The Genius Of… The Next Day by David Bowie

In decades past, a level of detached mystery – and the ability to craft an entirely original, modern mythology – was central to the appeal of many of pop’s biggest figures. For David Bowie, the Mount Olympian influence that celebrity granted would be an ongoing fascination throughout his career. Exploring this dynamic, Bowie clad himself in the garb of superhuman, semi-magical figures such as glam rock titan Ziggy Stardust, and the enigmatic Thin White Duke, revelling in the many layers of artifice a pop star could wrap themselves in, while also being gifted with the ability to generate era-defining, life-changing records.

After nearly 40 years of astounding creative and commercial success, Bowie showed few signs of slowing. With 2002’s compelling Heathen rapidly followed up by 2003’s exuberant Reality, Bowie seemed to be as creatively inflamed as he was during the making of his matchless 1970’s run of records. In 2004 however, during the globe-spanning A Reality Tour, a terrifying heart scare at the culmination of a show at Germany’s Hurricane Festival cut short the tour’s originally intended run time, and marked (what many thought would be) the end of the 57-year-old Bowie’s professional career, as he stepped back into the shadows.

For the rest of the 2000s, the New York-based Bowie was rarely seen, bar a few fleeting appearances to signal his endorsement of the latest crop of cultural movers and shakers (notably, with Arcade Fire, at Fashion Rocks in 2005, and with Ricky Gervais, performing the hilarious Pug Nosed Face on Extras) But, for his worldwide congregation of devotees, the promise of serious new music – an ever-present thread that had been running since Bowie’s debut in 1967 – wasn’t forthcoming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *