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MOJO - la critique de The Next Day

 
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lunamagic
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MessagePosté le: Sam 23 Fév - 09:57 (2013)    Sujet du message: MOJO - la critique de The Next Day Répondre en citant





My Regeneration
Here he is, not quite dying. The new Bowie is alive and well and mildly
exasperated, says
Mark Paytress Illustration by The Red Dress.



David Bowie
****
The Next Day
ISO/COLUMBIA. CD/DL

Retirement has always been one of Bowie's strongest suits. Long spells of hibernation were behind the creation of the critically hailed Berlin trilogy and the career changing Let's Dance. And it was a farewell, albeit of a more phony kind, announced from the stage of the Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973 at the peak of Bowiemania, that marked the birth of David Bowie: Superstar, the man who could be whatever he wanted.

Like Marcel Duchamp, Bowie put a metaphorical frame around each creation, dared the world to judge him (he usually got it right) and moved ob. He invented, others imitated. Then shortly after his 50th birthday in 1997, something changed and he settled into a new era of more reflective work. Les conscious of contemporary micro-trends, he became more aware of his own mortality, admitting in September 2003 that he felt "bitterly angry that I won't be doing this for the rest of eternity".

Those fears struck sooner than he'd expected. On June 25, 2004, after being rushed offstage during a concert in Germany, he underwent emergency heart surgery that almost certainly saved his life. A few minor walk-ons and guest appearances eventually trailed off into decade-long silence. This wasn't a Warholian snooze. It was the full Greta Garbo disappearing act.

All that changed on January 8 this year, when Bowie chose to mark his 66th birthday with the surprise new single and accompanying video. It was also announced that a studio album – his 24th – would follow. That single, Where Are We Now?, confirmed that Bowie was alive and working again, but it raised further questions about his well-being. A melancholy revisiting of his Berlin days, the song had the fragile-voiced, contemplative feel of a Robert Wyatt song. In the video, he was reduced to a distorted, disembodied head, and at one point looked as if he's about to burst into tears. So where is he now? Emerging from his slumber, for a slightly less than glorious swansong it would seem. That'll explain why he'll not be giving any inteviews...

But that was yesterday. On this day, The Next Day the world wakes up to an entirely different David Bowie, an attack dog unleashed and unrepentant. "Here I am," he growls at the outset, "not quite dying." Drums pound as if rousing an army into battle. A cloud of sound swallows everything up like a class act in a small venue. "Look into my eyes," taunts Bowie. "I'm gonna say goodbye? YEEAAH."

Like a man back from the dead, he's singing through gritted teeth and loving every second of it. There are honking saxes, always a good omen, and – as elsewhere on the album – bursts of that hysterical falsetto cackle ("They scream my name around!") rarely heard since the early '70s.

If there's a precedent for such a tub-thumping statement of intent, it's probably Diamond Dogs. Both are co-productions with long-term ally Tony Visconti. Both were made under cover of darkness. And both, following periods of 'retirement', have something to prove. In terms of pure sound, though, it's probably best to imagine Lodger being channelled through Heathen.

Nothing else on The Album That Fell From Nowhere is a direct and belligerent as this title-track opener. Its shocking aliveness shatters the self-styled "man lost in time" inertia of Where Are We Now?, and puts a glowing firecracker to all else that follows. Yet, as with Diamond Dogs and Lodger, the plumpeset, reddest cushions of the Old Master's latest showpiece will take a little longer to reveal themselves. Love Is Lost, a mid-tempo slow burner with a bassy blackbeat and a gliding, Sound And Vision-style keyboard part, is clearly one of those, its climatic, repeated "Oh, what have you done?" spine-tingling, partly as the anguish sounds genuine.

As is so often the case with Bowie, light and darkness in sound are present in roughly equal amounts. Lyrically, though, there's a grave new world echo of the Orwellian themes explored on Diamond Dogs, even hints of the discomfiting world-view of The Man Who Sold The World. Take Valentine's Day. Despite sounding like the Buzzcocks having a crack at a Kinks song, it clearly revisits the lone gunman territory of Running Gun Blues. There are soldiers on How Does The Grass Grow? and I'd Rather Be High. And, amid the stop-start proggery of (You Will) Set The World On Fire, nations cry and people scream like banshees.

Graver still is the album's closer, Heat, a starkly textured mood-piece that slinks into latter-day Scott Walker territory. After all those years of self-examination, he still finds little to alleviate his confusion ('I don't know who I am") and assuage his prophesies of disaster ("The world will end/The sky was always falling"). Yet it's precisely this undercurrent of despair that makes The Next Day Bowie's most impassioned and convincing work in decades. Looking in, he's forced to confront his own mortality. Looking out, he sees civilisation in freefall.

Like Lodger, The Next Day is stylistically scattershot but it holds together far better. There's dry, baritone sax-enriched electro-funk (Dirty Boys) and maniacal, Dalek-voiced hyperactive prog-rock (If You Can See Me). There are nods to shuffle-beat Stone Roses (I'd Rather Be High) and falsetto steals fromù The Shadows' Apache. There's even a patience-testing dud, the funkily orthodox Boss Of Me, and then there's You Feel So Lonely You Could Die, a grandstanding ballad that crescendos like Rock'n'Roll Suicide and fades with the Five Years drum intro.

So we were wrong. "The stars are never sleeping," declares a mildly exasperated but still alive and well Bowie on The Stars (Are Out Tonight). That's him in the song all right, once more peeking through those legendary curtains, "soaking up our primitive world".

MOJO


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MessagePosté le: Sam 23 Fév - 09:57 (2013)    Sujet du message: Publicité

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MessagePosté le: Lun 25 Fév - 20:44 (2013)    Sujet du message: MOJO - la critique de The Next Day Répondre en citant

La vache, ils se sentent obligés de citer Duchamp ... Merci Luna pour l'info.
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 28 Fév - 17:21 (2013)    Sujet du message: Rolling Stone Italie mars 2013 Répondre en citant

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MessagePosté le: Jeu 28 Fév - 17:51 (2013)    Sujet du message: MOJO - la critique de The Next Day Répondre en citant

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