David Bowie - The Next Day: All 14 Tracks Reviewed And Analysed

Where Are We Now

rating: 4.5

Release date: Monday 11th March 2013

On David Bowie€™s sixty sixth birthday the world was thunderstruck to learn that rock music€™s greatest chameleon had been secretly working on an album for the past three years. The mournful nostalgia of Where Are We Now? broke the silence of a decade€™s worth of apparent inactivity: The Thin White Duke, thought to be content enjoying his retirement away from the shimmer of the spotlight, was back.

Here we€™ll delve into and analyse each song on an album that is arguably one of the greatest comebacks in the history of rock music: bursting with lyrical artistry, simultaneously inventive and self-referential, and brazenly vibrant.

1. The Next Day

The opener, a scorching rock number, sets the tone for the album, and shows that the release of Where Are We Now? as the lead single was a clever misdirection. The barrage of trebly dissonant guitars and screeching riffs don€™t sound too far removed from Beauty And The Beast, the opening track from Heroes. It€™s a stormer of a first track, and a million miles away from the swirling introspection of Where Are We Now? Bowie wails and at times approaches hysteria as his dark lyrics, which according to producer Tony Visconti reference a late medieval period European tyrant, allude to the hypocrisy of the church ("They can work with Satan while they dress like the saints/ They know that god exists for the devil told them so") and recall the bleak Orwellian post-apocalyptic imagery used on Diamond Dogs ("He drags them to the river€˜s bank in the cart/ Their soggy paper bodies wash ashore in the dark...") Things build to a frenetic crescendo: a whirlwind of blazing guitars and pulsating beats, as Bowie€™s lyrics invoke the sense of a man coming to terms with his own mortality ("Here I am not quite dying my body to left to rot in a hollow tree"), a theme that crops up continually on the album. RATING: 5/5

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