Two respected UK music critics have breached an embargo to publish gushing five-star reviews for The Next Day, David Bowie’s first album in a decade.
The Independent’s Andy Gill wrote a track-by-track review under the headline: “The Starman pulls off the greatest comeback in rock’n’roll”, while London Daily Telegraph scribe Neil McCormick opened his appraisal with the announcement that “it is an enormous pleasure to report that the new David Bowie album is an absolute wonder”.
The Guardian’s Alex Petridis also broke the embargo, which lifts on Friday, to give The Next Day a four-star rave. All three reviews were published on Monday, two weeks out from the release of the album in the UK. The Next Day will be released in Australia on March 8.
The reviews came as Bowie unveiled the second single from The Next Day, the glam-rock rumination on fame The Stars (Are Out Tonight), which was accompanied by a video featuring the rocker and actress Tilda Swinton as a happily married couple stalked by spectral celebrities.
The oddball clip follows the equally unsettling video for first single, Where Are We Now?, which appeared unannounced on January 8, Bowie’s 66th birthday – along with the news the star had spent the past few years recording a new album in secret with long-time producer Tony Visconti.
McCormick described The Next Day as “urgent, sharp-edged, bold beautiful and beguiling … (an) electric bolt through his own mythos…”. The songs touch on all eras of Bowie from the jangling 60s pop through his Berlin-era to the “poised soul of the Thin White Duke” and beyond. “Discounting the failed experiment of Tin Machine, this is his rockiest album since the days of Aladdin Sane,” according to the critic.
“The Next Day may be the greatest comeback album ever,” Gill wrote. “It’s certainly rare to hear a comeback effort that not only reflects an artist’s own best work, but stands alongside it terms of quality”. Working with producer Visconti helped “cement the connection with his earlier work – there are constant frissons of recognition … as if Bowie is deliberately mining memories”.
Listening sessions for Australian media are due to be held on Thursday afternoon.