The verdict is in on the comeback album from the prince of alt-pop rock, David Bowie. The record is formidable and the album artwork foreshadows why.
It's an adulterated reissue of the cover for Bowie's Cold War masterpiece Heroes. As the title The Next Day and the blotting out of 50 percent of the original cover seem to indicate, the new album—his first in a decade—is a homage to his older works but also a big step forward for the 66-year-old rocker.
On The Next Daythe versatile singer has found ways to nuance virtually every single sound employed over his nearly 50-year career into his new recordings. The flowing nature of perhaps Bowie's biggest hit, "Space Oddity," is tucked away onThe Next Day's "I'd Rather Be High," and the same spry lyrics on 1983's "Modern Love" were co-opted for "How Does the Grass Grow?" Even vocals on the ballad "Where Are We Now?" are very reminiscent of his song "As the World Falls Down" from the classic Jim Henson movie Labyrinth.
But in true Bowie fashion, the guy brings new sounds to bear, just as he always has. The rock track "(You Will) Set the World on Fire" starts out stripped down with nothing more than Bowie's stoic voice, asymmetric guitar and pounding drums. By the time the chorus comes around, tambourine and horns are added, bringing the track the closest Bowie's ever come to writing an anthem.
The album finishes up with "I'll Take You There"— a blazing rock track. We're talking rocket speed for the normally tempered Bowie. It's a divine way to wrap up an album that will please not only Bowie fans from the '60s and '70s, but those who are sure to discover him for the first time as a result of this record.