Osmosis

Crusade

Tyrant

Domination

Indifference

Miasma

Pressgang

Displaced

Flight

Resettlement

Funereal

Glide

Trace

Balkan

Burial

Reverse

Manipulate

Origin

Text

Traitor

Urban

Comeuppance

Tragic

Nerve

Mystification

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have seen several publications reporting the above list, treating it like a major headline-- and I guess I just don't understand what makes it news. Or, interesting.

I cannot believe that he left out:

miasmic

naugahyde

virulent

rutabaga

Really not that great of a list.

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I have seen several publications reporting the above list, treating it like a major headline-- and I guess I just don't understand what makes it news. Or, interesting.

I cannot believe that he left out:

miasmic

naugahyde

virulent

rutabaga

Really not that great of a list.

I'm much more impressed by the story of how The Swirling Eddies wrote Zoom Daddy: creating the (wacky) song titles first.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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  • 2 months later...
  • 3 months later...

There's a new "Extra" edition of this record out this week that features a DVD of the music videos plus a second disc with 10 bonus tracks.

 

It's the second disc that makes me consider buying this all over again. In my opinion, it's a lot more fun than Disc One.

 

Track 1, "Atomica," is solid.

But Track 2 - a new version of "Love is Lost" produced by James Murphy is absolutely epic, with an inventive use of handclaps unlike anything I've heard before and a sample from another Bowie song that snuck up and surprised me.

 

But then comes "The Informer", which is as strong or stronger than anything on the original release:

 

Good or evil 

Saint or whore 

Domestic or public 

I don't recall 

You were on the ledger 

Your name was double crossed 

You were the prime assignment 

So help me, Christ 

I've got major questions 

About the Lord above 

About Satan below 

About the way we love 

About the room at the top 

And the people coming up 

And I still don't know 

What we were looking for 

But it wasn't you 

No it wasn't you 

No it wasn't you 

It wasn't you 

No it wasn't you

There's also a new, superior version of "I'd Rather Be High" that is played on a new bed of harpsichord ("the Venetian mix"). And another track, "God Bless The Girl," is every bit as strong as the best of Disc 1.

With this additional disc, this record is back in consideration for my #1 of the year.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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  • 11 months later...

You can stream a brand new Bowie song-- "Sue"-- here, albeit in a radio rip format. It was recorded specially for an upcoming career-spanning anthology-- and it's an appealing, surprisingly adventurous work. I dare say it's more audacious than anything on The Next Day, at least the original/official version of the album.

Edited by Josh Hurst

Partner in Cahoots

www.cahootsmag.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

I am actually really excited about the new three-disc anthology (which is out today; my own copy is in the mail). The material may be largely familiar, yet the backward-narrative compilation suggests that it may present a whole new perspective on the Bowie catalog.

 

Tom Erlewine thinks so, anyway:

 

 

Obvious high-water marks are undersold -- there's not as much Ziggy as usual, nor as much Berlin -- so other eras can also enter the canon, whether it's the assured maturity of the new millennium or the appealing juvenilia of the '60s. The end result is something unexpected: a compilation that makes us hear an artist we know well in a whole new way.

Partner in Cahoots

www.cahootsmag.com

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