Will The Next Day Be The Late-Career Bowie Masterpiece We’ve Always Expected?

01/08/2013 1:04 PM |

This song is pretty good! And its video is strange! Let’s talk about them…

A solemn ballad that ticks off a list of Berlin landmarks has Bowie wondering about his place among them now, some forty years after the city saw the period of his greatest artistic triumph, this is the most promising new material from Bowie in what seems like forever. Its video manages to have a sad, worn-in feeling while still being truly odd. The wilted nostalgia for the places pictured complicated by his appearance as a siamese twin teddy bear in front of them. Released on the last birthday of his late 60s with a completed album behind it, it feels like a statement of renewed purpose, one that I’ve been expecting in my very bones for a very long time.

I don’t know if Bowie’s career continues to mean as much to y’all as it does to me. It very well could, but just know that it means a lot to me. And I’ve always held a weird degree of confidence that he will one day deliver another truly great record, finally slipping in to a lived-in, creaky old age that he’s so far avoided. Any mentions of him in the past couple of decades have come with Dorian Gray jokes, lingering mentions of his distracting, prolonged youthfulness. It’s been a weird artistic middle age in which he dabbled in the waters of his previous styles without breaking much ground. But ten years of silence later, and I think we just might be past that awkward point? I mean, as reverential as he’s always been towards old-before-their years artists like Dylan and Scott Walker, it just makes intuitive sense that he’d have a final aesthetic switch in him, fully becoming a haunted old troubadour for one last defining era and a classic album or two.

I’ve held this belief for years although it hasn’t been supported or even really hinted at by actual recorded evidence for a very, very long time. In fact, there are only three pieces of music Bowie’s done in the last 20 years that have any kind of lasting resonance for me at all…

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