The Next Day is the twenty-fifth studio album by David Bowie, released in 2013. His first album since 2003's Reality, its announcement on his 66th birthday took fans, critics and media by surprise, thanks to many of them assuming that he had quietly retired after suffering a heart attack in 2004 while on tour in Germany.
Five singles were spawned from the album: "Where Are We Now?", "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)", "The Next Day", "Valentine's Day" and "Love Is Lost". Like most of his 21st Century output, the album received critical acclaim.
The album artwork is notable for simply being the cover of his 1977 album "Heroes", with its title scratched out and a white square with "The Next Day" placed over his head.
- "The Next Day" (3:27)
- "Dirty Boys" (2:58)
- "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" (3:56)
- "Love Is Lost" (3:57)
- "Where Are We Now?" (4:08)
- "Valentine's Day" (3:01)
- "If You Can See Me" (3:15)
- "I'd Rather Be High" (3:53)
- "Boss of Me" (4:09)
- "Dancing Out in Space" (3:24)
- "How Does the Grass Grow?" (4:33)
- "(You Will) Set the World On Fire" (3:30)
- "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die" (4:37)
- "Heat" (4:25)
- "So She" (2:31)
- "Plan" (2:02)
- "I'll Take You There" (2:41)
- "God Bless the Girl" (4:11)
"Tropes are never sleeping, dead ones and the living"
- Call-Back: Loads:
- "Love is Lost" re-used puppets that had planned to be used for the filmed-but-unreleased Concept Video for "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell". The remix of the same song also samples "Ashes to Ashes".
- The percussion on "Love is Lost" recreates the hollow drum sound that served as a crucial part of Low's sonic aesthetic.
- The first released track, "Where Are We Now?", references several Berlin landmarks (Potsdamer Platz, Nürnberger Straße, KaDeWe, etc).
- In the video for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)", one of the new neighbors looks and sometimes dresses like Thomas Jerome Newton/The Thin White Duke and the cover of one of the tabloid magazines uses his alien form as an image◊ with the caption "Woman Goes To Oscars Without Makeup On".
- The penultimate track, "You Feel So Lonely You Could Die", ends with the opening drums from "Five Years".
- The director of the videos for "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" and "The Next Day" is Floria Sigismondi, who also did two of his Earthling-era videos "Little Wonder" and "Dead Man Walking".
- Celebrity Is Overrated: The point of "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)".
- Darker and Edgier: "Dirty Boys" is about gang violence, "How Does the Grass Grow" is about PTSD, "Valentine's Day" is about school shootings, and many of the other songs deal with violence, death, and destruction in some form.
- He's Back: The announcement of the album when virtually everyone in his fanbase and in the music press was sure he'd retired over (among other things) his health issues.
- In Medias Res: "Heat" begins with the line "Then we saw Mishima's dog," suggesting that this is not actually the start of the story.
- In the Style of...: "Heat" is reminiscent of the work of Scott Walker, a personal idol of Bowie's.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Valentine's Day" - a song about a school shooting set to 60s-style pop music.
- Non-Indicative Name: "Valentine's Day" has nothing to do with the day in question. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest the song even takes place on the 14th February.
- Other Common Music Video Concepts
- Band from Mundania:
- In "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)", Bowie and Tilda Swinton play an ordinary, happy suburban couple who get their world turned upside down by some unsettling, younger newcomers (a celebrity couple known for their tabloid troubles, to be precise).
- Band from Mundania:
- Precision F-Strike: "I'd Rather Be High":I flew to Cairo, find my regimentCity's full of generalsAnd generals full of shit
- Refuge in Audacity: The video for "The Next Day", which has Bowie as a prophet performing in a bar with priests and prostitutes, one of whom, played by Marion Cotillard, has gruesome stigmata. The end of the video has Bowie Breaking the Fourth Wall by thanking everyone involved in the video, before vanishing. The video was accidentally removed by YouTube, before being re-added and rated 18+ - the only Bowie video to carry the warning.
- Three Chords and the Truth: "Valentine's Day".
- Viewer Gender Confusion: Invoked in "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)"; the celebrity couple are both played by women (the "male" by Saskia de Brauw and the "female" by famous transgender model Andreja Pejić.) There is also a young Bowie Expy played by Iselin Steiro - also a woman.
- War Is Hell: "I'd Rather Be High", "How Does the Grass Grow".