David Bowie’s 24th studio album, “The Next Day,” is a triumphant return for the aging rock star, releasing some of his best material in a long time. Stamping a white square over the 1977 “Heroes” album, the cover art suggests a classic Bowie sound while pointing to new directions. Containing a wide array of songs that range from intergalactic funk in “Dancing Out in Space” to the somber “Where Are We Now,” every song is well-knit and full of surprises.
This is an odd and strange album, containing some of his darkest lyrics. Going for a more traditional rock and roll sound, the electric guitars are mixed up front giving way to many solos.
Opening with the thundering and deceptively bleak “The Next Day,” it becomes apparent Bowie’s voice hasn’t aged a day. Instead of going for a drastic new sound, much of the material feels right at home for him. Shown in the electric funk of “Dirty Boys,” complete with spinning tremolo riffs and saxophone solos, it’s the stuff only Bowie could spring.
Perhaps the strongest cut on the album is “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” with its 1990’s alternative rock vibe and lyrics that describe celebrities as belonging to a different race.
Hearing that old school riff on “You Will Set The World On Fire,” got my blood pumped in a way rock hasn’t done in a while. In “Boss of Me” he sings with a weariness “Who’d ever thought that, a small town girl like you could be the boss of me.” This is an example of the emotional depths he explores throughout the album.
The last two songs are the most wrenching, with “Heat” and its haunting lyrics depicting the end of the world. Overall, this is a worthy strong addition to Bowie’s collection and a must hear for rock fans.