The Next Day

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For the album's titular song, see The Next Day (song).
The Next Day
Studio album by David Bowie
Released 8 March 2013 (2013-03-08)
Recorded 2010–12; The Magic Shop, New York City
Genre Art rock, experimental rock
Length 53:17
Label ISO, Columbia
Producer David Bowie, Tony Visconti
David Bowie chronology
A Reality Tour
(2010)
The Next Day
(2013)
Nothing Has Changed
(2014)
Singles from The Next Day
  1. "Where Are We Now?"
    Released: 8 January 2013 (2013-01-08)
  2. "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"
    Released: 26 February 2013 (2013-02-26)
  3. "The Next Day"
    Released: 17 June 2013 (2013-06-17)
  4. "Valentine's Day"
    Released: 19 August 2013 (2013-08-19)
  5. "Love Is Lost"
    Released: 28 October 2013 (2013-10-28)

The Next Day is the twenty-fourth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 8 March 2013 on his ISO Records, under exclusive licence to Columbia Records. The album was announced on Bowie's sixty-sixth birthday, 8 January 2013.[1] Bowie's website was updated with the video for the lead single, "Where Are We Now?", and the single was immediately made available for purchase on the iTunes Store.

It is Bowie's first album of new material in ten years, since 2003's Reality, and surprised fans and media who believed he had retired.[2] The album was streamed in its entirety on iTunes days before its official release.[3] The Next Day Extra, an additional disc featuring four more tracks, and remixes of songs from the original album, was released in November.[4] The Next Day was met with critical acclaim, and earned Bowie his first number-one album in the UK since 1993's Black Tie White Noise.[5] It was ranked as the second best album of 2013 (in a tie with Blue October's Sway) by German music magazine Kulturnews and was also nominated for the 2013 Mercury Prize.[6] The album was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2014 Grammy Awards and for MasterCard British Album of the Year at the 2014 BRIT Awards.

Recording[edit]

Bowie and producer Tony Visconti worked in secret alongside long-term engineer Mario J. McNulty, recording the album over a two-year period.[7] The recording sessions were sporadic, and Visconti estimated that only three full months were spent demoing and recording material. Visconti recalled that the album began with a one-week recording session:

Sterling Campbell was on drums, I was on bass, David was on keyboards, Gerry Leonard was on guitar. By the end of five days we had demoed up a dozen songs. Just structures. No lyrics, no melodies and all working titles. This is how everything begins with him. Then he took them home and we didn't hear another thing from him for four months.[8]

Bowie would disappear with the music "to make sure he was on the right track", then bring the band back together to take the next step in recording when he was ready. Visconti described the recording sessions as "intense", but they stuck to regular hours. "The last time we did all-nighters was Young Americans".[8]

During breaks from the studio, Visconti would walk the streets of New York listening to music from The Next Day on his earphones:[7] "I was walking around New York with my headphones on, looking at all the people with Bowie T-shirts on—they are ubiquitous here—thinking, 'Boy, if you only knew what I'm listening to at the moment.'"[8]

Despite the statement that no guest artists were used to record the album,[9] Bowie did use some of the musicians he's worked with in the past, including Earl Slick, who recorded his parts for the album in July 2012.[10] Gail Ann Dorsey (bass guitar) and Sterling Campbell (drums), who have both worked with Bowie since the 90s, also contributed to the album.[11] Dorsey also recorded vocals for the song "If You Can See Me".[12] Drummer Zachary Alford and guitarists Gerry Leonard and David Torn were hired for the sessions and Slick revealed that Visconti also contributed bass.[11] Visconti also indicated that saxophonist Steve Elson, who has worked with Bowie since the 1980s, also plays on the album.[13] A story that Robert Fripp, who previously has worked with Bowie in the studio, was invited to play on the album but could not due to other commitments[14] was denied by Fripp, who said, "I haven't spoken to David for a while and I wasn't approached [to take part in the album]", adding "I'm not angry at all. No one is hurt, I'm not upset, just keen for clarity."[15]

Secrecy[edit]

Bowie took great pains to keep the recording of the album secret, requiring people involved in the recording to sign NDAs. Bowie had to change recording studios after one day when someone at the studio leaked the rumour that he was recording there. The studio he moved to (The Magic Shop) would run the studio with a skeleton crew of only one or two employees on days when Bowie was there. Columbia Records's UK PR firm learned of the release only a few days before the album was released.[14]

Canadian band Metric almost uncovered the secret recording sessions when they arrived at Magic Shop recording studios unannounced in 2011, and Bowie saxophonist Steve Elson said he was tempted to reveal all.[16][17]

Music[edit]

In an interview with The Times, Visconti revealed that the album consists solely of original material and features no covers.[12] Tony Visconti said to the NME that The Next Day "is quite a rock album".[18] The first single was the ballad "Where Are We Now?", a track which Visconti described as "the only track on the album that goes this much inward for him".[18] Visconti suggested that Bowie chose "Where Are We Now?" as the opening single because "people had to deal with the shock that he was back [after a 10-year absence]" and that the introspective nature of the song made it an appropriate choice.[9]

"The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" was released as the second single from the album on 26 February 2013. A music video in the form of a short film was premiered the previous day.[19] The song received decent airplay on BBC Radio 2 and 106.9FM WHCR, peaking at number 102 on the UK Singles Chart.

Visconti, who accepted an interviewer's suggestion that he was Bowie's "voice on earth", commented on the album to the international press and provided insights into the individual tracks.[12] The songs cover a widespread of subjects and are largely observational: most probe the mind-sets of different individuals.[12] "Valentine's Day" is about a high school shooter.[12] "I'd Rather Be High" related the story of a Second World War soldier.[12] Visconti described the material as "extremely strong and beautiful". He added "if people are looking for classic Bowie they'll find it on this album, if they're looking for innovative Bowie, new directions, they're going to find that on this album too."[18] Visconti commented that 29 tracks were recorded for the album and suggested that some of the material left out of The Next Day could appear on a subsequent record. Visconti speculated that Bowie may return to the studio to produce a new album later in 2013.[20]

Artwork[edit]

The cover art for the album is an adapted version of Bowie's 1977 album, "Heroes".[21] Designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, who also designed packaging for Heathen and Reality, the obscuring of the photograph connotes "forgetting or obliterating the past".[22][23] The original cover image was shot by Masayoshi Sukita.[24] Barnbrook explained the cover, saying: "If you are going to subvert an album by David Bowie there are many to choose from but this is one of his most revered, it had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way and we thought "Heroes" worked best on all counts."[25] A viral marketing campaign was launched to promote the album on 15 February 2013. The campaign grew out of the concept behind the album cover, taking seemingly ordinary images and subverting them through the addition of a white square.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 81/100[27]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[28]
The Daily Telegraph 5/5 stars[29]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[30]
The Independent 5/5 stars[31]
Mojo 4/5 stars[32]
Pitchfork Media 7.6/10[33]
Q 5/5 stars[34]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[35]
Spin 5/10[36]
The Times 4/5 stars[37]

The Next Day received widespread critical acclaim in pre-release reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews and ratings from mainstream critics, the album has received a metascore of 81, based on 44 reviews.[27] Neil McCormick, writing in The Daily Telegraph, gave the album a five-star review, calling it a "bold, beautiful and baffling electric bolt through its own mythos".[29] Andy Gill, in another five-star review for The Independent, praised the album as "the greatest comeback album in rock'n'roll history", adding that the work is "as good as anything he's made".[31] The Guardian awarded the album four stars, deeming it "thought-provoking, strange and filled with great songs".[1] Time Out London gave the album a positive notice, praising it as an "intelligent, memorable and even a little provocative" addition to Bowie's discography.[38] In a review for BBC Music, Jude Clarke wrote that The Next Day "is a triumphant, almost defiant, return. Innovative, dark, bold and creative, it's an album only David Bowie could make".[39] In a review rated 8 out of 10, NME said that "rather than reinventing Bowie, [The Next Day] absorbs his past and moves it on".[40] The Quietus wrote a positive review and concluded: "so more than half the album is fantastic, and the rest is very, very strong."[41] At Q, Andrew Harrison evoked that the release "feels like a dam bursting", and this is because the album "is a loud, thrilling, steamrollingly confident rock and roll album full of noise, energy, and words that [...] if as cryptic as ever they were [...] sound like they desperately need to be sung."[42] One of the few negative reviews to emerge from the UK was in The Wire.[43] Mark Fisher called The Next Day an album of "quotidian mediocrity", saying it was entirely undeserving of its wide acclaim and that the "wave of hyperbole it generated point[ed] to a wider malaise in contemporary music" because it proved that anything of low artistic merit could achieve success via "artfully timed PR".

Reviews in the United States were mainly positive. The New York Times called the album "Bowie's twilight masterpiece".[44] USA Today gave the record four out of four stars and called it a "glorious homecoming".[45] The A.V. Club labelled the work a "stunning, resonant piece of expression".[46] CBS News even went as far as calling the album "Bowie's strongest work to date".[47] Spin criticised some of the songs: "The collision of rhetoric and intentions result in both colorless abstractions like piano ballad and first single "Where Are We Now," and grand melodrama like "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die," which ends with the same drum taps used in "Five Years"."[36]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Next Day debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling 94,048 copies in its first week. It is Bowie's ninth number-one album in the United Kingdom, and his first in twenty years since Black Tie White Noise (1993).[48] The album fell to number two the following week, selling 35,671 copies.[49] In its third week, it slipped to number three on sales of 23,157 units.[50]

In the United States, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number two with first-week sales of 85,000 copies, earning Bowie his largest sales week for an album in the Nielsen SoundScan era.[51] It is also his highest charting album on the US Billboard. Elsewhere, The Next Day topped the charts in several countries, including Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland,[52][53][54][55][56] while reaching number two in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Italy, and Spain.[52][57]

Live performances[edit]

Bowie was insistent that there would be no live performances in support of the album, with Visconti telling the NME, "He's fairly adamant he's never gonna perform live again... One of the guys would say, 'Boy, how are we gonna do all this live?' and David said, 'We're not'. He made a point of saying that all the time."[58] However, Visconti later clarified that he didn't say Bowie would never perform live again, only that he "won't tour for this album".[59] Visconti told The Daily Telegraph that Bowie hasn't ruled out the possibility of a couple of live shows but has decided to focus on making records.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by David Bowie, all music composed by Bowie, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "The Next Day"   3:27
2. "Dirty Boys"   2:58
3. "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"   3:56
4. "Love Is Lost"   3:57
5. "Where Are We Now?"   4:08
6. "Valentine's Day"   3:01
7. "If You Can See Me"   3:15
8. "I'd Rather Be High"   3:53
9. "Boss of Me" (Bowie, Gerry Leonard) 4:09
10. "Dancing Out in Space"   3:24
11. "How Does the Grass Grow?" (Bowie, Jerry Lordan) 4:33
12. "(You Will) Set the World On Fire"   3:30
13. "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die"   4:37
14. "Heat"   4:25
Total length:
53:17
Japanese edition

The Japanese edition contains a Blu-spec CD2.[63]

Vinyl edition

The Next Day was also issued as a double LP. It was announced as being released on 25 March 2013 in the UK, but was put back to 1 April, with vinyl customers getting an additional CD copy.[64] The vinyl edition included the songs "So She", "Plan" and "I'll Take You There", which were not included on the standard CD release.

The Next Day Extra[edit]

Released 4 November 2013, this 3-disc collector's edition includes two CDs and a DVD. The first CD is the original 14-track album. The second is a 10-track CD comprising the deluxe edition bonus tracks "Plan," "I'll Take You There," and "So She," the Japanese exclusive track "God Bless the Girl," two remixes, and four new songs ("Atomica", "The Informer", "Like a Rocket Man", and "Born in a UFO"). The DVD includes the four promotional music videos ("Where Are We Now?," "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," "The Next Day," and "Valentine's Day").

All lyrics written by David Bowie, all music composed by Bowie, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Atomica"   4:05
2. "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for The DFA)"   10:24
3. "Plan"   2:02
4. "The Informer"   4:31
5. "I'd Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)"   3:49
6. "Like a Rocket Man"   3:29
7. "Born in a UFO"   3:02
8. "I'll Take You There" (Bowie, Leonard) 2:41
9. "God Bless the Girl"   4:11
10. "So She"   2:31
Total length:
40:45

In addition to the physical release there is a 7-track digital EP bundle that excludes the deluxe edition bonus tracks.

All lyrics written by David Bowie, all music composed by Bowie, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Atomica"   4:05
2. "Love Is Lost (Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for The DFA)"   10:24
3. "The Informer"   4:31
4. "I'd Rather Be High (Venetian Mix)"   3:49
5. "Like a Rocket Man"   3:29
6. "Born in a UFO"   3:02
7. "God Bless the Girl"   4:11
Total length:
33:31

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the deluxe edition of The Next Day.[65]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[108] Gold 7,500x
Canada (Music Canada)[109] Gold 40,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[110] Gold 10,951[110]
France (SNEP)[111] Platinum 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[112] Gold 100,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[113] Gold 7,500x
Italy (FIMI)[114] Gold 30,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[115] Gold 10,000*
Sweden (GLF)[116] Gold 20,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[117] Gold 15,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[118] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label
Australia[119] 8 March 2013 Sony Music
Germany[61]
Ireland[120] RCA Records
United Kingdom[121] 11 March 2013
United States[122] 12 March 2013 ISO Records, Columbia Records
Japan[60] 13 March 2013 Sony Music

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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