How not to promote an album

When I heard there was a new David Bowie album scheduled for release in 2013 I became very keen to hear it. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as an ardent Bowie fan I do own several of his albums and often find good music even on his less appealing albums. When the first single and film clip were released I listened. I listened again. Nope, it didn’t get better.

Where Are We Now remains a strange choice as a debut single despite album producer Tony Visconti’s insistence that it was chosen due to its introspective nature and would therefore be a most suitable choice to reintroduce Bowie after a ten year absence. However, the song is boring. Yes I said, boring. No hooks, just a quite dreary ballad that appears to be a travel guide for the city of Berlin, namedropping various street and road names.

The Next Day cover art

The Next Day cover art

The album cover is also rather drab. Both the front and back covers show what appears as a sticky note over the top of his 1977 album Heroes and really demonstrates a lack of imagination from the artist. With these indicators alone most listeners would be wary.

However, my persistence with Bowie ended up being rewarded. Where Are We Now still has no appeal, despite hearing it in the context of the whole album, but the rest of it is rather rewarding listening. Dirty Boys reeks of his 70s funk and along with (You Will) Set The World On Fire and The Stars (Are Out Tonight) is one of the standout tracks. Any one of them would have made a much better debut single and a truer indicator of what the album was like.

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