Tag Archive: David Bowie


Blur 10 Best Songs
Jim Dyson, Getty Images

During the great Britpop War of the Mid ’90s, only two bands were left standing after all the broken records were cleared from the battlefield: Oasis and Blur. Many assumed that Oasis would be the victor, based on their bigger commercial success in the U.S., but it turns out that Blur is the most durable of the two groups. While Oasis’ two perpetually feuding Gallagher brothers front separate but equally unremarkable bands these days, Blur frontman Damon Albarn has racked up an impressive list of credits over the past decade, including forming Gorillaz, producing R&B legend Bobby Womack and releasing ambitious, if not entirely listenable, solo projects. Here’s where it all started for him. Here’s Michael Gallucci from diffuser.fm recently listed 10 best Blur songs. Read more about the list here: http://bit.ly/14OFUwE

Blur Popscene

10

Popscene

From 1992 single

‘Popscene’ was one of Blur’s earliest singles and was supposed to be included on their excellent second album, ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish.’ But it bombed, barely cracking the charts in the U.K., so it was left off the LP. The relatively straightforward alt-rock song slams mindless pop music and the vapid culture it spawns — the very same scene that summarily ignored it. Oh, the irony.

Blur Coffee and TV

9

Coffee & TV

From ’13’ (1999)

The most traditional track on the band’s sixth album features guitarist Graham Coxon singing the verses (Albarn handles the choruses). Much of ’13’ goes lyrically and musically deeper than previous efforts; ‘Coffee & TV’ is one of the few songs that recalls the group’s early singles. The celebrated video, featuring an animated milk carton, is terrific, too.

Blur MOR

8

‘M.O.R.’

From ‘Blur’ (1997)

Blur’s self-titled album from 1997 was their no-frills rock record inspired by American indie groups like Pavement. ‘M.O.R.’ was the last of the four singles released. The song was also heavily inspired by David Bowie‘s ‘Lodger’ album; so much, in fact, that Bowie and collaborator Brian Eno eventually received songwriting credit.

Blur Parklife

7

‘Parklife’

From ‘Parklife’ (1994)

Blur was the most British of the Britpop bands, in both musical approach (they covered almost a century’s worth of styles during their 15 years together) and subject matter (plenty of U.S. fans rushed to whatever the 1994 equivalent to Wikipedia was to figure to out just what they were singing about). The title track to their third album is the most British cut on our list of the Top 10 Blur Songs. Actor Phil Daniels (who was in the 1979 movie ‘Quadrophenia’) narrates the song — about living in middle-class England during the mid ’90s — in a thick cockney accent. Doesn’t get more British than that.

Blur Country House

6

‘Country House’

From ‘The Great Escape’ (1995)

The first single from the band’s fourth album contains one of its catchiest choruses. ‘Country House’ is more drawing of class lines from a group that explored the topic better than any other artist at the time (you sure didn’t get this kinda stuff from Oasis). In the end, it’s essentially social commentary fueled by a massive hook and one of Albarn’s sharpest performances. It was also Blur’s first No. 1 in the U.K.

Blur Beetlebum

5

‘Beetlebum’

From ‘Blur’ (1997)

The first single from the band’s fifth album has nothing to do with the Fab Four — that was Oasis’ territory. Instead, the crawling, near-lethargic ‘Beetlebum’ is about drug use, which explains the hazy, dreamlike vibe. It was Blur’s second No. 1 in the U.K. Still, Albarn does sound a little likeJohn Lennon here.

Blur There's No Other Way

4

‘There’s No Other Way’

From ‘Leisure’ (1991)

The band’s second single (which showed up on their debut album four months later) marked their first Top 10 hit in the U.K. It’s also Blur’s first appearance on the U.S. charts (it reached No. 82). It pretty much set the tone for all the Britpop that followed, even though Blur themselves would abandon it as their records became more adventurous.

Blur She's So High

3

‘She’s So High’

From ‘Leisure’ (1991)

The band’s debut single, like ‘There’s No Other Way’ (see No. 4 on our list of the 10 Best Blur Songs), eventually appeared on their first album. And just like ‘There’s No Other Way,’ it set the template for most of the Britpop that made it onto the U.S. modern rock chart in the ’90s. It’s a bit noisier than most of Blur’s songs (at least until 1997’s “indie rock” album), but it remains one of their most popular tracks.

Blur Girls and Boys

2

‘Girls & Boys’

From ‘Parklife’ (1994)

How else to skewer disposable, repetitive synth-pop and its empty dance culture than with a repetitive synth-pop song that sounds a lot like the real thing? ‘Girls & Boys’ reached No. 59 in the U.S., the band’s second-highest chart placement. (It also reached Top 5 on the modern rock chart and Top 25 on, yep, the dance charts.) It’s one of Blur’s most playful and popular cuts.

Blur Song 2

1

‘Song 2’

From ‘Blur’ (1997)

Barely two minutes long, this blast of guitar-powered ’90s punk (which indeed is the second song on 1997’s self-titled LP) anchors Blur’s fifth album, which was inspired by U.S. indie rock. Albarn’s rousing “woo-hoo!” drives the song, but Coxon’s aggressive (and distorted) riffs aren’t too far behind. ‘Song 2’ may have been pure imitation, but Blur turned their tribute into one of their best and most durable hits. It was also their biggest U.S. single, climbing to No. 55.

<p>Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience"</p>

Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience

Have you heard of the 800 lb. gorilla? Next week, Justin Timberlake will be the 800,000 lb. gorilla as it looks like “The 20/20 Experience” will sell up to 800,000 copies, making it the fifth biggest debut of the decade.

Sales projections for “20/20” keep increasing. At the beginning of the week, it appeared that his first album in seven years would sell at least 500,000; then the number soared to 750,000 and with two days left until the chart close, it’s at 800,000, according to Hits Daily Double.

At that rate, the title will handily sell more than the rest of the nine titles in Billboard 200 top 10 combined. In fact, no one else looks to even top 50,000 copies.

In addition to Timberlake, the other debuts will be Kacey Musgraves’ excellent “Same Trailer, Different Park” (read our interview with the up-and-comer here) at No. 4, with sales of around 40,000, and an expanded edition of the soundtrack to “Les Miserables” at No. 7.

Otherwise, it looks like Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” will be at No. 2, Luke Bryan’s “Spring Break…Here To Party” at No. 3 and this week’s No. 1, Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” at No. 5.

Pink’s “The Truth About Love” climbs several notches to No. 6 on the strength of her well-received concert tour and her new single with fun.s’ Nate Ruess, “///. Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” is at No. 8,  Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 9, and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” at No. 10, according to Hits Daily Double.

David Bowie’s “The Next Day” which bowed at No. 2 this week, likely drops to No. 11 with sales of 21,000-24,000.

In case you’re wondering, the top two biggest debuts of the decade so far belong to Taylor Swift, followed by Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne. Read more at http://www.hitfix.com/news/justin-timberlakes-the-20-20-experience-dominates-next-weeks-billboard-200#zThmwysDedYuoVgE.99

 

  • Jo Hale/Getty Images

Jo Hale/Getty Images

In What Have You Done For Us Lately?, we examine the recent output by legendary artists. Yeah, we’re happy when they return with a new album… but really, just how happy are we? We’ll gauge their output since 2000 (or, for less prolific artists, their last five albums), take a hard look and see how their recent material has held up… and maybe help you to find a few gems that you overlooked. 

In this (or any) context, David Bowie is an interesting case. Over the past few decades, he’s been quick to align himself with younger, hipper acts including Nine Inch Nails, Arcade Fire and TV On The Radio, just to name a few. Critics treat him as if he’s more creatively vital than his peers. But is he? Like Neil Young, Bowie seems to be graded on a curve, based on the premise that he has retained his relevance and his edge more than, say, Elton John or Paul McCartney. He certainly cultivates that perception. His latest album, The Next Day, has been greeted enthusiastically by fans and critics: Rolling Stone gave it four stars, calling it “a triumphant album.”Entertainment Weekly gave it a B, saying it’s “an excellent reminder that Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, and the lunatic who sang Christmas songs with Bing Crosby have all been coexisting in the same brain for decades.” And Pitchfork gave it a 7.6, noting that Bowie’s “self-aware attraction to reinvention has served him well.”

In the 1980s, Bowie became a massive commercial force after teaming with Nile Rodgers on the Let’s Dance album, which put him smack in the middle of the MTV-driven mainstream.  He spent much of the decade in the middle of the road on Tonight, his “Dancing In The Streets” duet with Mick Jagger, his role in the Jim Henson filmLabyrinth and finally, the Never Let Me Down album, which did just that, across the board, impressing neither radio programmers nor his longtime fans.

In 1989, Bowie rebooted his career by forming a band, Tin Machine. After two albums, Bowie reunited with Nile Rodgers for a dance oriented album, Black Tie White Noise. And that brings us to what he’s done for us (relatively) lately. Read more here: What Have You Done For Us Lately, David Bowie? « Radio.com News.

Outside – 1995

David Bowie Outside

Outside saw Bowie reunite with Berlin-era collaborator Brian Eno, and positioned him as the forefather of the industrial rock that was hugely popular at the time. Indeed, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor remixed “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson,” and NIN opened on Bowie’s tour.  The album showed that Bowie still had edge – “Hallo Spaceboy” bordered on thrash metal – but for the most part, lacked great songs and buckled under the weight of the concept album’s lyrics.

Critical Response: It seemed like many critics had a hard time slamming the album at the time. Rolling Stone gave it three out of five stars, but admitted that the concept album’s “superfluous” lyrics “damn near sink the record.” Entertainment Weekly gave it a B-, saying, “Outside sounds like fodder for an industrial-music Broadway show based on Blade Runner.”
Sales: Outside peaked at  No. 21 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson” hit No. 20 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock Tracks chart.
What stuck: During the Outside tour, Bowie played most of the album; on subsequent tours, he mainly played “Hallo Spaceboy” and “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson.” But “The Motel” would show up in his 2003 live sets.

Earthling – 1997

David Bowie Earthling

Bowie recorded 1997′s Earthling with his touring band just weeks after the Outside tour wrapped. Featuring Tin Machine’s Reeves Gabrels on guitar, Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust-era sideman Mike Garson on keyboards, drummer Zack Alford and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, the album was influenced by the drum-and-bass dance music of the late ’90s, and as a result sounds a bit dated now. Still, most fans agreed that it was an improvement on Outside. And Trent Reznor returned with another remix, this time for “I’m Afraid Of Americans.”

Critical Response: Rolling Stone gave it three and a half stars, saying, “If Bowie is not the art-rock pioneer he was in the ’70s, his enduring enthusiasm for new musical adventures can be applauded.” Entertainment Weekly was more in favor of the album, giving it a solid A.
Sales: While it fared better critically than OutsideEarthling only hit No. 39 on the Billboard 200 album chart; “I’m Afraid Of Americans” hit No. 29 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and  No. 24 on the (then-called) Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
What stuck: “I’m Afraid Of Americans” is easily the album’s standout track (the Reznor remix was more popular than the album version, and even got a music video co-starring Bowie and Reznor), remaining in Bowie’s setlists for years. “Battle For Britain (The Letter)” got some play as well, but the album has a number of gems, including “Seven Years In Tibet” and “Dead Man Walking.”

…hours – 1999

David Bowie … hours

The cover of  hours… hinted at where Bowie was going. The short-haired Bowie pictured on the cover of the high-energy Earthling lay (seemingly) dead in the arms of a newer, longer-haired, mellower Bowie. And while the album had at least one rocker – “The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell” – most of the album was more contemplative, even adult (if not “adult contemporary”). The first single, “Thursday’s Child,” is one of Bowie’s loveliest ballads, but sadly, didn’t find an audience.

Critical ResponseRolling Stone gave it four stars, saying, “As always, Bowie’s eccentric sense of melody twists around the ear like a space oddity, getting under the skin, plucking the heartstrings and stirring up feelings of alienation we never knew we had,” and also that it is “an album that improves with each new hearing.” Try it yourself and see.
Sales: A dud: It only reached No. 47 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
What stuck: Within a few years, Bowie dropped all …hours songs from his set. A shame: “Thursday’s Child” and “Seven” hold up to his great ’70s ballads.

Heathen – 2002

David Bowie Heathen

Bowie reunited with producer Tony Visconti for the first time since 1980′s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) for this one, and positioned it as a sequel to 1977′s Low (also produced by Visconti). To make the point, he celebrated Heathen‘s release by playing both albums in their entirety at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom.

Critical Response: The critics were definitely on board with this one.Rolling Stone gave it three and a half stars, saying that Heathen “is the sound of Bowie essentially covering himself – to splendid, often moving effect.” In other words, Bowie wasn’t doing anything really new… but they liked it. Entertainment Weekly gave a B+, whilePitchfork gave it a 7.8 out of 10, calling it (somewhat vaguely) “the best Bowie release in years.”
Sales: The public seemed a little more interested in this one, and the album hit No. 14 on the Billboard 200 album chart. A remix of “Everyone Says ‘Hi’” reached No. 42 on Billboard‘s Dance/Club Play Songs chart.
What Stuck: The real keepers on this album were the covers: Neil Young’s “I’ve Been Waiting For You” (featuring Dave Grohl on guitar) and especially the Pixies’ “Cactus.” Bowie kept a bunch of songs from this album in his setlists for years to come, including “Afraid,” “Heathen (The Rays)” and “Slip Away,” showing that he felt more strongly about the album than he did about, say, …hours.

Reality – 2003

David Bowie Reality

Bowie clearly enjoyed his reunion with Tony Visconti on Heathen, and stuck with the producer for the follow-up (Visconti also produced The Next Day). The album sonically recalled Bowie and Visconti’s work onScary Monsters, but with more grown-up lyrics.

Critical Response: Rolling Stone gave it three stars. Pitchfork graded it a 7.3, half a point lower than what they gave Heathen, saying, “Bowie’s musical ideas, not filtered through any sort of trend-grab, are unfailingly unique, and that alone should cement his continued role as vibrant, modern artist for years to come.” No one knew that he would fade from the scene for nearly a decade.
SalesReality hit No. 29 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
What Stuck: Bowie hasn’t performed often since wrapping up his tour for this album, but it’s easy to see him keeping “New Killer Star” in his sets.

The Verdict: While nothing Bowie has done in the past two decades has approached the level of genius he regularly hit in the ’70s, he has a number of great songs that easily hold up to his classics. If you’ve slept on recent Bowie, check out “Hallo Spaceboy,” “The Heart’s Filthy Lesson,” “I’m Afraid Of Americans,” “Thursday’s Child,” “Seven,” “Dead Man Walking,” “Cactus” and “New Killer Star.”

David Bowie’s first album in 10 years, The Next Day, is now streaming on iTunes two weeks ahead of its official release date.

Read more here about Bowie‘s new album: http://bit.ly/149FP1Z

The Next Day officially hits stores March 12th via Columbia Records (pre-orders are ongoing). Below, watch the video for the album’s latest single, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, which stars Bowie himself and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

The Next Day Tracklist:
01. The Next Day
02. Dirty Boys
03. The Stars (Are Out Tonight)
04. Love Is Lost
05. Where Are We Now?
06. Valentine’s Day
07. If You Can See Me
08. I’d Rather Be High
09. Boss Of Me
10. Dancing Out In Space
11. How Does The Grass Grow
12. (You Will) Set The World On Fire
13. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
14. Heat
15. So She (Deluxe Track)
16. I’ll Take You There (Deluxe Track)
17. Plan (Deluxe Track)

 

You’ve heard (and certainly made) jokes about the striking resemblance between Tilda Swinton and David Bowie, particularly when the latter was in his glam rock period. It’s a fun little connection that, thankfully, both have fully embraced: they’ve shot a music video for the musician’s new single, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” which depicts the duo as a married couple being terrorized by those hoping to emulate Ziggy Stardust in look and sound. As directed by Floria Sigismondi, and with cinematography from frequent Fincher collaborator Jeff Cronenweth, it’s more akin to a song-accompanied short than traditional music video. Read more here: http://bit.ly/13fSnZU

The Next Day will be released in America on March 12, and the video can be seen below (viaDavidBowie.com):

 

(photo courtesy of Lincoln Motors)

(photo courtesy of Lincoln Motors)

Shortly before yesterday’s GRAMMY hoopla kicked off, Lincoln (yes, the car company) released a video of Beck covering David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision”with a 167-piece orchestra.

Shot in a stunning 360-degree style, the nine-minute performance footage was directed by Chris Milk, who’s worked with U2, Kanye West and more. Watch below.

The 167 members of Beck’s backing band include soul revival act the Dap-Kings, members of the USC marching band, multiple choirs, a Peruvian charango group, choirs, a gamelan ensemble, nine guitarists, a saw player and many, many more, all conducted by Beck’s father, David Campbell.

Read more here: Beck Covers David Bowie’s ‘Sound and Vision’ With 167-Piece Orchestra « WXRT.

Bowie’s “Sound and Vision” was released in 1977 as the lead single from his album Low.

– Jillian Mapes, Radio.com

 

 

Death of a President director Gabriel Range will explore pair’s friendship and collaborations in Germany in the 70s

David Bowie and Iggy Pop in 1978 and 1977 respectively

Lust for Life … David Bowie and Iggy Pop in 1978 and 1977 respectively. Photograph: Denis O’Regan/Getty Images and Howard Barlow/Redferns

Guardian.co.uk reported that a new film will tell the story of Iggy Pop and David Bowie‘s years in West Berlin. The British-German co-production will be directed by Gabriel Range, best-known for his movie about an imaginary assassination of George W Bush.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/WwIjrr

Lust for Life’s screenplay was written by Robin French, according to the Hollywood Reporter, based in large part on Paul Trynka’s books Starmanand Open Up and Bleed, which look at the lives of Bowie and Pop respectively. French is the co-creator of BBC3’s sitcom Cuckoo.

http://bit.ly/WwIjrr

_grohl

David Eric “Dave” Grohl (born January 14, 1969) is an American rock musicianmulti-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter, who is the lead vocalistguitarist, primary songwriter and founder of the Foo Fighters. Prior to this, he was the drummer for the grunge band Nirvana. He is also the drummer and co-founder of the rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Grohl has additionally written all the music and performed all the instruments for his short-lived side projects Late! and Probot, as well as being involved with Queens of the Stone Age numerous times throughout the past decade. He has performed session work (as a drummer) for a variety of musicians, including GarbageKilling JokeNine Inch NailsDavid BowiePaul McCartneyThe ProdigySlashIggy PopJuliette LewisTenacious DTom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Lemmy, and the latest with Sir Paul McCartney.

Grohl arguably is the most busiest musician today. Not to mention Jack White and Mike Patton. Grohl is directing a documentary about Sound City Studios, the Van Nuys studio where Nevermind was recorded that shut down its music operations in 2011.  He also directs the new Soundgarden music video, By Crooked Steps.

To celebrate his birthday, here we present our Top Ten Foo Fighters Songs.

10. AURORA (There Is Nothing Left To Lose, 1999)
“‘Aurora’ is definitely one of my favourite songs that we’ve ever come up with. Lyrically, it’s just kind of a big question mark, but the words sound good and it’s a nostagic look back at Seattle and the life I once had. That song actually questions the meaning of life, probably. It’s probably the
heaviest thing I’ve ever written.”

9. AIN’T IT THE LIFE (There Is Nothing Left To Lose, 1999)
“That’s what happens when you listen to too much mellow 70’s gold Fleetwood Mac type stuff while recording. Ain’t it the’ life sounds like an Eagles song or something, and I hate The Eagles. It’s about living the quiet, peaceful Virginia life.”

8. TIMES LIKE THESE (One By One, 2002)
“This is sort of a mid-tempo number with a really weird chording that’s kinda reminiscent of Mission Of Burma or Television or kind of a jangly post-punk New York new wave theme guitar line. I think actually that this is the best song I’ve ever written – it’s very emotive and passionate and universal.”

7. NO WAY BACK (In Your Honour, 2005)
“I love that song and the record company wanted it be the first single, but to me it sounded too much like a Foo Fighters song. That song’s kind of our signature sound and I was afraid that if we were to release that
right off the bat then it was too safe and predictable.”
“‘No Way Back’ is another song that I wrote right off the John Kerry campaign trail. It has a lot to do with feeling controlled by a government that you didn’t elect. We got a lot of questions when we first released the
record because everybody thought the title was dedicated to John Kerry, and it was influenced by that, but it wasn’t dedicated to John Kerry. But I kind of denied a lot of the political overtones because I didn’t want to
step on Green Day’s toes or have people think we were a political band and I didn’t want us to turn into Rage Against The Machine. By leaving my perspective out of things it made it so general that other people decide their interpretation.”

6. STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED (Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, 2007)
“I spend a lot of time in silence. I spend a lot of time alone in hotel rooms; I really don’t do a hell of a lot on the road. I’ve been touring for a long time and hotel rooms all begin to look the same after a while. This is
a product of just sitting around and doing fuck all for weeks on end.”

5. HOME (Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, 2007)
“I wrote this at home on the piano, then Taylor and I recorded a demo of it. I sat and wrote the lyrics in about 10 minutes, sang it once, listened to it, and just felt overwhelmed by how revealing it was. It made me feel quite vulnerable, so much so that it’s hard to listen to. I get really choked up thinking about all the time I spend away from the things that are important to me. It’s tough being away on tour; it’s even tough
just to be talking about how much I wish I was with my family. It’s the kind of song I can’t imagine singing live because it’s going to be too much.”
4. HEY, JOHNNY PARK (The Colour And The Shape, 1997)
“Oh, my God, that song’s about 15 different things! The only reason why it’s called ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ is because when I was young, my best friend was this kid who lived across
the street from me called Johnny Park and we were like brothers from the age of 5 to 12. I haven’t heard from him since I was about 14 years old and I thought if I named a song after him he might call.”

3. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN (Wasting Light, 2011)
“When I first wrote that, I was sitting in my bedroom, and I had someone else in mind when I was singing it. But then as I elaborated on it I thought,there are definitely connections. I’ve definitely felt that way before, especially with Kurt, where, you know, I was afraid this was going to happen. So to have Krist come down and play on that song was kind of a risky move. I explained to him, I said:
“Yeah, you know, it’s one of those songs that I’m sure people are going to think it’s about Kurt.” And he basically said: “Oh, fuck it. That’s okay.”

2. EVERLONG (The Colour And The Shape, 1997)
“The first time I’ve ever played that new wave drum beat and it was fun!”

1. FEBRUARY STARS (The Colour And The Shape, 1997)
“Just a song about hanging on by the tips of your fingers and hoping you don’t slip and fall.”

–words taken from many sources by @agunsux. top ten songs compiled by @unclebowl, words from many sources. image taken from weheartit.com

David Bowie

David Bowie celebrated his 66th birthday today by dropping a new single “Where Are We Now?”, which went live in the early hours of Jan. 8 through Iso/Columbia Records. The track is a taster of a promised new album “The Next Day”, his 30th studio recording and his first since “Reality” ten years ago.
David Bowie, ‘Where Are We Now?’: Track Review

Leave it to David Bowie to ask the question, in song, that we’d all like to put to him — namely, where the hell has he been?

Bowie’s first single in years, still gaining traction, may sell between 30-40,000 downloads in its first week.

During much of the past two years, Tony Visconti has been “walking around the streets of New York with my headphones,” listening to the music that became “The Next Day,” David Bowie’s first new album in 10 years. Visconti — who’s worked with Bowie on “David Live,” “Young Americans,” the so-called Berlin Trilogy, “Scary Monsters” and 2003’s “Reality” — has been involved with the new project from even before Bowie started recording demos and oversaw sessions at The Magic Shop studios in New York’s Soho section with a corps of Bowie regulars. With Bowie himself choosing not to do interviews for “The Next Day,” Visconti has become the voice of the album — and, not surprisingly, he has plenty to say about it…

It’s hard to say if the greatest achievement of “The Next Day” is making it — or keeping it so entirely secret as you did. How does it feel now that the world knows about it?

Oh, well, I’m ecstatic. I’m really, really happy. I’ve been keeping this a secret for two years…so to finally have the dam break loose and have the world know about it, I actually had a physical reaction to it, a big relief in my body.

How did you manage to keep the news from leaking?

The members of the band and the engineers, the people who bring us coffee in the studio, everybody who was involved in this had to sign a (non-disclosure agreement) to keep this a secret. The people who played on this album, most of them have worked wtih David for a long time; to sign an NDA would have been unnecessary for most of them. But we had some new people and a new recording studio we didn’t have an old, long-standing relationship with, so we took the precaution. Everyone had to sign it. No one objected; they said, “It’s just an absolute joy to be working with David Bowie.” The way we kept it a secret was on an honor system — not that we were worried about being sued or anything like that. It was so cool to be part of this club. That’s what it was really about.

What was the timetable for all of this?

Well, (Bowie) started writing it two years ago. David’s one of my oldest friends. We’d been communicating over e.mail all the time and we’d meet up for lunch occasionally in New York. The last few times I met with him I saw a twinkle in his ye that wasn’t there before, which meant he was writing. I knew the call was gonna come one day, and he contacted me and said “I’d like to go in and make some demos.” We went into a studio about two years ago with myself on bass and Sterling Campbell on drums and Gerry Leonard on guitar and we just jammed for a week or two on the ideas that David had. We lived with those demos for a few months and we walked into an actual studio maybe 18 months ago and put down the first serious tracks and worked from there. We’d go two weeks a time and then take a month off or as long as two months off. We probably spent about three months in the studio, but spread out over 18.

Was David conscious that it had been such a long time people had kind of written off the idea of ever hearing from him again?

He seemed to be amused by the world kind of thinking he retired or was in ill health. It didn’t bother him at all. I think he was a little tired of having to make an album because it was in his contract to do another one in a certain time period. He just gave all that up. He just wanted to have a private life and think about when he would go back in the studio. He’s a very confident person; “I’ll make a record when I’m ready, when I really have something to say.” It never really did bother him what people thought about his absence.

He looks pretty healthy in the video for “Where Are We Now?”

I’ve seen him steadily since he had the health problem (an angioplasty) in 2004 and he’s very healthy. He’s kind of rosy-cheeked. And in the studio his stamina was fantastic. It was as if he never stopped doing this for a 10-year period. He was singing with every live take; quite often he’d play piano or guitar at the same time. And when it came time to do the final vocals, he was just as loud as he ever was.

The personnel was kind of like old home week, too, wasn’t it?

Oh, yeah. We had his longtime guitarist Gerry Leonard and his longtime guitarist Earl Slick and his longtime guitarist — since 2001, anyway — David Torn. So we had three absolutely wonderful guitarists who have their own specialties. Earl Slick was the tearing-it-up lead guitarist, and then both Gerry and David have different versions of ambient guitar, very dreamy, washy kind of guitar sounds. So the three guitarists were very complementary. And we used Zachary Alford on drums and Sterling Campbell on drums; these are all old Bowie band members from different tours and albums. And Gail Ann Dorsey played most of the bass on the album and sang backup vocals. We had Tony Levin, who’s a wonderful bass player, come in for a few tracks as well. And then we had string players come in, wonderful string players who play in Broadway musicals and things like that, and various other people. It was a nice, small combination. I’d say at most a dozen musicians were involved.

Any guest vocalists or featured rappers?

(laughs) No, not at all. This was an exclusive, closed-door David Bowie album being made under secretive wrap.

 

— by gary graff for billboard.com  image by jimmy king

 

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David Bowie has released a single!

In a stroke of media brilliance David Bowie has returned on his 66th birthday with a great brooding single in which he sings about his life and with which he managed to swerve the whole of the news media.

In these times where everybody knows everything about everything else (or thinks they do) and Twitter has the news before it’s news Bowie has done a Stone Roses by suddenly reappearing into the middle of the music debate with a single that is better than anything else he has done for years.

Working in New York with Tony Visconti, who was repsonsable for his great work in his seventies, the single sings about his time in Berlin and other key moments in his life in a track that is reminscent of his ‘Low’ period. the song is brooding and dark and has a certain world weariness to it as it builds to its climax.

Bowie’s new 17 track album, The Next Step, is due in March.

The glam-rock legend has released the recording as a download. It will be followed by a new album, ‘The Next Day’ in March.

Bowie has not performed live since 2006 and has rarely been seen in public since then.
The new track was recorded in New York and produced by the singer’s long-time collaborator Tony Visconti.

The single’s appearance online was “a genuine surprise”, said John Wilson, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Front Row.

“He’s a proper artist. He doesn’t release records because it’s time for another record. He releases records when there’s something for him to say.”

Where Are We Now? is a simple, unfussy ballad – Bowie singing mournfully over a piano motif that slowly builds to an understated crescendo.

The song includes several references to the city of Berlin, where Bowie and Visconti produced a critically-acclaimed trilogy of albums – Low, Heroes and Lodgers – in the 1970s.

 

written by john robb for louderthanwar.com image from telegraph.co.uk

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