David Bowie will never have a ‘last album.’ Sure, in terms of time and effort, there may be a few more left in his corporeal being, but he’s the kind of dude who’s entire body of even half-hearted demos can last the demanding public centuries of musical debate. And that’s the other thing: when you’ve had a career as storied, legendary, and ever-changing as his, how do you cap it all off? It’s an impossible task, and I certainly wouldn’t ask him to.
But what to make of this J.D. Salinger-esque reclusiveness in terms of creative output, besides his many film and television cameos and the occasional word with the press? To, suddenly, release an album out into the world with barely a month’s worth of advance notice, with two music videos to appear prior to the album’s full release, and with a cover virtually irreverent to the man’s own body of work? That cover should be the stuff of debates, given the music on the record and its own presentation of a sort of in-joke, as if the input after Heroes wasn’t worth remembering, and this is exactly what was supposed to follow.
The Next Day doesn’t quite follow that blueprint, though the cover certainly influences it. You can’t say this is the return of Ziggy, or the Thin White Duke, or any other variation of Bowie you can think of. In fact, it simply is The Next Day, but what that says — either as comment on the past or a continuation of Bowie’s impressive oveur — doesn’t matter as much as media types want to have you believe. Yet, I can’t help but feel like there was a twinge of frustration with this record, a need to just release something, just to move on past the speculation about what Mr. Bowie’s been doing all this time.
After the jump, David Bowie takes us to some very familiar territories via strange routes.
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Posted in Album Review, Classic Rock, Record Release, Whisky Tango Foxtrot.
Tagged album reviews, classic rock, David Bowie, glam rock, Heroes, Hunky Dory, Low, new album, The Next Day, The Spiders from Mars, Ziggy Stardust, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Admitting that he’s never wanted to go it alone, Jack White’s solo debut, Blunderbuss, offers something that many people familiar with the band/group product only get with separate solo work, and that is a sharpened focus on the ‘essence’ of that player’s talents. But, as with many of the things that Jack White has attached his name to, it comes within rules and boundaries, and ultimately ends up with listeners asking more questions than coming to conclusions. Those factors, which are ultimately diversions from the actual product itself and have little to nothing to do with the artist’s work so much as it works as a marketing strategy, will not be discussed here. Shame, because his previous work and decisions, being so fascinating in terms of questioning motives, intentions, and truths, surround every little thing about the album. If there was never a desire to go solo, why bother compiling these efforts? Why tour in support of it? Why name it Blunderbuss? Is it more like the White Stripes? The Go? The Raconteurs? Dead Weather?
All of that doesn’t matter, though the title does invite that kind of speculation in terms of meaning – in the same way the phrase Get Behind Me Satan invites the same guesswork – and some of those questions can be answered without doubt. What does matter is that Mr. White is back, and sharing his unique talents once again.
Whether or not it’s any good, well, that takes a jump into it. Continue reading →
Posted in Album Review
Tagged album reviews, Blunderbuss, De Stijl, Jack White, solo debut, The Dead Weather, the Go, The Raconteurs, the White Stripes, Third Man Records, White Blood Cells