Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Today, today is the 1st of May

"Today, today is the first of May," sang David Bowie as I was driving through the Devon countryside this Mayday morning.

The Next Day, his first album in a decade, has been sitting in drive of the CD player of my car since my two children clubbed together to buy me the deluxe edition. The line is from the opening of "I'll Take You There," the last of the three, rather good, bonus tracks.

In fact the album is the most enjoyable offering from David Bowie since the early eighties; other than the delightful, "Little Fat Man" put down of Ricky Gervais's character in Extras.

There are nods to the past in The Next Day; my favourite track being "You Feel so Lonely", which is a mature version of "Rock and Roll Suicide" from Ziggy Stardust. There's an echo of "The Width of a Circle" in the "The Stars (Are Out Tonight". "Heat" appears to be about a Berliner's inherited guilt, complete with with a haunting violin which evokes the Jewish ghetto.

My 17 year old nephew thinks that "I'd Rather Be High" is the best track on the CD; Bowie does seem to have written this from the perspective of a 17 year old. In fact it could have been written in the sixties. How music history could have changed if he had released this, rather than "The Laughing Gnome" back in 1967.

It was the single "Drive in Saturday" that made me a Bowie fan forty years ago. I thought it was so cool that, in the pre music-video-age, he had made a film to go with the song, rather than perform on Top Of The Pops in person.  With lines like, "Pour me out another phone" and "She Smiled like Twig the Wonder-kid" this was different to the other offerings in the charts.

After the health issues Bowie has endured over the past few years, I'm glad he's back on form, and still just as cool in his sixties.

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