In an era when smartphones and Facebook newsfeeds make media discretion virtually impossible, David Bowie managed to produce – after over a decade of silence – a new EP. When your favorite pop idol of all times makes a secret album, you truly have something to get all worked up about! When BandMark gave me this assignment, I was thrilled… I have loved David Bowie since my parents introduced him to me with Ziggy Stardust etc.. I have almost crystal clear memories of those songs during my youth. Mom making buttermilk pancakes and dad using the newspaper to be anti social, with Bowie in the background making everything seem summery and groovy and late 70’s. I sort of unsubscribed from him in the 80’s with all those weird collaborations, skinny ties and lesbian mullets but I never lost hope for another EP, a last album, a new style, a come back- something other than the David Bowie’s greatest hits with basically all his songs in various order.
I knew that I wasn’t going to like anything better than these 3 albums: The Man Who Sold The World, Young Americans and of course The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. Why couldn’t there be a better album? Because we just aren’t in the 70’s anymore. Kids are not fighting the system in the same way, evaluating their freedom, pushing their sexuality. David Bowie’s fame, in part was due to a few things: His classic good looks, a unique voice alongside some very poetic lyrics but mostly he was the soundtrack of a particular demographic. In today’s world The David Bowies are indie rock stars but the problem is, we just don’t need a million of them anymore. We just aren’t as confused and curious as the 70’s kids. An album from David Bowie that would be better than his top 3 for me, impossible – he’s already done his best musically. I’m not sure there is always better. I think sometimes you are aligned with the perfect music for the perfect era.
And then he made another album. Many years after anything he has released and much in secrecy to the frustration of the music industry tabloids. The album is called The Next Day and my expectations of it are very low. I’m sure he was just getting bored of being ridiculously rich, retired, well traveled etc.. at some point you need more. Why not make an album if you’re a singer and all! It’s not very risky, at his age he will be excused a bad decision such as an album which doesn’t “make it” so I took a listen…
First at the starring single: Where Are We Now? Produced by Tony Visconti, with guitarist Earl Slick. If you are a big Bowie fan, then hearing lyrics about his years in Berlin’s music scene as he mentions specific places is really cool. There is a sense of Nostalgic self-consciousness in this work which is so different than his shocking and weird early work. This album is wiser, less poppy and I suppose more contemporary rock (not so much my style) in fact I honestly wouldn’t like this album if it wasn’t David Bowie, well not yet at least – not after hearing Where Are We Now? I will have to hear the whole album but so far it’s not really my kind of music. Nonetheless, he is still my favorite pop icon for so many other reasons that have left their historical mark and changed the music industry forever..