David Bowie’s  “The Next Day” has proven problematic to discuss. With so much esteem for the album floating around already, the words do not come easily. “The Next Day” is something of a culmination, both literal and figurative proof that the Thin White Duke may have aged, but he hasn’t lost any of his rock, soul or morphological mysticism. Rather, Bowie’s age factors into the album as he allows himself a higher vantage point—one overlooking his career, his relationships and his existence. Though each track may not immediately flow into the next, they all offer a window into Bowie’s varying stylistic prowess, jumping in flavor from the hyper–kinetic, titular song to the lurching “Dirty Boys,” before closing on the morose, pondering “Heat.” Perhaps “The Next Day” may be disjointed between tracks, but its overall thematic cohesion overcomes the melodic disparity, resulting in an extremely important album that may, bittersweetly, be the last Bowie we can bow before.

Grade: A

Sounds best when: Contemplating your achievements (or lack thereof)

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