New details on Bowie’s return

Producer and long-time David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti has opened up about Bowie’s surprise return and his new album The Next Day.

Visconti says that the introspective preview track ‘Where Are We Now’, which Bowie released last week, is unlike anything else from the album. Speaking to Rolling Stone Visconti revealed that the album’s closer ‘Heat’ is “a classic Bowie ballad” and that the second song on the album ‘Dirty Boys’ is “very sleazy … old bump-and-grind [that] wouldn’t be out of place on Young Americans ”. ‘Boss Of Me’ is described as a “slower, funky one” that’s also reminiscent of 1975’s Young Americans.

According to Visconti, the album finds Bowie in an observational frame of mind with lyrics of social commentary written in the third person. He also says that Bowie was influenced by medieval English books and that the songs ‘I’d Rather Be High’ and ‘How Does The Grass Grow’ are said to be about soldiers and world wars, while ‘Dancing Out in Space’ is described as very uptempo with a Motown beat and a “completely crazy … psychedelic” sound.

The album was recorded in downtown New York and had been underway for some time with Visconti confessing that they began work on it in 2010. “We only worked for two-week periods,” he revealed. “We would take as long as two months off after each period, and he would go and write some more stuff. If you added up all the weeks in the studio, we probably actually spent three-and-a-half months.”

The whole process was kept very much under wraps with Visconti admitting that Bowie himself said to keep it a secret and not tell anybody “not even your best friend”. While everyone who worked on the album managed to remain tight-lipped about it, there was one person who leaked the news. Robert Fripp, responsible for the guitar solo on 1977’s ‘Heroes’, was invited to work on the album and turned it down later posting the news on his blog. However no one believed him due to the lack of other information.

Visconti has also disappointed fans, revealing that there won’t be a tour for the album, explaining that Bowie made that very clear to the label that he wasn’t going to tour or do any kind of “ridiculously long” album promotion. However he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of some one-off shows in New York or London.

Bowie worked with a range of musicians for the new album, most of whom he had worked with previously. The band on The Next Day includes drummers Sterling Campbell and Zachary Alford; Gail Ann Dorsey on bass and back-up vocals and Gerry Leonard; and David Torn on guitar. The track ‘Dirty Boys’ also features a baritone sax solo performed by Bowie’s friend Steve Elson.

The Next Day will be released on Friday, March 8.

The Next Day tracklisting:

The Next Day – 3:51

Dirty Boys – 2:58

The Stars (Are Out Tonight) – 3:56

Love Is Lost – 3:57

Where Are We Now? – 4:08

Valentine’s Day – 3:01

If You Can See Me – 3:16

I’d Rather Be High – 3:53

Boss Of Me – 4:09

Dancing Out In Space – 3:24

How Does The Grass Grow – 4:33

(You Will) Set The World On Fire – 3:30

You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – 4:41

Heat – 4:25

Bonus tracks:

So She – 2:31

I’ll Take You There – 2:44

Plan – 2:34