what can i say, a pleasant surprise that should not have been a surprise that was laced with some memories of disappointment in the music store today. yes, a mere 13 days late in regards of the official release date given by the artist, one can now actually buy David Bowie's The Next Day here.
yes, i avoided the obvious temptation of a new Dido album, whatever the hell that is, and purchased David's one. sit back and enjoy a bit of a complaint for the next paragraph or two, or skip ahead and read the rest, up to you.
considering the music industry in general and retail stores in particular bemoan the falling sales, blaming "downloads" of any legal variation for their plight, it is by any standard a disgrace that stores here simply sat on one of the biggest releases in years (Bowie, not Dido). i called Sony SA (alas David signed a distribution deal with them) and, in a rare moment of not being anti-consumer, they confirmed that all stores here took delivery of The Next Day on 11 March.
why then was it that i could only purchase this on 24 March? because the Einsteins that run the stores here, oblivious to the worldwide attention and billboards down the highways, decided to leave the things in their "distribution hubs" (i.e. warehouses) for a couple of weeks for no given reason. i really, really hope they don't have the audacity and nerve to whine and moan about "people not buying CDs" ever again - for close to two weeks i have been trying to throw money at them for this.
moving on, then, and here's the splendid looking CD sat on my desk. well, sort of splendid looking.
i still cannot but help think that this "artwork" is less 'post-modernist statement', more 'complete pisstake', to be honest. i refer you to my February posts where you can have a look at the Valentine's card i made for my (considerably) better half. no one seems in a rush to celebrate that as they have the cover for The Next Day, any yet they are the same sort of thing.
i am just a simpleton, plodding along, of course, whereas David Bowie is one of the world's greatest artists. that is perhaps why he gets praised for "subverting his past" with this packaging and i get told i am being lazy for just shoving a bunch of Star Wars and Peanuts stickers on a birthday card.
so far as i can see, no other review or blog has picked up on that "heroes" was at the least a very clever album to "bastardize" for the artwork for an album called The Next Day. has everyone else forgotten that one of the more prominent lyrics on "heroes" was "just for one day"?
as you should be able to make out from the above pics, this is the "special edition" version of the album. it is the only version you seem to be able to buy here, which is a pleasant change. a moan moment again - usually here they only release "standard" versions of albums, meaning efforts to make buying albums more attractive in the UK - bonus CD or DVD included - never got released here. every now and then someone imported them, but sold them at twice the price you would pay to have them shipped in from the UK.
not that i would have bought the "standard" version as well as this, oh no. not with Breaking Dawn Part II on sale at the same time, that had to be bought for my (considerably) better half and thus the budget was gone anyway. if i see the "standard" edition anywhere on my travels, and the packaging is different and the price is correct, yes of course i will purchase for the colletion.
although i did a review for your pleasure on the basis of the "streamed" version, it is nice to be listening to the album properly on CD. it does, if you care to recall my review, sound much better indeed. the vocals are at the correct level on the disc, something that was a big concern on the online version. David's vocals are simply amazing on this - Valentine's Day is on now, for instance, and just wow, really. even the weakest track on the album, Dirty Boys, all of a sudden sounds rather good.
i suppose, for the sake of a complete picture for those of you who for some bizarre reason wait for my comments before deciding to buy, i should skip ahead and listen to these extra tracks and give a review. OK, cool, let me go and fiddle with the knob.
right, found the extra tracks. here we go......
So She - woah, psychedelia! super cool opening, a touch like something the other David Jones may have turned out for The Monkees if he had taken the correct amount of acid. soon dips into being a somewhat more normal, certainly 60s feel pop tune. probably out of touch with the tone of the rest of the album would be the answer as to why this is a "bonus track". nice one. sounds a bit like Dancing Out In Space, which is a decent enough song to rip off.
Plan - heavy guitar and drum time. an instrumental dabble, with a bit of a twangy guitar or keyboard almost hiding someone going "oooooooooooo" towards the end. two minutes long, "disposable".
I'll Take You There - sounds a little bit like the title track to start, then goes on to do its own thing. ah, almost, when it his the chorus it's clear that this was probably an earlier incarnation of the song The Next Day. not that this is a bad thing at all, not going on the vocal delivery around the 1:40 mark, rather amazing to be honest that is.
so, the 'special edition' adds about 7 minutes to the album, 5 of which are very good indeed. as far as i am aware in places where both versions are for sale the 'special edition' is only a Pound or two more, rather but that one then. unless it's a limited edition thing and you can't get it any more. under those circumstances, there's nothing at all wrong with the 14 track album in its own right.
thank you very much indeed for taking the time to read a review of an album that has already sold so well it has gone to number one in about 40 countries.
and that's it for this post. oh, go on then.........
...sorry, i felt an obligation to do the above, as i am pretty sure Bowie fans worldwide have! well, i suppose some will have made the effort to wear a Bowie jacket, do their hair and all that. i didn't.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!