The new Bowie is finding its way into my subconscious. It has been played on rotation all week, on the way to town, on the way home from town, when I wake up in the morning. So what's the verdict?
The first indications were inspiring, of course. It hardly need to be said that Where Are We Now is sublime. It has grown since it was unveiled on that January morning into a classic that digs into the soul. Another poignant ballad is the sweeping You Feel So Lonely You Could Die. The voice and phrasing remind me of his golden period in the seventies.
There are plenty of other tunes that start running through the mind when you least expect it. The tough introduction of the title track, for example, and the sleazy feel of Dirty Boys - All The Young Dudes meets Fashion. The closing tune of the album proper, Heat, could have followed The Bewlay Brothers on Hunky Dory. Valentines Day is a catchy slice of pop that would have been at home on his early work and I love the fifties kitsch pastiche of the chorus on How Does The Grass Grow. Other highlights include Dancing In Outer Space, You Will Set The World On Fire and the anti-militarist I'd Rather Be High.
The Next Day is a confident, inspired album. And where does rank among Bowie's back catalogue? It's probably too soon to say for definite - there's a lot more listening to be done, to reveal all its treasures. But, right now, it would take a near miracle to hit the heights of Ziggy, Hunky Dory or Low. But it's not far behind and is certainly ahead of Lodger and Let's Dance. In short, it's brilliant.