“FOR GOD SAKES, JEFFRIES, YOU’VE BEEN GONE FOR DAMN NEAR TWO YEARS…”
Missing in the field for more years than would give even the most optimistic fan hope of a return, something has escaped from that ‘other place’ where Bowie had vanished; he has returned.
His first album in a decade holds within its very title something of Agent Jeffries’ time twisting fate, The Next Day suggesting that to Bowie years have not passed, as they have for those of us left behind greedy for news, but only a single night.
The first missive was a mournful postcard from a Germany of the past, the second seemingly sent from the crass celebrity-plagued dream-factory that is modern Hollywood… And then the album.
Call me a zealot but any knee-jerk critics of the first singles have to shut their fucking mouths. There are some really great songs here, even by Bowie’s standards, and while its true the album feels less like an album perhaps than a collection of songs, and not all of them perfect, still it’s an impressive statement.
But I won’t bore you all with a track by track breakdown of the thing, I’ll let you discover The Next Day for yourself.
Suffice to say, Bowie’s trademark stylings are all over it, as well as a few surprises, together with the influences of (to my ears anyway) Tom Waits’ Bad As Me (‘Dirty Boys’), The Beatles (‘I’d Rather Be High’) and perhaps even Scott Walker’s later output (‘Heat’); some of the guitar work references Bowie’s Scary Monsters and the Thin White Duke’s swagger, humour and all round suavity is RIFE.
Where is he now? He’s HERE, that’s where; long may he stick around…
“Here I am
Not quite dying
My body left to rot in a hollow tree
Its branches throwing shadows
On the gallows for me
And the next day
And the next
And another day…”