The #3 Album On The 2013 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List ™ Is David Bowie’s “The Next Day”

We were astonished then — and are astonished now — that Bowie released an album this year that ranks with Lodger, Station To Station, and Low as high points of a hugely important career.  No, it’s not Diamond Dogs, nor The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars.  But it’s also not any of the albums that from 1980 on devalued what Bowie had done in the ’70s.  When The Next Day came out, we were filled with gratitude, and admiration, and joy that we could listen to late-phase Bowie like we listen to late-phase Dylan: an artist who, in maturity, still is capable of producing important work.

As we said at the time:

“To place what an unexpected pleasure it is to listen to The Next Day, it helps to remember that the last time listening to Bowie made us grin from ear to ear was in the climactic scene in Inglourious Basterds, as Shosanna prepares to burn the theater down, and Tarrantino cribbed from the terrible movie Cat People to play Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” as the soundtrack to imminent conflagration. It’s not a particularly good song, though by the early ’80s, it seems like it was about as exciting as Bowie could be.  Yet in the context of Tarrantino’s movie, it was hilarious, and gave us a jolt.  But it was also a sad reminder of how much Bowie really mattered to us in the 1970s — during that string of pearls that began with Hunky Dory and did not end until his final fling with Eno in Lodger.

The return of Bowie to relevance and greatness reminds us, actually, of how exciting it was in 1997 to hear Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind.  Good Lord, we thought, as it came on the radio, he still has it, little knowing that Dylan would go on to create at least two albums that rank with anything he did in the ’60s.  And so we hope it is with Bowie, that upon his return at this level of excellence, as a 66-year old, post-heart attack senior citizen, he can keep producing at the level of The Next Day.”

 

 

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