David Bowie's highly anticipated new album was supposed to come out in the middle of this month, but David Bowie is not one for conventions, so he jumped the gun today by releasing The Next Day streaming, in its entirety, on iTunes. And now David Bowie fans can all breathe a collective sigh of relief: everyone seems to agree that it's good—maybe even remarkable.
The reviews pouring in since the album got its public debut are essentially of this variety: Oh, thank God, we don't have to say anything bad about Bowie.
At the Telegraph Neil McCormick's review begins like so: "It is an enormous pleasure to report that the new David Bowie album is an absolute wonder." At The Independent Andy Gill reports that it "may be the greatest comeback album ever." Rob Sheffield at Rolling Stone punctuates his lead paragraph with: "Holy shit, David Bowie." At NPR Ann Powers declares: "And now, despite nasty rumors of persistent heart problems or worse, we know that David Bowie is not rapidly dying or strung out in heavens high — he walks among us, right there on iTunes, where his 24th studio album, The Next Day, is now streaming." The Mirror also emerged with the theory that we don't really have to worry about Bowie: "But listening to this album, it’s easy to imagine Bowie hearing the rumours with wry amusement. From the charged chaotic bustle of its opening title track, The Next Day is the sound of a man fully engaged and energised by life and, indeed, his own musical past."
One Twitter user put it simply:
The Bowie album is so much better than it had to be.— Ben Hall (@BenDH) March 1, 2013
Of course, the album isn't simple at all, and in fact produces more questions than answers. McCormick asks, bewildered:
What can it all mean? Who knows? I’m still scratching my head over an album cover that looks as if he just stuck a Post-it note on Heroes. You don’t come to Bowie for easy answers, and The Next Day is both immediately rewarding and mystifyingly opaque.
Powers adds: "The Next Day is not an easy album to absorb, though it's an endlessly enjoyable listen, especially for fans eager to tease out its hidden meanings."
Model Iman, Bowie's wife, has also clearly heard good things:
David thanks you all for your support and lovely response to #thenextday— Iman Abdulmajid (@The_Real_IMAN) March 1, 2013