David Bowie, ‘The Next Day’

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Aidin Vaziri | The exhilaration many felt over the imminent arrival of the first new David Bowie album in a decade was quickly tempered by the memory that his previous 10 albums were frankly awful. Hey, the 66-year-old pop chameleon just needed a little breather. Much as the cover art reworks his classic “Heroes” sleeve with a stark modernist bent, the music on “The Next Day” feels like an upgrade of past glories. From the effortless glam-rock swagger of “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” to the airy, abstract beauty of “Where Are We Now,” there are reference points to all phases of Bowie’s career. You want the Thin White Duke? He’s here. Ziggy Stardust? He’s here, too. The weird guy in a suit from Tin Machine? Yep. It’s surprisingly loud, too. Tony Visconti, the producer behind some of Bowie’s greatest work, puts serious muscle behind tunes such as the skronking “Dirty Boys” and “Valentine’s Day,” revealing that despite his heart troubles, the singer is still some ways off from settling in to contemplate the transience of life.

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