“Feels like something really happened this year”
Now those lists have started coming through with three UK music monthlies favouring The Next Day (UNCUT #2, MOJO #3, and Q #3) and the online site, Ultimate Classic Rock, placing the album at the top of their list.
Here’s what each of them had to say about The Next Day...
Firstly, congratulations to Uncut on reaching 200 editions with this January 2014 issue. With eight covers, Bowie is their most featured cover star and that’s not including their excellent Ultimate Music Guide to David Bowie special and iPad app.
For their round-up of the year, Uncut decided to produce a Best Of 2013 supplement in which Bowie features prominently.
Using a Jimmy King still from the Love Is Lost (Halloween version) video, (they also use Jimmy’s DB salutes shot on the front) the feature kicks off thus...
“On January 8, 2013, the world woke up to a genuine surprise. For a decade, David Bowie had taken an unusually discrete leave of absence from the music business; an absence which, to most people, looked like that rarest of things - a rock retirement. The arrival of "Where Are We Now?", though, signalled a comeback so graceful and potent that it only served to amplify Bowie's cultural importance, his miraculously undiminished mystique.
The Next Day proved to be a brilliant album, but it also acted as a model for how to stage a comeback with style. Bowie and his team grasped that, handled with care, strategically managed leaks and online campaigns can generate a sense of event, a communal experience, that compares favourably to the frenzied release days of the pre-Internet era.”
And this is what they had to say about that #2 Album Of The Year...
“It's hard to envisage how David Bowie could have handled his comeback year more elegantly, from the surprise manifestation of "Where Are We Now?" in January through to James Murphy's stunning remix of "Love Is Lost" dropping in October. Key to it all, of course, was an authentically fine album, and one that mostly disavowed the frail nostalgia of that first single in favour of a hearteningly varied, often belligerent update of Bowie's many modes. Best of all it felt less like a dignified farewell, more the opening of an intriguing next chapter... ”
Congratulations are due to both David Bowie and Jonathan Barnbrook as Uncut also awarded The Next Day with the Album Sleeve Of The Year. (Scroll pictures to see)
Still with Uncut, in the Best Of 2013 TELEVISION, Imagine: Bowie - Five Years grabbed the #1 slot in the Best music shows of the year section, and in the Best Of 2013 ARCHIVE, Aladdin Sane was voted #27.
“Awaiting us on that dark January morning without fanfare, Where Are We Now? suggested that David Bowie's first album in a decade would be a legacy-enhancing exercise in spiritual stocktaking. The reality was far more fascinating than that. Echoes of Lodger and Scary Monsters abounded on the jackhammer art rock of If You Can See Me and the reptilian swagger of the title track. For all of that, though, The Next Day was as much a triumph of execution as content. Far from succumbing to playlist-friendly cosiness, this was an emphatic retreat from elder statesman orthodoxy of albums that intimate the onset of mortality - all delivered with a clenched-jawed zeal more customary to artists less than half Bowie's age.”
There’s also a two page spread in MOJO under the heading of Story Of The Year titled: Bowie vs Daft Punk. It’s a piece by Dorian Lynskey regarding the innovative marketing campaigns behind both artists’ releases, but, as Dorian points out: “It would appear that the delicious shock achieved by Bowie and Daft Punk cannot be repeated and the process must be reinvented every time”
The magazine also has a full-page advert for The Next Day Extra, as does Q. (Scroll images to view ad)
“Proof that even in these days where everyone knows everything, some things can be kept secret: this was the album nobody saw coming. That this joyful and fearless outing ranks alongside Bowie’s best made it even more special.“
The magazine also uses this quotation from Elton John: “A terrific record and the most brilliantly conceived and marketed release I’ve ever seen.”
And, on Q’s monthly playlist page where they list the ten songs that have dominated the office stereo since the previous issue, Atomica, from The Next Day Extra gets the thumbs up...
“The pick of the new songs from the deluxe edition of The Next Day, Atomica is a snarling glam-rocker with Ziggy Stardust-style riffs and a bass thud. Even Bowie’s out-takes are astounding.”
“When Bowie announced his first album in a decade on his 66th birthday, nobody was expecting a new record by him, let alone his best work in 30 years. 'The Next Day' spins off Bowie's landmark Berlin Trilogy and slips into 'Scary Monsters' territory, resulting in an album that's almost as wild, ambitious and fulfilling as those late-'70s classics.”
Hopefully there will be a few more to join those first entries over the next few weeks, but either way, congratulations to David Bowie for another Golden Year.
He does seem to like a year with a three in it, doesn’t he?