David Bowie's new album The Next Day – his first for a decade – is a bold, beautiful and baffling electric bolt through its own mythos, says Neil McCormick.
It is an enormous pleasure to report that the new David Bowie album is an absolute wonder: urgent, sharp-edged, bold, beautiful and baffling, an intellectually stimulating, emotionally charged, musically jagged, electric bolt through his own mythos and the mixed-up, celebrity-obsessed, war-torn world of the 21st century.
Musically, it is stripped and to the point, painted in the primal colours of rock: hard drums, fluid bass, fizzing guitars, shaded by splashes of keyboard and dirty rasps of horns. The 14 songs are short and spiky, often contrasting that kind of patent Bowie one-note declarative drawl with sweet bursts of melodic escape that hit you like a sugar rush. Bowie’s return from a decade’s absence feels very present, although full of sneaky backward glances.
Hints, references and echoes of the past abound. Touches of jangling Sixties pop lift the flying melody of I’d Rather Be High, the poised soul of the Thin White Duke haunts the sax strut of Dirty Boys and Boss of Me, and epic Eighties Goth rears its imperious head amid the dramatic descending chords of Love Is Lost.
Read Neil McCormick's full review here at The Telegraph
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